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3 Quotes That Teach Us About Being Human-Leslie Ralph, Ph.D.

3 Quotes That Teach Us About Being Human-Leslie Ralph, Ph.D. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

I am a reforming perfectionist, reforming being the key word. Change in our relationships with ourselves is a process. It requires vulnerability, acceptance, and compassion.

 

I’ve gone through phases of comparing myself to others and discounting my own good qualities. I’ve experienced the restlessness that comes with never feeling good enough. I have developed my own love/hate relationship with control and certainty.

 

It has not always been easy to look at this part of myself. Any of us may have that place within that we would rather not see. We wish to hide it for fear of rejection and disconnection, or we may wish to deny it to avoid the discomfort that comes with acknowledgment. It is hard to see ourselves clearly from this position.  This is when the “good enoughs” and “shoulds” may be most persuasive.

We can become identified with our problems, emotions, and thoughts.

Long before I understood my relationship with myself, I was aware of the exceptions to these feelings. I enjoyed the brief moments of separation from my thoughts and judgments. In those moments, I could appreciate me.

 

Time with nature has always helped me find my center. An act as simple as sitting in the backyard could provide me with peace. Even while moving, I find that nature encourages stillness within.

The sky, stars, and trees have a great deal to teach us if we are ready to learn.

 

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” – PemaChodron

 

As I mentioned, any of us can become identified with problems, emotions, and thoughts. We can be attached to what was or what should be.  I’ve certainly been there.

 

The sky and its changing faces teach us about resilience and acceptance. The sky can teach us that most things in life are temporary.

We are not shattered by life’s obstacles any more than the sky is shattered by thunder and lightning. We are not washed away by tears any more than the sky is washed away by rain. Our emotions are no more permanent than the wind.

 

Even after the brightest days, the sky must also see the dark of night. We, too, must learn that both the good and bad shall pass.

Isn’t it liberating to know that are like the sky?

 

We can remain, stable and expansive, accepting of both the ups and downs in life. We can find peace, even in times of disorder. We can accept the present moment knowing that change is on its way.

“The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  

 

Sometimes, we overlook what is good. Positive events can be overshadowed by troubles. Close friendships may be invisible in times of conflict. Our own value seems to fade with comparison and competition.

 

The stars can be like this. Have you ever noticed what happens to the stars away from the bright city lights? They are luminous. They are everywhere.  It seems that they have just appeared, but the stars had really been there all along. They were just covered up.

 

Now ask yourself, when was the last time you actively noticed the stars? It can be easy go about our evenings and never look up. The stars are always there waiting to be revealed, but we must also remember to look for them.

 

In this way, the stars teach us about gratitude and self-compassion. They teach us that many good things have been there all along, even if we can’t see them.

 

It is important for us to first remember that like the stars, our strengths, close relationships, and positive moments are there even when they seem invisible. We must then remember to look. Appreciation is not always automatic, and kindness toward ourselves may not be routine. We can, however, learn.

 

What are your stars, and what may conceal them? What can you change to see them more clearly?

 

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

 

For me, perfectionism has everything to do with vulnerability. We may fear that allowing for imperfection will result in failure. We may perceive embracing our imperfections as giving up. We can tell ourselves that allowing someone else to really see us could lead to rejection.

 

The forest can teach us about vulnerability and relationships. Within the forest reside creatures, many of whom are hidden in dark spaces. There are shadows in the forest. There are trails to unknown destinations.

 

There are also clearings, brooks, and flowers in the forest. In the forest, one might hear birdsong or happen upon a majestic view.

 

We could avoid the forest to stay safe and avoid getting lost, but at what cost?

 

Like the darkness of a forest, we may all fear that secret place within ourselves that we see as unsafe, unknowable, and unlovable. We avoid looking altogether. We may disguise, suppress, and bury.

We might similarly resist vulnerability in relationships. We hold ourselves back and close ourselves off. We do this because allowing others in leaves us vulnerable.

 

As with the forest, entering that uncertain territory holds risks but also abundant rewards. When we stop hiding, we can truly know ourselves. When we are vulnerable with others, we can also find true connection. Only then can we reveal the good within us and appreciate the good in others.

