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The happiness pack pdf

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The happiness pack pdf

  1. 1. The Happiness Pack Some ideas and exercises on the theme of happiness
  2. 2. When you ask parents what they want for their children, they often say: “We want them to be happy.” So the question is: “How do people achieve happiness?” Some people say that happiness is an outcome of pursuing certain principles, rather than an end in itself. During the past 40 years, however, Positive Psychology has researched the topic of happiness. It has asked: “What kinds of people are happy? “What are the principles such people follow to be happy? “Is it possible for other people to follow these principles in their own ways to maintain or improve their happiness?” Introduction
  3. 3. The recent work on happiness was inspired by psychologists such as Martin Seligman, who wrote Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness. Later he would express reservations about the term ‘happiness’. Since then he and other researchers have used terms such as ‘well-being’, ‘flourishing’, ‘thriving’ and ‘life-satisfaction’. But many people continue to refer to the approach as focusing on happiness. The researchers who explore this and related topics include Ed Diener, Robert Biswas-Diener, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Tal Ben-Shahar, Barbara Fredrickson, Tom Rath and many others. Here are some of their books.
  4. 4. The following pages outline some of the themes that have emerged from work on areas such as psychological health, hope and happiness. These are followed by exercises on each of the topics. The pack provide an introduction to these themes. Each theme could, of course, be explored in much more detail. As ever, take the best and leave the rest. Here is an overview of some of the principles that have emerged. You will, of course, have your own views on themes that could be added.
  5. 5. Happiness Some of the characteristics of people who are happy
  6. 6. Being grateful Being positive Being encouraged Being ‘alive’
  7. 7. Being true to yourself Being able to create a sense of purpose Being generous and kind Being the best you can be, rather than comparing yourself with others
  8. 8. Gratitude
  9. 9. Happy people are often humble and have a sense of gratitude. They are thankful for what life has given them. “What you focus on, you become,” we are told. This is borne out by research into people who count their blessings. They become happier than those who count their burdens.   Robert Emmons highlights this in his book Thanks. He described the work that he and Michael E. McCullough did with 3 separate groups over 10 weeks. Those taking part began by keeping daily journals detailing their attitudes, moods and physical health. Each group was then asked to record different things at the end of each week. Introduction
  10. 10. Group A: The Gratitude Group.   They were asked to write down 5 things they were grateful for that had happened in the previous week. This was called the Gratitude Condition.   Group B. The Hassle Group   They were asked to write down 5 hassles that had happened in the previous week. This was called the Hassle Condition.   Group C. The Events Group.   They were asked to write down 5 events that had happened in the previous week, but not to focus on positive or negative aspects.  
  11. 11. The results were as expected. People in Group A felt 25% happier than they had previously. They felt better about their lives and more optimistic about the future.   Robert Emmons believes that:   “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energises, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.” The introduction to Robert’s book is written by Brother David Steindl-Rast, who is known for his work on gratitude.
  12. 12. Brother David grew up in Austria, where he studied art, anthropology and psychology. He moved to the United States and joined a Benedictine Monastery in New York in 1953. Here are some of his thoughts on gratitude. “Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefulness, and gratefulness is a measure of our aliveness.   “Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy - because we will always want to have something else or something more.   "The root of joy is gratefulness … It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
  13. 13. The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. Count your blessings and you will find them to be countless, even in the midst of adversity and tragic circumstances. What we really want is joy. We don’t want things. Brother David Steindl-Rast
  14. 14. He goes on to say that: “Count your blessings and you will find them to be countless, even in the midst of adversity and tragic circumstances.   “The practice of gratefulness that I’m concerned with is grateful living. That means every moment of your life you practice gratefulness.   “You practice awareness that everything is a gift, everything is gratuitous, and if it’s all given, gratuitously given, then the only appropriate response is gratefulness.”  
  15. 15. My Gratitude Journal
  16. 16. There are many exercises on gratitude. This one is based on those that invite people to keep a gratitude journal. It invites you to look back on the day and do two things.   * Describe the things you have enjoyed, been thankful for or appreciated today. * Describe the things you are looking forward to doing, experiencing or giving to others tomorrow.   You can, of course, use other time frames. Such as looking back at a week, month or whatever. Here is the exercise.   Introduction
  17. 17. * * * * * The things I have enjoyed doing, been thankful for or appreciated today have been:
  18. 18. * * * * * The things I am looking forward to doing, experiencing or giving to others tomorrow are:
  19. 19. My Assets
  20. 20. Many of us already have many inner resources and talents. These are the things that make up our true wealth. This exercise invites you to take three steps.   * Describe your personal assets.   For example, your health, family, friends, finances, attitude, ability to overcome adversity, personal drive and whatever. * Describe your professional assets. For example, your past achievements, talents, creativity, work ethic, personal network, satisfied customers, experience, knowledge and whatever. Introduction
  21. 21. * Describe how you can use your assets.   How can you use your assets? How can you use these gifts to encourage other people? How can you use them to achieve your goals? Try completing the following exercise.  
