In the Happy Lawyer by Nancy Levit and Douglas Linder, they discuss the ingredients for a happy life in the law.
For a fulfilling career, we must satisfy three basic human needs:
- Competency – feeling capable while striving for mastery;
- Connection – belonging and feeling connected to others; and
- Autonomy – control over one’s life.
Levit and Douglas encourage lawyers to find work that they can love and commit to. “Commitment is central to a successful career” along with content variety, workplace-setting variety, and good colleagues.
They encourage lawyers to find work that aligns with their values and increase experiences of flow when working. Flow refers to the times when you are in the zone.
We generally experience moments of flow when we are working on tasks that challenge us, while being within our competencies.
Levit and Douglas also recommend that we avoid comparing our lives to others and instead focus on our internal goals. Humans are programmed to desire more and not to be content with what we have. We are not built to be infinitely happy.
So they recommend that we choose meaningful work, convince ourselves that our job is fun, and avoid comparisons.