Overcoming Dissonance

In moving from an old-paradigm to a new-paradigm approach to life, and to work, you need to manage yourself differently.

Ask yourself, “What do I currently want from life, or from myself?” In other words, what is the objective of your self? The usual responses from managers to such questions are: wealth, health, power, success, happiness, family harmony, and satisfaction. The responses to the question “What is it that you usually get most of the time in your activity as a manager?” are usually: frustration, anger, problems, stress, satisfaction, and excitement.

While most managers maintain that they experience negative feelings for more than 50 percent of the time, some experience the opposite. Nevertheless, there seems to be a consensus that, irrespective of the actual ratio, they would like to reduce the negative experiences and enhance the positive ones. When we probed further with those managers who indicated that they wanted wealth, health, or power, we found that it was happiness or satisfaction that they were really seeking through these mediating factors. Moreover, ironically, as their responses indicated, their “satisfaction” had not increased despite their acquisition of more wealth or power. In other words, most managers, even the most successful ones, had less in the way of positive feelings of satisfaction than they wanted, despite their higher level of success.

Why should this be so? Why does “success” often not yield happiness, despite the fact ...

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