  22. 22. The personal assets I have are: * * * * * Personal Assets
  23. 23. The professional assets I have are: * * * * * Professional Assets
  24. 24. The specific things I can do to make use of my assets are: * * * Making Use Of My Assets
  25. 25. Positivity
  26. 26. People make choices everyday. They can choose to be positive or negative, to be creators or critics, to take responsibility or avoid responsibility. Each choice does, of course, have consequences. The attitude they choose can have an influence on both themselves and other people.   People who choose to have a positive attitude are more likely to generate inner strength. Studies of resilient people, for example, show they are ‘positive realists’. Such people have a positive approach, but also quickly read reality. They focus on influencing what they can control, rather than worrying about what they can’t. They then do their best to achieve their picture of success. Introduction
  27. 27. People who choose to have a negative attitude tend to generate feelings of weakness. Such people worry about things they can’t control and feel the world is against them. They tend to spread negative energy and this can affect other people. People do not always choose what happens to them. But, as Viktor Frankl says, people often have the chance to choose their response to what happens. Writing about his experiences in the concentration camps, Frankl said: “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
  28. 28. People can choosePeople can choose To be positive To be positive To be creators To be creators To take responsibility To take responsibility To be negative To be negative To be complainers To be complainers To avoid responsibility To avoid responsibility
  29. 29. Pluses * _________ Minuses * _________ People make choices and each choice has consequences People make choices and each choice has consequences AA Pluses * _________ Minuses * _________ BB Pluses * _________ Minuses * _________ CC
  30. 30. Barbara Fredrickson and Positivity Barbara Fredrickson explains the importance of positivity in her book on this theme. She found that positivity increases our ability to live flourishing, rather than languishing, lives. She says: “People who have positive emotions in a ratio of 3:1 in relation to negative emotions are more likely to flourish.” Some people dispute this ratio, but the principle is worthwhile exploring.
  31. 31. Barbara explains: “The consistency here is extraordinary. For individuals, marriages and business teams, flourishing – doing remarkably well – comes with positivity ratios above 3 to 1.   “By contrast, those who don’t overcome their depression, couples who fail in their marriages, and business teams that are unpopular and unprofitable each have ratios in the gutter, below 1 to 1.” The key is to increase: “The amount of positive emotions you have in relation to negative emotions.” You can test your own positivity ratio at the following site. http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php
  32. 32. Positivity Ratios 3+3+ 11 Peak Performing and Flourishing 22 11 Coping: Managing To Keep Head Above Water 11 11 Languishing With Little Sign Of Hope 11 2+2+ Possible Depression
  33. 33. People choose their attitude and, as mentioned earlier, this can affect others around them. The following exercises invite you to focus on two things. * Clarifying your positive energy. This exercise invites you to clarify the things that give you positive energy. * Choosing to be positive. This invites you to clarify the specific things you can do to be positive in your life and work. * Clarifying your level of self-confidence. This invites you to clarify the positive and not so positive influences you may have in your life and work.
  34. 34. Positive Energy
  35. 35. Energy is life. This exercise invites you to list the things that give you positive energy. These may include doing certain activities, being with certain people, following certain passions, doing certain professional projects or whatever. The activities that give you positive energy – even when you simply think about them - can provide clues to your strengths. They can also help you to make decisions. When in doubt, you can ask yourself: Which option gives me the most positive energy? So try completing the following exercise. Introduction
  36. 36. Positive Energy The things that give me positive energy are: * * * *
  37. 37. Choosing To Be Positive
  38. 38. * To For example: * To For example: * To For example: The specific things I can do to be positive in my life and work –including being positive towards others – are:
  39. 39. * To For example: * To For example: * To For example: The benefits of doing these things – both for myself and for others – may be:
  40. 40. Self-Confidence Pot Fillers and Pot Drillers
  41. 41. There are many exercises for clarifying our levels of positivity, confidence and energy. One of this is based on Virginia Satir's work with the Self-Confidence Pot. A great family therapist, Virginia invited people to see their self-confidence as a pot. Sometimes they would have lots of confidence in the pot, other times they would have little.   Sometimes this was related to whether they were surrounded by Pot Fillers or Pot Drillers. Virginia introduced this idea in the 1950s. It was later used by many other people who talked about Energy Givers and Energy Drains. But it is worth revisiting her original work. Introduction
  42. 42. Clarifying Your Level of Self-Confidence   Start by drawing an imaginary pot. Looking at the pot, draw a line that corresponds to how high your self-confidence is today. If you have high confidence, you can draw it high up the pot. If your confidence is low, you can draw it at a lower point in the pot. The next step explores why it may be at this level.  Clarifying Your Pot Fillers   Write the names of your pot fillers. These are the people who give you encouragement and energy. You look forward to seeing these people and feel more alive after meeting them. Also describe the things you do to give yourself energy, such as listening to music, reading, gardening or whatever.
  43. 43. The Self-Confidence Pot Draw a line showing how high your self confidence is at the moment. If you have high confidence, it will be high in the pot. If low confidence, then it will be lower.
  44. 44. If you have lots of things that give you positive energy, your pot will be overflowing. You will then be more able to pass-on encouragement to other people. But there may be complications, which brings us to the next part of the exercise.  Clarifying Your Pot Drillers Write the names of the pot drillers. These are people who sap energy. They leave you feeling drained and discouraged. The more significant they are in the your life, the nearer they will be to the base. It is also possible, of course, that you may do things that drill your own pot.  
  45. 45. The Self-Confidence Pot You may have both Pot Fillers and Pot Drillers.
  46. 46. One key point is worth remembering. Whilst we may have people who discourage us, we may also 'allow' them to have this effect. If a person is being negative, for example, sometimes we may have the option of going out of the room, giving them a positive alternative or doing other things to stop their energy affecting us. This is not always the case, but there are options we can apply for dealing with the negative energy. Some people may be both pot fillers and pot drillers. They may have a ‘pleasing–hurting’ pattern. Sometimes they are positive then, without warning, they lash out. If this is this case, clarify the specific things these people do to encourage or drain you.
