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Does Wisdom Bring Happiness (or Vice Versa)?:Robert Wright

Does Wisdom Bring Happiness (or Vice Versa)?:Robert Wright | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it

"The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts," said Marcus Aurelius. If he's right, the path to well-being is straightforward: Avoid low-quality thoughts!

 

Sadly, it's far from clear that he's right. Decades of research into the relationship between reasoning ability and well-being have failed to find a clear link. But now comes a ray of hope for high-quality thinkers--a study suggesting that Marcus Aurelius is right so long as you define "quality of thought" carefully. And the study comes with a good pedigree--it will be published in the prestigious Journal of Experimental Psychology and features the eminent psychologist Richard Nisbett among its co-authors.

 

What's correlated with well-being, say Nisbett, Igor Grossman, and three other authors, isn't reasoning ability in the abstract but rather "wise reasoning"--reasoning that is "pragmatic," helping us "navigate important challenges in social life."

 

So, for starters, how did the researchers measure wise reasoning? Subjects in this study read a series of accounts of social conflicts and Dear-Abby-like dilemmas and then, in oral interviews, were invited to discuss how the stories might unfold in the future. Their responses were rated along such dimensions as "considering the perspectives of people involved in the conflict," "recognizing uncertainty and the limits of knowledge," and "recognizing the importance of ... compromise between opposing viewpoints." These ratings were the basis for a "wise reasoning" score.

 

For each of the subjects a second score was calculated that was intended to measure well-being. Its components included reported satisfaction with their lives and with their social relationships and a tendency toward positive expression.

 

It turned out that the two scores were correlated: the wiser people were, the higher their well-being.

 

Three interesting wrinkles:

[1] The older you get, the stronger the correlation. Wise young adults didn't exhibit much higher well-being than unwise young adults, but wise senior citizens had considerably higher well-being than their unwise peers. (Compare the slopes of the lines in the graph above.) So if you're young, cultivating wisdom is mainly a long-term investment. (That's probably a weak sales pitch for wisdom, since young people aren't known for thinking long term. I'm tempted to say they lack the wisdom to seek wisdom, but that would mean departing from this study's definition of wisdom, so never mind.)

 

[2] A second age-related issue: Well-being increases with age, and so does wise reasoning. Is it possible that getting older increases well-being and wisdom independently--that the wisdom itself has no effect on well-being? After all, gray hair increases with age and so does joint stiffness, but gray hair doesn't cause joint stiffness.

Through a statistical technique that I don't claim to grasp, the authors conclude that the answer is mixed. Part of the increase in well-being associated with age is caused by growing wisdom, but part of the increase happens for some other reason. That is, wisdom, is a "partially mediating" variable between age and well-being.

 

[3] Another causality question: Leaving aside the age issue, how should we interpret the general correlation between wise reasoning and well-being? Assuming a causal link between these two variables, does the wisdom lead to the well-being or does the well-being lead to the wisdom?

 

The latter is certainly plausible. When I'm in a good mood, it's easier to consider the perspectives of other people, and easier to focus on compromise--two components of wisdom as defined here. And presumably if I were in a good mood more often--if I had an enduringly high sense of well-being--my ability to thus exercise wisdom would remain pretty high.

 

The authors consider this question and offer grounds for doubting that it's the well-being that causes the wisdom, but they concede that the issue isn't completely settled.

 

I'm guessing the answer is a little of both: Wisdom leads to well-being, and well-being paves the way for wisdom--and, in particular, for wise action, not just a capacity for wise reasoning.

 

If that's true, then you can imagine getting swept up in a virtuous circle: Acting wisely reduces conflict in your life and strengthens your social relationships, and this fosters a sense of well-being that makes it easier to act wisely, and so on. But there's also the vicious circle scenario--a downward spiral featuring growing unhappiness, commensurately unwise action, deeper unhappiness, and so on.

 

The virtuous circle scenario is certainly more appealing. And it sounds like it wouldn't be that hard. But I'm old enough to know better.

 

 


Via Jim Manske
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Barefoot Leadership
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Disrupting poverty: How Barefoot College is empowering women through peer-to-peer learning and technology (Wired UK)

Disrupting poverty: How Barefoot College is empowering women through peer-to-peer learning and technology (Wired UK) | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Charity needs a reboot, says Indian social innovator Sanjit “Bunker” Roy.
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Kindle eBook: hustle

Kindle eBook: hustle | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
A meditation on business and professional success, made-up with a carefully chosen selection of 133 meaningful quotes from a wide-range of leading thinkers, successful business people, creatives and industry experts in key areas: including Napoleon Hill, Marilyn Suttle, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Edward De Bono, Joe Pulizzi and many, many more.
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

Interesting read .....

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Why Successful People Have So Many Groups Of Friends

Why Successful People Have So Many Groups Of Friends | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
If you place yourself at the intersection of social groups, you'll have more ideas and more opportunities.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas, Deborah Millar , Peter Bryant
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

Love the drawing! 

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Theophilus's curator insight, March 27, 4:03 AM

I am wondering about the transferability of this analysis to different cultures.


niftyjock's curator insight, April 3, 10:27 PM

Nice visualisation.

