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The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
"A bird perched in a tree is never afraid that the branch will break, because its confidence lies not in the branch, but in its wings."
I would love to take you there. It is a place where time and space almost always seem to stop. It feels like in a dimension floating in the here and now. High creativity, productivity, fluidity, inspiration, purpose, enthusiasm, energy, love and passion are experienced. In a word: happiness. Of course, those of us who live in this space-time also experience what are known as negative emotions, which are not pleasant. After all, we are human beings who live on this earth, although it seems to us that we live in heaven.
But these uncomfortable feelings do not tarnish our happiness because we know they are part of it and we have already learned to recognize, accept and most importantly manage them. It's a place where each of us knows what we were born for. It is an area where we find certainty, optimism, and hope. And all of this fills us with a power so powerful that the rational mind cannot understand it and even becomes afraid. It's like having a missile on your back. A missile whose mission is to lead a meaningful life.
When we speak of happiness from science, we are referring to an integral well-being that leads to the blossoming of the being as suggested by Dr. Martin Seligman, the acknowledged father of positive psychology. We were born with a "toolkit" to be happy and productive. It is what we know as the essential essence, the qualities that make you unique and different. To recognize these gifts of our own, we must return to the eternal question: Who am I? A simpler question than you might think. Some crucial answers to enjoying a fulfilling life.
"Happiness is and should be the highest goal in life."
Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar.
Asking someone if they want to be happy seems like a no-brainer. However, it is no longer as obvious when we review everyday decisions. If we really want to be happy, why do we act in the opposite direction so often? And even more paradoxical, it is from there that we ask our loved ones to be happy.
We were born with the right to be happy and also with the duty to be. We don't live happiness by default, we make the brain pessimistic (i) and alert to threats. And as if that wasn't enough, the cultural environment definitely increases the danger for us. With every decision we make, we try to be happier. It is human nature, our right, even when we make mistakes.
Our duty to be happy is based on deep interdependence. Every action affects the effects, like the waves in the water when a stone falls.
Hence, it is moral, not selfish, to take care of your own happiness first. Because nobody gives what they don't have. Because in order to save others you have to save yourself first, as we are well instructed to put on oxygen masks on airplanes. Saving yourself means taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself means being in tune with yourself.
Today we are looking for consistent parents, consistent partners, consistent managers, consistent teachers. Peter Drucker, the great master of management, found that the differentiating factor of great managers is authenticity – whoever is consistent is authentic, doesn't need a facade. It's not charisma or high intelligence. Trustworthy authenticity. You know who you've got, period.
How do I align myself with my "essential productive self"?
In the world of coaching, positive psychology and human development we speak of "maximum potential". Potential is what is already there in a seed.
Discovering your essential productive self, your productive potential, is the same as aligning with your zone of maximum potential -ZMP-. It is the connection point between strengths of character, values, talents and passions. When you live on them, you will be consistent and able to inspire others.
To live in harmony with your happiness and higher productivity, you need to set goals and make decisions based on the 3 A's: authenticity, autonomy, and affection. Every decision you make must be aware that it feels “very you”, free from external pressure – even if nobody saw me, they would still do it – and full of passion.
There are people who can work from their strengths in terms of character, skills and values, but are not passionate about what they do. A friend of mine had served his life as a silver plate, he was able to show his strengths, talents and values in his professional career, but he was not happy.
One day he decided to take a completely different path, guided by love for what he wanted to be and do. He went from being a commercial director to the son of a business owner to writing a stand-up comedy about spirituality. And although her income was not as good as her previous job at first, she was happy. His passion was active, he felt alive, creative, animated, enthusiastic, optimistic. You could say that the fire in his heart ignited the rocket fuel.
I've had comments from people who are good at accounting, but they wouldn't give their lives for anything in the world. They feel neither passion nor purpose, even if they have talent. And there are people who are passionate about activities but believe that they have no skills. The good news is that our brain is constantly changing, it is learning. Any skill can be developed through constant, repetitive practice driven by passion. This is what Carol Dweck calls the growth philosophy.
Passions are felt like the flow that Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and they are recognized by three characteristics:
We are fully committed to the experience because we know the sense of purpose that comes with it. Our mindfulness is in the present moment. Nothing distracts us. We lose sight of time and space. We get positive feedback immediately. The experience gives joy, energy, enthusiasm and vitality. It could be addicting. The challenge is adapted to our abilities, neither very easy to bear nor very difficult to frighten. It is the precise, delicate and sensual stress that makes it challenging and doable.
"Meaningful relationships are the most important predictor of happiness."
They are the ones in whom there is connection and closeness and on whom you can rely.
Usually our passionate and purposeful professional life is closely related to serving others. When we see the value we add to others, we see the value of our life, the meaning of our existence. The meaningful life (Seligman) is the cherry of the dessert that lies above the joys and satisfaction.
Tal Ben Shahar says that those who reach midlife and have not thought about their transcendental life find an unbearable existential void and find themselves in serious trouble. A meaningful, productive life doesn't have to be the grandiose style of Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela.
Awakening empathy for yourself and others can be a good start to discovering your passions. Passions are the clues that lead you to clarify your purpose in life. What value have you added to the world: people, institutions or causes?
This empathy is generated by oxytocin. Oxytocin can be stimulated in a number of ways. Once it circulates through the body, it can be easier to identify your passions as you can feel closer to people and realize their needs. You can consciously and consciously plan time for any flow-producing activity – even if it is not professional. And if you take advantage of this state, you can sit down and write what your passionate professional life would be like.
Who do you want to be in life Who would you dedicate your life to if you didn't have to work for money? What would you do anytime, anywhere, without any conditions? Which retrospective of your professional life would you like to see after 5 or 10 years? What's getting you out of bed What is it that fills you with energy and enthusiasm?
You are the greatest expert and wise person in your life. And only you can define the footprint you want to leave, the value you can add, the joy you can get from it.
If we were all born with a toolkit to realize our full potential to be happy and add value to the world, it is because we can make a living from it economically. If you still don't know how to monetize your passions and purpose in life, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It just means you haven't seen it yet. It is your duty to discover it and fly!