I once went to an all day seminar at bestselling author #Joycemaynard (s) home in the East Bay of SF. She is amazing. But what she told me was this… Your novel sounds interesting, but first you have to tell YOUR story. It stung, but then I did. Turned it into a #TEDx talk, lots of talks around the world, many books, interviews and more. If you want to jump start your life, business and sense of ‘I can do anything I can dream of,’ give an Unforgettable Talk. The course is filling at a one time discount if you sign up by midnight Jan. 1st. Hope to see you there. Dream big! https://loom.ly/9liDMy0
I am happy to share that I have completed the Contena Academy Professional Freelance Writer Academy. I have been writing articles, books, speeches, blogs for years. This is one of the professional academies I have completed in order to expand my writing. Thank you #Contena
I spent a year researching and outlining my second novel.
Every day after dropping my kids off at school, I came home to a quiet house. My routine was the same.
I made a cup of tea, grabbed a blanket, cozied up on the couch in the family room, picked up my computer and started to write. I always started at the beginning, every time. Once I was finally satisfied after making small changes here and there, I would move on with the story.
I did this over and over until I knew I was ready to really write my novel. I knew because I finally liked the title, the outline, the twists and turns, and of course, the ending (even though I was only three chapters in). I also was so familiar with my characters that I was willing to let them take on a life of their own as the chapters unfolded.
I was ready to write my second novel.
I found out through a writing website that Joyce Maynard was giving a one day intensive for writers at her home in Oakland on a Saturday. It was only a 1/2 hour drive from Marin so I decided to sign up. I didn’t care that the day was going to be about Memoirs, I had a novel to write, and I truly believed she’d love it.
When I arrived at Joyce’s quirky but quaint house on the side of a hill, I was greeted with the smell of warm apple pie. I later learned that Joyce was known for her pies and even taught Josh Brolin how to make one for Kate Winslet in the film Labor Day, which was an adaptation of Joyce’s novel of the same name.
Nine of us sat around in a circle in her living/family room next to the kitchen. There was a deep pocket couch, a few chairs and a bunch of futon type seats. All very colorful. Kind of like something out of the 60s. There was a lot of clutter around too. Little statues, books and more books, blankets, candles, piles of stuff. It felt lived in and I was excited to be there.
Joyce was a little quirky herself. Her strawberry brown hair was unbrushed, she was dressed in wrinkled sweats for lounging and didn’t wear any shoes. She was comfortable in her own skin for sure.
Joyce started by having us introduce ourselves, tell everyone why we were there and what we wanted to write about.
Everyone but me talked about memoir. Maybe I wasn’t in the right place after all.
When it was my turn, I said I was from Marin, had written non-fiction and some magazine articles, done some speaking and was excited to write my first novel.
“What’s it about? Tell me in one sentence.”
Do you know how hard it is to describe a book in one sentence?
“Um, uh. Well….”
Joyce’s voice became more forceful.
“What’s it about? If you can’t tell me in one sentence, then you are not ready.“
“OK,” I replied. Deep breath. Too big of an exhale. I’m sure I saw the corners of her lips turn up in cruel pride. She had done this before.
It all came out so fast. If I hadn’t said it that way, I would have hemmed and hawed the entire day away.
“It’s the modern day adaptation of an ancient Greek fairytale about whether true love can really exist.”
She nodded slowly, thoughtfully. The silence was heavy.
“So what in your love life is missing?”
My voice felt like it was going to crack and I swear I was about to cry. I have no idea why. Maybe this was more of a therapy session than a seminar.
“Well, I haven’t told anyone this, but I am miserable in my marriage and I’ve been faking it for years. I have loved someone else my whole life and I don’t know if I will ever be with him in this lifetime.”
Where did that raw honesty come from? Holy shit.
Joyce nodded again, in silence of course, as I reached for a Kleenex. She had several boxes strategically placed throughout the room. And then she gave me the advice that I was not there to hear, yet was probably the best advice I could have gotten.
“So you want to write a novel. A novel about lost love, because you lost love and you don’t know if you’ll ever find it again, but you fantasize about it, like a Fairytale. Listen to me. You can’t write a novel until you’ve told your story.”
