If we ask what are the domains through which human beings achieve deep satisfactions in life — achieve happiness — the answer is that there are just four: family, vocation, community, and faith. ~ Charles Murray
Keeping a contract manufacturing business like Evaero running while setting a high bar for doing the right thing isn’t easy. I know I’m not alone – I’ve met plenty of small business owners who struggle with the same. The fact is, keeping any small business alive while doing the right thing ain’t easy.
Which begs the question: Why not do something else? This has been posed at my dinner table on more than a few occasions – perhaps more frequently, since I recently had to essentially remove myself from payroll so we could invest in a new program that we hope will go into production next year.
But here too, I doubt I’m alone.
I’m sure plenty of you are in much more challenging circumstances than I. You get up every morning, day-in-day-out, so you can put food on the table and make a better life for your family. Occasionally you find yourself coming home after a crappy day/week/month/year at work wondering: There has got to be an easier way.
Now if you really want to know the answer to that question I’m sure it won’t be too hard to find some folks who will gladly take your money in an exchange for some tips. But, if happiness is your goal I think it’s worthwhile to pay attention to what Charles Murray, the author of the book Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 has to say.
Drawing on Aristotle’s view of happiness Murray argues that:
Happiness consists of lasting and justified satisfaction with life as a whole.
And how does one become deeply satisfied with your life? Fame? Money? Status?
I have had the fortune to meet many people who are happy in their old age and, regardless of how much money they have, their race, gender, or where they come from, I agree with Murray’s assessment.
The kinds of accomplishments that lead to satisfaction have three things in common:
- The source of satisfaction involved something important.
- The source of satisfaction involved effort, probably over an extended period of time.
- The source of satisfaction required personal responsibility over the outcome.
Reflect on this list, and you now have my answer for why I keep at it despite the low margins, market pressures, and problems. It’s also by the way, why I empower my employees to make decisions and ask that they be as committed to Evaero’s mission as I am. For in the end, I want them to be able look back on their time here as a source of satisfaction that will hopefully contribute to their happiness.
The road may be long friends, but it’s good to be alive today and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And if work isn’t doing it for you, consider the list above in the context of your family, your community, your faith, or a cause. And if you cannot do it for yourself, do it for those around you because the world needs each of you.
On that note, here is Michael Franti & Spearhead with their song of the same name. It appears on their awesome new release Soulrocker and now…it also appears on our ever expanding Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ Spotify playlist (thanks for all the recommendations!).
Video not displaying properly? Click here.