  47. 47. Clarifying How To Raise The Level Of Self-Confidence   “It is my responsibility to take charge of my future,” said one person. “I need to spend more time doing the things that give me positive energy. Sometimes I allow some people to have a negative influence on me. I am going to control what I can in those situations.”   How can you maintain confidence and also encourage other people? Here are some suggestions to consider.   * Spend more time with people who give you energy.   Spend time with your encouragers and, if possible, work with colleagues you find stimulating. People often find that, as they get older, they spend more time with personal and professional soul mates.
  48. 48. Encourage yourself. Do more of the things you love such as listening to music, visiting the theatre or whatever.   * Spend less time - or no time - with people who drain energy.   Radical changes are difficult to make overnight but, unless the holes are filled, encouragement will simply flow out of the bottom. You can do two things with the stoppers.   - Stop seeing people who drain energy.   Why take such a drastic step? Energy is life. We need pure energy, rather than poisonous energy. Unless the holes are filled, encouragement will ebb away.  
  49. 49. - Start making clear contracts with the people who both encourage and stop you.   Start by rewarding the positive. This means giving clear messages about the specific things you like the other person doing. Explain how you would like to build on these parts of the relationship.   Give the person positive alternatives to the possible negative behaviour by saying: “In the future, is it possible for you to …?” or “I would prefer it if you…”   Present suggestions to the other person, rather than label the person as ‘bad’. It is unlikely that a negative person, for example, will respond immediately. Everybody needs time to lick their wounds. But is it important not to argue or fall into the blame game.
  50. 50. What if the negative person refuses to respond? Then it will be time to make a decision. It is important to give to others, but not become a victim. There is no point in staying around to have your pot drilled by people who choose to be miserable or to be ‘observer critics’.   * Be an encourager for other people   Encourage your encouragers. This may lead to getting even more positive energy and continuing to build good relationships.   Finally, when in doubt, can ask: “Does this activity give me energy?” If not, you can switch to spending time with the people – and on the activities – that provide stimulation. This may seem tough. But it is much tougher to stay with negative people.
  51. 51. Try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do three things. * Describe the specific things you can do to keep filling your Pot. * Describe the specific things you can do to deal with any drilling of your Pot. * Describe the specific things you can do to be a Pot Filler for other people.  
  52. 52. Pot Filling. The specific things I can do to maintain or improve the level of confidence in my pot are: * To For example: * To For example: * To For example:
  53. 53. Pot Drilling. The specific things I can do to deal with any drilling of the level of confidence in my pot are: * To For example: * To For example: * To For example:
  54. 54. Being A Pot Filler. The specific things I can do to be a Pot Filler for other people are: * To For example: * To For example: * To For example:
  55. 55. Encouragement
  56. 56. Most people want similar things in life. They want to be loved, happy, successful and to find peace. Different people will, of course, have different ways of reaching these aims. Happy people may have grown up in a loving family or enjoyed fulfilling relationships in their lives. Such people may also have spent time with kindred spirits. People obviously want love. Many recognise, however, that they will not be loved by everybody they meet. So they put themselves into situations where they get support. People – and all living things – need encouragement to grow. Introduction
  57. 57. Studies of achievers who grew up in difficult circumstances, for example, found that they were given encouragement by ‘Significant Others’. They had a grandparent, teacher, coach or other positive model who encouraged them to believe in themselves. (This was the original use of the term Significant Other.) The Significant Other provided a sense of affirmation. At the same time, however, they often gave the person a ‘reality check’. The person listened because they respected the Significant Other. They then felt they were on the right track – often in the face of others who doubted them.
  58. 58. People are more likely to grow in an encouraging environment, something that was described by Abraham Maslow. Maslow was one of the founders of humanistic psychology and studied healthy people. Whilst he produced a massive body of work, most people are familiar with his famous ‘hierarchy of human needs’. He said that people have an ascending set of needs. These start with physiological needs – such as for air, food and water. They need to feel safe and then meet their social needs - such as being loved and having a sense of belonging. People then need to develop self-esteem and progress to self-actualisation. This final step can take the form of enjoying peak experiences.  
  59. 59. Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Human NeedsMaslow’s Hierarchy Of Human Needs Self-actualisation needsSelf-actualisation needs Esteem needsEsteem needs Social needsSocial needs Safety needsSafety needs Physiological needsPhysiological needs
  60. 60. Maslow said that people have an inbuilt drive to climb this hierarchy. Once they are satisfied on one level, they are more likely to move onto the next level. These drives start with the physiological needs, then climb onwards towards self-actualisation. There are obviously some people who defy these rules. Some individuals produce great work, for example, despite experiencing deprivation. Nevertheless, Maslow’s ideas had a profound impact. People need both physical and psychological encouragement. This plays a key part in enabling them to grow. The following pages invite you to do two exercises on this theme.
  61. 61. * Significant Others. This exercise invites you to do two things. First, to write the names of significant people in your life or work that have given you encouragement. Second, to describe the specific things that each of them did to encourage you. * Being an Encourager. This exercise invites you to describe two things. First, the specific things you can do to encourage other people. Second, the specific things you can do to encourage yourself. Here are the exercises.
