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Posts tagged "Happiness"

The Overachiever’s Ultimate Trophy

The Overachiever’s Ultimate Trophy

It may not come as a surprise to learn that Lesson 39 in Randy Paterson’s wonderful How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use is “Pursue Happiness Relentlessly”. According to Paterson, there’s no more reliable way to ensure your future discontent than by enshrining happiness as the purpose of life.

Actually, there’s one more reliable way to do so, and that’s to make happiness not simply a goal but an expectation. Which is what we do when we (mis)interpret Mr. Jefferson’s classic line about “the pursuit of happiness” as a guarantee rather than a right.

That’s a brief intro to one…

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Another Week Ends: Mandating Happiness, Facetuning Your Face, The Never-Ever Golden Age, and The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

Another Week Ends: Mandating Happiness, Facetuning Your Face, The Never-Ever Golden Age, and The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with psychologist and ‘experimental theologian’ Richard Beck, author of Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted.

1. The New Yorker asked last week whether or not you can mandate happiness? Looking specifically at workplaces—workplaces that are basing their strategy from positive psychology and “science of happiness” studies—the article describes that happiness (believe it or not, people!) triggers better personal relationships in the workplace, and thus higher productivity. What the studies do not show, though, is that that happiness cannot be…

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Another Week Ends: Ancient Riddles, Death by Treadmill, Buzzing Bees, Sad Smartypantses, Physical Dependence, the Rise of the Monotaskers, and How to Burn a Witch According to Radiohead

Another Week Ends: Ancient Riddles, Death by Treadmill, Buzzing Bees, Sad Smartypantses, Physical Dependence, the Rise of the Monotaskers, and How to Burn a Witch According to Radiohead

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with author/theologian John Newton.

1. Let’s start with this weird and beautiful story from The Washington Post: “The key to these ancient riddles may lie in a father’s love for his dead son.” For a hundred years, archaeologists have been trying to make sense of an extensive series of ancient Swedish runes which bear the dedication: “In memory of Vämod stand these runes. And Varinn wrote them, the father, in memory of his dead son.” Although many of the riddles that follow seem completely unrelated to this mysterious father/son…

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Studies Show…That Happiness Is a Waste of Time

Studies Show…That Happiness Is a Waste of Time

© sunlight cardigan CC-BY 2.0

For years, I lived with the nagging thought that my melancholy, pessimism, and cynicism were taking years off my life. I did not arrive at that conclusion based on research or conviction; I absorbed it from the assumption, endemic in American culture, that subjective positivity improves objective markers of healthfulness. Once my therapy regimen broke through the fog of clinical depression, I saw the difference between truly unhealthy behaviors and an intractable melancholy disposition. Even though I feel mentally healthier, will my lack of optimism or positive thinking kill me?

A recent study published in The…

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The Cost of Teenage Optimism

The Cost of Teenage Optimism

Here’s a timely one. Last week a major new study of happiness hit the web, courtesy of the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. The title of the report itself says it all, “More Happiness for Young People and Less for Mature Adults: Time-Period Differences in Subjective Wellbeing in the United States, 1972-2014”.

If you’ll recall, last year The Atlantic ran a major cover story on “The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis”,  theorizing that motorcycle purchases and Tuscan retreats coincide with the bottom point of the “U-Curve of Happiness”, AKA the phenomenon reported across countries, cultures and even species(!) of self-reported…

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The Agony of Getting Everything You Want

The Agony of Getting Everything You Want

Newly minted billionaire Markus Persson of Minecraft fame (if you don’t know what Minecraft is, ask any boy aged 8-12) is not happy. A series of tweets from early Saturday morning went as follows:

4:48am: The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance.

4:50am: Hanging out in ibiza with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I’ve never felt more isolated.

4:51am: In sweden, I will sit around and wait for my friends with jobs and families to have time to do shit,…

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From the Magazine: Heavy Loads in the Happy Workplace

From the Magazine: Heavy Loads in the Happy Workplace

Another look back at the Work and Play Issue. This one covering the history of happiness came from Ethan Richardson.  

