For generations now, we have been conditioned to believing that work is the core of successful living. The world's economy and our individual material benefits depend on it. Emerging generations today however are working to live, not living to work.
Why do you work? Is money the purpose of, or the means to, your definition of successful living? What are the qualities that go towards creating a successful life for you?. They are likely to include achieving a sense of:
• connection with others, being part of social change, being part of life
• contributing to the betterment of society
• professional and personal growth
• recognition, status
• satisfaction, self worth, self esteem, self belief, self confidence, and
• valuing self.
When you ‘lose' yourself in an interest you love, you ‘find' yourself. For many, this is the attraction of work. When you have a job that you love, you come alive as a unique individual. Time flies when you become lost in the pleasure of using your natural skills , abilities and talents in ways that give you a feeling of intense personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Work is not the only way to get this sort of fulfillment. It also happens when you enjoy passionate interests away from work.
“I enjoy a sense of dignity, high self esteem, achievement, recognition and status. I wish I could get the same feelings from my job!”. Regrettably, not everybody enjoys their job. They find themselves looking to personal life interests and passions for life fulfillment . Such interests don't have to be physical - they can be intellectual, social, artistic, manual, environmental, or spiritual. For example, singing in a choir does it for me.
Excellent workers who can sustain high levels of productivity generally also often find pleasure in their family or other passionate interest away from work. They recognise having the right “fight and flight” mix sustains high work productivity and enriches their lifestyle.
Successful living is about getting the mix right, balancing the yin and yang of:
• harmoniously blended, mutually-energising work and personal life interests, and
• work and personal life experiences that are “complementary opposites” to each other.
In the 21st century world of 24/7 pressure and stress, people are increasingly seeking quality of life benefits through interests away from work. A harmonious mix of enjoyable work and personal interests not only increases the range of options for successful living. It also generates and sustains the energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment needed to maintain personal health and wellbeing.
Such health is needed not just for today or next week. Implementing a ‘quality of life' plan now, with a good mix of interests, greatly improves your chances of actually having a long and happy life!
Mental health is a whole of life issue. It cannot be achieved solely in the workplace, no matter how good their risk management program may be. The boss who urges his/her staff to 'enjoy outside interests away from work, no matter how satisfying the work may be, is likely to reap powerful rewards of resilience to more than cope with the stresses and pressures of work, stronger staff commitment and a healthy workplace culture.