The Art of Happiness at Work

The Art of Happiness at Work

By His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C.Cutler, M.D

Dr. Cutler questions His Holiness about the nature of work. In psychiatry and according to the Dalai Lama, our motivation for working determines our level of satisfaction. The book explores these three levels of focus:”Survival”: focus on salary, stability, food and clothing”Career”: focus on advancement”Calling”: focus on work as a higher purpose.

There is greater potential for dissatisfaction at work if you are doing your job only for money, only to receive a paycheck and nothing else. And even with the view of work as a career, that could still potentially lead to dissatisfaction. If one is only concerned with career advancement, promotion, job titles and designations, there would be danger of excessive competitiveness, frustration when you don’t advance and jealousy when others advance and so on. That would not lead to an optimal state of work satisfaction And there would be further danger of even making enemies.

Inflated self image can be devastating, as the individual is constantly at odds with a world that refuses to see them as they see themselves – at the center of the universe – an unappreciated genuis in a world of morons. Those with low self-esteem suffer from a tendency to blame themselves for everything, so at least they often recognize that they have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Those on the opposite end of the spectrum, however, those with an exaggerated sense of their accomplishments and talents, tend to blame the world for their problems. After all, they are perfect, so it must be others who are at fault. They often fail to recognize how their arrogance and sense of entitlement drive others away, and may wonder why they have few close friends. While their actual achievements may be modest, when they fail to get the immediate recognition they feel they so justly deserve, they are quick to drop a project and fail to pursue their goals.

I once asked the Dalai Lama how individuals could tell if they were being arrogant or merely self confident. He replied that those with self-confidence have a valid basis for their confidence, they have skills and abilities to back it up; wheras arrogant people are not grounded in reality – they have no valid basis for their inflated opinion of themselves.


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