  62. 62. Significant Others
  63. 63. The Significant People Who Have Given Me Encouragement The Significant Person’s Name Was: ________ The specific things they did to encourage me were: * They * They * They
  64. 64. The Significant Person’s Name Was: ________ The specific things they did to encourage me were: * They * They * They
  65. 65. The Significant Person’s Name Was: ________ The specific things they did to encourage me were: * They * They * They
  66. 66. Being An Encourager
  67. 67. The specific things I can do to encourage other people are: * To For example: * To For example: * To For example:
  68. 68. The specific things I can do to encourage myself are: * To For example: * To For example: * To For example:
  69. 69. Aliveness
  70. 70. Happy people often ‘feel alive’. They enjoy life and experience moments when they say: “This is wonderful. You can’t buy times like these.” Joseph Campbell, who studied the human journey as expressed in myths and legends, explained: “People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive…” The following pages invite you to do two exercises on this theme. Introduction
  71. 71. Feeling Alive
  72. 72. This exercise invites you to do two things. * Describe the times when you feel alive. For example, when you are writing, running, dancing, gardening, being with loved ones, cooking, performing or whatever. It is important, of course, to focus on when you feel alive in ways that help, rather than hurt, yourself or other people. * Describe the steps you can take to do more of these things. Introduction
  73. 73. The specific times when I feel alive – in ways that help, rather than hurt, myself or other people - are: * When I For example: * When I For example: * When I For example:
  74. 74. The specific steps I can take to do more of these things are: * To For example: * To For example: * To For example:
  75. 75. Living The Vital Life, Rather Than The Vanilla Life
  76. 76. Gordon Mackenzie, author of Orbiting the Giant Hairball, inspired many people to revitalise their creativity whilst working with corporations.   He believed it was vital to retain the juiciness of life. If you don’t watch out, he said, life can become like one of the peaches you find in supermarkets. From the outside it looks perfect. When taking a bite, however, the peach tastes like concrete.   People work best when they generate their creative juices. This comes from living the vital life, rather than the vanilla life. This exercise invites you to take the following steps. Introduction
  77. 77. * Start by describing what the vital life is for you. One person wrote: “The vital life for me is: doing creative work, cooking fresh food, listening to jazz, mountain biking, skiing, walking by the sea, meeting friends, getting enough sleep and driving with the roof down.”   Gordon Mackenzie spent 30 years managing to ‘orbit’ successfully around the ‘hairball’ of bureaucracy. He believed that explorers sometimes had to make their own rules. He wrote: “Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s licence.” How can you keep your senses alive? Try completing the following sentence.
  78. 78. The vital life for me is: * To * To * To * To * To
  79. 79. * Describe what for you may be the vanilla life. One person said:   “The vanilla life for me is: sitting in boring meetings, staying in soulless hotels, hotel food, spending more than 3 nights a week away from home, listening to ‘observer critics’, flying on business trips, spending a day without music.”   What is the vanilla life for you? Try completing the following sentence.  
  80. 80. The vanilla life for me is: * To * To * To * To * To
  81. 81. * Describe the specific things you can do to live the vital life and – if possible - avoid the vanilla life. “I am fed-up with plain vanilla,” said one person, “Now and again I want to add a bit of tutti-frutti.” Gordon Mackenzie died in 1999, soon after the publication of Hairball. The final two sentences of his book are:   “If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you.”   Gordon created his masterpiece and lived a vital life. He certainly wasn’t vanilla. Try completing the following sentence.
  82. 82. The specific things I can do to live the vital life – rather than the vanilla life - are: * To * To * To * To * To
  83. 83. Being True To Yourself
  84. 84. “It’s important to be true to yourself,” we are told. This sounds simple and, like many simple things, it can be hard to do. Being true to yourself involves being true to your nature and being ‘authentic’. It means following your values in your daily life and work. This is a path taken by many people who are happy. Certainly it is important to be true to yourself. But it is also important to do this in ways that help, rather than hurt, other people. Introduction
  85. 85. Carl Rogers, a key figure in humanistic psychology, emphasised the need for people to be genuine in his book On Becoming A Person. Carl believed that all living things had a drive toward actualisation. Many of his beliefs were formed from watching the processes in nature. As a scientist, he saw how organisms stretched to fulfil their potential.   The organisms that succeeded, he believed, were those that channelled their natural strength and yet also embraced complexity. This enabled them to develop the resources to deal with challenges. Those that remained narrow did not have the variety to overcome adversity.  
  86. 86. Carl believed that, to be fully human, a person must be true to themselves – yet also be willing to learn from experience. He believed that: “People who pursue this drive successfully are more likely to become psychologically healthy. Those who don’t may experience ‘problems of living’.”   People who are able to pursue their true nature are more likely to find fulfilment. Life is full of setbacks, however, and some forces can throw a person off-course. Looking back at your own life, try tackling the exercise on this theme.
  87. 87. Being True To Yourself
  88. 88. This exercise invites you to do the following things. * Describe a specific time in your life – or an event - when you were true to yourself. Describe the situation in more detail. For example, you may have expressed yourself fully to perform fine work, overcome a setback or taken a stand in a difficult situation.   * Describe the specific things you did right – the principles you followed – to be true to yourself in the situation. * Describe the lessons you learned from the experience.   Introduction
  89. 89. The specific time when I was true to myself was: * When I Here is a fuller description of the situation * * *
  90. 90. The specific things I did right – the principles I followed – to be true to myself in the situation were: * * *
  91. 91. The specific lessons I learned from the experience were: * * *
  92. 92. Following Your Values
  93. 93. People who are happy often take another step. They clarify and follow their values. They then translate these into action in their daily lives and work. They live in what existentialists call ‘good faith’. Such people often start by clarifying their values. This can take the form of a set of values, a spiritual belief or a ‘personal compass’ they want to follow. This sounds simple in theory, but it can be harder in practice. The following exercises invite you to explore how you can do this in your own life and work. Introduction
  94. 94. * Clarifying your values.   Start by brainstorming the values you believe in and put these in order of priority. One person wrote:   “The values I believe in are: 1) To encourage people. 2) To care for the environment. 3) To make beautiful things. “The real test, however, is how I can follow these in my daily life.” So try clarifying your values.
