Issue 4, 2012
activating emerging leaders
Whatâ€™s in this edition? Turning on 2012, Why blog for Emergen, book and video reviews
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF EMERGEN - WWW.EMERGEN.COM.AU
emergen emag IN THIS ISSUE 4
Why you should blog for Emergen in 2012
10 Questions to Turn on 2012
Do you have Passion@Work?
10 The Paradox of Life 12 Short Poppies can Grow 14 The Meaning of Cultural Diversity 15 Time, in equation of all things doable 16 What Really Matters for Young Professionals 17 RotarACTION 18 Are you working a job you hate…?
“ Doers attract doers. Talkers attract wishers ” Joel Runyon
alicia’s update Welcome
to the fourth issue of the Emergen e-‐mag and the [irst for 2012. Emergen is a collaborative community, activating emerging leaders through providing connections, inspiration and promotion. So what’s in store for Emergen in 2012. I’m focusing this year on creating on a range of resources for Emergen members to use -‐ slideshows, toolkits, e-‐ courses and more. What subjects would you like to learn more about? Public speaking, blogging, creating habits, team building, goal setting? What others? It will be an exciting direction for Emergen this year, to continue to empower young emerging leaders to the inspiration and tools to achieve in 2012. What do you want to be your legacy for 2012? What do you want to remember this year for? Check out my top 10 Questions to turn you on bigger and brighter this year, featured in this e-‐mag.
Alicia Curtis PS -‐ Don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues!!
Alicia Curtis is one of Australia’s most experienced mentors of emerging leaders. She empowers young employees, entrepreneurs and social innovators through her engaging workshop programs. She also releases an annual report on the challenges and aspirations of young leaders in the workplace. Alicia founded Emergen as an online space to activate the leadership potential of young professionals. www.aliciacurtis.com www.revolutionarylives.com
Stay in touch with Alicia
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Why YOU should blog for Emergen in 2012 A major part of the Emergen online community is blogging. In 2011 the Emergen blogging community exploded, with the return of beloved bloggers from the years previous, and a new generaAon of ﬁrst-‐Ame Emergen bloggers emerging (most who were ﬁrst-‐Ame bloggers!). These Emergen members posted on everything from book and event reviews, interviews with people they admired, the use of social media, lessons learned and inspiring stories, volunteering experiences and so on. This was on top of the 2 main blogging for a cause events that many members par>cipated in, culmina>ng in the release of 2 free ebook compila>ons: Emergen’s Interna>onal Women’s Day Ebook and Emergen Bloggers Tribute to the Interna>onal Year of the Volunteer. So why should YOU blog for Emergen in 2012? • • • • • • • • •
To ﬁnd / develop your online ‘voice’ To express yourself -‐ because you have something to say To share -‐ experiences, events, stories, lessons learned, successes, >ps, etc. To challenge yourself To learn and grow personally As it’s a step towards blogging somewhere else (your own blog perhaps!). To help grow and diversify the Emergen community For others -‐ so that they can learn also To build your online reputa>on
To connect with others For exposure -‐ you will be surprised WHO will read your posts • To promote -‐ a Not for Proﬁt Organisa>on, a cause, an event. • Because YOU want to. Believe me, since joining Emergen in 2010, and since I started blogging on Emergen in 2010, I have -‐ mostly uninten>onally -‐ ‘fulﬁlled’ almost all of the above. It’s been a crazy ride, but I’ve loved every minute of it, and my life has changed for the be\er. I now have my own blog, I’m the Blogging Coordinator for Emergen, I guest post for other communi>es and bloggers, I run my own li\le interna>onal blogging community, I’m now developing ebooks for other communi>es (and myself), my wri>ng has improved so much, as has my conﬁdence, and I have actually made some fantas>c friends -‐ all on top of actually ﬁnding in life what I was passionate about again! So yes -‐ it can be daun>ng to sit down and write something, and then press the publish bu\on! But it can be so worth it. And if you ever need advise, someone to read over what you have wri\en or some >ps, don’t hesitate to contact me either via Emergen, directly via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twi\er @Neanster77. I do hope to read you soon! Let’s make 2012 a year to remember. Janine Ripper Emergen National Blogging Coordinator www.reflectionsfromaredhead.com.au
10 Questions to Turn ON 2012 On my RevoluAonary Lives blog, I posted 10 QuesAons to Reﬂect on 2011 -‐ You can read the post here. Throughout the week, I got my A3 pad out myself and answered every single quesAon. It took a couple of hours to ﬁnish, but it gave me a great way to reﬂect on the year I'd just had! Some of my overall re[lections and themes from my answers were: -‐ Focus on the activities (rituals) that enable me to do my best work such as healthy eating, regular movement, meditation, journalling, reading and being around people who inspire me. -‐ Focus on activities that inspire me to be my best. These included regular personal development study, cultural/arts activities such as reading, watching dance and drama, a n d s p e n d i n g m o re t i m e i n n a t u ra l environments.