How did she know me so well without even knowing me?
The rest of day went on with everything you would ever want to know about how to write. I learned a lot from that day.
The next day I started to write my story. I ended up giving a TEDx talk where I shared even more of my story, in an effort to help others.
My question for you as you think about writing a blog, an article, a book, teaching something, or giving the talk of your life, is…
What is your story?
If you want anyone to connect with your creative expression, your message to the world, your expertise, you have to inject part of your story.
In addition to my work happiness work, I write a blog all about raising great kids. I have raised three great kids and if you read my blog, you’ll get lots of great ideas on how you too can raise great kids. I have one in the top Ivy League Graduate School in the world, one who is a top tennis athlete and now pro – and an actor; and one child who is cognitively 1/2 his life behind. So wherever your child may fall on the spectrum, or whatever their age, this blog site can help you. I hope you enjoy it and visit often! www.raisinggreatkidz.com
Hello, your holiness. It’s wonderful, to see you again. Happy new year.
I am so excited to see you and my students and people all over the world have been looking forward to this today; this morning in India, this evening in Boston, Massachusetts, where we are today. I’d like to say hello to everyone who’s watching this from all different parts of the world.
My name is Arthur Brooks. I’m a professor at the Harvard business school in the Harvard Kennedy School, where I teach the subject of leadership and happiness, and I as well as everyone joining us today, we are thrilled to be with his holiness the Dalai Lama. the Dalai Lama is a living bodhisattva.
He is the spiritual leader of Tibetan buddhism and the Tibetan people since 1959. He has lived outside Tibet, making his home in Dharamsala, India, from where he joins us today.
The Dalai Lama works tirelessly for the dignity and prosperity of the Tibetan people and brings a message of compassion and love and enlightenment and humility to the entire world in a world that’s torn apart by hatred.
The Dalai Lama is a voice for human unity: over the decades he has become the most recognized religious figure in the world, revered by billions of people and influencing leaders globally.
He has changed countless lives and those lives include my own life. His holiness and I have been friends for seven years. He has been a beloved teacher in my personal journey, as well as my leadership journey.
He has helped me to understand that I am one of seven billion human beings – that we are all brothers and sisters, and that my sacred leadership calling is to lift other people up and bring them together in bonds of solidarity.
You will see tonight in Boston in the morning, of course, in India, how he has taught me these things and how all of us can learn these things as well. In addition to our worldwide livestream audience, we are joined by a group of my students at the Harvard business School from all over the world.
They will be introducing themselves and asking questions later in the program. We’re also joined by Srikanth Dattar, the Dean of the Harvard Business school, Nithin Noria, the former Dean of the Harvard Business School, Douglas eldendorf, the Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and Len Schlesinger, who teaches leadership and happiness with me at the Harvard Business School. And now now we’ll start our conversation about leadership and happiness with his holiness.
Your holiness, you have taught me almost everything of importance that I know about the science and art of happiness. You’ve taught many years about this subject.
Spirituality is first on the list, so let’s start with spirituality. Yes, what is the importance of spirituality and meditation in attaining happiness?
Firstly, I am great honor and feel very happy.
In having discussion with your harvard university’s professors and my old friend and some students. So now, happiness is, i think very purpose of our daily life, for happy life. If you see that things become really unbearable, then die – worst case suicide.
Even you see without a suicide but mentally unbearable sort of situation, then that really, the will to live, reduce so automatically you see, you will die like that. So, therefore, the self-confidence with hope is the key factor for our survival.
Now uh, usually I sort of expressing or description um, hygiene of physical and hygiene of emotion, hygiene or physical. Is we usually take care now, hygiene of emotion it’s? It’s entirely different on yourself, so that means you see, fear of anger.
You see these mental sort of uh attitude really reduce your life. So mental level – happy and a full self-confidence, but then that mental sort of way of thinking really give us some kind of will.
My life is something meaningful – something useful. That kind of the thinking gives you inner strength. So now healthy mind depends on these mental level. Self-Confidence for that self-confidence with sufficient reason, ultimately, is see peace of mind, and also you see your life as we are social animal.