  95. 95. 1) To For example: 2) To For example: 3) To For example: My Values – The Top Three Values I Believe In Are:
  96. 96. * Translating your values into action. Looking at each value in turn, describe how you can translate these into action. The person said:   “The toughest value to follow was ‘caring for the environment’. Starting with my daily habits, I switched the electricity account to a renewable energy provider; invested in solar panelling; bought local produce; stopped buying fruit flown from long distances and travelled more by train, rather than by car. There is much more to do, but I feel more in tune with my values.” Try completing the following sentences. We will then move on to another characteristic of happy people. One that is strongly related to living one’s values.
  97. 97. My Values – Translating Them Into Action The first value is: 1) To The specific things I can do to translate this value into action are: * * *
  98. 98. The second value is: 2) To The specific things I can do to translate this value into action are: * * *
  99. 99. The third value is: 3) To The specific things I can do to translate this value into action are: * * *
  100. 100. Purpose
  101. 101. People like to have a sense of purpose. They gain a sense of meaning when following their vocation, delivering an exciting project or serving something greater than themselves. “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life,” said Viktor Frankl. “Everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment.” People feel more at peace when they are pursuing their chosen purpose. What is your purpose? How can translate this purpose into clear principles and practice these in your daily life? Let’s explore how you can follow these steps in your own way. Introduction
  102. 102. * Focusing on your purpose. There are many exercises that people can use to define their purpose. Most stem from the eternal questions: “Who am I? Where am I going? How can I get there?” Virtually all the exercises invite you to ‘start from your destination and work backwards’. They ask you: - To define what you want to achieve in your life or work. - To focus on how you can do something each day towards achieving these goals. Let’s explore some of these exercises.
  103. 103. My Picture of Success – My Life Goals
  104. 104. Everybody is different and has different pictures of success. What is your picture? Looking back on your life when you are 80, what for you will mean you have had a successful life? This is a particularly challenging exercise, so only do it if you feel okay about it. The exercise invites you to ‘start from your destination’ and define your overall life-goals. People often cover three themes when doing this exercise. * Positive relationships. They focus on how they want to be remembered as a parent, partner, friend or whatever. Introduction
  105. 105. * Positive contribution. They focus on how they want to follow their vocation, do good work or make a positive contribution to the world. * Positive memories. They focus on how they want to enjoy life, pursue experiences and have no regrets. You may prefer to clarify your life goals in another way. Whatever approach you take, clarifying these goals can act as a long-term compass. You can bear these aims in mind when making key decisions. You can ask yourself: “Will taking this step help me to achieve my long-term picture of success?
  106. 106. Looking back in later years, I will feel my life has been successful if I have done the following things: 1) I have For example: * * * My Picture of Success - My Life GoalsMy Picture of Success - My Life Goals
  107. 107. 2) I have For example: * * * 3) I have For example:
  108. 108. My Vocation
  109. 109. Introduction A person’s vocation is their calling. It is what they are here to do. Their vocation remains constant throughout their life. But they may express it through various vehicles on the way towards doing valuable work. Finding one’s vocation can take years. But it is possible to make a start by looking back at the ‘satisfying projects’ you have done in your life. Looking at each of these projects in turn, what made them satisfying? Can you see any patterns?
  110. 110. VocationVocation VehiclesVehiclesValuable Work Valuable Work
  111. 111. Sometimes there is a ‘red thread’ that runs through these projects. This key theme could be, for example, activities such as: * Encouraging people. * Creating beautiful environments. * Making things work. * Passing on knowledge. * Showing a better way. * Or whatever.
  112. 112. The following exercise assumes you have already done some work on clarifying the themes that run through your most satisfying projects. It invites you to do the following things. * Describe what you believe may be your vocation. Also describe when you have expressed this theme in the past. * Describe the ways you can express this vocation through various vehicles in the future. * Describe the steps you can then take to do valuable work. As mentioned earlier, getting the right wording can take years. But this exercise offers a starting point.
  113. 113. My Vocation Looking at the themes that run through the satisfying projects I have done in my life, I believe my vocation may be:   * To The specific situations where I have expressed this theme - or similar themes - in the past have been: * * *
  114. 114. My Vehicles The specific things I can do to express this vocation through various vehicles in the future are:   * To * To * To
  115. 115. My Steps To Doing Valuable Work The specific things I can therefore do to try to do valuable work are:   * To * To * To
  116. 116. Control
  117. 117. People like to feel in control. Feeling in control is a human need almost as much as for oxygen, food and water People like to feel in control to at least 7/10. This doesn’t mean, for example, that they can predict everything that will happen in the future. But they feel confident they can do their best in many situations. People who don’t feel in control may develop other symptoms, such as illness, depression or other difficulties. Happy people recognise what they can and can’t control. They can control their attitude, professionalism and certain other things. They cannot control certain outside events or what other people think about them. Introduction
  118. 118. Such people therefore aim to ‘control the controllables’. They build on what they can control and manage what they can’t. Laurens van der Post, the author, describes an extreme example of this desire to feel in control. At the time he was a prisoner of war. One night he was informed that he would be executed the next morning. Deciding he had nothing to lose, he asked to be shot, rather than be beheaded. The camp commander agreed. Laurens says that then, quite irrationally, he felt a sudden surge of freedom. The sentence was never carried out, but he remembers the feeling of being in charge.
