Peanut butter and jelly. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. Peanut butter alone between two pieces of bread. Jelly alone between two pieces of bread. Not delish. Together? FABULOUS!
It’s difficult to understand why two separate items from opposite ends of the spectrum could work so well together. Peanut butter: a root, under the ground, plain colored, in a shell. Jelly: made from colorful fruit, above ground, pretty and sweet.
What’s this have to do with happiness? Happiness and work.
The two seem polar opposite. One entails visions of flitting around in fields or lounging on a beach. The other entails the ugly, under the ground, boring, day-to-day grind. Don’t we work hard so that one day we won’t have to work hard, so that we can finally do what we want, so that we can finally be happy?
If you want to live a happy life you’re going to have to smash work and happiness together. On one end lies birth. The other end lies-death. All that life in the middle is an intermixed mess of work and your happiness.
Here’s What Work Does for You:
–Flow factor. Here’ a fantastic Ted X talk on Happiness and “Flow”. goo.gl/p4V1MI
I’ll give you the movie trailer version. Scene zooms in. There’s you at work immersed in a task. You’re in the height of problem solving and progress. You suddenly look up dazed and confused because you’ve completely lost track of time. That’s flow. Well…that’s the highlight of flow. (You’ll have to watch the full length version if you want to know more.) Flow makes you happy. Rated “E” for everyone. Available for you to stream immediately.
–Belonging. One good co-worker, a client that you love, a boss that you can help. We are social beings. YES-there are those you’d be fine NEVER SEEING AGAIN. However, perusing around at home day in and day out working alone does not make you happy. Don’t argue with me if you don’t like that last sentence. Argue with science.
–Sense of Purpose. We all need a sense of purpose or long-term goal that is not “me” oriented. You are a part of something bigger at work. And NO it’s not just about money. You are helping your company or organization contribute something that is needed in the market place. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be in business. Think bigger, though. People need their jobs. Your co-workers have families. They need food in their stomach, gas in their tank and a roof over their head. By you doing your job well you are contributing to their lives by helping ensure you all have a place to work at tomorrow.
–Security. Unfortunately, as much as my artist heart hates to admit it, we all need money to survive. I’ve not been able to work on a few different occasions and, at one point, lost everything. It’s not fun. It’s not fun being in a place where you are unable to pay your rent or buy your kid’s shoes. The security of knowing you will have a paycheck GREATLY contributes to your overall well-being and ultimate happiness.
The happiest people I’ve known have always worked in one way or another. My Dad is a great example. He retired three years early, taking a smaller retirement, so he could work. He volunteers all of his time building or repairing homes for people who need it. Flood damage, tornadoes, or just a family who’s trying to build a home on a minimal budget. My Dad lives simple, in a very modest home he built himself, on a very limited budget, and is one of the happiest people I’ve ever known. The only time I’ve seen him miserable in the last 15 years is when he had cancer and wasn’t able to “work”.
If you want happiness, think of a PB & J. Makes no sense why it’s so good. A good life requires work. A happy life requires work.
One last thought, for those who think PB & J is not so great, it was once only enjoyed by the very wealthy and served at the finest restaurants. If you lived a hundred years ago you’d really think this sandwich was something. Hope you enjoy one on your lunch hour today.
Stacy Pederson is a Colorado based Humorist and Funny Motivational Speaker who is incessantly insecure with a chronic Thai Food / Netflix binge habit.