• Karma means you get what you give
  • Break negative energy at work by starting behaviors that bring positive karma
  • One single positive behavior can start a chain of positivity that makes everyone happier
It's time for your lunch break and you were just thinking of making a quick dash outside to grab something that you can bring back and eat at your desk. You weren't even planning to spend more than five minutes there.

But just as you’re walking away from your desk, your boss comes by asking about the report that isn’t due until tomorrow.

And guess what?

It’s needed now.


So, you take the remaining little pride you have and walk back to your desk.

It’s at this point that you “forgot” to tell your asshole boss that his wife sent an important memo when she couldn't reach him which could lead to a lot of trouble at home.

Oh, and you also “forgot” to tell two of your asshole coworkers that a deadline was moved up and if they miss it, they’ll get slammed for it.

It seems that you also “forgot” to tell Brian the office backstabber, that he has some food stuck in his teeth as he hurries for a client meeting.

Yes, you think to yourself, “Why should you be the only one suffering? Let them suffer too!” right?


By perpetuating the negative vibe, you’re only making things worse. Imagine how your relationship could get ugly fast once your boss and coworkers realize that you knew something about their situations?

To understand this, you need to know what karma is.

What's Karma And How Does It Affect Your Work?

Merriam-Webster defines karma as the force generated by a person's actions considered to affect the events of one's life.

Karma has its roots in religion but you don't have to be religious to understand this simple logic: what you give is what you get.

Think of it as cause and effect. Deposits and withdrawals. That's simply what karma is.

So if you can think of karma as a cycle of behaviors, you can see how a negative work environment continues that way until someone breaks it.

This scene from How I Met Your Mother explains it quite eloquently.

VIDEO: HIMYM The Chain Of Screaming
YOUTUBE: Barnabus Stinson
LENGTH: 1:24
Summary points:
  • Shit always rolls downhill
  • Any circle or chain of screaming sucks
  • Venting with friends always helps
For example, let's say Brian, the backstabber, finds out about the food stuck in his teeth after the meeting. He recalls just how awkwardly the client was looking at him and immediately feels embarrassed.

Because of the kind of work environment where negativity rules, he began to blame this on everyone who may have seen him before his meeting including you.

Nobody cares much and some even laugh which pisses him off even more.

So he starts to do really annoying things like finishing the coffee without refilling it, microwaving his stinky fish and leaving the microwave open, spilling water and not cleaning up, etc.

In turn, your coworkers get annoyed and decide to get revenge; and your boss, who's been very edgy because his wife thought he ignored her memo, also starts taking it out on everyone.

It keeps getting worse and worse until a lot of people decide to leave the toxicity.

You feel like quitting but you can’t for a bunch of reasons.

So how do you make this work?

In the words of spirituality blogger, Lazy Yogi, "When it comes to working in an office, karmas are created when we learn how to do our job."

Let's see how this applies in practice.

How To Trigger Positive Karma At Work

If you look closely at the example cycle above, you'll understand that it could've taken just one person or group to break it.

If your boss decided to put his home issues aside and speak encouragingly to you and your teammates, it'd have boosted happiness and team morale.

If even Brian decided to put his embarrassment aside and look for someone else in an embarrassing situation to help, it would have built trust all around.

We understand that not all cycles are like this example, neither are they so straightforward and short. We also know that you don't need to wait for a cycle to start so that you can break it. You can simply start your own cycle.

So here are some ways to trigger positive office karma and get the cycle of happiness going.

1. Offer And Accept Compliments Graciously

We get it. It could be hard to tell someone they look good when we imagine their hearts as black as coal.

But that's a gross generalization and they may have been having a string of rough days at work or may have been feeling underappreciated.

A genuine compliment really encourages the receiver and signals that their effort is being recognized. So, be specific in your compliments, not general.

It doesn't have to be just about appearances though. It could be their work ethic, the project they just completed, their willingness to refill the coffee maker, etc.

There's an Ibo proverb that translates to, "If you praise a person for what he did, he'll do it again". Well, that's a great way to never have an empty coffee maker.

It's also a great way to boost your coworker's confidence and encourage them to keep the momentum going and kick ass at work which boosts productivity and the general success of the team.

