This Unusual Greek Word Reveals The Secret To Finding Happiness At Work
What does it mean to be happy? And can you find happiness at work? Searching for an answer, ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed the concept of eudaimonia. It means to live well or flourish as a human being. If you want to live well personally and in business, you can break flourishing into three areas.
1. Virtue or Excellence
The purpose of a knife is to cut, and that’s why it’s useful or even productive. The purpose of an entrepreneur is to start and sometimes run a new business, even if this means taking on financial risks. The purpose of a CEO is to serve as the public face of a company and lead it.
Flourishing starts with knowing who you are and what your job is. If you’re not in an ideal job yet, consider your strengths and weaknesses and what you want to achieve.
Also known as arête, virtue or excellence is about more than earning money. Aristotle wrote,
“The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.”
Steve Jobs believed his purpose was to “put a ding” in the universe. The filmmaker David Lynch says his purpose is to create great films and TV shows. Nike founder Phil Knight’s original purpose was to fulfill a “crazy idea” of selling high-quality running shoes in the United States.
2. Practical Wisdom
Also known as phronesis, practical wisdom requires you to acquire the knowledge necessary to flourish personally or in business. For example, say you’ve always admired entrepreneurs, and now you feel like starting the next Nike, Facebook or Shopify. A good intention isn’t enough, Aristotle said. “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Do you have the skills to launch a website, attract traffic and sell a product or service over the internet? If not, obtain them.
A doctor spends years in medical school acquiring the knowledge necessary to help patients. A business executive studies for an MBA or reads great books about their specialty.
An aspiring nonfiction author studies how other authors write and publish books. An entrepreneur takes online courses and works with a mentor. You develop your potential through a lifetime of gaining knowledge.
3. Moral Strength
It’s not enough to understand how to heal a sick patient or start a business or lead a company. And if you want to live well, it’s not good enough to accumulate knowledge if you don’t put it to use.
Steve Jobs knew what great design looked like, and he applied his skill set while creating the iPhone with his teams. David Lynch understands how he wants his films like Mulholland Drive and TV shows like Twin Peaks to look and sound. Then he creates them.
Nike founder Phil Knight didn’t just come up with his idea of importing running shoes into the United States. He travelled to Japan, signed a business deal with suppliers and created his business called Blue Ribbon (a precursor to Nike).
Put the knowledge you’ve acquired to use in a way that aligns with your values. This practice means conquering overriding desires to avoid hard or short-term work, but it will help you refine your understanding of your skill set or specialty.
Consider the entrepreneur who works 60- and 70-hour weeks to get their business off the ground, or the CEO who leads a company because he believes in its mission.
Aristotle wrote, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
Ultimately, to flourish or embrace eudaimonia is a journey of self-discovery and developing your best talents.