Drive + Joy = Productivity

Sure, hard work gets things done. It takes drive, inspiration, and commitment to fuel hard work. But hard work alone cannot generate continuous, sustainable results. It takes a magic ingredient and one far too many large corporations fail to mix into the recipe: joy. Employees need to be happy, and you need to be happy to succeed. If a job is a constant influx of hell and bad tempers, people will burn out and crash.

It is not the employee’s responsibility to find or build that joy. In fact, most workers are too afraid to have fun in the office – like children kicking a ball around indoors, they are afraid they’ll get in trouble. It is the responsibility of the boss and the managers to enable an environment of fun and happiness. Not scheduled, forced happiness like luncheons or copy-room birthday parties. I’m talking arbitrary, unrestrained fun. Random field trips, marshmallow fights, grill days, action figure theft, whatever.

We purchased nerf guns for the office. Random shootouts happen daily now. I see endorphins flowing and smiles forming again. You’ll never know when you’ll get four inches of cold styrofoam to the skull. And I’ve gotten more done on one war day this week than all of the truce days combined.

Shape a culture in your office that enables and promotes joy. You can measure the results.

Pretend to Have a Good Day

If you’re having a bad day, lie to people and tell them you’re having a great one. Make a joke about it. Pretend like you are having the best day of your life. Frame a smile on your face. Laugh. Make fun.

Before you know it, you’ll be having a great day.

It’s all about attitude.

A New Form of Independence

First page of Constitution of the United States

Thomas Jefferson swore “upon the altar of god eternal hostility against any form of tyranny over the mind of man.” The United States of America was formed against the tyranny of dictatorship, a dictatorship that ruled over life, thought, and the soul. We celebrate our Independence from that dictatorship today.

Two hundred and thirty-five years later, we face a new form of tyranny — one less obvious and far more dangerous than the kings of old. Those tyrants ruled with pain and fear. We knew who they were and hated them for it. Today’s tyrants rule with something far more deceptive, manipulative, and resourceful: money. We have all been sold on the value of profiteering by our teachers, parents, media, and leaders who define success by the dollar. We have been raised with the drive for wealth. Money clouds our minds. Greed, our sin; the masters of Greed, our tyrants. And we are only making it worse.

As organized now, few (if any) businesses are democratic. Corporate structure is not unlike an Empire of old: a company’s Founder and/or CEO, its king; the Board of Directors and Executive Officers, its appointed officials; the Shareholders, aristocratic citizens with stake but marginal influence; and employees, the ruled. In this model, citizens do not have the power. Individuals hired into a company have little say in its operation, for fear of being fired; they are predominantly slaves to the will of the Owners.

We are servants, and they are our kings. We buy their products. We work for them to put food on our table. We hustle soulless moderate-wage jobs to cover health, rent, insurance, college loans, and car payments. We are dependent on corporations, so much so that our government twists our tax revenue to bail them out in time of need. And we do nothing to organize against them. Unions barely scratch the surface and have lost traction. Businesses continue to accumulate wealth and are now more powerful than ever before. Profits are going up while jobs and salaries are going down. Large corporations, wealthy elite, and corporatist officials are stockpiling cash to muscle, bribe, and buy us into their profit margins. Money dictates our electoral process. Personal and public debt is higher than ever. Millions of Americans and their freedoms are trapped in a ruthless money game.

Capitalism itself cannot be condemned because it is a free person’s right. And it shall not be blamed. But like all rights, the freedom to economize can be abused. It has been abused. Some organizations, namely conglomerates and banks, have become more powerful than the governments they are legally filed under. In 1999, the United States empowered commercial banks by allowing them investment banking privileges and stake over corporations. Many governments, including our own, are now indebted to, and therefore leveraged by, financial institutions here and abroad. World power now lies in the hands of those with capital wealth and to whom others are indebted. And we gave them that power: corporations are recognized by our laws as living entities with individuality. Unlike real human beings, however, we recognize companies as immortal. Businesses have been granted deity status under our laws. We write about, study, subscribe to, and praise them like prophets. Conglomerates are now our Gods.

Money is not holy, nor is it human. We cannot revere it above the human spirit. Greed now rules over the mind of man, and it must be defeated. However, declaring independence from greed will not be as easy as sailing to a new continent and bleeding the enemy dry. It will take a revolution. It will take an aggressive and confident democratic mass movement against corporatism.

The battle should not be between left and right, for that is a political cage match staged by elitists looking to turn a profit on the cultural war effort. No, the battle should be between corporatists and anticorporatists. Between the greedy and the charitable. Between profiteers and humanitarians. We can experience radical human progress in our lifetimes if we look past regressive profitability cycles to make more human investments. Our civilization could “go green” if natural resource and vehicle companies stop holding back in an effort to perpetuate profits. Our civilization could visit other worlds if investors looked past whether interstellar travel was a “good investment.”  Our civilization could cure countless diseases and save millions of lives if pharmaceutical companies shake their unfounded fear of putting themselves out of the drug business. Our civilization could do so much more if greed wasn’t tugging the reins.

We must wake from denial and the status quo and stand up to established powers. We must respect ourselves and each other. We must not rely on elected officials, for legislative processes are too slow and cumbersome for meaningful change. We must protect and better-educate our impressionable youth. We must reorganize our economy to respect different kinds of intelligence and education. We must empower leaders and businesses organized for efficient democratic progress. We must not lecture our friends, but instead inspire them to stand up to their jobs and their bosses. We must see the dollar as the enemy and look past our own checkbooks. And we must support each other in brotherhood and community.

Let us band together and see to it that our freedom survives through the night.

We are America. We are free. Happy Independence Day.

Buying Happiness (versus Giving Happiness)

When we were young, people rewarded us for accomplishments. Candy for chores, toys for good grades, etc. As we got older, we came to understand rewards as a part of transactions. I do for you, you do for me. Even on birthdays, gifts have lost much of their appeal because we essentially expect them (or, at least, we’re not at all surprised). And as we start earning and spending our own money, the things we “reward” ourselves with do not satisfy the same level of appeal as, say, winning the lottery by accident.

It is extremely difficult to find joy in something you expect. If you think you deserve it, there is little room for appreciation. And if you know it should be coming, there is little room for surprise. Pure joy lies in the moments in life where fortune smiles down on us and we have no idea why. Therefore, happiness comes from giving and receiving gifts. Receive something unexpectedly or surprise another with a moment of joy, and you will feel great. Spontaneity is key. Transactions are not gifts, so taking a paycheck for work and buying a fancy new toy for yourself is not happiness. You cannot buy your own happiness in this way.

Give a gift today for no reason. Watch what happens.

The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Spread Joy

President Lincoln said, “Folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Now, I know everyone isn’t an optimist. We all have bad days. But there is one thing you can do to make a difference, to change it up, and warm the day…

Smile 🙂

You’ve got a face. Use it! A smile can brighten a person’s day. Everyone wants to be happy, so help them out. They will probably return the favor.

Find it within to muster a real, heartwarming smile. If you can’t find a reason to smile, force yourself to smile anyway. The other person may be able to return the favor with a genuine one instead. Like a yawn, a real smile is contagious. One smile becomes two, two becomes more. Happiness abounds!

Spread the joy. Start with a smile.