[VIDEO] Jean Vanier speaks on the Big Questions

When someone is loved, they are transformed, reveal to them they are beautiful. This does not happen if you’ve been humiliated and devalued. A really interesting talk ranging across many topics including the Holocaust, and everyday life: discover what it means to be a full human coming from vulnerable/fragile relationships.


[VIDEO] Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

Part of today’s Lent reading with Brian Draper “First, whenever we achieve success, we change the goalposts. (You hit your sales target, so you increase your sales target…) So it seems always out of reach. And when happiness lies on the far side of success, your brain never gets there.

But the main issue (as neuroscience now suggests) is that our brain works best the other way around: when we experience positivity in the present, we perform significantly better than if we’re “negative, neutral or stressed”. Intelligence rises, creativity rises, energy levels rise, when we’re assured and content to start with.”

drawing from Shawn Anchor, as summarised in this TED talk:

happiness-advantage small-changes


Is happiness as important as GDP?

Andrew Oswald considers recent moves in economics, famously the most dismal of sciences, to take the happiness and psychological health of the population as seriously as a country’s GDP

My subject – economics – is becoming cheerier. You may have noticed from the newspapers that there is significant interest in the issue of how to measure human “happiness”, and that the prime minister, David Cameron, has asked government statisticians and economists to stop focusing so intently on gross domestic product (roughly, a simple count of how rich a country is) and to start collecting persuasive measures of national well-being and happiness.

Cameron has set us a complicated task. But social scientists have recently been doing a great deal of research on the topic. In my judgement, we have been getting somewhere. This research was not driven by a concern for “impact” in today’s sense. It was spurred by intellectual questions about how humans are, rather than any practical desire to alter our world – although the results may do just that.

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Americans comment on UK Happiness Monitoring

So it’s official. Stiff-upper-lip-Brits have gone all touchy-feely. Today the Guardian Newspaper reported that “The UK government is poised to start measuring people’s psychological and environmental wellbeing, bidding to be among the first countries to officially monitor happiness.”

On this dull, dark afternoon in London, we UK-based Newsfeeders can’t imagine that the survey will find the Brits in the throes of estactic jubilation. While some nationalities run hot and cold, the Brits do tepid better than any other tribe; they seem to have the emotional constitution of a used tea bag.  You should see the way they flinch when we Americans end conversations with “have a nice day.” Of course, this equanimity proves useful in times of adversity; “Keep Calm and Carry On” was a motto that got the Brits through the Blitz and has reappeared during the current economic downturn. So why suddenly the obsession with happiness?

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