Happy and contented
I’ve been reflecting about what makes people happy and contented.
Recently, after a lot of thought, consultation with coaches and self-reflection, my youngest son decided to quit the Nationals gymnastic squad. He has been training for over seven years, has competed in several National competitions and, at the time, was ranked number two in Canberra in his age category.
My wife and I were puzzled about why he would quit when at his best in this sport. So, we sat down with him to try and understand what led him to the decision.
My son said, ‘I quit because I don’t enjoy it anymore. In fact, I never really enjoyed it’.
My son explained how he’d stuck to the training because he was winning in competition, not because he loved the sport. He hoped by winning more he would eventually love the sport. However, that was not the case.
‘I hated the hours of training, but just didn’t want to let other gymnasts beat me and I didn’t want to disappoint you and the coaches’ he said.
I am so proud that my 12 year old felt he could have an honest and open conversation with my wife and me. This is a rarity. Many will continue to go on in denial of their true feelings.
I think there are career parallels. There are many people in the workforce who are great at what they do but are still not happy. Some might keep doing it anyway, others are likely to resign and move on to other things.
Being happy at what we do, whether it’s sport or career, is extremely important. It’s also not about how well we do things or how well we are being rewarded. Being able to perform better and be on top of our workplace is a process that can be learned through experience and coaching. However, happiness is an emotional state of mind and is often difficult to understand and control.
So the message is, do what makes you happy and contented. Don’t force yourself to search for material substance that may not bring you happiness. If you’re one of the lucky few who enjoy what you do and are good at it, you could be living your dream!
Kay Yang Loke is Parbery Principal. An accountant and auditor with over 25 years’ experience, Kah Yang has held senior leadership roles and he ran his own accounting professional practice. He has a strong interest in leadership and organisational improvement.