Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The opposite of do more with less: just do less

This post this morning made me feel much better about my lack of energy yesterday. One of the things I'm actually focused on is doing less. Of coming back to a place of real balance. I had taken to heart the common corporate (and educational institution) mantra of "Do more with less." I'm sure that mantra is even more prevalent today as companies cut jobs or ask workers to take pay cuts or forgo raises. I personally found that mentality very stressful and I bet a lot of other people do too. And part of my distress yesterday was that I found myself feeling like I needed to do more in order to be successful. But I just didn't have the energy for it and so I thought I was being lazy and then beat myself up. The spirals of doubt we get ourselves into!

The other blog I've been following that brings me out of those spirals is The Happiness Project, now also on Slate. As Gretchen says in her first post for Slate,
I realized with a jolt that I never thought about happiness, or whether I was happy, or what I could do to be happier. . . . Some people think that wanting to be happier is a selfish, self-absorbed goal—but I disagree. Robert Louis Stevenson got it right: "There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy,” he wrote. Research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likeable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in the problems of others, friendlier, and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens.
Like the "Do More with Less" mantra, society tends to value people who are "productive" or at least look that way. Those focusing on their own personal happiness are viewed as suspect. But I'm with Gretchen, being happy is a good thing for everyone, not just the person who is striving for it.