What if focusing on others helped create meaning for us.

The odds of being engaged in our work increase by 250% if we are doing meaningful work.

But for many of us the prospect of doing meaningful work feels like a long way off. According to Gallup only 20% of employees say that they did something meaningful in their work the previous day.

However, pursuing individual meaning, just like the pursuit of happiness, can sometimes backfire. And the reason may be that we are placing too much emphasis on our own meaning and purpose, rather than the meaning of others.

The small things in life really matter …

The Progress Principle, by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, studied the journals of 10,000 employees. They found that small, little wins had the biggest and most positive impact on an individual’s experience of meaning at work. Working as a customer service rep and taking a small action to make a customer smile is a win that makes a difference. Walking through a restaurant and seeing people enjoy the food they cooked for them can increase the experience of kitchen staff in a very positive way.

Tom Rath from Gallup says that we need to step back and think about how our work makes a difference to other people’s lives. And we need to use our natural talents and focus on what we’re interested in.

So when you are counting your blessings tonight, do something different: focus on the three things you did today that positively impacted another person.

And if you need more convincing: Personalisation delivers outcomes: researchers found that appending the photo of a patient to a radiologist’s file increased their diagnostic accuracy by 46%.

Let’s bring humanity back into our daily working lives.


true meaning