Wisdom from giants
It is very well known that pleasure stimulates the human brain. It’s a biological truth. So it is not surprising that people who love their job do excellent work. Here are a few quotes to support this theory.
- In Chinese philosophy: « Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life » (Confucius).
- In Greek philosophy: « Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work » (Aristotle).
- In business: « People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing » (Dale Carnegie).
- In politics: « Those whose work and pleasure are one are fortune’s favoured children » (Winston Churchill).
- In sports: « Just play. Have Fun. Enjoy the game. » (Michael Jordan).
- In science: “The most exciting phrase in science is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny!'” (Isaac Asimov).
- In entrepreneurship: « Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else. » (Richard Branson).
- In technology: « The only way to do great work is to love what you do. » (Steve Jobs).
- In science and industry : « I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun. » (Thomas Edison).
When such successful public figures make such statements, you should pay attention. Both Confucius and Aristotle have been giants in influencing both Eastern and Western societies. They both say the same thing. Dale Carnegie the motivational speaker had no relationship with Andrew Carnegie the emperor of American steel, but he had an extensive experience of the influence of behavior in business, industry and entrepreneurship. Winston Churchill hardly needs any introduction, and his quotes are an endless source of wisdom. Michael Jordan is a revered basketball champion and a source of inspiration for many young sport adepts. Isaac Asimov is a professor of biochemistry and an acclaimed science-fiction writer. Richard Branson is the eccentric founder of Virgin (Records, Cola and Airlines). Steve Jobs is the co-founder of Apple, who started out in a garage with a dream and a vision, and of Pixar, the most successful animation studio in the world. Thomas Edison did nothing less than inventing the light bulb. He’s famous for reportedly saying: « I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work ». We must admit that you need some kind of pleasure in what you do to suffer 10,000 failures before succeeding with your invention. It seems that there is a common thread between all those fellows. They all took pleasure in what they were trying to achieve, and ultimately, they succeeded. Mind you, we intend to do exactly the same.
How serious is serious?
Entrepreneurship, science, research, sports… All of this is difficult. In all of those fields, you will face unexpected challenges. Obstacles, problems. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone. So you have to have some kind of pleasure in the things you do in order to overcome the difficulties. You need a fun reward for all your hard work. Enthusiasm, optimism and pleasure at work are a fundamental element for success. Anyone who will preach the fact, with their words or their actions, that work should be boring, annoying, or a burden to carry, is failing to convince us. Anyone who pretends to be serious by not smiling and by talking in an unpleasant and boring manner is making a fool of himself right in front of us. This is not a persuasive show. We won’t buy their tickets! What we like, on the contrary, is the optimist who is having an exhilarating journey every minute of his work, and who will bury all troubles in a big wide smile. If there’s no joy around your work, then it’s not serious.
We could spend an article about pleasure and neurosciences, and what happens when your brain releases specific chemicals into your body. We could dive into the effects of endorphin, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin when they run into your bloodstream. Each one has its precise function. That’s a fascinating topic. That could be a subject for a future post. Body chemical rewards are a good, effective incentive to continue innovating, learning and doing great work. So why not take advantage of it? At least, not openly crusade against it. That would be a very stupid policy. Of course, if you’re a very big too-big-too-fail company, you could afford the clumsiness (or luxury) to frustrate your employees with no good reason or purpose, you’re not going to sink the company immediately, it will take time before anyone notices any damage. If you’re a government agency, it’s even better, you can never go broke. So you could theoretically frustrate everybody and still be promoted into a high-ranking position (theoretically). On the contrary, if you’re a small company, you’re never going to play that game. You have too much to lose, and very quickly. So, you’re going to make an art of making everybody happy. You will do everything to make their heart sing. You’re going to favor and cherish behaviors that produce happy chemicals in the brains of your fellow colleagues and partners. And, if you’ve chosen your people well (hard-working and enthusiastic), you can bet on a virtuous circle.
A complex system
A rule of thumb for recruitment, company policy and long-term success
« Recruitment » commonly refers to the staff hired by the company. But recruitment really includes everyone who surrounds you: you recruit your staff, your partners, your investors, your clients… Everyone orbiting around you is a recruit, who was attracted to you in some way, and who is willing to stay there and engage with you. You can (and must) try to attract the ones you admire and respect. Try to earn them, and then try to keep them. Build your own galaxy and choose the stars in it. So, as a rule of thumb, and in order to nurture the aforementioned “pleasure at work”, here is the immigration policy for our galaxy. We love to work with people:
- Who are enthusiastic, with always a smile on their face.
- Who take pleasure and pride in their work.
- Who can share their pleasure in what they do, and transmit their contagious enthusiasm to others.
- Who can lift others up. Who bring others upwards, by their ideas, their vision, their attentions, and their encouragements.
- Who are satisfied with their life, who are fulfilled enough with their past achievements, and busy enough with their future ones to not be envious when they look at someone else’s success.
- Who are always amused to be different, and who welcome the craziness of others. Who do completely the opposite of what everyone tells them, but who always bring extraordinary results.
- Who love the company of all the above.
So, are you a new recruit yet?
Are you having fun in your work? Are you bored to death walking around your office like a zombie for the sole purpose of collecting your pay? Do you crave a merrier, more heartening environment? A little more excitement? A little more ambitious goal to conquer? A thrill? Call Stellar.