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  • Matthieu Ricard: Habits of happiness

     
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  • Dan Gilbert: Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy?

     
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  • Nancy Etcoff on the surprising science of happiness

    Nancy Etcoff on the surprising science of happiness

    Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness — the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it’s untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.   Nancy Etcoff is part of a new vanguard of cognitive researchers asking: What makes us happy? Why do we like beautiful things? And how on earth did we evolve that way?   Why you should listen to her:   In her book Survival of the Prettiest, Nancy Etcoff refutes the social origins of beauty, in favor of far more prosaic and evolutionary explanations. Looking for a partner with clear skin? You’re actually checking for parasites. And let’s just say there’s a reason high heels are always in fashion.   Her recent research into the question of happiness exposes results that not only are surprising but reinforce things we should’ve known all along: like the fact that having flowers in the house really does make us happier. As the instructor of “The Science of Happiness” at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Program in Aesthetics and Well Being at Massachusetts General Hospital, Nancy Etcoff is uniquely qualified to solve the mysteries of contentment.   “Skewering the popular wisdom that beauty is a social construct, this Harvard psychologist argues that we ogle such features because they radiate the health and fertility our species needs to survive.”  Time     In this provocative, witty, and thoroughly researched inquiry into what we find beautiful and why, Nancy Etcoff skewers one of our culture’s most enduring myths, that the pursuit of beauty is a learned behavior. Etcoff, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, skewers the enduring myth that the pursuit of beauty is a learned behavior.   Etcoff puts forth that beauty is neither a cultural construction, an invention of the fashion industry, nor a backlash against feminism, but instead is in our biology. It’s an essential and ineradicable part of human nature that is revered and ferociously pursued in nearly every civilizatoin–and for good reason. Those features to which we are most attracted are often signals of fertility and fecundity. When seen in the context of a Darwinian struggle for survival, our sometimes extreme attempts to attain beauty–both to become beautiful ourselves and to acquire an attractive partner–become understandable. Moreover, if we come to understand how the desire for beauty is innate, then we can begin to work in our interests, and not soley for the interests of our genetic tendencies.

     
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  • Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better

     
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  • Recommended Reading: Lifeworth: Finding Fulfillment Betond Networth

    Recommended Reading: Lifeworth: Finding Fulfillment Betond Networth

    One of my dear friends, Hal Couillard, recently sent me his new book to read. I have known Hal for years through his financial planning business. In writing this new book, with his brother Dana, the two brothers did a great job interviewing several successful people to learn about their life changing stories. This book is both inspirational and educational so I highly recommend it. To learn more about this great book, click here. Is this all there is? In today’s hectic world, many of us may wonder, “Am I living the life I want to live?” “Am I living my life on purpose?” ” Am I trapped in my comfort zone?” Lifeworth: Finding Fulfillment Beyond Networth addresses these and other life questions, offering innovative, easy-to-apply insight into human behaviour. Find inspiration and clarity through the stories of ten Canadians who reveal how they create passion and purpose in their journeys through life. You will: Discover new ways to increase the purpose and meaning in your life Move more successfully through the changes and transitions we all experience Move out of your comfort zone and create “peak experiences” that allow you to live life to the fullest for yourself and for others Learn how the right questions can help you get more out of your life. Some Key Ideas: The Clock is the ever-present clock of time, the life clock, the clock over which we have no control – the clock our youth had allow us to overlook for so many years. In everyone’s life, there is a transition from a focus on networth to a focus on the worth of life, from focusing on accumulating wealth, resources, and material things to focusing on other people. All individuals will eventually arrive at this life-changing transition point. A Lifeworth experience is a peak experience that rockets us out of our Comfort Zone. Time is the amount of time we have available to us each day, and how effectively we use that resource. Talent is our innate ability to do certain things extremely well – things that we are passionate about, that energize us, that give us greatification. Treasure refers to the financial respsources we have built up and have available at any given point in our lives. We would like you to remember this special number: 1,440. This is the number of minutes in each day of our lives. There are non-bankable minutes! How we use them is an important facet of our lives, but we can`t save any minutes from this day to carry over to a future day. Scarcity and abundance are two ends of the same stick. About the Authors Dana Couillard Dana Couillard is the founder of the Perception Ridge Institute, a company focused on Exploring the Power of Perception. Dana graduated from the University of Calgary in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1977 with a Professional Diploma in Education. He is currently completing his Master of Arts in Human Development with Saint […]

     
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  • Recommended Reading: Beyond Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life By Alexander Green

    Recommended Reading: Beyond Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life By Alexander Green