You are one of the member of the social animal. So by birth you see the taking care of each other. That’s very nature, human nature. So your life, you see, always you see helping others, and then you see you get the feeling of my life.
Uh, really meaningful life as a social animal. This is just extremely selfish thinking. It’s actually against social animal sort of thinking. Social animal by nature take care of your group. Just oneself – always think oneself it’s actually impractical like that.
So therefore I always tell people. Firstly, we need some sense of oneness of 7 billion human being on this planet. We have to live together and individuals future depend on them, one individual, one of the seven billion human beings or city – group like that, so that this is on that level.
You see too much self-centered thinking, selfish is actually against that nature. So extreme, this is selfish way is actually destroying your own or happy life.
Look children at young age. They don’t care.
What color, what races, what nationality, what religion so long as we play together and then you see there is a real sense of community there. I feel once we join school, then not much talking oneness of human being, but rather different country, different religion or different color, and then also you see within same religion, same sort of color, but then the rich and poor.
There are too many distinction, differences, discrimination. So so i feel now today’s world. As I mentioned earlier at the beginning, young age. There is sort of feeling of oneness, then gradually join school.
Then too much emphasis about these differences. Then the oneness of human brother sisters is diminishing, rather my nation, my country or my race, like that. So therefore education is very, very important.
Then the entire sort of world education, difficult to say. but like Harvard University, one famous university – you see, should carry some of these principles. Then show other universities, like that Howard University, very, very famous.
So so I’m very happy to have this sort of opportunity to talk. Then now hear some students, some students or some younger professors. So I would like to take questions. Our students will ask questions in just in just a minute.
They’re ready with a number of good questions. Okay, so i would like to have a more complicated question: okay, a more complicated question so that you help me fully utilize my brain.
If questions just a silly question, then my brain sleep: okay, no silly questions, [, Laughter, ],
Your Holiness. I want to ask you about leadership and and happiness. You have met leaders from all over the world and you’ve given them a lot of advice.
They have a lot of money and a lot of power, but many leaders are not happy people, so this is a hard question, I think. Why are so many leaders unhappy people?
I feel very much sort of depends on our education system – then leadership.
Also, human brothers sisters are basically the same. We are the member of social animal. Now, as I already mentioned, it is through education, we emphasis a sense of oneness of 7 billion human being. We are social animal so that I feel our education not much sort of emphasis on that level.
So then, basically, we really need a sense of oneness of human being , and you see emphasis my nation, their nation, my religion, their religion. These are secondary level, so, basically, we are same human being.
We have to live on this planet together. We all share the same planet, same world and then to this reality, there was the economy and also now climate situation. You see there is no sort of way to make distinction – our nation, their nation. ,
We have to live together and the economy also global economy, then the environment. Now we all share, for example, global warming. We all share same way. So now, unlike I think past century, we can just emphasis my nation, my continent. Now time you can no longer say that. We should say we human beings on this planet.
We simply, you see, have to think we, rather than just my nation like that, so so now today this intelligence, human intelligence, now think for wider way, not just my nation, my people but think about humanity.
Because we have to live together and we all facing same problem: economy, problem, then the ecology problem, these things – so I am emphasizing importance of concept of oneness of seven billion human being.
We have to think entire humanity entire world.
Thank you, Your holiness. When you meet a leader who’s an unhappy person, what advice do you give that person? What advice do you give an unhappy leader so that the leader can be a happier person that’s?
A difficult question? I think some leaders, I think difficulties, I think their own creation.
In my lifetime I met a number of leaders, including religious leaders or political leaders. You see, most case those leaders more open-mind, more liberal, more happier. Is it too much also they thinking oneself, as I mentioned earlier, you see and again, the leaders come from society and leaders.
Also you see through our existing school, so now education system, I think a key factor. We should pay more attention about education, how to educate human brothers, sisters more as a wiser and more open-minded like that.
