Dr. Emebet Mulugeta at TEDx

Dr. Emebet Mulugeta, Associate Professor at Addis Ababa University and Director of Nia, gave a speech at the TEDx Addis Ababa University, an independently organized TED event on October 3, 2015. The title of her speech was ‘Finding Contentment in What We Do – The Way Forward’.

In her speech Dr. Emebet explained that work is what most of us do most of the time, and that it is an important part of our lives. Therefore, she indicated, it is necessary that thinking about our work and actually doing it make us feel good, energetic and give us the sense that we are moving forward with meaning and purpose. She indicated that we need to be in a state where we look forward to working, that is, we need to find contentment in our work.

She discussed two situations in which we can find contentment in our work. The first was starting a job that makes us feel content and the other finding meaning in the work that we are currently engaged in. In the first case clarifying our vision, setting a concrete goal and looking for personal and social resources to set up the type of work that makes us feel joyful and move forward were mentioned to be the ways.

In the second case, she highlighted, we have to have a shift of perspective to make our work enjoyable, meaningful, to move us forward and become content. She outlined some of the considerations we need to take in order to find contentment as follows:

  • Finding meaning in our work, considering its contribution and impacts on lives;
  • Starting from a passion, love and the will to give;
  • Taking responsibility;
  • Prioritizing; and
  • Aiming for excellence and competing with ourselves.

Dr. Emebet also elaborated on the obstacles we can encounter in our journey of finding contentment in our work. However, she also talked about the resilient nature of human beings. She explained that we bounce back after going through crisis, trauma, and failure, and that both our body and sprits are resilient. In fact, she underlined, when we come back after going through challenges we mature, and develop more muscle to tackle further challenges.