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What’s Worth Chasing: Happiness Now or Happiness Later?

Seek out activities that activate both senses of wellbeing. Hedonic wellbeing – pursuing what feels good now and avoiding any form of pain or discomfort –operates on a fairly primitive dial: an activity either makes you feel good on a moment-to-moment basis or it doesn’t.

Laura Entis

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Happiness is difficult to define because it means so many things at once. It can describe the moment, after a long day, when you kick off your shoes and curl up on the couch with a bowl of ice cream, but it’s just as good a word for the overarching satisfaction that comes from living a life that is at once challenging and rewarding.

Because it applies to a range of moments, experiences and feelings, from the tiny to the momentous, pursuing it successfully is a complicated exercise. Yet it’s a vital one. “We all share the same wish and desire to live a life full of wellbeing,” says Richard Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain (Hodder, 2013).

But where to start? Is chasing hedonic wellbeing – that instant surge of positive emotion we feel when we sit back on the coach with a big bowl of ice cream – a good strategy? Is the solution simply to increase our couch/ice-cream time?

Of course not. Most people accept that true happiness is more than a string of moment-to-moment pleasures—instead, it’s probably better described as a more constant state of “fulfillment” or “contentedness.”

This brings us to “eudaimonic wellbeing,” the fancy Greek term for happiness derived from the pursuit of a larger life purpose. Activities like volunteering, building a career or parenting often contribute to this type of wellbeing – while they rarely provide instant gratification (and can be stressful and challenging on a moment-to-moment, day-to-day basis) they help us feel connected, productive and purposeful on a long-term scale.

Related: (Video) Pursuing Happiness

It turns out, like most things in life, happiness is a balancing act. “Sometimes we’re successful at pursuing long term goals, and other times, we give into moment to moment appeal,” says Michael Steger, a psychology professor at Colorado State and co-author of Designing Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Fortunately, according to Davidson, it’s also a skill that can be mastered. “We can practice certain mental habits that lead to enduring happiness, [such as] changing our relationship to emotionally significant events, so that we don’t run away from the negative challenges and crave the positive incentives,” he says.

“That’s something all of our research indicates can be learned.”

To bring yourself closer to happiness, try some of these strategies:

Eudaimonic wellbeing, on the other hand, often requires that we endure what’s uncomfortable (the pain we feel as we train for a marathon, say) or sacrifice instant gratification (passing on dessert) in pursuit of a greater good or goal.

Luckily, certain activities can activate both senses of wellbeing at once. “A lot of what we do is pretty blended between the two,” Steger says, and gives the example of working in an emergency room. Clearly, it’s easy to see how that could fulfill a sense of greater good and purpose, but for some people, it also feels good in the moment.

Related: Why Happiness is Your Secret to Productivity

 

These are the types of activities we should actively seek out and if possible, shape into a profession. In other words, don’t pursue a career just because the end goal is fulfilling and rewarding.

To some extent, you need to enjoy the process: “That will help you when you run into challenges and stay motivated,” says Steger. “If you are pursuing a career that allows you to contribute to your family and community but you hate every minute of it, that’s going to be hard to sustain.”

Get curious. “One of our strongest motivators as humans is the desire to avoid situations that we think are going to be unpleasant; it’s powerfully reinforcing behaviour – you feel good because you reduce your anxiety, and in the short term that makes things easier,” Steger says.

Unfortunately, that impacts our eudaimonic wellbeing; shutting out everything that makes us nervous, uncomfortable or anxious limits the scope of our world to a suffocating degree.

“In the short term [avoiding discomfort] feels fine. It significantly reduces anxiety. But in the long term, we fail to discover potentially awesome new sources of excitement, enthusiasm and inspiration; we don’t meet new people. If all we do is avoid what is too hard, we end up leading restricted, uninspiring lives,” Steger says.

Ouch.

So how can we break the cycle? According to Steger, the best antidote is curiosity, anxiety’s productive cousin. The desire to learn more can be a strong enough motivator to push us past any initial feelings of discomfort that accompany the unfamiliar.

So cultivate your inner inquisitiveness, recommends Steger. When you have a question about something or someone, pursue it even if it makes you momentarily uncomfortable.

