There’s a reason Confucius is considered a pretty smart guy. After all, he’s the one who said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
And he’s been right for 1500 years.
Finding a way to live with purpose at work will help you achieve an inner happiness too many people often trade for money, title, or power – all of which aren’t close to the pricelessness purpose can bring.
Here are 7 signs you’ve found purpose at your work. Warning: If you’re not able to check off at least half of these, you might want to consider looking around for something else.
1. You’re Never Bored
As Louis CK so expertly put it, you don’t get to be bored. Unfortunately, many of us end up in roles that don’t challenge us and we end up becoming jaded or simply uninterested (see: unhappy) long before we should. If you’re heading into work everyday and you’re engaged all day long, you’re one of the lucky few who’s found purpose in their day to day.
2. You Have Defined Goals
Whether you’ve set them for yourself or you’ve spent time creating them with your supervisor, setting (and reaching) goals help define your purpose at work. So much so that Harvard Business School researchers studied what made the difference in success or failure for people of similar backgrounds and educational standards. That difference? You guessed it, writing down specific goals.
3. You Don’t Have to ‘Fake It Till You Make It’
And that’s because you’re already right where you want to be. Having clear direction and purpose at work means you’re not spending time thinking about shoulds and shouldn’ts. Instead, you’re constantly moving forward and focusing on the type of happiness author Shawn Achor defined in his 2010 book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work as “the joy we feel striving after our potential.”
4. You Receive Positive Recognition From Others
Sure, money is a great motivator. But, as luck would have it, receiving a compliment can have a similar effect (admittedly with less shopping sprees involved). In a study in which people performed an exercise repeatedly, results were significantly better when participants received direct compliments from an evaluator. So while praise might not pay the bills, it will improve your daily life.
5. You Don’t Have the Feeling There’s Something More Out There For You
Often the first question we’re asked at social gatherings is, “What do you do for a living?” So it makes sense to pick something we find meaningful. Researchers have found that workers who feel a higher calling to their jobs are among the most content. Regardless of factors like money, if we feel that we were born to do our job, the right profession can feel like a personal destiny for us.
6. You Get More Done
When you don’t spend hours of your day staring out of the window and dreaming about a life outside work, it’s pretty amazing what you can achieve. A study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happy workers were 12 per cent more productive in their jobs, whereas unhappy ones were 10 per cent less industrious by comparison. The research showed that positive emotions appeared to invigorate human beings, making them more creative and better at problem-solving.
7. You Feel Good When You Wake Up and When You Go To Bed
If you don’t feel bummed when it’s time to go to bed in the evening or a fresh wave of disappointment upon waking up, that’s a kind of blessing in itself. But if you needed any more convincing, being happy comes with its own long list of health benefits. These range from lowered levels of stress to the increased ability to fight off cold and flu viruses. It’s no coincidence purpose at work and personal happiness go hand-in-hand.