 

For me, nature has allowed me to find a center and teaches me about my relationship with myself and others. What are your experiences with perfectionism, gratitude, compassion, and the like? Where do you find your center?

 

We can become identified with our problems, emotions, and thoughts.

Long before I understood my relationship with myself, I was aware of the exceptions to these feelings. I enjoyed the brief moments of separation from my thoughts and judgments. In those moments, I could appreciate me.

 

Time with nature has always helped me find my center. An act as simple as sitting in the backyard could provide me with peace. Even while moving, I find that nature encourages stillness within.

The sky, stars, and trees have a great deal to teach us if we are ready to learn.

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” – PemaChodron

 

As I mentioned, any of us can become identified with problems, emotions, and thoughts. We can be attached to what was or what should be.  I’ve certainly been there.

 

The sky and its changing faces teach us about resilience and acceptance. The sky can teach us that most things in life are temporary.

We are not shattered by life’s obstacles any more than the sky is shattered by thunder and lightning. We are not washed away by tears any more than the sky is washed away by rain. Our emotions are no more permanent than the wind.

Even after the brightest days, the sky must also see the dark of night. We, too, must learn that both the good and bad shall pass.

Isn’t it liberating to know that are like the sky?

We can remain, stable and expansive, accepting of both the ups and downs in life. We can find peace, even in times of disorder. We can accept the present moment knowing that change is on its way.

“The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  

Sometimes, we overlook what is good. Positive events can be overshadowed by troubles. Close friendships may be invisible in times of conflict. Our own value seems to fade with comparison and competition.

 

The stars can be like this. Have you ever noticed what happens to the stars away from the bright city lights? They are luminous. They are everywhere.  It seems that they have just appeared, but the stars had really been there all along. They were just covered up.

 

Now ask yourself, when was the last time you actively noticed the stars? It can be easy go about our evenings and never look up. The stars are always there waiting to be revealed, but we must also remember to look for them.

 

In this way, the stars teach us about gratitude and self-compassion. They teach us that many good things have been there all along, even if we can’t see them.

 

It is important for us to first remember that like the stars, our strengths, close relationships, and positive moments are there even when they seem invisible. We must then remember to look. Appreciation is not always automatic, and kindness toward ourselves may not be routine. We can, however, learn.

 

What are your stars, and what may conceal them? What can you change to see them more clearly?

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

For me, perfectionism has everything to do with vulnerability. We may fear that allowing for imperfection will result in failure. We may perceive embracing our imperfections as giving up. We can tell ourselves that allowing someone else to really see us could lead to rejection.

 

The forest can teach us about vulnerability and relationships. Within the forest reside creatures, many of whom are hidden in dark spaces. There are shadows in the forest. There are trails to unknown destinations.

There are also clearings, brooks, and flowers in the forest. In the forest, one might hear birdsong or happen upon a majestic view.

 

We could avoid the forest to stay safe and avoid getting lost, but at what cost?

 

Like the darkness of a forest, we may all fear that secret place within ourselves that we see as unsafe, unknowable, and unlovable. We avoid looking altogether. We may disguise, suppress, and bury.

We might similarly resist vulnerability in relationships. We hold ourselves back and close ourselves off. We do this because allowing others in leaves us vulnerable.

 

As with the forest, entering that uncertain territory holds risks but also abundant rewards. When we stop hiding, we can truly know ourselves. When we are vulnerable with others, we can also find true connection. Only then can we reveal the good within us and appreciate the good in others.

 

For me, nature has allowed me to find a center and teaches me about my relationship with myself and others. What are your experiences with perfectionism, gratitude, compassion, and the like? Where do you find your center?

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How This Inner-City Baltimore Principal Is 'Tearing Down Barriers' Between Students And Police

How This Inner-City Baltimore Principal Is 'Tearing Down Barriers' Between Students And Police | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
While some Baltimore students were met with consequences for their participation in the city’s fiery riots, punishing kids wasn’t on Nikkia Rowe’s agenda when classes resumed on Wednesday. Rowe, the principal of Renaissance Acad...
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Beyond Capitalism and Socialism: Could a New Economic Approach Save the Planet?

