Don’t Worry… Be Happy

by Dave Bisbee on January 31, 2012

happypeopleSome of you will remember the above statement from the song by Bobby McFerrin… the song has long been on my play list and I play it from time to time to remind myself to not make too much of the occasional hazard in my way, and to try to approach every situation from a perspective of optimism and possibility. And I apologize up front to those of you that now can’t get the “Don’t worry be happy” tune out of your head.

So what is “happiness” and why does it matter in a world of results oriented, bottom line focused, beat the competition mind sets? According to the dictionary it is “a condition of supreme well-being and good spirits”. Going back a few hundred years Aristotle posited that more than anything else, men and women seek happiness. And that the pursuit of other goals such as wealth, power, beauty, etc. were valued only because we expect they will make us happy. In his book Flow psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  describes it as “optimal experience”. However you choose to describe it happiness is important and essential to your well-being.

Can Work and Happy Co-exist?

For many it seems, there is a distinct separation between work and happiness. What I mean by that is that some view “work” as the thing we do to be able to do the things on the weekend or on vacation that we like to do… things that we enjoy doing… things that make us happy. In fact in a recent CNN Money survey it indicated that 84% of Americans are unhappy with their current job. In an article for Harvard Business Review  Shawn Achor points out the importance of happiness at work by stating “I make the case for the fact that the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce”. In my view that is the next big business revolution, creating a work environment that facilitates happiness in their people at work.

I’m Happy…You Happy?

The challenge with all of this is the fact that happiness is personal. What makes one person happy is not necessarily going to make the next person happy. So the “happy” workplace has to be flexible and creative so that each individual has a chance to apply their unique skills and abilities with the support and resources necessary to be successful. Now that might seem like an unrealistic thing to do…make everyone happy. But all that is needed is the environment and resources, people will naturally gravitate towards that which supports their own success and therefore happiness. I see it everyday on the driving range,(you were wondering when I would connect this to golf). Next time you are at the range observe what it is that people practice. Nine times out of ten you will see that people tend to spend the most time on the things that they are already good at… because they have success at it. Fun Gets Done. The practice bunker is probably the least used element on the driving range because most people suck at it. They find it neither rewarding or enjoyable so after a few cursory  attempts they will move on to the fun stuff.

In the “happy” work place you can focus on your strengths and you can find someone who is good at sand shots to handle those situations. Wouldn’t that be great if we could do that in golf ? Have someone to hit those shots that you don’t like or aren’t good at…oh wait that would be like a Scramble. Think of your work group like the ultimate Scramble Team… a great driver of the ball for tee shots, a skilled iron player for the field shots, an innovative trouble shooter to get the ball out of hazards, and a master putter that can put the ball in the hole. Each player relying on their special skills with the common goal of shooting the lowest score possible. And that would make everyone… happy!

Dave Bisbee

Dave Bisbee has been around the golf business for 30 years and brings to Biz Golf Guru his experience as both a business owner and golf professional. Dave will serve as the anchor for the Biz Golf Guru team of contributors by offering his unique insights of business golf as seen through the eyes of someone who has managed golf courses, golf companies and as a golf teaching professional.

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