Continuous small treats

One of my favourite quotes comes from the late British novelist, Iris Murdoch:

“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”.

I agree with this. You may not: you may feel that many of us lead overly-indulgent lives, that we are too comfortable and complacent. I’m not talking about huge extravagances here though. Of course, it’s lovely to be given a fabulous present for your birthday but I don’t believe that’s what Iris Murdoch meant by ‘small’ and ‘continuous’: it could just be simple things like noticing what’s already around us:

Sunset in Pembrokeshire, May 2011

Or making the most of what is available to us:

Fresh figs from our garden with goat’s cheese

For me, part of the joy of treats is to give them, not just receive them. I think this applies in the workplace too. I work with people who buy cakes for the team (sometimes they even bake them themselves!); I’ve worked with others who give flowers to colleagues for no particular reason; I once had a boss who sent everyone home at lunchtime on Friday after a long hard week. I don’t think it needs to be a grand gesture to be appreciated.

In Scientific American, Maja Storch writes:

‘One extravagant annual company picnic does not create a healthy working environment; it takes many immediate, smaller happy moments to achieve this atmosphere. All employers should demonstrate to their employees that they care. Even if employers are focused only on the bottom line, for only minimal time and expense they can noticeably increase job satisfaction and, therefore, productivity.’

Storch eloquently makes the case for continuous small treats in her article. Whatever our role is, I believe that we can all contribute some ‘treat’ to our colleagues to contribute to a happy working life: do you?

Today’s pebble for you to contemplate:

What treat would you like to receive? What treat would you like to give?

I look forward to hearing about your treats!


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?

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2 Responses to Continuous small treats

  1. ursula says:

    Again you have struck the right note. I also enjoyed the Maja Storch article: thank you for bringing it to our attention.
    Note to self; even at the busiest times take time out to read this inspiring blog!


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