What Is Your Happiness Score?

“My boss is unnecessarily complaining about my work. It’s painful!”

“My boss asks me to do the things exactly as he wants. Why can’t he understand that I’m not him?”

“I am sitting idle since last 2 weeks since I have joined the team. I feel so unwanted!”

These are some real life dialogues from my interaction with people just last week. Many if not most people in the corporate world are unhappy with their work life. And since work life is a large part of your overall life, they’re unhappy in their life in general too!

Lot of them don’t even realize that something is going seriously wrong with them, until it is too late. They know it only when they have developed serious anxiety issues, stress or even depression.

John Lennon knew the purpose of life when he was 5 years old, and yet so many of us as mature adults keep forgetting that.

In the classroom, the teacher had asked the little John Lennon, “What do you want to be when you grow up?

His reply, “Happy!

Teacher said, “You didn’t understand my question, John.”

to which John said, “You don’t understand life, Teacher!”

Life’s purpose is to be happy. And it begins where we are at – at home and at work. We spend a considerable part of our life at work. So, we must know how we’re doing on our happiness levels and whether we need to do something about it.

With that in mind, we created a system –Your Happiness Score(TM) – and tested it as well for months! We have seen the Happiness levels increase significantly every time we use this system, consistently on a daily basis. This is based on the 5 keys to being joyful at work (French: joie de travailler):

Rate yourself on a scale of one to five on each of the following happiness keys :

  1. Freedom – If your boss wants you to do something “exactly like he wants!“, it doesn’t look like a place where you are getting enough creative freedom. Moreover, you don;t know what’s in his mind. The only way I can create something exactly like someone else wants it is when I am him. Which is usually not the case. Although reviews and feedback is alright, and is required for improving the deliverable further, but there is a thin line of difference between constructive feedback and forcing someone to being someone they are not! This thin line is quite significant to determine you happiness score.
  2. Connectedness – “Don’t speak with Gopal and if you do take me along!“, my boss says. Well, that itself is a cause for concern. Being connected to people in the team and outside too openly is important to your being. You should be able to talk to everyone without any fear, openly. You should be able to bring up the ‘elephants in the room’, without mincing words. How are you doing on these things. Are you able to discuss matters of significance with your team? Connectedness is a human needs and plays a key role in our happiness levels.
  3. Interesting Work – “Just do it because I say so!“, says your boss. Well, that’s not what makes the work meaningful for me. I want to know the reason why we’re doing it, what value am I adding to whom in the process. The bigger picture of the impact my work creates to a larger cause to the society, community or industry is what determines whether the work will be interesting to me or not.
  4. Being of use – “I am on the team for two weeks without anyone asking me to do anything!“. This is commonplace at work, and it creates a havoc in the minds of people who are sitting idle. We humans enjoy being useful and being idle only makes us feel worse. We may not believe it but it is true. If you’re sitting doing nothing, its not at all a good news. It i a serious cause for concern. Take some action if that’s the case or quit such a job. Believe me, you’d be better off.
  5. Well Balanced Life – “I come back so late that I don’t see my children during weekdays!” Well, is that worth it? I don’t think so. There is talk of the work life balance changing to work life integration, with the technology tools and changes in the work arrangements. But whatever we call it, we ought to do things other than just office work. Getting up in the morning, listening to some light music, some yoga or exercise, morning prayer with family, reading something different, attending to family functions and conferences, pursuing your hobbies, spending time with family making memories.. those things ought to be part of your life too. You can’t wait for the retirement to do all that. Life is a gift and we must live a portfolio life which is a mix of all of these things.

Well, not that you have rated yourself on 1-5 on each of the above parameters, add up your individual scores and determine your Overall Happiness Score. The maximum your Happiness Score can be is 25 and the least is 5.

If your score is between:

  • 5 – 12: Situation is alarming and you need to take some steps today. Talk to someone you trust and make a decision. It could be as drastic as moving out of the project, organization or even that career.
  • 12-18: It’s concerning but you can possible do something to increase the score. Look at the areas where you are really low and see what can be done to address those areas. Continue to do what your doing on areas where your individual scores are good.
  • 18-25: Congratulations! You’re doing well. Your life is under control. At these scores, all you have to do is manage your scores in days to come, so they don’t come down.

Some people would ask, “What about Money? Fame? Parties? .. Don’t they bring happiness?”

Well, most of these would bring instant but temporary happiness, which often leads to long term distress. Of course we need money to sustain ourselves, but beyond a certain point, money won’t add to one’s happiness. For lasting joy, one must focus on things beyond these material things.

Well, that’s what I think. What about you?

Are there any other parameters you would consider to come up with the Happiness?

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