The Business of Happiness

We’ve neglected one relationship for too long – that with ourselves

“Happiness is your nature. It’s not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi

What a beautiful quote.

And how entirely apt it is for now when we’re all literally locked inside our homes – banned from the outside – bar the shop run, walk or however you take your daily constitutional – banned from the distractions where we’ve been busily seeking our happiness and getting no nearer- endlessly consuming…things.

Looking within.

Are our homes now a metaphor for ourselves?

We have no choice but to stay home.

We have no choice but to look within for happiness.

More time to just be.

Fewer distractions. Alright, alright. I have no children to home-school and my business partner is ever keen to remind me that not everyone’s home is a haven of peace, introspection and self-discovery.

The point I’m trying to make, is that this is a pause. A break from the conveyor belt of day-to-day doing with no space for being.

“ Human beings not human doings.”

Dalai Lama

And even if it’s been “business as usual” for you with back-to-back remote meetings and plenty of prospects, it’s still a huge departure from the norm – a break in our daily habits and, therefore a chance to assess whether we can do better. On every measure.

Going back to normal?

Do we want to go back to normal?

How was that doing for us?

Were we happy? Were you happy?

Were you operating at your best?

How well do we really know ourselves?

Lots of questions. It’s a good thing. 

Self-care is generous.

Self-care is not indulgent or selfish.  It’s generous to you and everyone around you.

It seems that the relationship we neglect, or have been neglecting is that with ourselves, which is crass as it’s the one that we’re born with and will take to our graves.

How can we be our best selves and serve others if we don’t truly understand who we are, what feeds, drives and makes us happy?

Still more questions. 

And what does this have to do with business? Does it all have to be about business? And what is business anyway?

More questions. Still.

Well, the way I see it, the only business that’s worth being part of is business that helps serve people. Ourselves and others.

If we’re not happy and if we don’t truly understand ourselves we won’t be able to give the best of ourselves.

If you don’t know how something works you can’t get the best out of it. Pretty simple.

A pause to understand better.

I think this.

The more fully that we understand, accept and celebrate our true selves and each other, the happier we’ll be and the more potential we’ll unlock.

So. So. So.

What’s the point of this piece?

Take this time to pause, breathe and be present. Especially now, as we sit on the cusp of a return to “normality.”

Take this time to sit with your thoughts and feelings, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, walking, running or good old fashioned sitting down, having a think and getting the feels – even if it is over a couple of tinnies or glasses of wine. You’ll find no judgement here.

“Oh look within, look within, he says.”

Ok.

Mostly, we’re looking within.

The more that we become conscious, aware and truly understand who we are, the more power we have to take back control of ourselves – no longer sleep-walking on the conveyor belt of doing, whether it was doing us or those around us any good or bad.

We’ve spent so much time outside of the here and now, projecting into what’s next. It’s exhausting and we miss out on what’s actually happening. And when the future arrives and it’s our present, we’re never in it and never experience it fully. Well let’s.

Now I’m not boasting or preaching. Sorry if it’s sounded like it.

But with fewer distractions I do feel more aware, more awake, more in touch with myself, more in touch with what makes me happy.

Happiness within.

And it’s all within.

So to businesses or individuals that dismiss happiness, well-being, self care and mental health, I urge a re-evaluation.

Aside from altruism, which is always desirable, but if it isn’t for you, a happy, healthy, motivated workforce will definitely perform much better than one that isn’t those things.

Happiness needn’t be such a dirty word at work. Now, of course, we have come a long way on this front but we have so much further to go.

 I return to the words that opened this piece because he says it far better than I have or can.

“Happiness is your nature. It’s not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Do yourself a favour and take the business of your own happiness seriously. It’s daft not to.

By Chris Wickenden, first published at Worldmaker International, 21 May, 2020

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