Happiness is a Way of Traveling

I recently read that 49% of sales people were unhappy with their jobs. Wow, that’s a lot of unhappy sales people! We all have mood swings. We all have had bad days, bad weeks and even bad months. The most positive people have a bad day now and then but evidently the problem is bigger than that.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Happiness is a way of traveling, not some place you arrive. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

When I graduated from college, I thought I’d be happy. When I got a new car, I thought that would make me happy. When I got a house, I thought this will make me happy. When I made my first million dollars, I thought “now, I’ll be happy for sure!” When I got married, I thought she would make me happy. None of those worked.

What I learned is that it is not an achievement, a possession, an amount of money or another person that would make me happy. What I learned was that happiness was a state of mind.

In the book “Happiness Advantage”, the author discusses that happy people live longer, are more productive and make more money. I think we all want those things.

Our friends and the media work against us many times. Someone in my office said “It’s Monday, I guess you’re moving a little slower.” On Wednesday, someone said “its hump day” and on Friday, the news report said, “TGIF”. Everyone over 16 knows what that stands for.

The underlying message in all of these statements is “You can’t be happy at work. Happiness starts at 5:00 PM during the week and then the weekends.” This message delivered over and over again is one of the reasons half the salespeople in the United States are unhappy with their job.

Here are some ideas to stay happy. First, surround yourself with happy people. At every sales meeting, I’ve attended there is one group of people hanging together that I call “whiners”. They brighten the room when they leave. Don’t associate with these people. Studies have found repeatedly that it’s easier to be happy around happy people.

Second, find a purpose in your work. Nothing makes me happier than providing a product or service that helps my prospect. Every time we sell something, we help provide jobs for people in our company. Every time we sell something, we can raise our family’s standard of living or help others less fortunate. These things ought to make us happy. They are so much more important than most of the petty things that we say make us unhappy

Third, develop a system to return to happiness when you find yourself unhappy. The trick I use is to focus on small doable tasks, tasks with a 100% chance of success and then increase these goals to achieve bigger and bigger ones. As I’ve learned, a focus on purpose, smallest first and then bigger will allow you to regain happiness.

What psychologists have found is that happiness comes first and then success, not the other way around. Don’t tell yourself  “I’ll be happy when I am successful”, It doesn’t work that way. Find your happiness in what you do and your success, your longer life and your more productive efforts will follow.

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