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A holistic approach to the economy is necessary to avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, according to a new report by the Capital Institute
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Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership

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New studies of the brain show that leaders can improve group performance by understanding the biology of empathy.
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Go With Your Gut | Brain Blogger

Go With Your Gut | Brain Blogger | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
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Fascinating links of interdependence! I have noticed a profound increase in well-being as I have increased my consumption of kimchi, kefir, cultured butter, and other probiotics...
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An Ecomodernist Manifesto

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A bit of a long read, and I found it stimulating, motivating, clarifying and hopeful...how about you?

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Chemists' Feat Hailed As Major Breakthrough

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In what's being called a win-win for the environment and the production of renewable energy, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have achieved a major breakthrough in artificial...
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The Link Between Exercise and Happiness [INFOGRAPHIC] - Goodnet

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Happify delves into the science of how getting fit can boost your mood.
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2015’s Most Electrifying Emerging Tech? World Economic Forum Releases Annual List

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Writing lists forecasting technology is a bit like writing science fiction. Prerequisites include intimate knowledge of the bleeding edge...
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Restaurant Allows Customers to Wash Dishes for a Free Meal

At one restaurant in Pennsylvania, you don't need cash or a credit card to pay for your meal. According to Penn Live, Healthy World Cafe functions on a "pay-how-you-can" model which allows customers to eat for free "in exchange for volunteering their time." This means customers can sweep the floors, do dishes, or break down boxes for a hot plate of food.

 

Healthy World Cafe started out as a pop-up concept at a local church but will open in more permanent digs April 6. Manager Liza Naylor notes that the goal of the cafe is for every customer to eat and for them to eat healthy. She adds that not everyone volunteers their time for a meal.

 

Nearly 80 percent of customers pay for their meals, while 20 percent eat for free and volunteer. Diners can also "pay-it-foward and cover the cost of other diners' meals." As for the food, the cafe buys its ingredients from "local famers and purveyors." The menu itself tends to lean vegan and vegetarian because those dishes are the least expensive. However, there are meat options too. Diners can expect dishes like chicken salad sandwiches on foccacia, swiss chard quiches, and Middle Eastern bean salad.

 

Healthy World Cafe is far from the first restaurant to accept alternative forms of payment. In February, a pop-up cafe in London accepted hugs as payment for cookies and tea. McDonald's launched a promotion in January where customers can pay for meals with "lovin'" — such as giving someone a compliment or taking a selfie — in place of real money. cash or a credit card to pay for your meal.

 

According to Penn Live, Healthy World Cafe functions on a "pay-how-you-can" model which allows customers to eat for free "in exchange for volunteering their time." This means customers can sweep the floors, do dishes, or break down boxes for a hot plate of food. Healthy World Cafe started out as a pop-up concept at a local church but will open in more permanent digs April 6. Manager Liza Naylor notes that the goal of the cafe is for every customer to eat and for them to eat healthy. She adds that not everyone volunteers their time for a meal. Nearly 80 percent of customers pay for their meals, while 20 percent eat for free and volunteer.

 

Diners can also "pay-it-foward and cover the cost of other diners' meals." As for the food, the cafe buys its ingredients from "local famers and purveyors." The menu itself tends to lean vegan and vegetarian because those dishes are the least expensive. However, there are meat options too. Diners can expect dishes like chicken salad sandwiches on foccacia, swiss chard quiches, and Middle Eastern bean salad.

 

Healthy World Cafe is far from the first restaurant to accept alternative forms of payment. In February, a pop-up cafe in London accepted hugs as payment for cookies and tea. McDonald's launched a promotion in January where customers can pay for meals with "lovin'" — such as giving someone a compliment or taking a selfie — in place of real money.

Jim Manske's insight:

An experiment in compassionate economics...imagine a world based on an economy of needs!

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17 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself

17 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
It’s time to befriend yourself and start showing yourself kindness. Here are 17 ways to be kind to yourself.
Jim Manske's insight:
Favorite line: There’s only one person in the world you’ll always have a relationship with, and that’s yourself. Therefore, you better start making sure that you’re a good companion to yourself. Live your best life by being kind to yourself.
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Compassion Is A Strength, Not A Weakness

Compassion Is A Strength, Not A Weakness | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

We are all a part of a mindful revolution.

