How to Find Happiness in Leadership

The following readers won copies of The Vagrant because they left a comment on yesterday’s post:

  1. Jenny Lloyd
  2. Kellie Hanna-Miller
  3. Dave Gibson
  4. Matt Chauncey
  5. Darlene Santana

The pursuit of happiness makes you miserable. I am unhappy when I focus on happiness.

Happiness is a primary concern but a secondary pursuit.

Happiness is a primary concern but a secondary pursuit. Image of a happy child.

Reject the pursuit of happiness:

“Ask yourself if you are happy, and you cease to be so.” John Stuart Mill, the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century.

Mill asked himself, “Suppose that all your objects of life were realized … would this be a great happiness to you?” His answer was NO. It sent him into a tailspin during the winter of 1826-1827.

He writes that he felt he could not go on in his autobiography.

Mill discovered that happiness is not something to be pursued.

Choose happiness: happiness is experienced directly but pursued indirectly. Image of a happy seal.

Quotes about happiness in leadership:

“You don’t become happy by pursuing happiness. You become happy by living a life that means something.” Harold S. Kushner

Meaning is, “… using your signature strengths in the service of something larger than you are.” Martin Seligman

Put simply, meaning includes contributing. Tom Rath says we should move beyond “You are what you do” to “You are how you help.” Life’s ultimate question is “How do you contribute?”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kinds of happiness - "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" Marin Luther King Jr. Image of helping.

Stephen Hawkin on happiness:

“After my expectations were reduced to zero, every new day became a bonus. And I began to appreciate everything I did have. While there is life there is hope.” Daily Record

“I’m happier now than before I developed the condition (ALS).” Daily Mail


Focus on your contribution, not your happiness.

What are you doing when time stands still? When you forget yourself? How could you do more of that? It might be art, community service, study, mentoring, or leading a team.

Happy people deliver better results. (Shawn Achor)

When do you notice happiness sneaking up on you?

Let Yourself Be Happy

How to Tap the Power of Permission for Happiness – Leadership Freak

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