Perfection is all around us. Just look at the sky. Can one say that the patterns the clouds make or the arrangement of the stars in the sky is not perfect?
We are the peak of all life ever to have existed in the universe. At least to our knowledge. We have subjugated most of nature to our whims and have dominion over all the lands. We have changed our environments to suit our precise needs: we can have French croissants with fresh strawberry jam for breakfast, Moroccan Tajine for lunch, and Mexican Burritos for dinner with wine from any number of global locations.
We have successfully organised ourselves to collaborate with millions of others to bring healthcare, security, and instant light and heat to our fingertips.
Why then is there so much dissatisfaction?
Human suffering is all around us too. In fact, to be precise, the suffering that human’s cause is all around us. Not only do we hurt each other and ourselves, but the carnage we create on the animal kingdom is unprecedented in earth’s history.
More of us kill ourselves through suicide each year than all of those killed by war or violent crime put together. (Source: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari).
Why then do we behave so poorly and are so unhappy when we have so much perfection all around us and so much power of our own world?
This is not a new phenomenon, as Shakespeare (Hamlet) said:
“What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel, In apprehension how like a god, The beauty of the world, The paragon of animals. And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seem to say so.”
Is the progress we make creating happiness? Are the changes we are making to organisations inviting staff to be happier? What is the point of all this work, progress, and change, if not to bring happiness?
It turns out happiness is a state of mind.
Our behaviour changes when we change our internal state. Without changing that, we are moving deck chairs on the Titanic.
We are capable of being happy with what we have. I have found in my personal exploration of happiness, that it is not the constant change, or the gaining of new things, that makes me happier, it is in the remembering to be thankful for what I have now.
Being thankful for what we have now creates a state of bliss that allows us to see the perfection of the now. Without this, all the change we create is pointless.
Think of this when working with people in your organisation as part of ‘transformation’. Is the real transformation happening on the outside or the inside?