Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.
– George Box
This is a fantastic thing to keep in mind. I have a very simple model for happiness at work that I’ve found to be very useful. But is it True? Absolutely not.
The corollary to the statement above is probably, that the less wrong a model is, the more useful!
Bay Jordan, the CEO of Zealise, (go read his excellent blog) sent me this quote:
“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”
– Ayn Rand
I’d love to hear your opinion on it. Do you agree? Are values (personal or corporate) making you happy or unhappy? Are they an important part of being happy or more peripheral?
Here’s a piece of important advice for all managers who find that their calendar is wall-to-wall meetings three months into the future.
“Remember – you’re a leader, not a meeter”
This came up today in a meeting(!) with some of the nice people from Danish software company Maconomy.
This has got to be one of the most inspiring things ever written:
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
And also the only real tragedy in life is the being used by personally minded men for purposes which you recognize to be base.
All the rest is at worst mere misfortune or mortality: this alone is misery, slavery, hell on earth; and the revolt against it is the only force that offers a man’s work to the poor artist, whom our personally minded rich people would so willingly employ as pandar, buffoon, beauty monger, sentimentalizer and the like.”
Oh man – that has got to be one of the most inspiring, uplifting things ever written.
The passage about “being used by personally minded men for purposes which you recognize to be base”… if that’s not unhappiness at work I don’t know what is, and yet that’s exactly how many people feel about work.
I’m with Shaw on this one – we must revolt against it and be artists of our own lives.
You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
And what is it to work with love?
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
– Kahlil Gibran in The Profet
Here is how I know someone is successful — If you are able to give from your abundance then you are successful.
– Fred Gratzon (source)
This is Fred Gratzon, author of the excellent book The Lazy Way to Success, in top form giving the best and shortest definition of success I’ve ever seen.
Having abundance is not enough – you are only truly successful when you can share your abundance. And if you only read one book on success, make it Fred’s – it seriously changed my thinking on work, and is one of my favorite books about happiness at work.
Fred’s thought reminded me of the ancient Greeks – they measured a person’s wealth not by how much he owned but by how much he gave away.
Numbers and money follow; they do not lead.
– From the Quicken Loans web site
That is absolutely brilliant – and beautifully phrased.
If you let the numbers lead you end up with management by spreadsheet in which all decisions are made for short-term gains with no regards to the fact that workplaces rely mostly on the thoughts, feelings and reactions of human beings who are inexplicably difficult to get to follow the stats.
Humans lead. Numbers follow. I like it.
Creating peak experiences for employees and customers is a no-brainer. You gotta do it.
– Chip Conley
I agree – it’s a total no-brainer! It’s also easy. And cheap. And companies who do it find that it makes them a LOT of money.
Of course my interest is in creating peak experiences for employees – moments where you just go “MAN, I love working for this company!”
Have you had one of those? What happened – what was the peak experience? How can your workplace give you a WOW moment?
My friend Annette (who is the CEO of Årstiderne) sent me these inspiring words:
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement,
the thrill of creative effort.
The human spirit needs to accomplish, to achieve, to triumph to be happy.
Happiness does not come from doing easy work.
It comes from the afterglow of satisfaction after the achievement of a difficult task that demands your best.
Your personal growth itself contains the seed of happiness.
You cannot pursue happiness by itself.
There is no happiness except in the realization that you have accomplished something.
Happiness thrives in activity.
It’s a running river, not a stagnant pond.
I agree completely. Achievement feels great. We all like to get results, make a difference, contribute value and do work we can be proud of.
My only quibble with this is that achievement is not the only source of happiness at work. I believe there are two things that make us happy at work and getting results is one of them.
See if you can guess what the other thing is :o)