“It wasn’t just about building a business. It was about building a lifestyle that was about delivering happiness to everyone, including ourselves.”

So says Tony Hsieh, internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and CEO of Zappos.com. Hsieh is the author of the bestseller Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose and has just spent the last three years on his most ambitious venture yet. It is called the Downtown Project, a redevelopment ‘Techtopia’ in the middle of downtown Las Vegas—a $350…

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Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay

Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay

1. First off, The Onion has been doing marvelous things lately. Their insight into the human condition is always surprising, especially their sense for all the pressures of social life, how ridiculous they are, and how strange is our reliance on them for identity. Cue Mothershould, their new web series on how to be a better Mom. Our frequent use of scorekeeping as a description of our obsession with metrics and comparison has found its best video example since King of Kong, below:

http://v.theonion.com/onionstudios/video/2782/640.mp4

2. In the dystopian scare department this week, Vicky Price of The Independent reviews a new book by William Davies called The Happiness Industry. Our unprecedented ability to…

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Reflections on America’s Happiest City

Reflections on America’s Happiest City

A few months ago, Charlottesville, VA was named the happiest city in America. As the happiest blogger in the happiest city, I feel like I should do some commenting.

In the original paper for the happiness study, the researchers are careful to note that they’re measuring only “self-reported” happiness, a qualifier lost in some of the news outlets which reported it. To oversimplify things, we could view one’s self-reported level of happiness as consisting of three factors: (1) happiness itself, (2) pressures to lie on the survey, and (3) self-deception about perceived happiness. Since the survey was anonymous and Sandford, Gloucestershire wasn’t…

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Midlife Crises and Expectation Gaps

Midlife Crises and Expectation Gaps

As suspected, the cover story for November’s Atlantic Monthly, Jonathan Rauch’s “The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis”, contains more than a handful of relevant tidbits. The article is concerned less with the particulars of sports cars and second marriages and more with the “U-Curve of Happiness”–the phenomenon reported across countries, cultures and even species(!) of self-reported wellbeing dipping significantly in one’s 40s, and rising in one’s 50s and 60s, often peaking during one’s 70s. Rauch makes a terrific guide through all the research and theorizing, along the way telling us his own story of mid-life discontent. There are plenty of things…

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Another Week Ends: Overrated Successes, Disappointing Babies, Nostalgia for Human Error, Impossible Repayment and Technocrat Baseball

Another Week Ends: Overrated Successes, Disappointing Babies, Nostalgia for Human Error, Impossible Repayment and Technocrat Baseball

1. William Deresiewicz’s clickbaity “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” draws in high-achievers and their parents to, well, pull the rug out from under them. Apologies for the lengthy quotes, but it’s very good, ht MB:

These enviable youngsters appear to be the winners in the race we have made of childhood. But the reality is very different, as I have witnessed in many of my own students and heard from the hundreds of young people whom I have spoken with on campuses or who have written to me over the last few years. Our system of elite education manufactures…

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Keeping a Quiet Heart at Seventy Miles an Hour

In Booth Tarkington’s 1915 novel The Turmoil, the character ‘Bibbs Sheridan’ suffers a nervous breakdown as a young man and is confined to a sanatorium. During this period he composes an essay entitled “Leisure”, from which the following (stunning) excerpt comes. A nice addendum to Will’s yesterday’s post about happiness:

“A man may keep a quiet heart at seventy miles an hour, but not if he is running the train. Nor is the habit of contemplation a useful quality in the stoker of a foundry furnace; it will not be found to recommend him to the approbation of his superiors. For a profession adapted solely to the pursuit of happiness in thinking, I would choose that of an invalid: his money is time and he may spend it on Olympus. It will not suffice to be an amateur invalid. To my way of thinking, the perfect practitioner must be to all outward purposes already dead if he is to begin the perfect enjoyment of life. His serenity must not be disturbed by rumors of recovery.