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Full Throttle: Being happy is your right.
“This is true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized as a mighty one” – George Bernard Shaw
Are you happy? Not just this moment as you read this sentence, but in your life, in what you do?
More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by the creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our founding fathers thought that our right to happiness ranked as important as our right to be free from tyranny.
Unfortunately, throughout the years, this pursuit has been commonly misunderstood. One myth is that leisure brings happiness. Taking a vacation or going to a good movie can make us feel better for a while, but that kind of happiness is fleeting. So we repeat these activities or replace them with others that don’t bring lasting happiness, either. It is as if our happiness bucket has holes and we have to continually fill it to find joy in life.
Success may not plug up our happiness bucket either. Just recently in an interview on 60 minutes, Tom Brady said that while he has won 3 Super Bowls and has achieved his wildest dreams, he still fills empty. On the show, Brady mentioned that he ponders — Is this all there is? He knows there must be more. .
Why can’t success fill up our happiness bucket?
True happiness is a verb. Happiness involves engaging in meaningful endeavors that inspire us from the heart. Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness and a world-renowned psychologist, declares that long lasting happiness stems from the on-going dynamic performance of worthy deeds. Authentic happiness is the deeply felt sense that your life is full, whole, and complete. Meaning in your life fulfills you — It brings long-term happiness.
In the world of sport today, Tiger Woods eptiomizes authentic happiness.With a smile that can light up your entire television set, Tiger epitomizes authentic happiness. Yes, he is living his dream by playing professional golf as a career, and yes, Tiger is having a fantastic career.
But Tiger is much more than just a golfer. He has said, Golf is what I do, not who I am. Tiger is a citizen of the world. When he became a professional, he started the Tiger Woods Foundation which helps underprivileged youths throughout the world. Recently, the foundation opened a school in Los Angeles where children learn about art, physics, video construction, and of course, golf.
Tiger Woods lives a life of meaning. Importantly, this meaning gives him inspiration to do more, to achieve higher, to be a better person. In Raising a Tiger, Earl Woods wrote that one of his son’s greatest weapons on the course is the target of his inspiration — He plays for his foundation and all those kids involved in his programs. Tiger knows golf is a vehicle to make a difference and this meaningful purpose inspires him through the pressure.
Joseph Campbell, author and philosopher, argued that while we search for the meaning of life, we desperately seek the meaning in our lives. We seek inspiration everyday at work and our ability to find meaning can help us tap into inner strengths and resources at work that we did not know existed. The following drills can help tap into your inner strengths and energies by enlightening meaningfulness in the workplace:
Make a Tiger list:
Will Steih, a retirement consultant, came to me feeling unhappy and uninspired about his work and life. When this occurs, I have my clients develop their own Tiger List. Here, I had Will create a list of all the meaningful contributions his job has made to himself, his family, the community, and the world in general. In Will’s case, one item on his Tiger List was how he helped one of his clients put his son through college. His son is now at Vanderbilt Medical School helping to discover the vaccine for breast cancer. I suggested to Will to remember this grand deed any time he feels a bit low in his life.
Like Will, make your own Tiger list.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1) How has your job made a meaningful contribution to your company?
2) How has your job made a meaningful contribution to the community? To society in general?
3) How does your job make a meaningful contribution to you? To your family?
Once you have your Tiger list, post it on your computer or somewhere in your office. When you find yourself a bit down in the dumps or just stressed, glance at your Tiger list. It may not cause you to give a fist pump, as Tiger Woods does after a great putt — but looking at this list should give you a sudden bolt of needed motivation.
We all have the opportunity to directly or indirectly influence many lives in a positive way. As George Bernard Shaw indicated, there is much joy when we know our work has a mighty purpose.
“Full Throttle has empowered us with a new mental strategy to help us all achieve full potential over our emotions. This work indeed has greatly added to the new science of positive psychology.” – Dewey Bushaw Executive Vice President, Pacific Life
“Dr. Steinberg has the creative and intellectual ability to transform the latest research in psychology to practical guidelines useful for those aspiring for success in the business world” – Dr. Robert Singer, Former President of the American Psychological Association
“Dr. Steinberg applies his knowledge of athletes and peak athletic performance to the business world and provides information that is fun, pertinent and insightful.” -Pam Brown, Head of Human Resources, Vanderbilt University
“As a casting director I find Gregg Steinberg™’s insights extremely relevant across many genres, not just business. I will use this wisdom in my work coaching talent — including actors, television hosts and experts.” -Barbara Barna, Barbara Barna Casting