"Hmph! No! I want to continue to be miserable for the better part of two-thirds of my life" secretly wished no one ever.
If you don't like your job or the work that you do, then this article will help you turn things around. No one deserves to be miserable and unhappy for so many years of their life, but so many people are!
I remember reading once reading a ridiculous statistic that more than 90% of Americans hate their jobs, and that made me think why? Why do people hate their jobs so much?
And more importantly, would you want your final thoughts to be "Geez, I really hated working for the last 40 years, but it's too late and I'm going go out regretting that I never made a change". What is sad depressing thought...
Over the last few years, I've come to my own conclusion through my own personal experiences on why people are unhappy at work in addition to observing my colleagues and friends in their workplaces.
Unhappiness occurs when reality doesn't meet your expectations.
Think about that for a moment. You've been sold a dream (either by recruiters, the hiring manager, universities etc). You're so pumped and motivated thinking that this place is going to be better than the last, finally you're going to be able to experience that 'awesome workplace culture' or fulfillment you've been waiting for. Then you get inside, and what happens? It was all hype. A facade that was created just to replace the last person that left.
So what happens? You start experiencing bitterness, feeling cheated, disappointment and maybe other less than positive emotions.
Similar to my previous article, you are in control of what you choose to feel.
It's truly about being responsible for yourself. Sure, you can choose to feel unhappy at work, OR... you can choose to feel something else.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article I'm going to help you on how to turn things around. There two parts to creating a more fulfilling work-life, and guess what, they're both in your control, free and can't be controlled by others :).
1. Understand what you want more of
Firstly, if unhappiness occurs when reality doesn't meet your expectations, then create your own reality! (Don't worry, I'll show you how)
There is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is a bundle of nerves at the brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through.
Your RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it.
You RAS will then sift through the data and present only the pieces that are 'important' to you which what you put your focus on (it doesn't matter if it's positive or negative). So at work, if all you focus on is the negatives, like that doing task x, y, z is boring, then your RAS is going to look for evidence to validate the negatives and present that back to you.
Now, I'm not saying that if you think something, it'll magically appear to you, but rather, if you set your intent and focus on what you want, then your RAS will starting revealing you to the people, information, and opportunities in line with what you want. It is then up to you to act on it and experience what you really want.
What are you focussing on at work, and can you see how that might be affecting what you're experiencing?
2. Defining what you want more of
A lot of people know what they don't want, for eg. at work:
- I don't want to be unhappy
- I don't want to be stressed
- I don't want to feel pressure
This type of thinking is common, but unfortunately will not get you closer to what you want. Going back to point 1, what's your focus? In the above, it's all fairly negative stuff. Is it then any surprise that what you may be feeling is a result of all the stuff that's rattling in your mind?
Instead, we need to think about what is it that we DO want.
If I can be honest with you guys, this concept changed everything for me. In the beginning of my career I was super fortunate to have an awesome job doing things I loved. Why? My focus was on the impact I was having, the ground breaking work we were doing and the awesome team I was a part of. I was passionate, excited and motivated to come into work for these reasons and far more.
Then in the next job I had, my expectations didn't meet reality, and for a period of two years, my mental and physical health declined considerably. A large part of this was due to my focus so I decided to change things. I decided what the positive things I wanted to experience and feel more of.
For anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a immensely social creature :). So I started to focus on and create more opportunities to connect with people at work. I would get my work done quickly so I could feel joy, more connection and have meaningful conversations with my colleagues.
All of a sudden, 8 -10 hours days that I had mostly painted with a fairly negative brush had more colour sprinkled through the day with those opportunities for social connection that I was actively creating myself. I was building a far better and more positive reality!
That is just one example of what I choose to put my focus on based on what I wanted to experience more of. I also craved:
- A sense of achievement
So to experience these things more often, I either:
- Got my work done efficiently and effectively so I had more time to experience what was important to me or
- integrated these into my tasks.
To your success,
P.S. When you’re ready... here are 3 ways I can help you achieve better performance and beat stress.
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