As a mind-body medicine physician, it fills me with hope to watch the “mindful revolution” occurring in the business world. In the last six months we have see the the theme of mindfulness on the cover of Time magazine and hearing about how numerous business schools are incorporating mindfulness based training programs into curriculum. You may even be a part of this mindful living community because you heard me speak at your company on the neuroscience behind mindfulness.Self-compassion and compassion towards others are two of the steps I discuss my mindful living program, “Mindset Matters”. The same question arises from corporate and coaching clients alike.


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Remembering Marshall Rosenberg | Mindful

Remembering Marshall Rosenberg | Mindful | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

On Saturday, February 7th, Marshall Rosenberg, a psychologist, founder of Nonviolent Communication(NVC), and a pioneer in the compassion movement, passed away. The impact Marshall had on our culture is immeasurable as the ripple effects continue to be felt moment-to-moment through thousands and thousands of people.

 

He has been a great influence on my personal and professional work, helping provide an essential framework for understanding our emotional needs and the needs of others. In a world that can often feel disconnected, he leaves us with a wholeheartedly effective path toward connection and healing.

 

One of many examples came from his work in the 1980s when Marshall taught NVC to Palestinian refugees. On his way to the camp he was greeted with people shouting at him: “Assassin! Murderer!” Although, naturally, he had the inkling to leave, he instead engaged compassion, focusing his attention on what the men were feeling in that moment, which opened the door for a compassionate dialogue to ensue. As the story goes, he was later invited to Ramadan dinner.

 

Marshall taught us the essential truth that underneath it all, we have the same needs: to feel cared about and understood. We all want to feel safe and have a sense of belonging. He helped us see the humanity behind each and every one of us no matter our background. Even with our enemies he calls for a radically different kind of communication: “Our best protection is to communicate with the people we’re most of afraid of. Nothing else will work.”

 

Thank you, Marshall, for the compassion you taught us, the lives you have touched and will continue to touch through the rest of us.

Jim Manske's insight:

Sweet to see this acknowledgement...

 

It leaves me wondering how many thousands of people continue to benefit from Marshall's gifts to the world...

 

I learned that there will be a memorial service soon:

 

From the President of the Board for CNVC:

 

Dear all,

On the 29th of this month a Celebration of Marshall Rosenberg’s life and teaching will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the United States.

Valentina, Marshall’s children and Rabbi Deborah Brin will be organising the gathering, which will begin at 4pm, local time.


We imagine many people would like to be a part of this event and invite you to find ways to do so where you live, as a form of strengthening your community ties and commitment to living nonviolently.

If you have a project activity, a community gathering or a training on that day, maybe you would like to incorporate this event in your day in some way. If you are free you might find this is a meaningful day to gather with community members and commemorate what we received from Marshall and it’s meaning in our lives.

This might also be an opportunity to invite donations to your work and projects locally. Donations to CNVC would also be warmly received, and can be made here: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cnvc

 



The ceremony in Albuquerque will be live streamed, so that everyone who has access to the internet will be able to watch as it happens. 


I am touched once again by the desire of Marshall’s wife and family to seek ways to include the entire community in their mourning and commemorating a husband, father and friend. The 29th is an invitation for all those whose lives have been so enriched by his path and heart to gather in his memory and celebrate his spirit.

In gratitude,

Dominic

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Peacemaker leaves lasting legacy of Nonviolent Communication

International peacemaker and founder of the Centre for Nonviolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg passed away last month. Daren De Witt recounts his remarkable life and how he helped spread Nonviolent Communication throughout the world
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Savoring that Marshall's legacy continues to be celebrated!