-‐ To write a blog about revolutionary lives, I must seek to live a revolutionary life myself -‐ therefore I must always challenge myself, walk the talk and practice what I preach. (few cliches there -‐ sorry!) -‐ I am usually most happy when I am putting into practice my own strengths -‐ 1. Zest, Enthusiasm and Energy, 2. Gratitude, 3. Leadership, 4. Creativity, Originality and Ingenuity and 5. Hope, Optimism and Future-‐ Mindedness. -‐ I've got a lot to be grateful in my life! I've also had some time to think about what questions I should ask myself to get ready for 2012. They are not all your typical planning type questions, but I thought they were important! How are you really going to turn you on bigger and brighter than ever in 2012. How will you strive to be your authentic self and share your talents with the world.
10 Questions to Get Ready for 2012 Here are 10 questions that you can consider at any time of the year to turn you on brighter!
1.How will I step into the highest version of myself? If you followed your goals with great discipline, lived by your values, focused on sharing your strengths, ate well and exercised often -‐ what would life look like for you? This is the highest version of yourself. How can you move closer to being that person this year?
FEATURE exercise, volunteering, meditation, healthy foods, journalling. What is it for you?
6.H o w w i l l I g i v e b a c k t o m y community? Community building and connections is one of the top intrinsic goals that help us lead a happy life. How are you connected?
7.What's my learning plan? This is another top intrinsic goal that leads to happiness. How are you growing, learning and developing yourself?
2.Describe my ideal day, week and year ?
8. What rela+onships do I want to foster further?
What is the perfect day for you? What do you do differently when you have a day where you are motivated, productive and happy? And how can you replicate this for every day?
What relationships in your life inspire you and lift you up? Who do you want to deepen your relationships with?
3.How will I best utilise my strengths? Can you name your strengths easily? How are you using them in everyday life?
4.How will I take care of myself? What's my health and wellbeing plan? What strategies do you use to take care of yourself on a regular basis? What do you need to eat to make you a peak performer no matter what you do?
5.What rituals will be most important for me to practice? What are the everyday rituals that help you be the best person you can be? Perhaps it’s
9. How will I keep inspired and inspire others? What ways do you keep inspired? Perhaps it’s friends, books or inspiring environments. How do you include these in everyday life when the struggles start to appear. And then, how do you provide that inspiration for others too.
