Category Archives: happiness

Sad college kids

Another sad book that could surely be a long NYer article instead, but still.

At Stanford: “Often brilliant, always accomplished, these students would sit on my couch holding their fragile, brittle parts together, resigned to the fact that these outwardly successful situations were their miserable lives.”

Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out
Recent studies suggests that kids with overinvolved parents and rigidly structured childhoods suffer psychological blowback in college.
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/07/helicopter_parenting_is_increasingly_correlated_with_college_age_depression.html

Seems to me this approach to kids is going about things backwards and also forgetting that kids are fully human people. So I say something more like this…

1. Start with unconditional love.

2. Next add exploration, conversation, art, moving your body. Personal freedom and responsibility. Pursuit of happiness.

3. Then, maybe when you are 14 or 16 or later, add in thinking about adulthood. Maybe this will include college, maybe not. Who cares! Life is both too long and too short to be miserable as a kid.

Sounds kinda like Sudbury Valley School.

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Filed under attachment parenting, college, depression, happiness, kids are complete people, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Save me from high school

“I’ve never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the idea that high school is a portal to hell seems pretty realistic to me.” –Peter Buck, R.E.M.

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody_Hurts (Every Body Hurts by REM)

OK, so I appreciate that many HS experiences are less than ideal shall we say, and I understand part of this is brain development and hormones and such, but I think very often (95%?) it is largely institutional.  Instead, people look back at their HS days and often blame themselves and/or think “well, that’s just the way it is”.   Kids are actual people.  But schools do not treat kids like actual full human beings who want autonomy, freedom, responsibility, etc, etc.  It should not be so.  And it is not so at Sudbury Valley School.

But hey, he can write a song if he wants to. I will report back once our kids are teenagers (at their school Sudbury Valley School http://sudval.org/) but seems like there is absolutely no reason why most teenagers can’t be perfectly happy too.

UPDATE: SEE ALSO:
SVS: Where does happiness come from?
http://blog.sudburyvalley.org/2015/02/where-does-happiness-come-from/

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Filed under contrarian, happiness, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, systemic problems vs personal problems

Happiness and hard work

The Problem With Positive Thinking
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/opinion/sunday/the-problem-with-positive-thinking.html?_r=0
“Mental Contrasting…. When participants have performed mental contrasting with reasonable, potentially attainable wishes, they have come away more energized and achieved better results compared with participants who either positively fantasized or dwelt on the obstacles.”


Victor Frankl — On Superficial Happiness vs Purpose/Meaning
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/?single_page=true
My problem with this article is it is using “pursuit of happiness” in a manner that is inconsistent with the meaning in the Declaration of Independence where it does mean something closer to finding meaning and purpose. One has to agree on definitions of terms before one writes a long articles.
Define happiness?


Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, by Daniel Greenberg
http://www.sudval.org/essays/082007.shtml
“The word happiness did not mean the same thing in the 18th century in American English as it means today. Today we relate the word to the concept of joy or pleasure. Happiness back then meant the realization of an individuals potential. This country is based on the goal that every individual citizen should be free to pursue their dream and to realize it.”
“… In a nutshell, if you think about the pursuit of happiness and all this phrase signifies, you are almost forced into a Sudbury-model school.”


Cal Newport — http://calnewport.com/
He writes about workplace happiness and generally the idea that it comes from hard work
“…it leads people who have a “passion” to believe that all they have to do is match a job to that passion — if they do so, they’ll love their work from day one. In reality, however, they are almost certainly not going to love their work from day one, as this love requires traits like autonomy, competence, and impact that can take a while to develop. The result is that they end up confused and anxious, believing, perhaps, that they choose the *wrong* passion and that they should switch to another job. The notion of “passion” has become a red herring that distracts them from the real path to meaning and satisfaction.”

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Filed under happiness, meaning of life, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

links: happiness and work

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
Cal Newport
NYTIMES: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/jobs/follow-a-career-passion-let-it-follow-you.html?_r=0
BLOG: http://calnewport.com/

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“We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. ”

some suggestions
– exercise
– meditation
– 3 gratitudes
– 1 journal item about something positive
– random acts of kindness

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“If what you love to do cannot keep you alive and pay your rent, it’s doomed to be temporary. That doesn’t mean temporary things in life are not worthy, it just means you should keep this piece of information in mind. Except for really rare cases (and you shouldn’t think you are one), doing what makes you happy is unsustainable. There’s always someone paying the bills. So if you’re happy doing what you love, probably there’s someone paying your bills by doing something profitable that they don’t love to do.”
View story at Medium.com

