How to Achieve Happiness as a Grants Professional: Make Peace, Not War

From the ancient Greeks to the present, we have debated the meaning of happiness.  Today, there is a renewed interest in this subject from economists, political scientists, and psychologists.  What makes people happy, and how might grants professionals achieve a feeling of well-being inside and outside the workplace?

If social capital and not income or commodities is the most important source of happiness and life satisfaction for grants professionals, then I think we need to re-examine the way we work and live.

About 70 percent of our feelings of hap­piness are based on the quality of our social relationships with families, friends, neigh­bors, and co-workers. This is the single most important conclusion about the connection between social relationships and a sense of satisfaction and well-being.

The people who rate themselves the happiest believe in sharing, belong­ing, and giving of themselves to oth­ers. Be kind and gener­ous at work, and you will increase your social capital.

The states with the highest social capi­tal in the United States have the lowest rates of crime, violence, and delinquency. In one survey, re­spondents were asked if they would “do bet­ter than average in a fist fight.”

Nearly half of residents in Louisiana, West Virginia, and New Mexico – states with some of the low­est social capital in the country – agreed with that statement compared to less than a third of the residents of South Dakota, Maine, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Ne­braska, which are among the states with the highest social capital.

Wherever social capital is high, so are mutual trust, cooperation, and altruism. As a result, there is less violence and crime.

If you want to sustain strong social bonds at work, be co­operative, collaborative, and promote rec­onciliation. This will increase your sense of well-being along with those around you. You may achieve your career goals by being adversarial and highly competitive, but only at the cost of poor social relations, which will decrease ev­eryone’s happiness, including your own.

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