10. What amazing life adventures do I want to do? Life is an adventure and it’s meant to be lived! What life changing adventures do you want to tick off the bucket list this year! De[initely have fun while answering these! Are you willing to give them a go? Alicia Curtis Emergen Founder www.revolutionarylives.com P:7
Do you have
passion@work? I was lucky enough to be chosen to review one of the books on oﬀer from Emergen. The ﬁrst impressions when I ﬁrst got this book was “Great – it’s not War & Peace, it shouldn’t take me too long.” In fact, it took me 2.5 hours to read while my li\le one was taking his nap. It’s a very easy read and it was quite engaging. I love to read, however I have never picked up a self-‐help book or a how-‐to guide so went in with an open mind. I found Shivani's (the author) book to be part autobiography, part how-‐to guide and part self-‐help. What I really liked about passion@work was Shivani was so relatable. The stories she told and her personal experience would resonate with majority of women. It’s a great journey where Shivani ﬁrst takes you through her decision to set up her own business and her fear of giving up a great paying job to go to nothing! And isn’t that what majority of budding business owners fear the most? Then takes you through the ﬁrst four years of her business to how she ﬁnally achieved her dream in her ﬁbh year. Her frankness is endearing and this is one of the reasons it was so engaging. Another great thing about this book is that it provides a diﬀerent kind of guidance to people who want to start up their own business. From what to how to where to what’s next. Shivani poses some (some>mes) confron>ng ques>on. The ques>on ‘What are you passionate about?’ personally was confron>ng. Who really has sat down and take the >me to think about this? In Chapter 7, she provides a ‘Personal Plan’ (a series of ques>ons) which is a fantas>c star>ng point for anyone considering their own business – especially those that don’t have the experience and don’t know where to even begin. P:8
The only downside to this book is it is very targeted at women. From the illustrated pages to the self-‐ reﬂec>on ques>ons, even Shivani herself says that her program is targeted for women. However the guide itself – or the workbook provided, would be valuable to any person who wish to start up their own business. It is unique in that it looks at the ‘ﬂuﬀy’ side of star>ng a business. Many would have ideas about what their targets would be, what products they’ll have but not many would think about formula>ng their vision, medita>on, rela>onship and overcoming fear. It’s quite a shortened version of Shivani’s journey hence she covers a lot of diﬀerent things and there are topics she men>ons that you would want more in-‐depth informa>on about (she men>ons Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and The Secret to name a few). As she tells us in the book, she bought and read lots of books before embarking on her business, this is great advice and passion@work should deﬁnitely be used as one of the many resources when star>ng a business to look at all the diﬀerent perspec>ves, especially during the beginning stages – for women in par>cular. Junlie Siegert
activating emerging leaders
Are you on Emergen yet? Emergen is a collaborative community activating emerging leaders.
The Paradox of Life Over the last six months I've had the pleasure of ge]ng to know President of Leader Development Group, David Bernard-‐ Stevens. In brief, David s p e c i a l i s e s i n empowerment and self-‐ leadership work, ﬁnding himself starAng in Kenya.
a "calling" from the Universe or God and woke up one day knowing that I was supposed to go to Kenya. I called WOJA, advised them I was coming and we set the dates for the training. When I was asked where I had found the money I told them simply that I hadn't but that I was coming, and that the rest would somehow work itself out. It did, as people from around the world heard of what I was going to do, and the money came in small bits via the internet.
Here is some of David's story: Women for Justice in Africa (WOJA) is a Kenya-‐ based non-‐government organization formed to promote women rights through education and training, capacity building for community women rights practitioners, strategic litigation, lobbying and advocacy. Disability rights are mainstreamed in all programs. WOJA were perplexed as far too many women who were working in the areas of abuse, rights, health etc. were returning to "the way things were before". This was found to be true with m o s t o f t h e t ra i n i n g h e l d by N G O s , foundations, and organizations observed over time. I cannot explain it except to say that I received P: 10
[Here is a 5 minute documentary on the program, which was aired on a world news program called 'The African Journal'. It was produced by A24 Media.]
FEATURE The initial training I created was a life changer for both the women from Kibera and me. I then knew this was what I was supposed to do -‐ go out into the world and take what I knew, and give it for "free" to those who did not have the ability or means to attend such training. I went back to Nebraska (my state in the USA), sold what little I had, earned enough to survive on my own for 2 years with no income, and began to build a leadership program from scratch that would serve the poor in a way that would give them the means, the tools, and the belief that they had it within themselves to create their future, their job or dream. Funding such an endeavor was a challenge. The traditional way of going to foundations, businesses, and organizations for funds seemed to be a dead end as money was too little -‐ with so many [ighting each other for it. AND, there seemed to be no piece of essential or core leadership training within the programs of the "donor groups" that would create the reality of sustainability once the money and/or organization left...the same issue that WOJA had experienced earlier. There had to be a way to tap into enough income that could be used for the leadership program, with few strings and with deeper pockets. There just had to be a way. So a new business model was created. In partnership with WOJA, we decided that I would simply approach businesses and organizations -‐ NOT for donations or support for our program, but to offer to make them better...to build within their organization the type of environment and leadership that would not only sustain their efforts into the future, but establish a holistic leadership environment that would create results that other felt to be impossible. We would make them better, and in
return the money we were paid would be plowed into two leadership programs: one for women continuing the purpose and vision of WOJA, and my own vision of taking the program out into the world.
