Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Interview with Lyubomirsky on "The Secrets to Happiness"

The Thinking and Behavior Patterns of Very Happy People

According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her excellent book, "The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want," very happy people tend to share the following characteristics:

"They devote a great amount of time to their families and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.

They are comfortable expressing gratititude for all they have.

They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby.

They practice optimism when imagining their futures.

They savor life's pleasures and try and live in the present moment.

They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.

They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values.)

Last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stresses, crises, and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in some circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the poise and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge."

While many of us don't naturally demonstrate all of these charactetistics, we can certainly work to cultivate them if we choose, and the investment in time and effort appears to be well worth it...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creativity, Work, Genuis, and Invitations

We are, each and everyone of us, creators. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention" asserts that creativity provides a central source of meaning in our lives. When we’re engaged in a creative act, whether it writing a poem or designing our garden, we are fully alive and caught up in the present moment. Csikszentmihalyi asserts, “Contrary to what we usually believe . . . the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times--although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile…Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives ... most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity... [and] when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”

Throughout our lives we are continually called to create - our relationships, our work, and our challenges in particular are essential invitations to creation which beckon us to stretch, to learn, and to grow. Where in your life are you most engaged in the process of creation, and what are you creating?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ray Anderson: A Wake up Call and a Message of Hope

Ray Anderson read Paul Hawkins' book, The Ecology of Commerce in the summer of 1994 and later shared that it was like an arrow shot into his heart. On a TED's Talk
he told the audience the following:

"In his book Paul charges business and industry as, one, the major culprit in causing the decline of the biosphere, and, two, the only institution that is large enough and pervasive enough, and powerful enough, to really lead humankind out of this mess. And by the way he convicted me as a plunderer of the earth..."

His talk is less than 16 minutes and is a nice illustration of how much we can accomplish when we decide to change course.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shawn Achor on "The Science of Happiness and Potential"

Shawn Achor began his studies on happiness as an undergrad student at Harvard and continues to teach there with rave reviews. During an interview with Stephanie Michele , Michele asked Achor what he thought was the biggest obstacle to an individual's happiness. Anchor responded, "It is the failure to believe that our behavior matters. To me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential (as a business person, family person, mother, friend, athlete, musician, etc.). We lose our happiness when we feel that we stagnate and do not grow. If a person does not believe their behavior matters, they are less likely to create positive habits, less likely to perform acts of kindness, and less likely to pull themselves through a challenge. If you think you don’t matter at work; you hate work. If you think you can’t get better at something; you stop trying. If you think you are unhappy and can’t change; then your brain is less likely to change. The key to happiness is to remember we can keep growing and taking responsible for our own behavior. How we respond to reality can change that reality."

I absolutely agree with him and highly recommened that you watch Achor's lecture on "The Science of Happiness and Potential." I have embeded part one of his lecture here but don't stop there, continue on with it.