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22 Oct 2013

No Self as the Secret to Happiness at Work


Everyone spends two-thirds of their waking hours working, including commuting to work and talking and thinking about work issues even if they are off work.  It's thus paramount that people must be happy at work or life would be so miserable.  

The sad truth is that happiness, like all phenomena, is impermanent. It lasts for only one moment: if the next moment doesn't have peace of mind, concentration and mindfulness, happiness will disappear.  Just talk to the man who was happily drinking and driving until an accident happen and you'll know what I'm talking about.  

The happy truth is that since happiness is impermanent, it can be renewed. And it can be renewed by anyone, at any time, at any where and everywhere.  Most of the time, renewal is costless.  All you need is to have the right thought. 

The secret to happiness at work is to have renewals of happiness. Everyone has plenty of ideas how to renew happiness, like sing songs, tell a joke, praise people, give out small treats and rewards et cetra.

Today I'm going to talk about something that we ignore long ago: happiness can be renewed as long as people don't create unhappiness. 

Perhaps you feel that you're doing most of the work in your office.  You get angry at others and feel that they are not doing their fair share.  You also feel that you have done lots of work in looking for business and yet sales are slow.  You serve customers well and yet they still complain.  When you have feelings of anger, disappointment or frustration, such negative feelings create unhappiness.  

The good news is that such negative thoughts can be easily transformed once you understand the concept of no-self. No-self (or Anicca in olden Pali language in India, where this concept originated), is about the concept that we are all inter-linked, we are one, and everything happens for a reason.  There is a cause and effect to everything in this world, we are really helpless to have control over any outcome in life because we are no self.  

With a concept of no self, you will feel that there is no need to have self-ego, self-pity or self-esteem.  You are one with the universe.  Thus doing things need not have direct rewards, for you have a sacrificial concept when you work.  This concept of no self is so powerful, it transforms you.  For now you do things not for the benefit of yourself as you see no distinction between people.  You no longer seek the kind of happiness that will make other people suffer. This kind of insight is so liberating and you feel bliss just having this thought. 

So my friend, the secret to happiness at work is to have the concept of no self.  For we are all impermanent in this world.  Once you have no self, you will not have unhappy feelings.  And that, my friend, is the secret to happiness at work. 

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