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Several useful articles at Harvard Business Review blog on this topic:
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Ablogs.hbr.org+”Do+what+you+love”

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So, to summarize! 🙂 The basic points one reads regularly:

– “do what you love!” — what if I don’t have a passion or true-calling? that’s ok. it’s generally bad advice anyway. And people don’t have ONE thing. It’s what We make of our choices.
– cycle: “happiness” (flow/play/lightheartedness) leads to good work leads to happiness
– make an avocation a vocation means (obviously) you need to make substantial money
– some things just can’t realistically make money (easily, or often)
– we see examples of people “doing what they love” in the media, but this is like thinking we can make it as a pro athlete — Yes it’s possible and some people do it, but it’s not likely (depending on the field)
– doing it (whatever it is) for money might kill the joy or alter it
– doing it (whatever it is) for so many hours might kill the joy or alter it
– there are aspects of all work that we don’t like 100%
– work satisfaction: – not “passion”. good at it, responsbility/autonomy, impact (Daniel Pink DRIVE)
– grass is not greener
– people often study kinda useless things in college
– hard work/talent/skills (leading to accomplishments and happiness) is the way to go
http://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2013/09/13/why-you-cant-find-a-job-you-love/

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Filed under contrarian, happiness, person: Cal Newport, work

Work/Skills/Useful Happiness

Some links discussing the idea that “do what you love” CAN be getting the cart before the horse sometimes. It can happen that way, but not always. Or it can be a bit of both.

Sometimes…
1. With proficiency can bring happiness. Instead of the other way around.
2. things that one loves doing can’t always pay the bills.
3. doing something one loves to pay the bills can suck the joy from it.

LINKS:

— “If not passion for the job, at least warm feelings”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/26/your-money/26shortcuts.html?_r=2&sq=peter%20warr&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=all

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Filed under happiness, person: Ran Prieur, work

video games vs real life

Some collected quotes on video games and real life. By Ran Prieur and maybe some others…

— “I think the reason people like difficulty in games more than in real life, is that games are more densely and consistently rewarding. ” — Ran Prieur 8/7/2013 Blog

— Future w/ Virtual Reality and Augmented Intelligence, etc: “The key question is: Can you have the experience of going into a computer and coming back?” — Ran Prieur, http://www.ranprieur.com/essays/machines.html

— “Although we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony.” — Alan Watts

— Escaping vs Expanding: “Fifty years ago, how many kids emerged from books with tools that they used to change the world or their place in it? And how many do so now with video games?”
— “In a good society, usefulness and pleasure are one: every necessary activity is something that people find intrinsically meaningful and enjoyable, and everything people feel like doing feeds the whole system. When a society begins to depend on tasks that nobody feels like doing, it needs to fill the work motivation gap with extrinsic motivators: usually social pressure, physical threats, and rewards of money and status.”
— Rain Prieur http://www.ranprieur.com/essays/unfin-tech.html

— “… what we need is Sim Fall, a game with honest simulations of the ecological costs of technologies, the inefficiency of central control, human malaise, and other reasons that every empire falls. Most important, we need something that no strategy game has ever had: all increase must be reversible. Buildings, roads, and military units decay over time, and have to be maintained or rebuilt at great expense.” March 17-19 2007
http://ranprieur.com/archives/011.html

— “…humans have two contradictory desires. We want to feel like we’re valuable people living good lives, which itself is a massive and difficult subject. A good place to start is the famous video, The surprising truth about what motivates us. The other thing we want is for life to be easy, but there is a trade-off between a good life and an easy life.
This conflict comes into clearer focus as more work is automated. Do you want a machine where you push a button and food comes out, or do you want the challenge and personal empowerment of growing and preparing food with your own hands? This was not an issue in preindustrial civilization, when work was done by slaves and peasants. The lower classes suffered, but not from existential angst, and the elite felt important because they were ruling actual humans. Now there is a growing class of people who have no political power but are served by machines.
If the tech system can adapt to resource exhaustion, we might emerge into a high-tech utopia/dystopia, in which it’s easy to be comfortable but difficult to be happy. Social class will no longer be about power or even standard of living, but valuable activity. The upper class will hold the few important jobs that still require humans. The middle class will be hobbyists, practicing difficult skills that are not necessary for society. And the lower class will be content to consume entertainment.” — Ran Prieur, 11/28/2012
http://www.ranprieur.com/archives/041.html

— Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
“Reality is broken, says Jane McGonigal, and we need to make it work more like a game.”
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html

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Filed under essential, happiness, meaning of life, motivation, person: Ran Prieur, video games, work