The Importance of Work and Inner Happiness


Eric Wale

Imagine you have 24 hours left to live and you are reflecting on your life. Do you have any regrets? An Australian nurse who spent several years caring for patients during the last 12 weeks of their lives, revealed the top regret expressed by people was spending too much time working day in, day out.

This forces us to ask the question, are we genuinely happy in our jobs and is it worth the time and effort we put into it? If it’s not making us happy, then plain and simple, we need to change our job. Life is full of choices, and it’s our responsibility to ensure our working lives are as fulfilling as possible.

Furthermore, it’s important to realise that success begins with inner happiness, a topic that we explore more in detail below.

We All Work for Different Reasons

There are many different reasons why people choose a job. Some see work as a means to an end, others see it as a way of funding family costs, holidays, cars etc. and others accept a job based on its intrinsic value. For young people and graduates, a first-time retail or hospitality job might not offer huge excitement, but it allows them to do fun things in their spare time. For people starting off in their chosen career, their job might offer a low pay for a junior position, but they gain experience and skills, and are grateful to get their foot in the door. Others are content to work in a job that doesn’t necessarily make them happy, but it pays the bills.

We all work for different reasons, but its important to choose a workplace with factors that make us happy, because most of our life is spent working. If you don’t feel happy or get a sense of purpose from your job, you’re at risk of feeling de-motivated and disengaged at work, which is bad news both for both you and the company you work for. Since most of our life is spent working, prolonged unhappiness at work can lead to deeper unhappiness, which can be very damaging long-term.

If you feel unhappy in a job, you need a re-ignition of energy and a new work-life plan. This requires allocating time for self-reflection on personal values, goals, and ambitions – which can be done with the help of the Clear Search Blueprint (link to blog).

The Benefits of a Job You Enjoy

Once you are in a job that you enjoy and have a passion for, you will reap the benefits, such as:

  • When you have a job, you earn money, which makes you independent. You can buy what you need and want, pay your bills, and do whatever you want to do. Not all jobs pay enough money for this independence of course, which is where your determination to succeed must come in. The more determination you have, the higher up the ladder you will move and the more money you make.
  • Having a job you enjoy makes you feel happy. If the job means something to you, will make you proud of yourself and others around you, and you’ll feel accomplished. Getting up for work every day will be exciting, not boring, and it won’t feel like a repetitive chore.
  • When you work for a good company that offers career progression opportunities, you develop new skills, learn new things, and subsequently create a positive record of employment. Then when you want to get a new or a better job, your experiences can help you to do that.
  • When you have a job or a career you enjoy, you have self-respect, dignity, and self-worth. You are being responsible and making sure that you can take care of yourself. You are creating a solid foundation that you can build on to have a successful future.

Job Success Begins with Inner Happiness

In his informative and motivating Ted Talk, Psychologist Shawn Achor found that our brains are being conditioned backwards by school teachers, college professors and managers. People are made to feel that the harder they work, the more success they that will bring, thus, they will be happier. But our brains actually work in the opposite order.

Shawn found that:

  • Only 25% of job successes are attributed to IQ.
  • 75% of job successes are predicted by people’s optimism levels, social support and ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat.

He explains that schools, colleges and companies will teach people that the harder they work, the more successful they will be. For example, teachers in schools will encourage students to get better grades that they got in the last exam, professors at college will tell people to get higher grades than last year to improve their chances of being accepted into a good college. And management in companies will push their sales staff to reach higher sales targets a month by month basis, regardless of their employee’s stress levels. This enforces the thinking that the more successful we are, the happier we will be.

Shawn found that when people are feeling positive and happy within themselves, they are 37% more productive at work. He also found happy people are better at keeping jobs, are more resilient and are less likely to feel burnt out. This makes sense, because studies show that when dopamine is released in your brain, it not just makes you feel happier, but it also turns on all the learning functions in your mind which makes you more productive at school, college and work.

How to Find Your Inner Happiness

There are a few simple and fast exercises people can do to re-wire their brain and enhance their inner happiness.

  1. Write down 3 things your grateful for every day for 21 days in a row. At the end of those 21 days, you brain will naturally start seeing things for the better, not the worst.
  2. Keep a daily diary of one positive thing that’s happened to you over the past 24 hours will help your brain to relive it.
  3. Do exercise each day and your brain will learn that your physical and mental behaviour matters and impacts your mood.
  4. Try meditating as this will relax your brain and help you learn how to focus on one thing at a time.
  5. Send a message or email to someone in your social support circle praising or complimenting them. By doing this, you will create a ripple of positivity and strengthen your social support.

After you undertake these steps to finding your inner happiness, job success will follow. You will feel more enlightened in your job and personal life. And most importantly, you won’t ever regret staying in a job that you weren’t happy in.