Your Happiness is Your Responsibility

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(Inc. article) Contrary to popular belief, it’s the way you think, not where you work, that determines whether you’re happy or miserable.

I just read an article in The Atlantic about workplace happiness that made me laugh and cry at the same time. I laughed because it was so stupid and cried because millions of people will take it seriously.

The article cited the familiar dismal statistics showing that most workers are unhappy and that unhappy workers are less productive. And like most such articles, it treated the problem as something companies and their managers can and must solve.

That’s total bullsh*t.

Your happiness is your own responsibility, not the responsibility of your managers, coworkers, customers, or anybody or anything else in your work life.

Yes, it’s easier to be happy in a congenial environment among people you like. Your emotions, however, are the result of the mental decisions you make and the mental habits you’ve developed.

I’ve known dozens of people who complain through each workday, “I’m stressed, I’m so stressed” without considering that it’s this mantra of misery that’s actually making them feel so stressed.

I’ve also known people who cope every day with painful physical handicaps or insanely difficult jobs but who are so habitually sunny that people want to hang around them just to take in the sunshine.

There are people in this world who have dream jobs but manage to make themselves so miserable that they commit suicide. And there are freelance garbage collectors who manage to stay upbeat.

I’m not saying that there aren’t some places and situations in which it’s harder to stay positive. If you’re working someplace like that, you owe it to yourself to find a job that’s a better fit for what you want and need. Go for it.

And I’m also not saying that bosses shouldn’t strive to create a better work environment. Good pay, reasonable hours, nice digs, and so forth give people something positive to focus on. But there’s only so much managers can do.

Look, complainers are miserable wherever they work because they have mental habits that make them miserable. Send a complainer to Heaven and he’ll start b*tching about how the clouds aren’t soft enough.

Do you want to be happy at work? Well, you won’t ever be happy if you habitually moan about everyone else’s limitations, bewail circumstances outside your control, and constantly tell yourself that you’re “stressed to the max.”

So, seriously, do you want to be happy at work? Then read this, this, and this. Take charge of your emotions. Create your own experience. Take responsibility for your own happiness. Once you do, you’ll never regret it.

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