I recently came across a quote by Margaret Thatcher that says “Happiness is not in doing nothing. Happiness is to be overloaded the whole day, become exhausted by the evening, and realize you did something worthy.” Especially during COVID times, the idea of work and purpose started becoming more evident – work is a privilege that gives us the ability to feel useful, and at least for a brief moment, allows us to focus on something else outside of own inner dialogue. It is our ability to work, or build and grow, that fuels inspiration and motivation for daily life. Happiness is never in doing nothing for we must engage, and sometimes even become exhausted, in order to experience the sweet rewards and endorphins.
Below, I am including top five reasons how work (and not doing nothing) may actually make us happy (contrary to the “TGIF” philosophy). To read more about my own work, please visit my website (I am a founder of a PR agency NYC) or follow my Instagram for more motivational tips.
- Work makes us feel useful: no matter how mundane the task, performing even the smallest chores subconsciously impacts our mood. Whether we like our job or not, working makes us feel far more valuable than simply doing nothing. For those who have lost their jobs, work can include any task such as tiding up one’s home, applying for a new position, writing a blog, or taking care of children. Almost any type of work is enough to make us feel more beneficial and increase our ability to feel happy.
- Work allows us to interact with others: work is most often one of the primary ways in which people interact with their peers. Many times, they are able to exchange ideas, learn new skills, practice their presentation or communications skills, and sometimes even share concerns about their own personal lives. Co-workers can often act as a small support system, and many often end up becoming friends. The interaction alone allows us to step outside of our own worries and often receive encouragement from others you interact with.
- Work allows us to escape our own thoughts: when we are isolated for long periods of time, we may develop distorted picture of our lives that is far from reality. This is because we sometimes neglected to practice our gratitude and magnify our problems. Many times, work allows us to re-set by focusing on an activity outside our own typical internal dialogue. By “escaping” for some time while focusing on work related activity, we are able to re-set and re-evaluate our previous feelings.
- Work allows us to contribute to our community: whether our work involves directly serving our community or not, most of the time we are able to contribute to our surroundings by performing a part necessary for the functionality of the “whole.” Within our sphere, we are able to make things just a little bit better than they were before.
- Work allows us to feel in control of our own destiny: one of the most important functions of work is the ability to be in control of one’s future. When we feel dissatisfied with things surrounding us, working can give us a sense of progress and optimism. Even if we feel like we have mastered the tasks of our position, experience we continue to acquire is often invaluable.
Work does not have to feel like a burden but can often times act as a source of purpose and enthusiasm. Happiness is never in doing nothing – no matter how mundane your work may seem, recognizing the value of work-related interaction, acquisition of knowledge, or escapism from inner personal dialogue can become joy, i.e. happiness derived from sweet exhaustion and realization that we did something worthy that day.