  119. 119. Happy people also have a sense of hope. So later we will be looking at Ricky Snyder’s work on the psychology of hope. You will be invited to do an exercise that focuses on: Will Power - your will to shape your future.   Way Power – your ability to see ways to shape your future. Happy people also tend to simplify their lives. They take charge of their lives, diary, agenda and technology – rather than let those things take charge of them. The following pages provide exercises on each of these themes.
  120. 120. Feeling In Control
  121. 121. There are many exercises people can do to clarify the extent to which they feel in control. This exercise invites you to do two things. * Describe the extent to which you feel in control of your life and work. Do this on a scale 0 – 10. This means that you feel in charge of your life and, for example, able to shape your future. Just go with your gut reaction and rate the extent to feel able to be in control. * Describe the specific things you can do to maintain or improve the rating. Introduction
  122. 122. 0 5 10 The extent to which I feel in control of my life and work is:
  123. 123. The specific things I can do to maintain or improve this rating are:   1) To 2) To 3) To
  124. 124. Controlling The Controllables
  125. 125. Happy people tend to be positive realists. Bearing in mind their long-term picture of success, they put their energies into focusing on what they can control.   They can control their attitude, professionalism and other things. They cannot control other people or certain outside events. They can, of course, choose their attitude and try to influence these factors. This exercise invites you to: * Describe the things you can control in your life and work. * Describe the things you can’t control. * Describe how you can build on what you can control and manage what you can’t. Introduction
  126. 126. Can Control The things I can control in my life and work are: * * * * *
  127. 127. Can’t Control The things I can’t control in my life and work are: * * * * *
  128. 128. Controlling The Controllables The things I can do to build on what I can control and manage what I can’t are: * * * * *
  129. 129. The White Room Exercise
  130. 130. Sometimes it is important to have a ‘Spring clean’ to sort–out our lives. Clutter absorbs energy. So it is useful to refocus on the things that are really important. Try tackling The White Room exercise.   Imagine your life is a white room. There is nothing in it except your family. Then go through the following steps.   * You can put three people into your white room.   “Two people immediately came to mind: my best friend and my partner at work,” said one person. “But the next stage was much harder.   Introduction
  131. 131. “Which person should I put in the room? It was a bit like Desert Island Discs, but more serious. Eventually I chose somebody, but that was not really the point.   “The exercise forced me to think about: a) The people with whom I feel alive; b) The people who it would be good to meet occasionally; c) The people with whom there was no longer a ‘click’. I decided to spend more time with the people who lifted my spirits.”   Who would you put in your room? Try completing the following sentence.  
  132. 132. The three people I would put into my room would be: * * * The Three People
  133. 133. * You can put three strengths and three goals into your white room.   Ask yourself: “What do I find most fulfilling? What are the three things I do best? What are the activities in which I flow, focus and finish?” Put your top three strengths into the room.   Then clarify your goals. Ask yourself: “What is my picture of success? Looking back when I am 80, what for me will mean I have had a successful life? What are my personal and professional goals?”   Put your top three goals into the room. Later you can make an action plan for achieving this picture of success. Try completing the following sentences.
  134. 134. The three strength I have that I would put into my room would be: * * * The Three Strengths
  135. 135. The three goals I have that I would put into my room would be: * * * The Three Goals
  136. 136. * You can put three possessions and three other things into your white room.   Time to treat yourself. List the three possessions you want to put into the room. One person found a ‘creative’ way around this, saying:   “Assuming I am allowed to put in my home and pets, I would put in my computer, TV and car. But I would also have a good clear out, because we have so much stuff that we never use. Just looking at it takes energy. “Regarding the three other things, it would be my mountaineering equipment, camera and painting materials.”
  137. 137. The three possessions I would put into my room would be: * * * The Three Possessions
  138. 138. The three other things I would put into my room would be: * * * The Three Other Things
  139. 139. After completing the exercise, you will have your family plus fifteen items - people, strengths, goals, possessions, other things. It can be useful to look at how to build on these important things in the future.   The White Room exercise sounds drastic. But sometimes we need to refocus our lives. We can then concentrate on the people and activities that give us positive energy. Clutter can soon appear, however, and then it will be time for a new spring clean. So try completing the final two parts of the exercise.
  140. 140. Creativity
  141. 141. Happy people tend to do things in which they feel stimulated and creative. They often do this by going through the process of absorption, adventure and achievement. Sometimes they experience a state of flow. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote about this in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Happy people also continue to learn. This enables them to feel alive and develop in their lives and work. So let’s begin by focusing on when you feel creative. Introduction
  142. 142. Feeling Creative
  143. 143. When do you feel most creative? This may be, for example, when you are gardening, painting, writing, leading a project, teaching, delivering something by a specific deadline or whatever. This exercise invites you to do the following things. * Describe when you feel most creative. * Describe how you can do more of these things. * Describe the benefits of taking these steps.   Introduction
  144. 144. * When I * When I * When I The times when I feel most creative are:
  145. 145. * I can * I can * I can The steps I can take to do more of these things are:
  146. 146. * To * To * To The benefits of doing these things will be:
  147. 147. Flow
  148. 148. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow provides one of the keys to helping people to clarify when they feel creative. He spent decades studying when people felt fully absorbed in an experience and also performed fine work. He studied painters, sculptors, surgeons, athletes, people recovering from accidents and people from all walks of life.   Many of these examples are recounted in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. He says:   Introduction
  149. 149. “Many of the interviewees described their feeling as ‘being carried away by a force greater than myself,’ or ‘being in a current,’ or ‘being in flow’. I chose the last of these analogies as being the most simple.” Sometimes the flow experience may seem to ‘just happen’. But the following pages list the steps that people often taken to create a sense of flow. People can then follow these principles in the future. They may then flow, focus, finish and, as a by-product, gain a sense of fulfilment. These ideas are followed by an exercise you can use to explore the times when you experience flow. You can then follow these principles to feel creative in the future.