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Gut Feelings--the "Second Brain" in Our Gastrointestinal Systems [Excerpt]

Gut Feelings--the "Second Brain" in Our Gastrointestinal Systems [Excerpt] | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
There is a superhighway between the brain and GI system that holds great sway over humans
Jim Manske's insight:
I had a gut feeling to share this with you....interdependence is multidirectional?
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John Oulton's comment, May 2, 5:13 PM
Police officers and other law enforcement careers have a good grasp of this, as in a "second brain" such as the CNS. Their discretion will be handy.
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15 Simple Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Starting Today

15 Simple Ways to Spread Kindness in Your World Starting Today | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” Albert Schweitz
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8 Life-Changing Lessons from TED Talks on How to Be Happy

8 Life-Changing Lessons from TED Talks on How to Be Happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Ever wonder if you could make yourself happier? You can. Here's how.
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What if happiness is our basic nature, and all the techniques and technologies to "make us happy" work because they support a simple recognition of Who we actually are?
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The Age of Wind and Solar Is Closer Than You Think

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Renewable energy, spurred by a crisis in climate, may usurp fossil fuels by mid-century
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Will Maui lead the way and become the first island to demonstrate that we can do this?
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The 5 Happiest Countries And What Makes Them So Happy - PsyBlog

The 5 Happiest Countries And What Makes Them So Happy - PsyBlog | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Only one country in North America is amongst the world's happiest.

Jim Manske's insight:

Favorite quote from the article: “The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members. This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It’s not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health. -Jeffrey Sachs

 

Who doesn't want happiness?

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4 daily habits that will make you happier

4 daily habits that will make you happier | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Happiness comes from your own actions.
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What's going well right now?
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How Fear Melts Away When We Stop Resisting the Present

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Fear triggers our fight or flight response and causes us to struggle and resist the present. What if, instead of running from fear, you stuck with it?
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Vulnerable honesty | Yoram Mosenzon | TEDxAmsterdamED - YouTube

In this funny, personal, and honest look at the way we as humans approach communication, Yoram Mosenzon teaches us the difference between true honesty, and w...
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Aung San Suu Kyi on What It Takes to Be Free from Fear

Aung San Suu Kyi on What It Takes to Be Free from Fear | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Fearlessness may be a gift, but perhaps most precious is the courage acquired through endeavor, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one’s actions, courage that could be described as ‘grace under pressure’ — grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure. Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
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Instilling empathy among doctors pays off for patient care - CNN.com

Instilling empathy among doctors pays off for patient care - CNN.com | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
This skill is increasingly considered essential to establishing trust, the foundation of a good doctor-patient relationship.
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The 5 Daily Rituals That Will Make You Happy

The 5 Daily Rituals That Will Make You Happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
You know what percentage of people are really happy? Not “oh, life is pretty good”, I mean people who are flourishing. They feel their lives are fulfilling, meaningful and brimming with potential.

 

17%.


Only 17 percent of the adult population is said to be flourishing, fulfilling their potential for happiness, success, and productivity. Less than one in five. And the question that follows is, of course: how do I become one of those people?


I’ve been accumulating the research on happiness for a while. Good news is: there’s a lot of it. Bad news is: who can remember to do all that stuff?
Well, one expert finally put it together into a simple 5-part formula.


Christine Carter is a sociologist at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center which studies the psychology and neuroscience of well-being. She looked at the research and exhaustively compiled it into her book, The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work.

 

So what’s this formula to find your “sweet spot” of happiness — without completely overhauling your life?


Take Recess + Switch Autopilot On + Unshackle Yourself + Cultivate Relationships + Tolerate Some Discomfort = The Sweet Spot

 

Okay, but what do we actually need to do?

 

Don’t worry; it’s pretty easy. Let’s break it down:
 
1) Take Recess

Most of what we do all day is “instrumental.” What’s that mean? It gets something done. It’s practical. It achieves a goal.

 

But these days we seem to be doing more and more that’s instrumental and a lot less that’s just fun. We forget to play. Is that so bad?

 

Actually, you have no idea how bad it is. Noted psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi tried an experiment: he told people to just do instrumental activities all day long. No fun allowed, literally.
The old saying is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It’s more accurate to say, “All work and no play gives Jack a clinical anxiety disorder in under 48 hours.” Seriously.

 

Csikszentmihalyi unintentionally induced textbook cases of generalized anxiety disorder in people simply by instructing his subjects as follows: From the time you wake up until 9: 00 p.m., he explained, “We would like you to act in a normal way, doing all the things you have to do, but not doing anything that is ‘play’ or ‘non-instrumental.’” …Following these instructions for just forty-eight hours produced symptoms of serious anxiety in research subjects—restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension—all by eliminating flow and play from their lives. In other words, we get anxious when we aren’t having any fun.


