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Think Tank

Compassion is a Strength

The average American with a full-time job works 1,700 hours a year. That’s a lot of hours. Given how much time we spend with our co-workers, shouldn't we want to build happier relationships with them? If you value your time then learn to become happier at work by learning to value more those around you. Start by showing them greater compassion.

Unfortunately, compassion gets a bad rap, especially in the business world where the "rules" often seem to follow the law of the jungle. Sharon Salzberg, a Buddhist meditation expert and the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, wants to change that.  The author of Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, Salzberg talked to Big Think about redefining happiness. It’s not a big house, a sports car, and a high-powered job that makes people happy. Again and again, research has shown that our true happiness stems from the quality of our relationships, how connected we feel with others.

“We can redefine happiness so that it’s not just pleasure and endless pleasure seeking and being superficial and being like happy go lucky,” says Salzberg. “To having a deep, deep sense of resiliency and connection to a bigger picture. We would be a lot happier and success – our sense of what success is – would follow that.”

Part of deepening the bonds in our life and feeling connected to a greater purpose means living a life of compassion. If you feel as though your life has fallen short in the relationship department, try practicing greater compassion towards yourself and others. It’s a balancing act, says Salzberg. You don’t want to be too giving and then deplete the energy you need to make your own life thrive.

For more on how to strike this balance and why compassion is a strength that can lead you to greater happiness, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview with Salzberg:

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