Change your mindset. This relates to Steger’s previous point. Often, when placed outside our comfort zone, the tendency is to interpret obstacles as failures, which results in a swift retreat back to what’s safe and familiar. (Again: not great for long term wellbeing).

Related: The Pursuit Of Happiness

 

To disrupt this pattern, Steger recommends redefining obstacles as opportunities. “Remember that a lot of wisdom comes from struggle,” he says; instead of equating uncertainty with failure, recognize that not having all the answers can be a learning opportunity; often, it’s a marker of personal growth.

At the very least, it’s a sign that your life became less boring.

“My background is to try and understand what kinds of experiences make peoples’ lives feel meaningful,” says Steger. “And safety rarely comes up.”

Practice mindfulness. Davidson is a strong proponent of neuroplasticity, the belief that the brain is shaped by experience and training. We’re capable, he says, of creating happier brains by practicing meditation and mindfulness every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

“It’s extraordinary how little of one’s daily life is spent actually monitoring what’s going on in one’s own mind and body,” Davidson says. In his view, mindfulness is the best method for stopping the anxiety spiral that can result from a feverish focus on the future or the past.

It’s not about dismissing negative thoughts, he says, but changing your relationship with them so they don’t hijack or ensnare you.

Bottom line: Because life happens one moment at a time, pursuing any long term eudaimonic goal really only works if you also derive some energy from the pursuit itself, says Steger. Otherwise, no matter how important or noble the end-result, the process is simply too abstract to call happiness.

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Company Posts

Travel At The Touch Of A Button

The revolutionary Travelit app has been developed for the global marketplace to meet your business travel needs.

Tourvest

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Travelit has launched an easy-to-use mobile app that simplifies the trip approval process, provides a full trip itinerary and assists in management of travel expenses.

“The app is designed in South Africa, for the African and global marketplace,” says Wayne Muirhead Chief Sales Officer at Travelit. “We have developed the app locally with our own developers, and opted not to use a white labelling solution.”

The app interface enables the requirements of travellers, approvers, users, as well as finance and procurement role players to be met so each trip is seamlessly planned and executed.

Stress-free financial administration

“Expense management is an integral part of the complete travel cost; businesses want to understand their complete travel bill,” says Wayne. This is why the app incorporates features that facilitate:

  • Capturing of photographs of receipts real-time
  • Immediate allocation of expenses to the correct description
  • Uploading expenses for workflow approval
  • Attachment of an expense to a travel trip, or generating a non-travel related expense.

Simplified trip approval process

In addition, approvers’ features enable simple visibility into the trip’s cost and details:

  • Approval of booking requests
  • Trip confirmation once trip has been successfully approved
  • Managing alerts — approval notifications, pre-trip notification as well as travel notifications
  • Out of office activation for approvers.

Related: How Travelit Makes Travelling Affordable For Small Businesses

Trip management made easy

With Travelit’s new app, travellers have the ability to update, create new profiles directly from their phones and update and store all their information, including:

  • Updating of profile details
  • Personal information
  • Visas, passports, meal types, seating preferences
  • Loyalty programmes.

As a traveller, when you are travelling, you require information, updates and access to your travel documentation in real time. The Trip Manager function provides you with this through the following functions:

  • View current, pending and past trips
  • Trip itinerary information
  • View trips that are awaiting approval
  • View supplier vouchers
  • Locate properties via the Map option
  • Boarding passes are available
  • Real-time alerts to travellers.

Related: Save Up To 25% On Your Travel Costs

Happy travels

“We have done a soft launch with the app and offered it to strategic users and clients within our ecosystem,” says Wayne. These corporates have enjoyed the functions within the app, such as:

  • Real time information for the traveller (itineraries, vouchers, boarding passes)
  • Approval notifications and the approval capability
  • Notifications
  • Contact information for the consultants after-hours, and assistance
  • Access to the traveller profile to ensure their data is updated and correct
  • Check-in to the airline.

The Travelit app is available in the Google Play Store and iOS Store. Travelit will make monthly app releases by offering users ongoing functionality and features.

