A happiness tip – stop trying to insert yourself into situations where you aren’t needed. Instead, go where they want you.
This is a common problem most consultants have faced. A partner sells a project to a senior executive. However, the folks on the ground don’t really want to have you. It is never fun. And, when contrasted with a situation when a client is waiting to have you join them, the difference is night and day.
This applies to every kind of job, of course. If you’re in sales, focus on people who implicitly or explicitly want your product. Similarly, move toward projects and teams at work that want to have you.
It sounds so obvious.
But, there is always that shiny new project we’d like to be on. As human beings, we tend to love going after clubs that won’t accept us and assume the grass is greener on the other side. And, sadly, we often try harder when folks on the opposite side play hard-to-get or are plain indifferent (there’s a few relationship analogies in here).
Re-orienting ourselves to be happy where we are and move toward places where we’re wanted is a game changer. Now, we choose situations where the incentives favor our success. Perhaps more importantly, we pick contexts where we’re likely to feel valued. And, it is precisely in contexts where we’re valued that we push ourselves to become the best versions of ourselves.
Not because we have to.
But, because we can and because we care.
There are a lot of people on the planet waiting for passion. That is a bit like a person walking around waiting for bird poop to land on their head. Someone they met told them that bird poop is a lucky charm that will change their life and that they knew of a couple of other folks whose lives transformed when they had bird poop land on their heads.
So, this person roams around feeling certain that it’ll show up. And, when it does, they believe they will be on the path to success.
Jack Welch’s famous people evaluation systems at General Electric had a large weight for passion. But, passion for what? It turns out that it didn’t really matter. As he said, passionate people are passionate about everything. It didn’t matter if it is their kid’s softball team, their musical instrument or their not-for-profit, people who choose to be passionate will be just that, passionate.
Cal Newport wrote a whole (very good) book debunking the idea that finding your passion is bad advice. His thesis was that you work your way into getting good at something and that’ll lead you to passion. Starting with an attempt to find passion will take you nowhere. Instead, get good, become awesome, and you will likely find passion. It is an approach that is almost guaranteed to work.
My only addition to that would be – “Choose to become passionate.” Passion isn’t something you need to wait for. At some point, you just need to choose to give a sh*t, to care about what you do and who you spend time with. You can start anywhere you want – it doesn’t matter. You just need to care enough to sweat the small stuff.
The moment you do that, you will find that once you are passionate about something, you will care and be passionate about everything.
And, yes, you will be transformed.