Want to be a Happier Proposal Professional? Be More Generous!

As businesspeople and proposal professionals, we are deluged with advice about how to be more efficient, more productive, more creative, and more successful at work. Much of this advice is useful, but when people are asked what they really want from their work, besides making a decent living, the #2 response is a simple one – they want to be happier.

Many proposal professionals admit that their work involves long hours, working at night and on weekends, and dealing with the pressure of looming deadlines and demanding supervisors – none of which is conducive to promoting happiness. But there is a very simple and direct way proposal professionals can become happier in general – be more generous, inside and outside of work.
In a recent book by Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson, The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose (2014), the authors review a great deal of research on the habits of happy people and come to these conclusions:

• Even after controlling for other factors, such as income, generous people on average are happier and healthier and had a greater sense of purpose than others.
• People who give more than 10% of their income to charitable causes are happier than those who give less.
•People who give more of their time in hours volunteered per month are happier than others.

Smith and Davidson conclude that there is a paradox in being more generous: the more you give of yourself, the more you receive in return. Generosity leads to “happiness, health, and purpose in life.”

However, the authors also note that only sustained generosity makes people happier. Volunteering once a year to donate blood does not seem to promote happiness. But when individuals make generosity a habit, they become happier.

Want to be happier as a proposal professional? Find ways to be more generous inside and outside of work on a regular basis. We do not know what makes people generous, but we do know that generous people are less self-absorbed, exhibit a greater sense of initiative, and express more gratitude than others. In other words, they are happier.

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