  150. 150. Mihaly's study says that people enjoy a sense of flow when: 1) They tackle a task which they have a chance of completing. 2) They concentrate on what they are doing. 3) They have clear goals. 4) They get immediate feedback. Flow
  151. 151. 5) They experience a deep and effortless involvement that removes the frustrations of everyday life. 6) They enjoy a sense of control over their actions. 7) They find their concern for self disappears, but paradoxically their sense of self emerges stronger. 8) They find the experience is so enjoyable that their sense of time disappears.
  152. 152. Flow
  153. 153. This exercise invites you to explore how you can continue to experience a sense of flow. It invites you to do three things. * Describe a specific activity in which you experience a sense of flow. Try to give some examples of when this has happened. * Describe the specific things you believe you may do right then – the principles you may follow - to experience a sense of flow. * Describe the specific things you can do to follow some of these principles in the future – in either this or other activities - to maybe experience a sense of flow. Introduction
  154. 154. * When I Here are some examples of when this has happened: * * * The specific activity in which I experience a sense of flow is:
  155. 155. * To * To * To * To The specific things I do right then – the principles I follow – to experience a sense of flow are:
  156. 156. The specific things I can do to follow some of these principles and maybe experience a sense of flow in the future are: * To * To * To * To
  157. 157. Being The Best You Can Be
  158. 158. Happy people aim to do their best. They build on their strengths and manage the consequences of their weaknesses. They aim to become the best kind of person, parent, teacher, artist or whatever they can be. They recognise that: “A rose can become a better rose, it cannot become a daffodil.” Such people aim to keep improving. But they accept who they are, rather than negatively compare themselves with others. They then aim to do the best they can in relation to their potential. So let’s explore some exercises on these themes. Introduction
  159. 159. Building On Strengths
  160. 160. Peak performers build on their strengths and manage the consequences of their weaknesses. This exercise invites you to clarify how you can do this in your work. You can obviously follow similar principles in other areas of your life. It invites you to take the following steps. * Describe the deeply satisfying activities where you deliver – or have the potential to deliver – As rather then Bs or Cs. These may be particular kinds of projects, tasks or other activities. Try to be as specific as possible. Give concrete examples. Please note: the emphasis is on the word ‘Deliver’. Introduction
  161. 161. * Describe the activities in which you deliver Bs or Cs. The B activities are probably those you can do reasonably well. They are not your As, however, or maybe they once were, but now you get bored doing them. The C activities are those where you have little aptitude or desire to learn. * Describe how you can build on your strengths and manage the consequences of your weaknesses. Try completing the following exercise.
  162. 162. My A Strengths As. The deeply satisfying activities, projects or other tasks where I deliver – or have the potential to deliver - As are: 1) For example: * *
  163. 163. 2) For example: * * *
  164. 164. 3) For example: * * *
  165. 165. My Bs and Cs Bs. The activities where I deliver Bs are: * * * Cs. The activities where I deliver Cs are: * *
  166. 166. The specific things I can do to build on where I deliver As are: * * * Building On My Strengths
  167. 167. Managing My Weaknesses The specific things I can do to manage the consequences of my Bs and Cs are: * * *
  168. 168. Doing My Best
  169. 169. John Wooden, the college basketball coach, was revered for his ability to build winning teams. At the same time, however, he seldom talked about winning. He encouraged athletes to be ‘more concerned with their character’, rather than with fame. One of his quotes is: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” The following exercise invites you to focus on how you can do your best in your life and work. Introduction
  170. 170. The specific things I do can to my best in my life and work are: 1) To For example: * * *
  171. 171. 2) For example: * * *
  172. 172. 3) For example: * * *
  173. 173. The benefits of doing these things will be: 1) To 2) To 3) To
  174. 174. Peace
  175. 175. Happy people often experience a sense of peace. Sometimes this may result from a feeling of gratitude and also doing their best. Different people may do different things to enjoy this feeling. For example: * They may put themselves in places and situations where they experience a sense of peace. * They may do things that lead to them experiencing a sense of peace. * They may sometimes spread a calm and positive feeling that enables others to experience a sense of peace. Introduction
  176. 176. Some people experience a sense of peace in their work by following the peak performer’s path. (See illustration on the next page.) Peak performers often start by following their passion and translating this into a clear purpose. They may aim to write a book, find a medical cure, become the best kind of athlete they can be or whatever. They aim to be super professional, solve problems and achieve peak performance. Some people stop at this stage, but others go on. They pass on their knowledge to help others to succeed. Providing they have done their best, they may feel a sense of peace. People then rest for a while, before embarking again on pursuing the peak performer’s path.
  177. 177. The Peak Performer’s Path Passion Purpose Professionalism Problem Solving Peak Performance Passing On Knowledge Peace
  178. 178. Some people may enjoy a sense of peace for fleeting moments. Some may enjoy it for longer periods. Some may look back at the end of their lives and feel that – despite making mistakes – they have done their best. The following exercises invite you to do the following things. * Describe the things you can do to enjoy a sense of peace. * Describe the things you can do to maybe help others enjoy a sense of peace. Here are the exercises.