So this system, the whole education is such the people – entire community. From that kind of education, then certain sort of thinking, more narrow-minded thinking. Then leaders come from that society – same – so we can’t sort of blame each of those individuals, I think whole system.
I feel I always talking our education system must be more compassionate, think, humanity, rather than my nation, my nation, like that. So i hope Harvard University you see, more research, how to develop education system which eventually bring more wiser sort of student, so that’s very important, and then leadership comes from that kind of education – automatically more wiser like that.
Our students here today are the next generation of leaders that want to lift up the world and to bring compassion to people just like you say, which is why this is so important. One of the things that we find is that, even though we’re all surrounded by people all the time, you one time said, we feel lonely.
When we’re, not alone, a lot of people feel very lonely today. Why do so many people feel lonely, and what can we do to help them?
I think that’s your own sort of way of thinking. Otherwise, now with telephone and television, we can reach everywhere.
In ancient time, of course, for example, when we tibetan. inside Tibet, then India very far. Now we become India and open society, and then from here you see a telephone everywhere. So I think, with technology, the oneness of human world now become much more clear.
So I think now, with the technology very, very helpful, you see to communicate each other very easily. Meantime, ultimately depend on one individual mind and attitude.. So I think, for example, like a Tibet in ancient time, in normal, there are really lonely one family, two families like that.
Now today you see big cities, millions of people live together, so their way of life is very much depend on the rest of the community. But mentally those Tibetan who remain lonely, but mentally happy and sense of also the group – very clear.
So they one family feel next family, if I need some help, I can ask. Very strong sense of one community. Without that in big cities, then next to your room, people there, but you do not know and instead it’s not trust it’s fear, distress like that, so this, i think – the Individual mental sort of way of thinking and this society more compassionate society, then the sense of the sense of community easily come not much sort of talking about compassion, just selfish self-esteem, then lonely feeling.
Do you believe, your holiness that to be less to be less lonely that one should be more compassionate toward others? In other words, if i bring happiness to other people, will i become a happier person myself? I remember, i think, the new york business family chicago, you see.
Oh one time you say of course, uh several times we met and they take some group of Tibetan refugees settled in their area and then the reason they told me the Tibetan community, usually you see very friendly and very strong sense of same community, and a more compassionate attitude, so he very much impressed that kind of attitude you see should spread in America. So that’s the main reason he told me he took some I think a few hundred Tibetan settler near his place. So usually wherever is a Tibetan live, you see people also notice more harmony, more compassion, but except a few cases. Otherwise you see very peaceful, very peaceful like that.
So therefore, now in big city, several millions, but mentally lonely like this – in some area. You see people very few, but no not having is a lonely feeling.
Your holiness, what’s the biggest mistake that leaders make? The biggest mistake for happiness that leaders make when they’re leaders of nations or their leaders of companies?
What is the mistake that you see leaders making all the time that you could, if you could correct it, that you would.
I think same community? I think European Union’s leader, you see since they create union, particularly like France, French and Germany in the first world war.
Second, world war, arch enemy, but then after second world war, under the leadership of antara, because arjuna and jugul you see they uh develop. They create union of europe. So those leaders in the european union see they, I think that automatically in their mind, when they say use the word, we immediately human union now. England is so far a little complicated, so they so you see it’s, a more so diversity. A sense of community then mentally also more peace and the sense of we and much stronger like that.
So eventually, I think uh, like european union, eventually should create in Latin America and Africa.
So eventually, I think the whole world should have one union of human brothers sisters. I feel like that.
I cannot see my life lifetime, but hoping so those younger generation. It is your responsibility, think more serious and make some effort.
Your Holiness. Let’s talk to some of our students.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO FOR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM HBS STUDENTS.
When it comes to finding true happiness, it has nothing to do with rewards. It’s joy that guides us. The following excerpt of an inspirational talk by #MatthewMcConaughey lays it out for us in a simple, direct way. Enjoy and benefit from Matthew’s wise words.
JODY B. MILLER
We’ve all got two wolves in us. A good one and a bad one. And they both want to eat. Best I can tell we just got to feed that good one. A little more than the other one. Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome.