“I took a leap of faith. I leaped knowing what I was meant to attempt to do and into a void where there were no guarantees of success.” It has been the most challenging thing I have ever attempted to do, but I can also tell you that it has been the happiest and meaningful time of my life. I have been in Kenya now for most of 24 months and the seeds planted over these past few months are beginning to bear fruit. It is an exciting time [illed with much work, hope, and meaning. There are no guarantees of course, but I am doing what I am supposed to do. I am where I am supposed to be and my life, and those that I am able to touch and impact, has meaning and purpose. And for me, that is all I could ever hope for in my life... doing what I KNOW I have always needed to do and to have an impact in the world helping people be all they were created to be. Life is hard right now, but it is so very very good at the same time. A paradox perhaps, but such is the nature of life and the universe.
Janine Ripper Emergen National Blogging Coordinator www.reflectionsfromaredhead.com.au
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Short Poppies can Based on conﬁdence building anecdotes that people have shared with the authors, two Australian psychologists assisAng people in the workplace, this book proclaims to bring together proven strategies and ideas for people to look and act conﬁdently at work -‐ simply put, to grow taller poppies. These con[idence-‐building strategies target common issues such as how to make an impact; speak out at meetings; deal with dif[icult colleagues; overcome nerves; sell your ideas;
move out of your comfort zone and; ask for a pay-‐ rise. Perhaps the most important message that I took on board from this self-‐help book was the importance of using positive ‘self talk’. As the authors point out, in discussing the importance of an optimistic outlook in general, ‘one of the critical elements of optimism is positive self talk. Self talk is the little voice in your head that never stops. Whether we are reading, listening to someone or watching TV, we are continually mentally talking to ourselves and automatically responding to this. What we say to
BOOK REVIEW and, believe it or not, I have found myself in an uplifting mood whenever [inishing a chapter or two. Based on my inspiring experience while reading it, I would de[initely recommend having this book on your bedside table as an easily accessible avenue for some pep-‐up talk for those times when you’ve had a bad day at work or feel a bit down in general. On that note, I would like to conclude by giving you a taste of the many thoughtful quotes used in the book:
ourselves about a situation directly determines how we feel and how we react." Now, without trying to invoke too much of my personal analysis, I think this little voice in our heads is probably one of the major inhibitors to why so many people are unable to embark on the process of working smarter instead of harder to develop in the workplace and work themselves up that career ladder. Dakin and McEwen manage to explain this common issue in a thought-‐provoking way and provide useful advice for overcoming the bad habit of doubtful and negative self talk, transforming it into more positive thinking. Short Poppies can Grow is a great tool for increasing con[idence in the workplace as well as in more general. The chapters of the book can easily be read separately and are divided according to topics such as conAidence-building, anger management, inAluencing other people, promoting yourself etc. The interactive layout of the chapters makes it easy and fun to read as each section includes helpful explanations, case studies, witty quotes, useful exercises [inished off with a recap to highlight the key points made.
"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent" Eleanor Roosevelt Anne-Marie Balbi
Be Part of the Read, Review and Receive Program Emergen gives away books every month in return for a book review posted on Emergen. Check out the regular e-‐newsle\ers in your inbox for an chance to win. When you see a book that you’re interested in reading and reviewing, send Alicia an email to be in the draw to win the book. Write your review and post it on Emergen to tell others what you thought of the book and your best learning take-‐aways.
The best part is the amount of ‘aha’ moments (those things you really know deep inside but need to be reminded about) while reading it P : 13
The Meaning of
Cultural Diversity We live in global world. And in Australia, like many other areas in the world, we live in a mulAcultural society. What does that mean for you? Do you embrace this cultural diversity? Last weekend, I got to facilitate a weekend retreat with 25 young women from a wide range of cultural backgrounds -‐ we had young women from Zambia, Somalia, South Africa, Iraq, Spain, Maldives, Malaysia, China, India and more. We shared stories, challenged our assump>ons and learnt more about yourselves and others. Half the group were from the Muslim faith too. I just wanted to share some of my learning journey from the weekend.
