Assuming that you are an average person working a full-time job of about 40 hours per week you will spend at least 50 years of your lifetime in the workplace. If you are unhappy in that job you will have spent a large portion of your life feeling miserable, negatively impacting your family life and your entire spectrum of well-being.
It, therefore, makes sense to find a job with a vibrant, healthy company culture where you can fully live your potential and creative abilities. But if we look at job satisfaction statistics there are many working people out there who are exceedingly unhappy in their jobs. In America, only 20 percent of people are passionate about what they do for a living.
Job satisfaction appears to be highest among the clergy, chiropractic, caregivers, and high-level executives. Low satisfaction is particularly prevalent among waiters, roofers, cashiers, and bartenders.
It’s seldom just the money that gives people satisfaction. Employees want to feel recognized and are most happy where their own values are aligned with those of the company. They thrive in a vibrant culture of social interaction, creativity, and respect.
This week I had as a guest on my podcast “Living to BE” Dr. Shahrzad Nooravi, an expert on what drives a healthy corporate culture. In this podcast Dr. Shahrzad explains:
The importance of leaders and senior teams “walking their talk”.
The keys to a successful coaching program.
How to keep up the momentum of a healthy, dynamic, and creative culture where employees feel they are a respected part of the company?
A healthy corporate culture starts with you. One kind word or gesture to a colleague can make a world of difference. It simply pays to help create a healthy space in the environment where you spend a good portion of your lifetime. Life does not start at some time in the distant future when you reach retirement in the illusion that you can spend the rest of your life resting.
Albert Camus once said that to have time “is at once the most magnificent and the most dangerous of experiments. Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.”
How you spend, cherish, and purposefully live every moment of your time is key to a life of bliss.
“Light will someday split you open; even if your life is now a cage.“ – Hafiz
It’s a question mankind has mulled for millennia: If there is an omnipotent creator, why does he allow humanity to be afflicted by suffering, wars, disease, and natural catastrophe?
The images we are currently witnessing of the horrendous slaughter of innocent civilians in Ukraine by Russian artillery is something that has occurred throughout history: Evil tyrants going on a rampage without thought or compassion for the carnage and suffering they are causing to millions of lives.
We, humans, are quick to personalize and blame an external God for failing to intervene. It’s a simplistic way of trying to comprehend or find an explanation for the incomprehensible.
God is a state of BEING
God has often been seen as a strict father figure punishing his flock for sinful or bad behavior. The Mystics in contrast view God, the universal creator or the divine as “a state of Being” – the connection to pure love, kindness, and compassion. The manifestation of evil would therefore be the opposite condition – the state of complete absence of God.
Most suffering that we experience in our personal lives or that we witness in the external world is a result of bad human choices and actions carried out from a low level of spiritual disconnect. It is interesting to note that the German word for sin is “Sünde” which has its origins in the old-Germanic expression of “sunta” which means missing the target, straying from the right path or carrying out actions that have negative consequences.
The five stages of grief
The American-Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has defined five stages of grief when a person has experienced great loss or trauma. There is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance or surrender. Without surrender, we remain locked at a low energy level of grievance, and recrimination.
It is especially in the final stage of “surrender” where the heart is broken open to the soul. Jesus dying on the cross is a great analogy for the transmutation of suffering in opening the pathway to divinity and resurrection.
Connecting to the spark within
The 13th-century Mystic Meister Eckhart describes it as the sacred “Fuenklein” or spark. Within that spark, your own brightness and that of God are at one with each other. And it all comes down to making the right choices from the moment you get up in the morning.
Understanding your own thought process while practicing gratitude, and going into service is the key to creating the life you want by moving to a higher energy frequency. I had a wonderful chat this week about this topic with the Australian best-selling author and executive coach Barry Nicolaou.
In our conversation, Barry takes us through six steps toward deconstructing toxic emotions, fears, and habitual thinking. You can listen to it on my Podcast “Living to Be” and watch it on a Youtube video.