If I win, I will be happy. If I don’t, I won’t. It’s an if-then cause-and-effect quid pro quo standard that we cannot sustain., Because we immediately raise it every time we attain it. See happiness, happiness demands a certain outcome.
It is result reliant. And I say: if happiness is what you’re after then, you’re gonna be let down frequently and you’re gonna be unhappy. Much of your time.
Joy, though. Joy’s a different thing…It’s something else.
Joy is not a choice. It’s, not a response to some result.. It’s a constant. Joy is the feeling that we have from doing what we are fashioned to do, no matter the outcome…
Now, personally, as an actor, I started enjoying my work and literally being more happy when I stopped trying to make the daily labor. For example. I need this film to be a box-office success. You know I need my performance to be acknowledged. I need the respect of my peers.
All those are reasonable aspirations, but the truth is, as soon as I work the daily making of the movie, the doing of the deed became the reward in itself for me. I got more box-office more accolades and respect than I ever had before.
Joy is always in process. It’s under construction.. It is in constant approach. Alive and well in the doing of what we’re fashioned to do. And enjoying. The easiest way to dissect success is through gratitude.
Thanks for that which we do have, for what is working. Appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted. We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocate. Creating more to be thankful.
It’s, really simple and it works. I’m, not saying be in denial of your failures. No, we can learn from them too, but only if we look at them constructively. As a means to reveal what we are good at – what we can get better at – what we do succeed at.
We try our best.. We don’t always do our best., And since we are the architects of our own lives, let’s study the habits, the practices, the routines that we have that lead to and feed our success.
Our joy, our honest pain, our laughter, our earned tears. Let’s dissect that and give thanks for those things. And when we do that, guess what happens? We get better at them. And we have more to dissect.
It’s a get-rich-quick on the Internet riches, 15 minutes of fame world that we live in and we see it every day., But we all want to succeed. So the question that we’ve got to ask ourselves is what success is to us?
What success is to you? Is it more money? That’s fine. I got nothing against money.. Maybe it’s, a healthy family.. Maybe it’s, a happy marriage.. Maybe it’s to help others to be famous or to be spiritually sound.
To leave the world a little bit better place than you found. It. Continue to ask yourself that question. Now your answer may change over time and that’s fine.. But do yourself this favor., Whatever your answer is don’t choose anything that will jeopardize your soul.
Prioritize who you are, who you want to be, and don’t spend time with anything that antagonizes your character.
Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave., Take the hill, but first answer that question.. What’s my hill? For me, it’s, a measurement of five things..
Health: mind, body and spirit
These are what’s important to me in my life. Right now., because I want to keep all five in healthy shape., And I know that if I don’t take care of them, if I don’t keep up maintenance on them, one of them is gonna get weak. It’s gonna dip too deep into the debit section. It’s going to go bankrupt. It’s gonna get sick. Die.. So first we have to define success for ourselves.
And then we have to put in our work to maintain it. Take that daily tally. Tend our guardian. Keep the things that are important to us in good shape.
Defining ourselves by what we are not is the first step that leads us to really knowing who we are.
You know that group of friends that you hang out with that really might not bring out the best in you? You know they gossip too much or they’re kind of shady? They really aren’t gonna be there for you in a pinch.
Or how about that bar that we keep going to… That we always seem to have the worst hangover from. Or that computer screen. Right. The computer screen that keeps giving us an excuse not to get out of the house and engage with the world and get some real human interaction.
I bet that food that we keep eating tastes so good going down, but it makes us feel like crap. The next week we feel lethargic and we keep putting on weight.
Those people, those places, those things…
STOP GIVING THEM YOUR TIME AND ENERGY. Just don’t go there. I mean put them down. And when you do this, when you do put them down, when you quit going in there, you inadvertently find yourself spending more time and in more places that are healthy for you. That bring you more joy. Why? Because you just eliminated the who’s, the where the what’s that were keeping you from your identity…
Knowing who we are is hard. It’s hard. So give yourself a break. Eliminate who you are not first and you’re gonna find yourself where you need to be.
Take the lid off the man-made routes that we put above ourselves and always play like an underdog.