  179. 179. A Sense of Peace
  180. 180. This exercise invites you to focus on when you enjoy a sense of peace. For example, it could be: * When you are in certain places where you feel calm. For example, when you are close to water, at home, or in a certain part of the country. * When you are in certain situations. For example, when doing certain kinds of work, working with certain kind of people or whatever. * What you are doing certain things. For example, when following your values, playing to your strengths, giving your best or whatever. Introduction
  181. 181. The times when I experience a sense of peace are: 1) When I 2) When I 3) When I
  182. 182. The steps I can take to do more of these things are: 1) I can 2) I can 3) I can
  183. 183. Creating A Sense of Peace
  184. 184. This exercise invites you to focus on when you may help to create a sense of peace when interacting with other people. For example: * When you help to create a calm and positive atmosphere. * When you help to create an environment in which people feel able to be themselves. * When you help to create an environment in which people are able to find – as far as possible – ‘win-win’ solutions to potential conflicts. Introduction
  185. 185. The times when I help to create an environment in which people experience a sense of peace are: 1) When I 2) When I 3) When I
  186. 186. The steps I can take to do more of these things are: 1) I can 2) I can 3) I can
  187. 187. Wisdom
  188. 188. Some people have a certain kind of wisdom. They see things in perspective and pass on knowledge that enables other people to succeed. Many of the wise people I have met have been warm and welcoming. They made the person they were talking with feel the centre of the world. They also embodied the following qualities. * They tuned into what people really wanted. They recognised that most people want to be loved, happy, successful and find people. The wise person often tuned into things on this level – in addition to answering the question a person asked. Introduction
  189. 189. * They shared ‘what works’ to help people to get what they wanted. Wise people often studied what worked, simplified what worked – in a profound way – and shared what worked. They shared this knowledge in a way that people could accept and use to achieve their goals. * They shared other wisdom that people could use to get what they wanted. Wise people had often explored many fields and had a wide repertoire. They shared this knowledge when appropriate. Sometimes the ideas were immediately relevant. Other times the knowledge opened people’s eyes to other possibilities. People could then use the ideas in their own ways.
  190. 190. Wisdom
  191. 191. This exercise invites you to do the following things. * Describe the people you have known who showed or shared wisdom. * Describe the specific things they did to show or share wisdom. * Describe the specific things you can do to show or share wisdom in your own way. Here is the exercise. Introduction
  192. 192. The wise people I have known Their name: ___________ The specific things things they did to show or share wisdom were: * * *
  193. 193. Their name: ___________ The specific things things they did to show or share wisdom were: * * *
  194. 194. The specific things I can do to try to show or share wisdom in my own way are: * To * To * To
  195. 195. Generosity
  196. 196. Happy people are often generous. They love to give to others and help people to succeed. How do we learn generosity? Some learn it from their spiritual or religious traditions. Some from their parents, friends, teachers, managers, leaders and others. Some learn it from growing up in a culture that encouraged people to give. Generous people are often like good gardeners. They create an environment that enables people and things to grow. They may aim to create an encouraging family, school, work place, organisation, culture or whatever. The culture they create can reach many people and create a lasting legacy. Introduction
  197. 197. Generous people seem to follow certain guidelines for creating such an environment. They sometimes do this by combining elements that, at first sight, may seem contradictory. They balance encouragement and enforcement. So they often provide the following framework.   * Encouragement They start by providing encouragement.   * Education They then provide – in its widest sense – education. This includes providing positive models and practical tools that people can use to get positive results.  
  198. 198. * Enablement They provide wisdom, knowledge and practical tools that enable people to grow.   * Enforcement They maintain the encouraging framework. So they are prepared to enforce against those who want to spoil it for others. The following pages provide a summary of this approach and also invite you to do exercises on the theme of generosity.  
  199. 199. The Art of Generosity Generous people create an environment that enables people and things to grow. They do this by providing a framework that focuses on encouragement, education, enablement and, paradoxically, enforcement. They are prepared to protect the environment from people who want to spoil it for others. So they provide the following framework.
  200. 200. E d u c a t i o n E n f o r c e m e n t E n c o u r a g e m e n t E n a b l e m e n t People and things can grow
  201. 201. Generosity – My Experiences
  202. 202. Many of us learn from positive models. So this exercise invites you to explore your own experiences of generosity. It invites you to do the following things. * Describe the times in your life when you have been on the receiving end of generosity. * Describe the specific things that the person – or the people – did to show generosity. Here is the exercise. Introduction
  203. 203. 1) When The specific things that the person – or people – did to show generosity were: * They * They * They The times in my life when I have been on the receiving end of generosity have been:
  204. 204. 2) When The specific things that the person – or people – did to show generosity were: * They * They * They
  205. 205. 3) When The specific things that the person – or people – did to show generosity were: * They * They * They
  206. 206. Generosity – Being Generous
  207. 207. “The giver often receives as much as the receiver,” said Alec Dickson, the founder of Voluntary Service Overseas and Community Service Volunteers. This exercise invites you to do the following things. * Describe the specific things you can do to be generous towards people in your life and work. * Describe the benefits of doing these things. Here is the exercise. Introduction
  208. 208. 1) To 2) To 3) To The specific things I can do to be generous towards people in my life and work are:
  209. 209. 1) To 2) To 3) To The benefits of doing these things will be:
  210. 210. The Happiness Pack - Conclusion
  211. 211. There are many approaches to helping people to shape their happiness. This pack has provided an introduction to some of the ideas. Please take the ideas you like and use these in your own way. If you would like any more information, contact me at: mike@thestrengthsfoundation.org Also contact me if you would like The Super Teams Pack, The Career Development Pack, The Appreciative Inquiry Pack or other materials. --------------

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