Do happier and more optimistic people invest their life resources (not just their money, but their time, energy, and their personal strengths and qualities) into positively impacting the lives of others… or is it that those who invest their life resources into positively impacting the lives of others become more happy and more optimistic about their life?
This is the subject of much debate in the world of applied positive psychology – is living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life a cause or an effect?
The key to this chicken-and-egg debate is intention.
Based on my studies of the research, my take on it is that it’s both. However, what I’m convinced of is this. The more clear you are on your intention to positively impact others in your various personal and work life roles, the more likely you will increase your overall sense of well-being, pride in who you are and pride in what you’re doing… and the result will be a level of certainty and satisfaction in living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life.
Get more mindfully engaged in more moments more often
Now, just so you’re clear on my intention here. I’m not on some magical mystical tour where I’m advocating group hugs and singing kum-ba-yah. It’s much more pragmatic.
In the workplace, turning up day after day, doing the same thing over and over, can lead to a fairly monotonous and soul destroying habitual existence, unless you can find ways to be more mindfully engaged in more moments more often.
What we know from the in-field workplace research is that it’s very clear the energy, emotional and physical work environment can be negatively impacted by the negativity or even apathy of employees and or their leaders. This of course is true for the positive impact that can be created by the positivity of employees and leaders.
I’m sure you don’t need me to run through countless research studies that validate the above findings – it just makes sense… positivity and negativity can be contagious.
So it’s pretty easy for people who enjoy their work to turn up on a day to day basis and be positive. Or is it that they choose to be positive and therefore turn up day to day and enjoy their work?
But what if you’re in the situation where at best you’re apathetic about your job role and the tasks required of you while you’re at work, or what if you’re feeling quite negative and drained about the type of work you’re doing?
For most people in that situation, the choice to quit and find something better just isn’t a practical option. So what’s left to do?
That’s where intention comes to the rescue.
Define your intention for your personal stakeholders at work
Stakeholder management is usually something completed in strategy planning programs at senior executive and Board levels. However, it can be an extremely positive and liberating process for individuals at all levels of any organisation to complete.
By defining your intention to in some way improve the circumstances of others who you impact (stakeholders) either directly or indirectly through the various tasks and goals set for you in your work role, and then, by establishing intentional promises you will make to yourself and to others about what you will intentionally do throughout your day to live up to those promises, you’ve shifted your focus from the mundane and repetitive, to something with a bigger meaning and possibility.
What we know is that it is our intentional choices that impacts up to 40% of our overall sense of well-being… whether in our work or our personal lives.
This is about choice. It’s about intentional choice.
So if you’re in one of those mundane jobs where you’re sensing you’re in a rut, feeling apathetic or even negative about turning up, you’ve got a choice… that’s what intentional responsibility and accountability is all about.
And it’s inescapably true, that you might not be able to realistically choose every aspect about what you do, or what happens to you, but you do get to choose your intention – and your intention impacts everything you do, and certainly impacts your potential to live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.