Personal Engagement: The Role of Happiness

By Mark Vickers, Ph.D.
The role of happiness in personal engagement has become a hot topic for research in the last several years. Recently, Harvard University Graduate students launched an app to track your happiness ( Books such as Well Being, from the well known author of Strengths Finder 2.0, also touch on the importance of happiness for total engagement.

How does happiness affect our ability to engage at work and in relationships? It starts with how we think about happiness. We think of happiness as a prerequisite to engagement. If I’m happy then I will do good work and have good relationships. But that is backwards. Happiness is a result of engagement not a precursor. We are happy because of what we do with our lives, how we see the world, and the level of purpose we believe our lives have. Studies have shown that the ultra poor in India have as much–if not more–happiness than the wealthy in first world countries because they feel they have purpose.

If we find meaning in what we do and how we engage in relationships, it is likely we will be happy. Money, status, and power have very little to do with it. We all know people who are perpetually looking for something new: a challenge, a new device, another award. They are restless and often very unhappy.

So what are we to do? How do we seek happiness? The answer, I think, is quite simple. Do what you do best! And the way to do that is to know yourself. Know your behavioral style, know the values that drive you, remember the things in your past that brought you happiness. Find ways to engage at work and in relationships that help you live these qualities.These are the prerequisites to engagement and what will help you find happiness.


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