How YOU can be happy in 2011By Lavina Melwani • Jan 9th, 2011 • Category: Books
Happiness at Work - and Play…
As the dawn of a New Year envelops us, there we go again – making those resolutions, wish lists which will help us be more accomplished, more focused, more successful in the New Year. A six figure job, a trophy spouse, an earth-shattering romance – we certainly think all these things will make us more happy – and isn’t happiness what we all seek and hunger for?
Yet listen to this: “There is nothing that you have to get, do, or be in order to be happy. I repeat, nothing. In fact, happiness is your innate nature. It is hardwired into your being, It is part of your DNA. It is always with you.”
This is reassuring to know in a world where one’s self worth or ‘happiness’ is tied to the job we have, the success that we are. These words of wisdom come not from some spiritual text or soothsayer but from Dr. Srikumar S. Rao, the very practical and philosophical professor who has made happiness an achievable goal…
Srikumar Rao: Resilience, Motivation and Success
Dr. Srikumar S. Rao is the author of ‘Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated and Successful – No Matter What’ – a handy manual in our transformed work environment where it’s hard to be resilient, motivated or successful – or sometimes even find a job! Yet Rao knows what he is speaking of when he says ‘No matter what.’ He shows how in almost every situation, it’s possible to have a turnaround. You can read more about him here and also follow him on Twitter @srikumarsrao
Rao has taught ‘Creativity and Personal Mastery’, his motivational course to thousands of Fortune 500 workers, entrepreneurs, and students at Columbia Business School, Kellogg School of Business, Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, and London Business School. Not surprisingly employees from Google, Microsoft and IBM, Johnson and Johnson and other major corporations have attended these programs.
While the book is meant to be about the work life and professional sphere, Srikumar Rao’s suggestions, anecdotes and exercises can enhance life in every setting. The book offers scores of tips, exercises to help define the true meaning of success and to build new habits into our lives and put those suggestions into practice.
A great way to start a new year.
Srikumar Rao’s Blueprint for Happiness…
Here are four valuable tips to get you started on your journey into 2011, equipping you to overcome fear, face whatever lies ahead and be successful – on your terms. ‘Happiness at Work’ , of course, has many more astute game-plans and powerful lessons in its 35 chapters.
1.Don’t carry excess baggage from the past.
A new year is beginning but many of us tend to carry past angst, unfinished business, old enmities with us and all these weigh us down. Writes Rao: “Are there troublesome people in your life? The next time you meet one, forget the history. Don’t expect the interaction will be unpleasant. Expect that it will be delightful, and if isn’t, then let it go. Don’t carry it over to the next time you meet.
Do the same with unpleasant situations. Note how many times your existing expectations sour your experience. Consciously drop the past. It’s hard, but with practice, you will get the hang of it.”
2.Manage yourself – and managing time will take care of itself.
Life is a constant struggle with work deadlines, procrastination and a churning whirlpool of things to be done and people to meet but as Rao points out, all of us get the same hours in a day and it’s all about managing ourselves, rather than the fleeting hours.
“Observe yourself as you go through the day. How often do you start a task only to set it aside as something else grabs your attention – e-mail, Twitter notifications, Facebook requests, instant messages, colleagues dropping in?
Try turning off your cell phone and shutting down the communication functions on your PC unless you absolutely need to be connected. Many of the distractions that sap your energy just disappear. This will drive home that you don’t really have a problem managing time. You do have a huge problem managing yourself.”
3. Don’t Multi-task – embrace mindfulness.
Multi-tasking is the mantra by which most of us live our harried lives and we take pride in the fact that we can do many things simultaneously. But do we end up doing any of them well? We over-schedule ourselves and struggle with information overload and living simultaneously in the time zones of past, present and the future.
Rao suggests getting rid of the mental clutter.
“You’re weighted down with your memories, your desires and hopes, your fears and aversions. You lack the ability to lie in the present as you flit between the near and distant pasts and your visions of tomorrow and the day after.”
The remedy is to shut out the noise and roar of the crowd and to concentrate on the job at hand. Rao suggests turning off the phone, the email and other distractions and taking some deep abdominal breaths.
“Note the time and commence your task with complete attention. Don’t allow any distraction to take away from your focus. Remember that ‘hurry’ is in your mind. Work unhurriedly, but as fast as you are able. Imagine yourself as a container of golden energy and pour yourself into the task.” Sure, unbidden thoughts will still jump into your mind but Rao says to observe them calmly and let them go. This mindfulness can be practiced for increasingly longer and longer times until it becomes a habit.
4.Instead of a Me-Centric Universe, Embrace the World
Instead of insisting that the world revolve around you, try being part of the larger universe, of helping others on the planet, genuinely caring for others. Says Rao, “When you honestly, sincerely, completely and mindfully have the intention of being of service to your fellow human beings, something magical happens in the way you experience the world. There’s really no way to describe this – you just have to discover it for yourself.”
‘Happiness at Work’ is full of thought-provoking suggestions and exercises based on wisdom and principles gleaned from ancient text and the contemporary world, and fine-tuned in Srikumar Rao’s course, ‘Creativity and Personal Mastery’. ( He is teaching this course in January at Columbia) ‘Happiness at Work’ shows you how to create your own definitions of success and happiness.
An email message that I exchanged with Dr. Srikumar Rao had this quote by Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.”
Well, 2011 is the first year of the rest of your life and it can be anything you want it to be!