You also need to be able to accept compliments graciously.

Don't say things like, “Oh, this ugly thing? Ha! I was meaning to throw it away.” Or “Ugh, I literally just rolled out of bed like this. I couldn't be looking that great” and so on.

This does absolutely nothing for your self-esteem. In fact, it butchers it.

On the other hand, not everyone would read this as insecurity and could take it as a signal that they shouldn't offer such compliments to you, or anybody at all, if it won't be appreciated.

2. Do One Random Act Of Kindness Every Day

What you learned at kindergarten was true: a little act of random kindness goes a long way.

Filling the coffeemaker, letting someone merge into the lane, cleaning random breakroom spills, celebrating small victories with your coworkers, reminding your boss of an appointment they forgot, holding the door for the next person and all the other things that may seem little actually start a cycle of positivity.

And believe it or not, this cycle does come back to you. Here’s a little 5-minute inspiration.

VIDEO: Kindness Boomerang
YOUTUBE: Life Vest Inside
LENGTH: 5:44
When you and your coworkers learn to appreciate this and start doing random acts of kindness, it creates an upward spiral of good vibes.

What starts as a small gesture will turn into a basis of friendship and trust and soon enough, the cycle turns into a full-blown happy circus at work.

3. Show Up For Your Coworkers

It's not just about wishing your coworker well on their most important presentation. Imagine going the extra mile to actually be there for them and cheer them on.

It has happened to us at many points in our lives, starting from childhood.

Remember when you messed up that presentation or play in elementary school but your family was there to hug you and tell you everything's okay?

Or when you won the science fair or baseball game in high school and those you loved were cheering the loudest?

As an adult, there'll be less time for your parents to cheer you on in person but you'll always need someone to cheer you on or just show up, kinda like a work BFF.

So why not be that person who does it for your coworkers. This act will definitely find its way back to you.

4. Talk Less And Listen More

Sometimes all we need is a good talk. So many people are going through so much stress and anxiety that all they need is someone to talk to without judgment.

Some don't even need advice, they just want to vent and unload all the bullshit.

And in this digital world, they rarely get a chance as we're all too busy with our phones.

So maybe you could strike a conversation with Becky who you've always seen around the office but never actually spoke to and you could find that she's doing everything she can to keep her job as she has many people depending on her.

The fact that someone simply just acknowledges her work and effort will go a long way in making her feel so much better.

5. Forgive

Well, yeah, this isn't always easy.

It isn't easy forgiving people who love to throw you under the bus or backstab or are just plain pain-in-the-ass coworkers.

But sometimes for you to break that cycle, you need to forgive and move on to the next phase of your life.

We're not saying you should ignore that this person has a tendency to inflict pain on others. No, it's important you know that so that you protect yourself.

We just mean that you should forgive that one time they did something to you because if you don't, you won't be able to move past that and build, at least, a workable relationship with them.

6. Offer Mentorship And Guidance

There are always people you feel are morons and bring the general output of the team and department down. It’s especially true when you have fucking clueless executives.

You and everyone else already label them as incompetent so you remove them from the loop. This brings resentment from them and starts a negative cycle.

Try to offer guidance or mentorship to these people. They could be genuinely struggling and too scared to reach out.

Once you do this, they'll always be grateful to you and will be in a better position to help others who in turn will help others and the cycle continues.

Not to mention, it'd be great confidence and team morale booster overall.

7. Respect And Appreciate Everyone Openly

Respect doesn't have to be ass-kissing. It has to do with appreciating people enough to understand they make mistakes and that doesn’t mean they're bad people.

It means that you give the same respect to people regardless of rank and title.

Imagine being disrespectful to the cleaning lady. We shudder to think about what she's been doing to the coffee.

We also mean that you treat yourself with respect. Don't beat yourself up for mistakes. You gotta quiet the asshole in your head and take back control.

Also, the measure of respect you give is what you receive. And if someone disrespects you out of the blue, there'll definitely be people who'll stand up for you because they know and respect you.

8. Start A Public Positive Karma Initiative

There are a bunch of ways that you can start a little revolution of positivity at work.

One popular idea is to create a gratitude wall.

