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The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 08, 2010 • Issue 10:11:01


The pursuit of happiness

When Thomas Jefferson penned the forward-thinking words contained in the Declaration of Independence, he officially declared the "pursuit of happiness" as an "inalienable right" for Americans, in the same league as life and liberty.

An inalienable right cannot be annulled, canceled, overturned or revoked by any authority, as long as the legal activity does not infringe upon the rights of others.

Jefferson sent a powerful message to Americans: our birthright is to pursue our own happiness. But happiness is not guaranteed and is often fleeting. What is happiness anyway? Merriam-Webster Inc. offers this definition: "a state of well-being and contentment."

Perhaps that's the genius of Jefferson's assertion. We must endeavor to determine what makes us happy. As individuals, we have unlimited potential to achieve happiness if we commit ourselves to discovering what brings us true happiness.

The happiness game plan

So how do we pursue happiness, especially in the workplace?

  1. Decide to spread happiness: Before you begin each day, think about the purpose of your work and how it benefits merchants. What can you accomplish today that will bring the greatest rewards to the merchants you serve? The answers will help guide you toward increased productivity and merchant satisfaction, which will lead to greater happiness for you.

  2. Keep it in perspective: This may seem obvious, but you are more than your work. Focus on the tasks at hand, but keep in mind that you can only apply your best effort in each situation. Set the bar high, realizing that you will prevail in some but not all cases, which is perfectly normal. Appreciate your efforts, and end the day with a smile.

  3. Associate and delegate: Get to know associates and merchants by taking a personal interest in their work and lives. Relationship-building is essential to sales, of course. But it also leads to greater satisfaction at work, which leads to - you guessed it - happiness. So learn to delegate so you can dedicate your time building merchant relationships.

  4. Get away from it all: Take regular breaks throughout the day. A brisk 10-minute walk can reenergize and offer the lift needed to close the next sale. Beyond daily breaks, schedule recreation and vacation breaks to maintain the delicate life-work (and happiness) balance.

If we make a conscious decision to be happy in career and life, we may just prove that Jefferson's postulation was correct: happiness pursued can be achieved, and once achieved it can't be stripped from us by another. end of article

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