Sometimes it takes going against the prevailing trend to get somewhere. That sounds like hard work, not wellbeing. Yet, I believe the truth is that during any given day most of us have an idea, no matter how big or small, that actually suits us well personally but that doesn’t fit the way that other people seem to be doing things. Who hasn’t sat in a seminar room and abstained from asking a question because they thought it would be just too bohemian?
I recently spoke with the Managing Director of a Danish company which said “no” to the financial crisis when things became too unbearable in January(read the full interview which is going up today under Nordic Highlights at www.nordicwellbeing.com). Sound absurd? They not only announced this position as a part of their company policy, they also handed out stickers with smiley faces delivering the same message to anyone who wanted one. How many people were instantly attracted to this idea? Only the world’s leading media and 11,000 people on Facebook. The result doesn’t seem to have been a mass of instant contracts (not the intention according to this company), rather happy and proud employees.
So, Lucy and I charged out for our daily walk in the park yesterday determined to do things differently. We walked our usual path in the reverse. Nothing seemed to be happening for us. As we were approaching the small cottage with the fenced-in yard we noticed that the place wasn’t empty as usual. 10 exhilarated children under the age of five raced about in water-proofs in primary colors. A dagmamma (day care mother) applied a bandaid here, emptied a water-drenched rubber boot there and, amid all of this, attended to a gigantic grey sow attached to the fence at the end of a very long line. The voluptuous sow whose belly brushed the ground, snorted an unsatisfied sort of snort. The dagmamma responded with her one free hand by patting her on the head lovingly and comforting her with the words, “there, there, I know you want to participate”.
I couldn’t help asking whether the sow was hers. “Yes,” she said with a loving twinkle in her eye, “she’s mine and I just cannot leave her at home alone everyday”. As I walked away I realized that this woman had added a truly new dimension to combining home and career. I could hear her laughing, the children screaming and giggling and the sow snorting all the way home. There you go. Doing things differently isn’t always just work – it can be wellbeing.