Find an empty wall in a high-traffic area like the hallway or in the break room and put up a banner declaring that wall as a “Wall Of Gratitude”.

Start posting up little sticky notes of thanks under the banner. It’ll be slow at first but as you and others start posting up more sticky notes, it’ll gain more traction and popularity.

Another idea is to start or end a meeting with a few minutes of giving props to fellow coworkers. Whenever someone is publicly recognized for their efforts, it brings a huge rush of joy to them and it triggers them to do likewise to others later on.

Whatever you do, you gotta keep it going. Make sure it doesn't go stale, lose its spirit and become an edifice.

How Good Karma Breaks The Negativity And Makes You Happier

Okay, so you’ve gotten on the bandwagon with the concept of positive karma and maybe, you even put some of the ideas to use in your work life.

You've started the cycle and you're wondering how it really affects you?

Well, these are just a few aspects:

1. You Earn More Respect

This is really the first thing that happens. Once people see you as a positive and bright person who's always willing to show up for others and still do your work diligently, they'll respect you more.

They'll even go out of their way to do more than what you did for them since they know that you'd have done the same for them.

It really puts the shine on your personal brand at work.

It also breeds a general atmosphere of respect and appreciation in the office. 

2. It Makes People Reevaluate Their Behavior

Let's say you've started a positive cycle with Becky and Brian. It will usually lead to them putting in that effort to become better team players since they feel happy that someone went out of their way to do something nice for them.

You’re triggering happiness at the working levels.

Sometimes, they may not know when they do shitty things and once you let them know, they're prone to listen since you've been nothing but good to them.

3. Builds Meaningful Relationships

The level of trust that comes when people start positively impacting others sets the stage for the relationships that come out of that.

Sometimes people are just not your type and it's okay. You just need to reach a level of understanding with each other that this is what you expect from each other at work and this is how you expect to each be treated and you're bound to work well together.

You’re making real connections and bonding with coworkers in a way that really counts.

Maybe not be the best of friends, but definitely not enemies.

4. Saves You A Lot Of Stress

Starting a positive cycle saves you stress because there'll be a point where people know what's expected of them and do it well.

That new hire you mentored? They've become efficient with the excel report and saved you the stress of doing that.

The coworker who you listened to and let vent his frustrations to you? He cleaned up nicely and usually takes you and some colleagues out for lunch.

You boss? Has learned how to treat you all with respect based on the energy and effort you all put into it.

Less stress and more happiness to go around - that’s a perfect recipe for managing work stress like a champ.

5. Doesn't Bring You To Their Level

We understand that there will always be douchebags who will never change no matter the positive vibe. They're just straight up hardheaded assholes.

Being positive means you don't sink to their level. It doesn't turn you into what you're not and what they are just because you want revenge.

Remember this quote by Wayne Dyer, “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”

You’re taking the high road. You're the better person and you're happier for it.

You create your own happiness and nobody can take that away from you.

6. Makes You Happier

This goes without saying. When there's always a positive vibe at work, everyone's happy and excited to be at work. In fact, it ups the odds of more people getting in the zone with work because they want to kick ass.

Of course, there will always be challenges and obstacles. However, because of the positive vibes flowing throughout the organization, nobody’s bitching and complaining about it. Everyone’s working together to get it done.

And it’s this sense of teamwork and camaraderie along with making progress is what makes you and everyone else happier at work. Especially for you because the cycle always comes back to you and it makes your job more fulfilling and awesomer.

Let The Good Vibes Begin!

It's Tuesday and you're not in a great mood. You're also coffee-deprived so you head to the breakroom only to find the coffee pot empty - so much for office coffee etiquette.

But, you don’t let it sour your mood further.

You calmly brew more coffee for yourself and others. You make a conscious effort to improve your mood for the better.

You walk back to your desk and find the cutest sticky note that reads, "you're amazing and I wish you a beautiful day."

Then, you receive a nice email compliment from another coworker who you helped the other day.

You also get a friendly wave from another coworker and a short nod from your boss who has never acknowledged you before as they pass.

The tide has already started to turn in your favor - just like that.

And it’s all because you’re making a concerted effort to put out positive vibes and building oodles of good karma at the office.

This is going to be a great day no matter what!

Feel Better,

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