    Leo Tolstoy said, “Nobody knows where the human race is going. The highest wisdom, then, is to know where you are going.” Yet many today chase the false rabbits of success: status, luxury, reputation and material possessions. In the quest to “have it all,” our lives often lack real meaning and purpose. Beyond Wealth is the antidote. New York Times bestselling author Alexander Green takes things right down to brass tacks: We are here for a short time. Knowledge is limitless. Therefore, the most critical knowledge is not any particular skill but rather wisdom about “how to live.” Fortunately, men and women have had several thousand years to think about what it means to live “the good life.” And the answers found here, from Plato and Aristotle to Mahatma Gandhi and Stephen Hawking, will both surprise and delight you. Beyond Wealth provides insightful commentary on the most important aspects of our lives: love, work, honor, trust, freedom, death, fear, truth, beauty and other timeless issues. The book is both a thought provoking read and the ideal gift, guaranteed to ennoble, uplift and inspire. Some Key Ideas: …our two most precious commodities: our time and attention. Wealth is freedom, security, and peace of mind. It allows you to do and be what you want, to support worthy causes and help those closest to you. It enables you to follow your dreams, to spend your life the way you choose. Money gives you dignity. It gives you choices. Socrates famously said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Yet many of us never really stop to consider what matters most, what it is we are really living for. Proverbs says it best: With all thy getting, get understanding. That’s an excellent first step to a richer life. According to a recent report from the US Census Bureau, there is a strong correlation between education and income. Over an adult’s working life, high school graduates should expect, on average, to earn $1.2 million; those with a bachelor’s degree, $2.1 million; those with master’s degrees, $2.5 million; those with doctoral degree’s, $3.4 million; and those with professional degrees, $4.4 million. But here’s the rub. Studies show that those who earn the most aren’t necessarily the richest. To determine real wealth, you need to look at a balance sheet – assets minus liabilities – not an income statement. Just ask Thomas J. Stanley. The bestselling author of The Millionaire Next Door, The Millionaire Mind, and Stop Acting Rich…and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire, Dr. Stanley is the country’s foremost authority on the habits and characteristics of America’s wealthy. According to Dr. Stanley: “The pseudo-affluent are insecure about how they rank among the Joneses and the Smiths. Often their self-esteem rests on quicksand. In their minds, it is closely tied to how they can continue to purchase the trappings of wealth. They strongly believe all economically successful people display their success through prestige products. The flip side of this has them believing that people […]

     
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  • Recommended Reading: Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment By Peter Buffett

    Recommended Reading: Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment By Peter Buffett

    From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction?   You may think that with a last name like his, Buffett has enjoyed a life of endless privilege. But the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that the only real inheritance handed down from his parents was a philosophy: Forge your own path in life. It is a creed that has allowed him to follow his own passions, establish his own identity, and reap his own successes.   In Life Is What You Make It, Buffett expounds on the strong set of values given to him by his trusting and broadminded mother, his industrious and talented father, and the many life teachers he has met along the way.   Today’s society, Buffett posits, has begun to replace a work ethic, relishing what you do, with a wealth ethic, honoring the payoff instead of the process. We confuse privilege with material accumulation, character with external validation. Yet, by focusing more on substance and less on reward, we can open doors of opportunity and strive toward a greater sense of fulfillment. In clear and concise terms, Buffett reveals a great truth: Life is random, neither fair nor unfair.   From there it becomes easy to recognize the equal dignity and value of every human life—our circumstances may vary but our essences do not. We see that our journey in life rarely follows a straight line but is often met with false starts, crises, and blunders. How we push through and persevere in these challenging moments is where we begin to create the life of our dreams—from discovering our vocations to living out our bliss to giving back to others.   Personal and revealing, instructive and intuitive, Life Is What You Make It is about transcending your circumstances, taking up the reins of your destiny, and living your life to the fullest.   Some Key Ideas: Economic prosperity may come and go; that’s just how it is. But values are the steady currency that earn us the all-important rewards of self-respect and peace of mind. Our values guide our choices; our choices define who we are. Life is what we make it. No matter who your parents are, you’ve still got your own life to figure out. There is a famous quotation from the Book of Luke that was taken very seriously in our family: From those to whom much has been given, much is expected. …at the start of our lives, no one deserves anything. No one deserves to be rich or poor, privileged or oppressed, healthy or challenged. No one deserves good parents or bad. These are things that happen randomly to the life that has just begun. They are neither fair nor unfair; they simply are. Self respect can come only from earning your own reward. …psychologist Dr. Madeline Levine, author of The Price of Privilege. […]

     
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  • What is Seven Generation Thinking?

    What is Seven Generation Thinking?

    In today’s society, it is very easy to think that estate planning or succession planning is only about your immediate nuclear family. However, as Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us:   “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”   With Seven Generation Thinking, the goal is to take a long term perspective of where you  want your family and business to be in 150 years. Obviously, chances of you,  or any of your immediate generation family members, surviving this full cycle are slim. However, it must be said that with new scientific breakthroughs occurring on a daily basis,  the previous statement on longevity may dramatically change in a few years. Therefore, your objective with Seven Generation Thinking is to plant the seeds of success and significance today for future generations..   The best way to visualize Seven Generation Thinking is to follow these seven processes and principles to manifest it:   1) Respecting Traditions: Keep alive the memories and stories of past generations, along with the important values and traditions that you and your family are currently following and respect. 2) Utilizing, Documenting, and Preserving Best Practices: Every member of your family has unique abilities and gifts that contribute to your family’s success. It is important that you develop a process to properly utilize, capture, and preserve those gifts for the current and future generations. It is folly to presume that your family will have those unique strengths easily available within the next generation. 3) Finding Common Ground: In order to bring together your current family, and keep future generations unified, it is critical to find common ground that everyone is willing to support. Becoming a significant inter-generational family requires a higher purpose that all family members are willing to work towards. 4) The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: Too often families confuse material success with true wealth. Just because one particular family member earns more money, or accumulates more material wealth, than other family members, it is important to remember that material wealth cannot be taken with you once you pass on. True wealth involves creating a pooled resource for the family, also known as the family’s culture, that captures each family member’s unique abilities, the various family life stories, intellectual capital, financial capital, experiential capital, relationship capital, and spiritual capital. 5) Life is the Ultimate Gift: Unfortunately one of the biggest crises of our time is that human life is being devalued in relationship to material wealth. In reality, every living being is already a trillionaire, at least in the living cells that create your body. It is important to remember that your treasure is meant to support your time and talent so you can fulfill your life purpose. Unfortunately, too many families have fallen into the trap […]

     
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