Many WSO posts speak indirectly to the idea of happiness, or the absence thereof. Is it possible to find a work-life balance when you are pulling 60-80 hour work weeks, and engaging in hand-to-hand combat inside and outside the organization? Who hasn't walked on hot coals?
TRIP TO ST. LOUIS
The other weekend I stumbled upon a happiness lecture, as part of a "One Day University" course, held this particular day in St. Louis. The instructor, Catherine Sanderson, is a psych professor at Amherst college, my alma mater's arch rival. Here are a few highlights.
MARTHA WASHINGTON -- DISPOSITION MATTERS!
While this is an age-old subject, Catherine had me thinking about that elusive human condition in some new ways, and reminded me with a great Martha Washington quote that "a good part of happiness depends on our dispositions vs. circumstances..."
MANDELA -- KEEP YOUR HEAD POINTED TOWARD THE SUN
Nelson Mandela, who spent a good part of his adult years in prison -- 27 years of political imprisonment -- taught that being an optimist really helps. And part of being an optimist is "..keeping one's head, pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward." It's the power to adapt. Resiliency. Plus effort. Those are powerful human qualities that can combine to drive us forward in the face of adversity and uncertain winds of change.
HAPPINESS GETS EASIER AS WE GET OLDER!
The good news is the older we get, studies show the greater the probability that our happiness will increase (adverse selection may be a factor?). Studies show you just need to get to your 50s (child rearing can be stressful but incredible rewarding...speaking from a father w/two great teenagers and an -ex who excels in stress) and happiness as a whole begins to increase and continues to increase through our 70s and 80s. If we are lucky enough to get there!
BEHAVIORS THAT PROMOTE HAPPINESS
Here's Catherine's top 10 list, strategies for behaviors that help promote happiness.
You can visit her website at sandersonspeaking.com to learn more OR see the attached PPT. She has a new book, "The Positive Shift," coming out soon.
- Change behaviors: sleep, exercise, time outside, meditate
- Find Your Passion - Warren Buffett tap dances to work.
- Keep a Journal
- Make a Gratitude Visit - Visit someone in Need or who Helped you
- Smile - people who smile live longer (might be correlation vs. causation!)
- Perform Random Acts of Kindness
- Spend $ on Experiences vs. Stuff
- Avoid Comparisons - (Charlie Munger says Envy is the worst of the 7 deadly sins b/c there's no upside!)
- Build & Maintain Close Relationships
What are your thoughts and strategies for keeping a positive outlook on life? Fire away! Ha!