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Company Posts

Access To The Best In Travel Excellence

As a global company, business travel plays an important part in Hatch’s successful operation. Yolandi Coertze, facilities manager at Hatch, explains how switching to Travelit changed the way they travelled forever — for the better.

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Multinational engineering consultancy, Hatch requires a travel partner that provides easy access to its regional and international offices for meetings, conferences and client engagements. This is why Hatch chose Travelit, and has since experienced reliable and consistently superior service, says Yolandi Coertze, facilities manager.

“Travelit allows us to have the flexibility in terms of work sharing with global offices and makes it possible for us to attend to our client requirements in a professional and efficient manner.”

Here’s how partnering with Travelit has helped Hatch soar as a market leader.

What have Hatch’s biggest business travel challenges 
been to date?

Our biggest challenge has been to provide our travellers with an easy booking solution that gives them the best options available at a glance, in line with our travel policy for their travel arrangements, without taking up valuable time when booking their travel. In addition, managing cost against convenience and ease of travel is an ongoing challenge.

Why did you start using Travelit?

We were in the market for an online booking solution. Travelit made an impressive proposal by building the system around our specific needs and requirements. They incorporated our travel policy guidelines, while offering us an easy-to-use booking system which decreased our monthly expenditure. The platform also allows us to manage our travel more effectively.

Related: How Travelit Makes Travelling Affordable For Small Businesses

How has Travelit made doing business easier?

We have seen a big change in travel behaviour and travellers are more aware of unnecessary costs that can be avoided when booking travel. Travel booking time (once travel bookers became used to the system) has also decreased, which allows travel bookers to utilise the extra time 
more efficiently.

What benefits have you experienced as a Travelit client?

We have seen a big decrease in our missed savings, which means that our travellers are booking in line with our travel policy by utilising the parameters that have been set up in Travelit. Our contracts with certain suppliers are also maintained on the Travelit platform, which allows us to utilise the lowest rate to keep in line with our travel policy. The ease of booking online at any time when travel is required is an additional benefit. We have reduced our paperwork by being online, and uploading data into our accounting system has made the process simple and efficient.

Why would you recommend Travelit to other businesses?

Travelit is efficient in terms of booking travel, cost-effective and allows for flexibility where required.

What makes Travelit the best in the market?

  • Multi-leg international routings
  • Travel behaviour reports
  • Alternative solution to bill-backs
  • Tracked booking patterns
  • Accommodation feedback solution
  • Comprehensive fare calculator.

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Company Posts

Beyond Business Class

RwandAir, the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety – and it has one of the youngest fleets on the African continent.

RwandAir

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Vital Stats

RwandAir has just celebrated yet another big milestone as the airline continues to expand its network. “Our aim is to provide to our customers seamless and better connections on the continent and beyond. Abuja and Cape Town come in as a boost to the different economies in terms of tourism and trade on one hand and enhance bilateral partnership between our countries on the other,” beams Chance Ndagano, previous CEO of RwandAir.

RwandAir, an IATA member, recently renewed its IOSA certification and has been ISAGO and EASA certified. With a fleet of twelve aircraft, including two wide-body Airbus A330 acquired last year, the airline currently reaches out to 26 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Related: ‘Shark Tank’ Investors Reveal Top 5 Tips To Make Your Business Famous

Rapid African advancement

Launched in December 2002 as RwandAir Express, RwandAir is among the continent’s the fastest-growing airlines, despite its recent entry into the market. Since its first flight took off, RwandAir has boasted unsurpassed, safe and reliable service, operating from the city of Kigali.

The Rwandan airline aims to connect Rwanda with the world and vice versa. This goal is being achieved through its network that currently covers a number of cities throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. RwandAir’s most popular flight routes include flights from Johannesburg to Dubai, London and Mumbai.

A year of successes

Recently, RwandAir started flights from Kigali to Mumbai, London (Gatwick) and Brussels as well as Dakar from its new hub in Cotonou. The airline also introduced flights to Abidjan, Libreville and Brazzaville from its Cotonou hub. In May 2017 the airline started flying direct from Cape Town to Harare.

This year the airline will be introducing new routes to Addis, Tel Aviv, China and New York.

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