Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Questioning for Happiness

We indulge in several activities during the day without a deliberate thought regarding the satisfaction we obtain from performing the particular task. Although Marshall Goldsmith recommends the use of Mojo Scorecard for rating important activities, he mentions two simple yet significant questions to be posed after the completion of any activity.

1. How much long-term benefit or meaning did I experience from this activity?
2. How much short-term satisfaction or happiness did I experience in this activity?

Once the practice of asking these two questions becomes a habit; as an obvious consequence you would start asking the questions, even before initiating an activity. You could imagine yourself in the future having completed the activity and addressing the two questions. You may thus find yourself avoiding a senseless TV program to perform an activity which brings you more satisfaction.

The knowledge that you will evaluate activities against these two simple questions will make you more mindful towards the activity and you will tend to build in and experience more happiness and meaning in each activity. There might be a meeting which is unavoidable but isn’t purposeful for you. Having asked the questions beforehand, you could prepare yourself to make the task more meaningful. You could read more beforehand and ask clarifying questions thus gaining more insight. You could even bring in tasks which could be completed during the duration. Of course, it would be prudent not to start typing in a mail, when the boss is speaking.


VSB said...

Applied to professional life the 'happiness questions' might remove a lot of mental cobwebs resulting in faster and smoother fructification of set goals. However, the similar questioning of day to day rountine may compound frustration and leave you supporting a permanent snarl.

elisa freschi said...

Further problem: what about activities we do when we are in a depressive mood? Something like eating a whole chocolate cake. We know we won't be happy with ourselves because of that, but we do it nonetheless, somehow *enjoying* the self-destructive moment. I guess that mindfulness may help reducing these moments, but I don't think it can cancel them altogether. Do you?

VS said...

VSB: The purpose is to remove the snarl and replace it with a benevolent smile.

Elisa: The answer to the two basic questions is very subjective. We have to make our own choices. Then it is about taking small steps. Who knows where they might lead. :o)