Making work a happier place in 2010

11 01 2010

You can also listen to the audio version of this blog post here : Listen!

Five years ago TIME magazine published an article entitled “The new science of HAPPINESS” which described research on exactly what it is that makes people happy.

In the article Dr Martin Seligman of University of Pennsylvania describes how he discovered the three components of happiness: –

  • Pleasure (“the smiley-face piece”)
  • Engagement (the depth of involvement with one’s family, work, romance and hobbies)
  • Meaning (using personal strengths to serve some larger end).

Of those three roads to a happy, satisfied life, pleasure is the least consequential, he insists: “This is newsworthy because so many people build their lives around pursuing pleasure. It turns out that engagement and meaning are much more important”.

You can read the full article here : TIME article

Since 2005 life has become less pleasurable for the vast majority of people.  The economic downturn has encouraged many to ask themselves what it is that makes them happy, and many have shunned the blatant consumerist lifestyle that they had been encouraged to pursue in the past. Has this affected you? Do you want to make work a happier place in 2010? If so then make sure that Engagement and Meaning feature in your working life.  Taken together, these are what constitute a sense of Purpose – one of the key principles of Authenticity (see blog article below : Being an Authentic Business ).

For individuals, this means that understanding exactly what provides engagement and meaning for you is really important if you seek true happiness in your work.  For companies, it means that leaders need to provide a true sense of purpose that will deliver the necessary engagement and meaning that will motivate employees. A great example of this is Apple whose CEO Steve Jobs (pictured below) set out to create a team environment to make products that are “Insanely Great”.

Steve Jobs - who set out to make Apple "Insanely Great"

This purpose has created a huge following for Jobs and Apple, from fans of its products and employees alike. The success of the business is one of the phenomenal stories of the decade.

If you want to find out more about Authenticity – for individuals or companies – then contact me and I can share with you the research work I am engaged in at present with a group called Authenticis – we are currently seeking to create a network of  Authentic businesses and would love to hear about those examples you can recommend to us.

James Rock – Cultivar Consulting




One response

15 03 2010
Tim Tyrell-Smith

James – Appreciate your view on Happiness. A sense of purpose fuels me in the blogging that I do and allows me to push past normal barriers – allowing me to get bigger and better things done. It is a great question as to how companies create engagement in their employees. When, in most cases, employees are not included in creating or re-creating the spirit or vision. Apple seems more a story of a man and his vision than a company with employees engaged and inspired. But it is hard to argue with the significant market results – and I know having worked briefly with their developers the tremendous amount of purpose they display to consistently get new (and incredibly good) products to market.


BTW . . . I am typing now on my MacBook (have two other Macs at home) and am listening to music on my iPhone!

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