• There are more similari+es than diﬀerences -‐ even though, we dressed diﬀerently, had diﬀerent favourite foods, prayed diﬀerently and had diﬀerent life experiences -‐ we had so much in common. As women, we shared similar goals for the future, similar desires for our friends and family and similar passions for the community. When you take away our diﬀerent cultures and religions we are very similar people! A great example of this, one of the Muslim girls (who wears the head scarf) shared that when she was buying a bikini, the girl at the counter gave her a strange look and said “Do you wear bikinis?”. And she replied, “Of course! Maybe not out in front of everyone, but that she loves swimming.”
• Strive to understand, not judge -‐ Our fears and assump>ons can be driven by our lack of understanding about each other. If there is something you don’t like or fear about someone else, ask them about it. Really strive to P : 14
understand what drives them. When we stand back and judge only, we don’t grow as people. Most people are really open about talking about the decisions they’ve made, so why not ask in a respecmul way!
• Be willing to update your assump+ons -‐ We live in a world where change is inevitable. What our previous genera>ons thought about cultural diversity is very diﬀerent to the world we live in now. Be willing to challenge and update your assump>ons. What are your assump>ons about people from diﬀerent cultures? Have you explored this? Have you challenged this? Do your assump>ons represent the stereotypes or have you challenged yourself to really get to know people?
• Be a role model -‐ Gandhi says “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I want to live in a world that respects each other, a world that values our diﬀerences as well as our similari>es, a world where we look for the good in each other, a world that is compassionate and kind to each other. I am willing to be a role model -‐ to stand again racism and intolerance and forge friendships, support and apprecia>on. Will you stand with me? I can say with absolute conﬁdence if you’ve never explored the cultural diversity in Australia -‐ you are missing out! Why not volunteer at an organisa>on that works with people from diﬀerent cultures and religions? Meet new people and make new friends with people from diﬀerent cultures and religions -‐
SHORT FEATURE whether it’s the next door neighbour, a new colleague at work or a new volunteer buddy. Trust me, the richness is deﬁnitely in the diversity. Want somewhere to start...check out the resources below. * Check out the wonderful work of the Muslim Women's Support Centre, who I work with to facil>ate the Young Women's Leadership Program.
* Check out the video series, Go Back to Where They Came From. Powerful! * Check out Janine Ripper's blogging series, The Beauty of Diﬀerence. (She was a par>cipant of the 2010 Young Women's Leadership Program) * Check out the Ebook that the 2010 Young Women's Leadership program par>cipants wrote called Journey to Leadership -‐ including all their biographies. Alicia Curtis Emergen Founder
TIME, in the equation of all things doable We can achieve anything that we set our eyes on, given the Ame. Take our jobs, for example. How did we come to know all the things that we know now? Things that we had no idea about when we ﬁrst started our jobs. While our brains work in ways that are mysterious to the most of us (holler @ my medical peeps), there are some things that are so obvious but are so normal to us that we tend to look past them. To me, some of those things are repe>>on and familiarity. Our best tools for success. Let's say if someone puts you in a room ﬁlled with ﬂowers and tells you to name all the diﬀerent types of ﬂowers... with your eyes closed, how do you think you will go? What if this person (let's picture a very charming and a\rac>ve young man/woman -‐ whichever
>ckles your fancy -‐ for entertainment's sake) takes you to the room everyday and each day, teaches you the diﬀerent scents of the ﬂowers and their names, wouldn't you think that you would at least know a handful over the course of >me? Needless to say, repe>>on can also lead to boredom. Which is great if we think about it in terms of mo>va>ng ourselves in our search for be\er and more exci>ng things. But I suppose the point to be made and hopefully, to be taken here is that we can do whatever we want. Anything! It is all just in the ma\er of >me. And who knows, we might even meet Mr/Mrs Charming along the way! Monica Choo P : 15
What Really Matters for Young Professionals I was lucky enough to win one of the three books as part of the summer reading giveaway, please see my review and thoughts below. Ryan has written an easy to digest book that clearly outlines some great strategies that will assist young professionals to adjust to the professional world of work and maximise their performance in the workplace as an early career professional. In saying this, I believe many of these strategies apply not only to young or early career professionals, but are strategies to be a more effective, productive and happy employee/worker in general. The introduction which outlines the not so new concept of employability skills sets the scene for the following practices. Ryan has used the employability skills framework which was research and developed in 2001by the Department of Education, Science and Training (now known as DEEWR), though has added the two additional skills sets of leadership and service excellence. I like the addition of both service excellence and leadership, even though some may argue that these would [it into the existing eight categories, as it highlights that these are also important skills to possess. You do not need to be a manager to demonstrate leadership, or even aspire to a “leadership” role, but it is the ability in small tasks, or leading a team even just for one small activity is still an important contribution to your team or division effective contributing to the P: 16