After 2 days he ended the experiment because of the extreme negative effects it was having on the test subjects.


So by trying to be so productive and get so much done you’re probably stressing yourself out. What to do?


Schedule a little bit of fun every 90 minutes or so. Nothing productive allowed.


Via The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work:
Today, take a good old-fashioned recess in the middle of the day. Go ahead and do your hardest or most dreaded work— or whatever you need to do— but after about sixty to ninety minutes of focused attention, honor your ultradian rhythms and take a break. Rest… The only rule is that what you do during recess must be restful or playful; it can’t be “instrumental” in any way.


You can actually get more done sometimes by being a bit of a slacker. Vacations make you more productive.


By working 60 hour weeks you can get a lot done. But when you work that hard for too long, your productivity drops off. After 2 months of 60 hours a week you’ll actually accomplish less than if you’d only been working 40 hours a week.

 

One study, on construction projects, found that “where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.”

 

You might be worried that taking breaks will mean you still get less done. But we’ve got a solution for that.
 
2) Switch Autopilot On

You spend 40% of the day on autopilot, engaging in habits, not actual decisions.


One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.


And we get more done when we’re on autopilot, actually. Not having to make decisions uses less willpower.


So start building better habits. You don’t “decide” to brush your teeth, it’s just something you do and it’s not a struggle. With more habits like this you can get a lot more done in less time with little stress.
At first, just try little habits. Connect them to things that are already part of your routine.


“After I start the dishwasher, I will read one sentence from a book.”
“After I walk in my door from work, I will get out my workout clothes.”
“After I put my head on the pillow, I will think of one good thing from my day.”
Another easy way to break in a new good habit is to use what happiness expert Shawn Achor calls the “20 second rule.”


Anything you want to accomplish, find a way to make it 20 seconds easier to get started on (like putting your workout clothes next to the bed). Anything you want to stop doing, make it 20 seconds harder to start (hide the candy where it’s hard to reach).


From my interview with Shawn:
If you can make the positive habit three to 20 seconds easier to start, you’re likelihood of doing it rises dramatically. And you can do the same thing by flipping it for negative habits. Watching too much television?

 

Merely take out the batteries of the remote control creating a 20 second delay and it dramatically decreases the amount of television people will watch.


You’re having more fun and becoming more efficient by turning routine tasks into habits. Great. What else will bring you more happiness. The answer is “less.”
 
3) Unshackle Yourself

Do less.

 

Really, you can. Christine puts it pretty simply:
Decide on your five top priorities and say “no” to everything else.
We spend so much time reacting rather than following through with our goals.


Whenever I tell people they need to do less the reaction is pretty much like I told them to grow wings and fly: “That’s impossible!”

 

But then I ask them 4 questions about a task and very, very rarely can they honestly answer “yes” to each one:
Does this thing really need to be done at all?
Do you absolutely have to be the one to do it?
Does it need to be done perfectly or will “pretty good” actually be enough?
Does it need to be done right now?


Like I said, very few tasks get a “yes” for all four. And that means you can either ignore it, delegate it, do it quickly or make it one of tomorrow’s top five.


You can do less. And less means less stress and more time for fun.

So that means less on your plate. So what should you fill your plate with?
 
4) Cultivate Relationships

Christine pulls a quote I love from the wonderful book Triumphs of Experience:
…there are two pillars of happiness revealed by the seventy-five-year-old Grant Study…. One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.


If you ask psychology researchers, economists, insurance adjusters and old people they will all agree on the single most important key to happiness: relationships.

 

That’s not hard to believe. What is surprising is just how far that truth extends.

 

Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn (authors of the book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending showed that merely talking to the barista at Starbucks makes us happier.

Researchers sent people into a Starbucks with five dollars each to buy themselves a latte. Half were instructed to get their beverage as fast as they could, to “get in, get out, go on with the day.” The other half were instructed to “have a genuine interaction with the cashier ”— to smile and initiate a brief conversation. The folks who smiled at the barista left Starbucks feeling more cheerful. In the words of the study authors

 

Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn: “Efficiency, it seems, is overrated.”
So you can do that if you’re a daily Starbucks drinker but just like with networking, the easiest way to work on relationships is to first strengthen the ones you already have.