 

I think its Sagittarius?? 

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, May 5, 2:58 AM

Networking and Collaboration places an individual strategically and this allows access to more ideas and opportunities

Rescooped by Professor Jill Jameson from Transformational Leadership
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An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories

An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories • Article The... http://t.co/14YvCsH9iR

Via Susan Bainbridge
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

An important critique of assumptions made about the efficacy of transformational and charismatic leadership. 

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Building an #authentic team & ecosystem with social @jeremyscrivens @kinshipe #fow

Building an #authentic team & ecosystem with social @jeremyscrivens @kinshipe #fow | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
How many managers are equipped to take the journey to new ways of working? @jeremyscrivens #leadership http://t.co/lOfGad2gJw
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

Inspiring to consider the potentials for development of a new ecosystem nurtured through collaborative leadership in an authentic community. 

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7 Time Management Strategies From Some Brilliant Teenage Prodigies

7 Time Management Strategies From Some Brilliant Teenage Prodigies | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
These busy scientists may only be 17, but their ability to manage their time efficiently has helped them win some major props. Here's how you too can...
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Time management strategies effectively demonstrated by young scientists - good to see.
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Leadership Unplugged: Stripping out the noise to uncover a new direction - Brian Solis

Leadership Unplugged: Stripping out the noise to uncover a new direction - Brian Solis | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Leadership Unplugged: Stripping out the noise to uncover a new direction http://t.co/lOSnGsyePv
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Roger Francis's curator insight, November 26, 2013 2:19 PM

Love the thinking behind this blog.

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Extraordinary Times Demands Extraordinary Leadership: René Carayol at TEDxPlainpalais

René reveals through breathtaking examples how culture superseeds vision and endures the most extraordinary situations. René Carayol, one of the world's lead...
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How to Break the Mold and Be an Independent Thinker

How to Break the Mold and Be an Independent Thinker | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Three tips to help you think independently and come up with creative solutions.

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
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donhornsby's curator insight, July 15, 2013 8:08 AM

(From the article): Take the bird's eye view. 


When you're trying to solve a problem, zoom out to see variables that others might overlook. "Thinking about the bigger picture takes you out of the familiar way of thinking about the problem," Markman says. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of solving this problem? What would happen if I succeed? And how can I find a solution that makes that outcome work?

For example, Thomas Edison saw that houses would need to be wired for electricity if people were going to buy lightbulbs. To send power over long distances, you need a high voltage bulb. Edison was the only inventor who realized this, so he was the one who made history.




Rob Duke's curator insight, August 14, 2013 2:50 PM

It's easy to say: "I don't make policy"; but, creativity can solve problems for people.  When I was a Chief, my unofficial mission statement was: you call, we come, problem solved.  This encouraged creativity and made it difficult to give the excuse that "I just follow orders."

Rob Duke's curator insight, August 14, 2013 2:52 PM

As mediators, we're hired not just to be the third side, nor to just facilitate the dispute in non-violent or other negatives ways; but, we're also there to help the disputants unlock their own potential to create joint solutions that empower parties (equalize power) and recognize the humanity in the other party's interests.  We should have giant toolboxes with many different types of tools.

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Enabling creativity in teams | Everything conne...

Enabling creativity in teams | Everything conne... | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
MTD's insight: Don't be fooled. Creativity is instinctive - but it can be nurtured, managed, modelled - and destroyed - by leadership.
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5 Things People Must Change About The Way They Lead

5 Things People Must Change About The Way They Lead | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Leadership is about sharing, giving – making those around you better. Leadership is about uniting and inspiring teams to optimally perform. Leadership is caring about a societal cause that the business can influence.
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Rescooped by Professor Jill Jameson from Sustainability & Employability
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Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: Sustainability and the Sacred

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: Sustainability and the Sacred | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
As our world stumbles to the brink of ecological collapse -- the "tipping point" of irreversible climate change -- sustainability has become a vital issue. But before we can respond we need to recognize what Earth we are trying ...

Via Sustainability_Greenwich
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Seven Productivity Myths, Debunked by Science (and Common Sense)

Seven Productivity Myths, Debunked by Science (and Common Sense) | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
The end goal of "productivity" is to spend less time doing the things you have to do so you have more time for the things you want to do.
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donhornsby's curator insight, February 1, 2013 8:17 AM

(From the article): Again, these productivity myths only scratch the surface of the ones we see and read posted by productivity blogs around the web every day. We're even guilty of some of them. Regardless, all it takes to debunk many of these is a little digging into the research behind each of these assertions, and looking at the actual conclusions of the studies instead of what others concluded based on the study. Like many things, productivity isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. It's highly individual, and every bit of advice you read—including ours—should be considered as such.

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Resilience: 1 Idea, 3 Facts, 5 Tips - CCL e-Newsletter June 2014

Resilience: 1 Idea, 3 Facts, 5 Tips - CCL e-Newsletter June 2014 | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from a difficult moment ... a rough day ... a big setback ... a life-changing hardship. What should leaders know about it?
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Lead at your best

Lead at your best | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it

Five simple exercises can help you recognize, and start to shift, the mindsets that limit your potential as a leader. 

