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12 Steps to Be Happier at Work
By Katy Finneran, based on the work of Tal Ben-Shahar Work isn’t always fun and games, but there are things you can do to make it more pleasant. Here are 12 steps to make you happier at work, based on the book, Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar.

View Happiness, not Money, as the Ultimate Currency

Author Tal Ben-Shahar told FBN, “After our basic needs are met, which is the top priority, the most important aspect of work is the meaning it provides. If people understand that, they'll look for and possibly find, work that will provide them with the ultimate currency-the currency of happiness.” Emotional bankruptcy, Ben-Shahar warns, can be just as detrimental as material bankruptcy.

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Take Responsibility for Your own Destiny

It’s easy to blame a bad job on over-bearing parents, ill-advising teachers, an abrasive boss or a downward economy-but ultimately, Ben-Shahar says in his book, “responsibility for finding the right job or creating the right conditions at work lies with us.”

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Seek a Calling, not a Job

There are three types of work: a job, a career and a calling, Try to fit into the latter. A job is a chore, a career is a chore with temporary validation (ie: promotions) and a calling involves meaning, pleasure and strengths [MPS]. In his latest book, Ben-Shahar references Abraham Manslow: “the most beautiful fate, the most wonderful good fortune that can happen to any human being, is to be paid for doing that which he passionately loves to do.”

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Complete a Task in its Entirety

When employees complete a task from beginning to end, they will feel their contribution is more valuable—and ultimately, their work, more meaningful.

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Recognize Your Work’s Affect on Others

Whether or not you believe it, your work impacts other people’s lives—both inside and outside your place of employment. Recognizing how your actions affect, and perhaps, improve, the lives of those around you can provide you with both short-term and long-term happiness.

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Reconcile Present and Future Happiness

Ben-Shahar writes in his book, “Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable.” To find the fulfillment that comes with meaning, don’t just uphold parents, siblings or a spouse’s expectations-- pursue genuine passions. Different people find pleasure and meaning in different things. “An investment banker who finds meaning and pleasure in her work-who is in it for the right reasons-leads a more spiritual and fulfilling life than a monk who is in his field for the wrong reasons.”

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Use Your Talents

The better you are at something, the better your self-esteem. You’re also more likely to feel validated and receive promotions.

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Climb the Ladder

Ben-Shahar points to the research of Amy Wrzesniewski, which shows the higher-ranking an employee, the more likely he/she is to perceive the work as a calling.

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Try, Try, Try Again

Don’t be disheartened by your failures; persistence is critical to both success and happiness. Ben-Shahar advises, “The best thing to do is to try, to explore, to fall down and get up again…We need to fall down many times before we learn how to walk and sometimes we need to try many paths before discovering our purpose.”

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And When you Can’t Quit, Make Your job Closer to a Calling

The MPS process only works for those who have the privilege and the power to choose their field of work. It’s important to interact and form friendships with coworkers and bond with clients to see the larger meaning of your work. Consider: How is the small task benefiting the company, perhaps even society, on a larger scale?

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Spend Time Outside of Work With Friends and Loved Ones

Tal Ben-Shahar says, “The number one predictor of happiness is the time we spend with people we care about and who care about us. The most important source of happiness may be the person sitting next to you. Appreciate them, savor the time you spend together.”

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Happiness is in the Eye of the Beholder

If you are inherently a pessimistic person, you are more likely to perceive your work as a chore. Even if there are aspects of your job you dislike, focus on the pleasure, even if it’s small. Maybe an entertaining coworker or an expensed lunch brings you joy? For meaning, recognize the larger value of your work. Perhaps, you’re bringing new talent or ideas to a company or maybe you’re improving lives.

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12 Steps to Be Happier at Work

By Katy Finneran, based on the work of Tal Ben-Shahar Work isn’t always fun and games, but there are things you can do to make it more pleasant. Here are 12 steps to make you happier at work, based on the book, Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar.

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