strategic direction of your organisation. Additionally service orientation with both internal and external clients is important to enhancing and maintaining the organisations and sub divisions within the organisations reputation and hence future business. Linking the employability skills to each practice helps the reader to understand the connection between various employability skills and the behaviours that one needs to consistently demonstrate in order to be an effective, satis[ied and productive employee. The suggested activities at the end of each chapter clearly explain the steps one can take t o b e c o m e m o re s e l f -‐ awa re o f t h e i r professional behaviour and work practices as well as methods of implementing strategies to
SHORT FEATURE work to their optimal level and reach their potential. As I currently work in a university environment, academic integrity and appropriate referencing is of paramount importance, hence my only concern is the lack of referencing within the book, to back up the statistics and information provided. Otherwise I would recommend this book to all young professionals (and even not so young professionals) to assist in their continuing professional development and identifying
strategies to increase their employability, which will enhance their chances of career progression and promotion, as well as work satisfaction. In my professional capacity as a Career Development Consultant, the activities provide some ideas for workshop and interactive group activities to assist university students to shift their mindset to being a “professional in training” and enhance their employability skills, to make a successful transition to graduate employment. Lauren Taylor
RotarACTION Where can you go with Rotaract? The possibilities are endless! I prepared a short music video, giving you a taste of what's available. The video is part of a promotional campaign by the Rotaract Club of Crosslands, NSW, helping to spread the word about the amazing organisation Rotaract is! All one has to do is watch the video on the attached link. As part of the competition, the video with the most hits by 29TH FEB wins! ($100 to PolioPlus). So go ahead and hit replay! Thanks for helping to empower young people. Link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3KpGk-‐7FTk Acknowledgments (photos/videos): Tiang Cheng, Sherlene Heng, Bethany Indrawan, Dan Mirabella, HOPE Uganda, Oleksandra Hytyk (Alya), Clemens Nikolaus Witt, Dagogo Altraide, Polona Gradišek, Graham Shular, Jacopo La Rosa, Carolina Natalia, Ìàðèíà Èâàíîâà, Artem Nikitin, Ñàíÿ Îñîêèí, Ukrainian Trip Team, Simran Pahuja, Leanne
Quah, Julian Buttigieg, Subiaco Rotaract, RIFJAM!, Emiko Watanabe, Martin Uhland, JR Photography, Uzghorod TV!, ... and my HTC Incredible S! Words: I have to shout out to all the crews, teams and amazing people who've been a part of my Rotaract journey. Thankyou for being not just companions, but friends for life! Let's continue to spread the spirit of Rotaract :) Piri Altraide
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"Are you working a job you hate to buy sh*t you don't need?" “I see all this poten.al, and I see it squandered … Adver.sing has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.” This is one of my favourite movie lines, it comes from the ﬁlm Fight Club, when Brad Pi\s character, Tyler, is consoling the narrator (the character is never actually named) afer the narrator "lost everything" when his apartment explodes. About a month ago, I was sitting on a beach in Cambodia after scuba diving for 6 days when I sat down and had a chat with my instructor who had given up the of[ice life in London to be a scuba diver in, well, paradise. We were having a conversation about what is important in society, and what is important in life, and how they can contradict each other. If you take a big picture approach, you could probably assume that most people want to be happy. End of story. Any successes which are achieved or aimed for are merely a conduit to improve ones lifestyle and, therefore, ultimately, ones assumed happiness. When it comes to work, we usually have two options, we either "take a job for the love" or we "take the cash, working towards a career". The old adage "if you [ind a job you love you'll never have to work another day in your life" seems to ring true to the former. But, unfortunately, research doesn't back up either these paths improving ones’ level of happiness. The reason for this is, [irstly, when you work a job doing something you enjoy doing you start to associate the reward of the work to be salary, not internal pleasure or enjoyment. And as