 

As important as mindsets are, we often skip ahead to actions. We adopt behavior and expect it to stick through force of will. Sadly, it won’t if we haven’t changed the underlying attitudes and beliefs that drove the old behavior in the first place. Making matters worse, our behavior affects other people’s mindsets, which in turn affect their behavior.

 

A leader’s failure to recognize and shift mindsets can stall the change efforts of an entire organization. Indeed, because of the underlying power of a leader’s mindsets to guide an entire organization toward positive change, any effort to become better leaders should start with ourselves, by recognizing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that drive us.

Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

Mindset changes are so difficult to achieve, yet really worthwhile ...

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Connected Learning: Harnessing the Information Age to Make Learning More Powerful

Connected Learning: Harnessing the Information Age to Make Learning More Powerful | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it

This report introduces connected learning, a promising educational approach that uses digital media to engage students’ interests and instill deeper learning skills, such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. The report lists four elements constituting connected learning’s emphasis on bridging school, popular culture, home, and the community to create an environment in which students engage in and take responsibility for their learning.


Via Nik Peachey, Roger Francis, Adelina Silva, Peter Bryant
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

The emphasis on developing deeper learning skills in this is helpful. 

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dawsonloane's curator insight, April 7, 6:35 AM

This report focuses on school-age learners, but the emphasis on deeper learning skills, such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking is definitely applicable to professional development.

eLearningTV's curator insight, May 6, 1:38 AM

Learning is going to be connected and open in future.

Mo Ferguson's curator insight, May 21, 6:28 PM

Shared

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Top 10 TED Talks on Leadership | Transformation...

Top 10 TED Talks on Leadership | Transformation... | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
In many cases earning a PhD means becoming a leader in your field or profession. Here are 10 of the most popular TED Talks about leadership to help you do that well. 1.
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

Useful collection of TED talks on Leadership. 

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Leadership isn't an individual act; it's an ensemble performance

Leadership isn't an individual act; it's an ensemble performance | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Leaders can only lead in participation with others being led, so why do most business schools cling to notions of individualism?
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:
Collaborative team leadership as a highly social activity and 'ensemble' performance art in this example: time to question (again!) why heroic individualised leadership models continue to persist.
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Leadership... - YouTube

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter F. Drucker (Leadership... http://t.co/Xqq4bOAszo)
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

Interesting .... don't necessarily agree with all the examples provided, but there are some useful thoughts captured and Drucker's statement still is one of the best summaries of the difference between leadership and management. 

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The Neuroscience of Sleep: Great Leaders Know its Value

The Neuroscience of Sleep: Great Leaders Know its Value | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Adair Jones, a Brainwaves for Leaders staff writer, looks at the neuroscience of sleep and how even a quick siesta after lunch can build neurocapability, enhance productivity, and bring joy to the ...
Professor Jill Jameson's insight:

It is so easy for busy leaders and/or managers to neglect the simple art of sleeping, but increasingly the research evidence demonstrates how important it is!

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Pigeon politics: Leaders in flight differ from bosses on ground - Los Angeles Times

Pigeon politics: Leaders in flight differ from bosses on ground - Los Angeles Times | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Pigeon politics: Leaders in flight differ from bosses on ground
Los Angeles Times
Among mammals, socially dominant individuals often make decisions for the whole group.
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Leadership Strength and Vulnerability

Leadership Strength and Vulnerability | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
My first boss was a military man. He had grown up in a proud military family, some of whom had served in the Confederacy during the Civil War. When duty...
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John Michel's curator insight, June 8, 2013 4:28 PM

The role of leader is an important one. A leader has to be conscious of the impression he or she is making. First and foremost a leader has to be a positive role model of integrity. But there is a balance that has to be struck; people don’t want to be led by a leader who is performing in a role all the time. We want a leader to uphold ideals and values, but we also want a leader to be real.

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Management | 4 Business Networking - Entrepreneurs Network

The Seven Deadly Sins of Management | 4 Business Networking - Entrepreneurs Network | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Pride. Envy. Gluttony. Lust. Anger. Greed. Sloth. You either recognize these as the seven deadly sins or as themes for prime-time television. Nonetheless, you were probably taught as a child that these are bad and you shouldn't do them.
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Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud | Video on TED.com

Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other -- using resources and mentoring from the cloud.

Via John Shank
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John Shank's comment, February 28, 2013 3:13 PM
Thanks Vicky for the suggestion!
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Digital Aristotle: Thoughts on the Future of Education

Some thoughts on teachers, students and the Future of Education. If there's a bookish child in your life, you should get them a copy of The Way Things Work: ...


Via Annet Smith
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Sometimes Negative Feedback is Best

Sometimes Negative Feedback is Best | Barefoot Leadership | Scoop.it
Positive feedback is better for novices. Negative, for experts. (RT @ptarkkonen: RT @frielingbailey: Sometimes Negative Feedback is Best.
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