It is revealing that when you choose the low road of stale and toxic energy you will attract the same around you. It is an old saying and yet so true: Show me the five people you asssociate with the most and I will tell you who you are.
Choose instead the high path of compassion, love, kindness and forgiveness and you will feel the blessings come back to you manifold.
A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial and uninformed.
– Nelson Mandela–
In ancient Greece, the exchange of different ideas in lively debate and argument was seen as crucial to education and growth. The key to personal growth and self-development is how we master the art of conversation and active listening.
Yet increasingly the narrative in our digital age has become a slamming match between opposing views. Dialogue with persons who don’t share our opinions, beliefs, and habits appears increasingly difficult if not impossible.
Free democratic societies are based on the acceptance and tolerance of different cultures, ideas, and beliefs. If we retreat back to tribal silos of talking only to those people who share our opinions conflict and authoritarian thought control are only one small step away.
Good conversation and dialogue are only possible through active listening and asking questions. Through active listening, we might just gain another insight or a new perspective on a topic that we would otherwise not have become aware of.
Belief and opinion
If an opinion becomes a belief and part of self-identity the mind will inevitably wall itself off to a different opinion or belief. It will never adapt, change or amend a perspective because such a mindset is ego-driven. You will see every different angle or opinion as a personal threat no matter how good or scientifically based the opposing argument is.
Rational level-headed thought falls prey to toxic emotion, fanatacism, and intolerance.
Civil discourse in the democratically organized community of ancient Greece sowed the seeds of philosophy, science, medicine, and all that we have achieved in successful modern societies. There was a consensus on the parameters on settling differences and dealing with different opinion.
Giving people the freedom to express themselves with their individual unique qualities and giving them an environment where they can freely develop an innovative mindset and utilize their creative abilities to the full is the backbone of every successfull democracy.
In my home country South Africa the lights are literally going out in a collapsing economy and failing infra-structure because a ruling party has for the past decades replaced experienced and competent employees in key state industries and local governments with loyal party hacks or “cadres” who share the same ideology and party loyalty. The result: corruption, maladministration, and nepotism.
Autocratic or authoritarian systems stifle free speech. Those opposing the mainstream are villified, persecuted, and often killed. But on the long-term nothing can suffocate the human spirit and desire for free expression. Autocratic systems inevitably are doomed because nobody has the courage to tell the “emperor” the truth about what is happening on the battlefield or on the street. At some point all that has been suppressed boils over in an uprising or revolution.
The foundation of the democratic state is built on how we communicate with each other
The art of active listening is indeed becoming a rare art. How often have you caught yourself already formulating what you are going to say before the other person has even finished speaking? How often do we interrupt the other person before he or she has finished speaking? (A common trait by the way among marriage partners). How often are you drifting away from a conversation by breaking off eye contact and looking at “important” messages” on your cell phone?
At some educational institutions, it has become acceptable to shout down people expressing opposing viewpoints with so-called “political correctness” stifling healthy debate. On social media, there is little evidence of an exchange of ideas on controversial topics. It often evolves into slamming matches, bullying, and the exchange of personal insults.
On the one hand, we have become more connected than ever in human society but at the same time more disconnected.
Ancient Greece was abuzz with different ideas in energetic debate and conversation. Hundreds of people engaged and listened to different arguments in the marketplace and in the courts. People could cast their vote for what they perceived to be the best argument. In symposia and the theatre, there was a long debate and probing inquiry on fundamental questions of human existence.
Philosophers such as Socrates believed that through dialogue opinions could be tested and held accountable in the search for truth based on a rational mindset. Socratic dialogue is different from a discussion where two or more parties are trying to “win” an argument. Participants are engaged in active listening and effort in trying to understand each other’s different perspectives.
On a spiritual level universal intelligence, or God, has created diversity as a principle of creation. It is no coincidence that dynamic, and diverse cultures have also been most creative in the arts, music, technology, and medical breakthroughs.
But we seem to be at a crossroads where we have the choice of either falling back into stifling autocratic conformity or choosing a free, democratic society abuzz in creative discourse and creativity.