for taking a job for the salary, sure, not having enough money will increase your unhappiness, but once your basic needs are met, your happiness plateaus. A study in the US found that the salary level in which happiness plateau's is USD$75,000. This means, that there is no intrinsic gain to your level of happiness between earning $75,000 a year, and $500,000 a year. It is merely an illusion which highly paid employees live in, and which everyone else believes and aspires to. Unfortunately though, most people, when given the opportunity in Job A or Job B, will take the higher salary every time. Even if it involves less time to yourself, more overtime, less time with your family and being on call. Why? Is it because happiness is dif[icult to measure but salary isn't? Is it because we constantly measure our possessions against others in society? Importantly though, I feel the extra time spent on career or at work can take time away from things that truly do bring happiness, self esteem, and value to life. If you think for a moment about your childhood, what are the big things you remember? Is it the awesome toys you owned, video games perhaps? Or was it time you spent with family, friends, maybe exploring your neighbourhood? How much of your idyllic childhood is rooted in possessions? An interesting tangent for me, while we are on this thread, is that I always thought I had a very [inancially well off upbringing. All my needs were met and my wants ful[illed. Or so I thought. A recent conversation with my mother paints a very different impression on life as a child. I have always known that while I was growing up money was tight, but isn’t it always? But I was stunned to learn that when I was about 10 my parents had no money for Christmas presents. I thought that happened the poorest of the poor?
But I still maintain I had a perfect childhood, a great family who I love, and values and experiences I cherish. I wouldn’t change anything. I was very happy, even if, I will admit, the lack of funds was stressful for my parents. Though, I look back now and think about how fantastic my parents were because even though we struggled [inancially, Mum and Dad both gave tremendously to their community which provided our family with strong links in that community. I always remember how we were great friends with both the richest man in the town, but also the butcher. One year my mother won some sort of community award, citizen of the year or something. But I digress. Taking to Rachel, my scuba instructor, her, and many others in the area work for little money but have their basic needs met. They get shelter and food supplied, and with t h e i r
salary can afford clothing. They work in a small village, so have none to really measure their possessions against. Not only that, they actively do things to leave a legacy and a positive impact on the community around them. And they are all happier than when they lived in the city and worked a 9-‐5 had nice suits and a [lash car. The salary as a diver is awful, but the quality of life is better, as is the level of happiness. If you looked at what society has us do, it is set goals and work towards achieving those goals.
Normally they are very career or material focused. Get a job, buy a car, buy a house. If you have a higher paid job, a nicer car, better stock options, or a new [lash fresh water pool, you are usually considered "more successful" than someone who earns or has less than you. But if these things don't bring happiness, at the end of the day, is there a point to it? More to the point, if you need to take time away from things that do make you happy, like your family, partner, friends, and community, is it actually doing the opposite of what you set out to achieve? I am trekking around Asia, with a backpack and a suitcase of clothes (as I am moving to London), and I can't help thinking how much unnecessary stuff I have. I have a suitcase and a back pack. I actually [ind it really liberating to not have many goods, not be paying off a car, and not being worried about that new sofa which I just had stain protected. But I say again, with the little I have, I actually think I have too much. It's too much of an inconvenience for me to carry around and look after. And it is amazing how many travellers say the same thing -‐ "It's not until you travel for an extended period of time, that you realise how little you actually need". I am not saying careers are not worth planning for, or that being successful in business isn’t a valid goal at all. I’m really not. In fact, I’ve spent nearly 3 years helping to groom students for that. Nor am I saying working hard to pay off a mortgage is foolish either. What I am talking about is balance and how we can throw that out of whack by losing focus. If I was to ask the same question I asked earlier about your childhood to you later in life about your whole life, do your answer would involve your salary? Your car? Your clothes? Or the times you spent with you family, your friends, and your community? So, my question is, are you working a job you don't like in order to buy things you don't need? Are you putting your time and energies into things which actually will improve your happiness? If you think your life is a bit out of balance, what can you do to get your happiness back on track? Daniel Mitchell
Emergen Contributors Alicia Curtis Emergen Founder and E-Mag Editor www.aliciacurtis.com www.revolutionarylives.com
Janine Ripper www.reflectionsfromaredhead.comÂ
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