 

Little cracks appear in our relationships all the time, and while we can certainly spend a lot of time and energy examining fissures and assigning blame— or pretending they aren’t there or never happened—often the easiest thing is to just repair the crack. Without getting into it again, without raising past hurts, without projecting into the future. Often a hug and an “I love you”— or an apology and a heartfelt expression of gratitude— is all it takes.


You don’t need to buy gifts or go out of your way. Just give your attention. Listen. Ask about the good things that have happened to them lately and be happy for them. It’s that simple.


Okay, last one coming up. And it’s a bit ironic. Want life to happier? Then make it a little harder…
 
5) Tolerate Some Discomfort

Many of us come home from work and think, “I just want to sit down and do nothing.” 


And that’s understandable if you’re overworked and burned out. But “doing nothing” is really not what will make you happier.

 

Sitting on the couch watching TV does not make your life better:
…heavy TV viewers, and in particular those with significant opportunity cost of time, report lower life satisfaction. Long TV hours are also linked to higher material aspirations and anxiety.

 

Research shows we’re generally not inclined to do what makes us happiest, actually. We do what’s easy.

Studies have found that American teenagers are two and a half times more likely to experience elevated enjoyment when engaged in a hobby than when watching TV, and three times more likely when playing a sport.

 

And yet here’s the paradox: These same teenagers spend four times as many hours watching TV as they do engaging in sports or hobbies. So what gives? Or, as psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi put it more eloquently, “Why would we spend four times more time doing something that has less than half the chance of making us feel good?” The answer is that we are drawn—powerfully, magnetically—to those things that are easy, convenient, and habitual, and it is incredibly difficult to overcome this inertia. Active leisure is more enjoyable, but it almost always requires more initial effort—getting the bike out of the garage, driving to the museum, tuning the guitar, and so on.

 

One of the things research has consistently shown makes us happy is striving. Making progress in things we find meaningful is incredibly motivating.

 

Engaging in things you’re good at has been shown to powerfully boost happiness. People who deliberately exercised their “signature strengths” on a daily basis became significantly happier for months.
Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:
When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups. And these benefits lasted: Even after the experiment was over, their levels of happiness remained heightened a full month later. Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become.

 

But how do you prevent this from becoming yet another stressful chore?
This isn’t your boss forcing you to do something. This is you choosing to push yourself so you get better.

 

Navy SEALs treat problems like a game. Similarly, Shawn Achor says to see obstacles as a challenge, not a threat. And Christine agrees.

 

When we use our minds to “reappraise our stress response,” as scientists call it, from stress to challenge, we can actually change the typical physiological response itself from a stress response to a challenge response… Researchers have found that when people reframe the meaning of their physiological response to stress as something that is improving their performance, they feel more confident and less anxious.

 

Moreover, their physical response to the stress actually changes from one that is damaging to one that is helpful.


Let’s tie it all together into something simple that we can use.
 
Sum Up

Here’s Christine’s five step formula:
1. Take Recess: Going two days without anything fun creates anxiety. Take breaks.
2.  Switch Autopilot On: Make unpleasant tasks into habits. Tie them to things you already do.
3. Unshackle Yourself: Decide your five priorities for the day and say NO to everything else. Does it have to be done? Do you have to do it? Does it have to be done perfectly? Does it have to be done now? Probably not.
4. Cultivate Relationships: They are the single biggest happiness booster. Celebrate the successes of those you love.
5. Tolerate Some Discomfort: Push to keep getting better. Mastery brings joy. Striving creates smiles.

 

One of the secrets of the happiest people isn’t merely that their brains are wired that way, but they also engage in activities on a daily basis that keep them flourishing.

 

Try the above five things on a daily basis for a few weeks and see if they can make you happy. As Aristotle said:
!We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Jim Manske's insight:

May we all become the 17%...after all, it is one of the things that we all want!  To be happy, to be fulfilled, to flourish and thrive!!!

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Nich Rogers's curator insight, March 18, 10:17 PM
Great simple insights anyone can do. Yes, that's YOU
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