Elusive Happiness


In the Undergraduate Business class I am teaching this week, as well as in a training seminar on Stress & Time Management last Thursday, the theme of “Happiness in the Workplace” kept coming up. There are so many things out there that are telling us as individuals to be HAPPY – in the 80’s, the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” sparked a whole marketing array of T-shirts with smiley faces that reminded us to be happy. Pharrell Williams’ song is so HAPPY that I cannot listen to it without wanting to dance! 🙂
The more I ponder this, the more I think that much of that has spilled into the workplace. Leaders and Managers somehow believe that they are solely responsible for the “Happiness” state of their employees and that there should be a general feeling of well-being at the workplace. Employers are also convinced that if their company is not making them happy, maybe they should leave.

Where did this idea come from and is it something that can be achieved?

There are many companies out there that state they love their employees and put them first. I think this is not a bad place to start. Disney is simply amazing in this category of employee well-being! They even have a book called “Inside the Magic Kingdom” and it shares some of the things that they tell their employees to do in order to help make the customers happy. One of the most interesting parts of this book is where they explain to their employees that the whole park is a stage and they are simply characters playing a part. So, if you are a Disney Street Sweeper, you are playing the part of the Street Sweeper and you must do that well!

I have a friend who took her family to Disney World a few years ago. I got so tickled from the story she told me when they got back. While at Epcot Center in France, her elderly mother-in-law asked the Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast “Where are you from?”  She dutifully answered “I grew up in  a small village in France.” Then, the grandmother said, “you are so very beautiful, is your family here now?” She gave the answers from Beauty & the Beast, about how her father, Maurice was an inventor and he was sent to prison for no reason at all; how she loves to read books and how she ended up at a large estate (the Beast’s) – the grandma never caught onto the fake movie answers… she simply believed it!

I think there might be something to that approach Disney takes. Belle cannot have a bad day (well, she can, but she has an important job to do). If you have your employees, especially those in Customer Service take on a role, they may see things a bit differently. For example, every time I go to teach or train, life is not always rainbows, roses and sunshine! I have had to go into some very tense situations at work. You cannot just bring your own junk to the party. You have to address what is going on and cope with today’s issues.  So, I play the role that I was hired to play that day- as a trainer, teacher and motivator. I have to deal with what I am supposed to be doing that day. Jesus had a saying for that…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own ~Matthew 6:34

Think about this… if you could just deal with what’s in front of you (instead of going on a flight of fancy for all the other things that you need to get done that week), I think your attitude might be a bit different. A friend once told me that she heard someone ask “What if tomorrow, you would only get the things that you were thankful for today?” Yikes! Did I thank God for my health, my home, my marriage, children, my job, shoes (yes, lots of them!), food, bank account, car…? What if we take just a moment out to think of all the things we should be HAPPY about and not dwell on the negative? Glass half-full is not just a philosophy, but is a commitment to CHOOSE one thought over another. It is known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the Psychological world. In the Bible, it’s known as 2 Cor 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 [emphasis added]

When will we learn that our thoughts and negative thinking can multiply and poison not only our minds, but of others around us? How about weeding out that negative thought in the mind as it sprouts forward, not allowing it to grow and take over the flower bed? If you do take those thoughts captive, not only will you find happiness, but also JOY – that is a more permanent state of the fleeting happiness we see daily. JOY comes from a deeper place, a calm and restful place that says “It is well with my soul.”




4 thoughts on “Elusive Happiness

  1. Miranda Warren

    I shared this in a facebook group that I saher with my co-workers because with the stress they are putting on us here it is hard to just be happy!


    1. Thank you Miranda, for not only reading, but for sharing. I hope that I can be of help in understanding that management really does have to help employees see that the environment can get toxic quickly! Sometimes, we as employees try to make a square peg fit into a round hole – sometimes, the job and the place is just not a good fit for both! Thank you again.


  2. Karie Newsome

    I particularly liked the part where you talk about what your friend said about being thankful today for everything that we have. So many people are too busy looking for the “next best thing” in their lives and they forget to stop and look at everything that they are “blessed” with. I thank God every day. More people need to think this way.


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