Best wishes to all our US colleagues who are still waist deep, or recovering from, the Thanksgiving turkey dinner (vegetarian options are available!).
Meanwhile, the international business and technology community finds itself with two business days running at a slightly slower drumbeat, but with the same overwhelming set of priorities and actions to address . .
I thought this might be the right time to share two perspectives on reaching the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He called it “self actualization” but we probably call it “happiness”.
Firstly, we are told that “money can’t buy happiness”. That may not be entirely true, having some money helps, but it is not the biggest contributor to our happiness and well-being. So what is?
Behavioural Science has suggested an answer.
To be precise, THREE answers . . .
- There is a genetic component. Some people are predisposed to being happier in life with temperamental “wiring” making them less neurotic, more emotionally stable, and nicer to be around
- Serendipity. Some of us ended up in the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the wrong time). German philosopher Martin Heidegger calls this “thrownness”, or “Geworfen”
We cannot do anything about these two, they are outside our control.
BUT, NUMBER 3 is the one that should matter most to us.
Even for those of us with less-than-ideal genes, thrown into a less than ideal environment, human connection is the trump card. And we all forget it sometimes.
Humans are an intensely social species. In our ancestral past, if we suddenly became isolated and pushed out by the tribe, it would have meant our inevitable death. So, the behaviors responsible for ensuring social connection — and therefore success in life — would have had a strong influence in natural selection. They still do.
We are spending more time alone than we have in all of human history. And it’s making us terribly unhappy.
The irony is that we carry near infinite knowledge on a machine that fits in our pocket, we fly into space, we enter into alternative realities … we have never been more advanced. We’ve never been more miserable.
There is a 3 minute read on the findings of a Harvard study of adult development, run over decades. And you can read it here . . . It is worth a read, if only to share it with your younger siblings and kids!
My second “inspiration” is a throwback to some pearls of wisdom from our rural, agricultural past. Some make you laugh, but “many a true word spoken in jest”. Some require some reflection to get to the real meaning;
- Good judgment comes from experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment 😀
- Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway
- Keep skunks, bankers, and politicians at a distance (apologies to any of you reading this, I am just quoting!)
- You cannot unsay a cruel word
- Every path has a few puddles
- When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty
- Always drink upstream from the herd
- Don’t be banging your shin on a stool that’s not in the way
- Silence is sometimes the best answer
Someone sent me the full text, but I struggled to find it online, but if you want to see the full 30 “pearls” I discovered that they can found here . . .
Hope that gives you something to help your digestion or gives you food for thought.
Best wishes whether you are knee deep in the daily grind or finishing the remains of the feast . .
Thanks for reading . .