Enquirer Digest; a new beginning
Weekly newsletter for enquiring minds
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Enquirer Digest. If you're reading this, you are one of our very first subscribers. I cannot express how grateful I am you're here. This newsletter is an outcome of my consistent writing efforts. My aspiration is to provide a flowing reading experience with the hope that it will spark ideas and insights.
I should underline that I'm new to newsletter writing and how it works. Your feedback is essential. Please write to me about what's going well and what may need to work on at email@example.com.
Here's my current structure: I'll write about my thoughts on the related content for that week. This will be one Podcast, one Article and one quote that are related.
Inside Today's Enquirer Digest:
We will be starting with Happiness. A difficult concept as everybody is subject to it and wants it. Not only that but everybody has a definition of it in relation to their past experiences.
Today's podcast is: Happiness Lab with Laurie Santos - Episode: You Can Change
When I first came across The Happiness Lab, I didn't have high hopes. It was a podcast about happiness. Having been working on myself through Dharma I knew that happiness was a tough concept. Nevertheless, Laurie Santos nails it with the podcast. When you listen to this first episode, I can't imagine anybody not continuing to the rest of the episodes.
The episode concentrates on the definition of happiness, how it is measured and draws attention to the longest made study on Happiness.
It's a valuable listen which concludes that happiness can be attained and that happiness factors are surprisingly different than what most think it is. One of them was Money and wealth isn't a happiness factor.
I did find the podcast particularly useful and informative. One can only be happy with all the information covered in a 30-minute episode. I did find that the happiness definition required some other angle to it. Namely "presence". Although in the podcast itself where happiness improvement strategies are discussed the strategies can be related to presence. I have covered what the "presence" angle to happiness is below.
Presence in light of Happiness
Happiness is an outcome everybody strives for. The main misconception that many have is that once a certain goal or desired state is reached it will result in happiness. It is true achieving a desired state creates joy, satisfaction, and similar feelings. The issue is that these don't last. Let's assume we change jobs, and we were able to land a higher position, or we get promoted. We will get congratulated by our family and social circle; we will feel good, happy but after several weeks the feeling will dissipate, and the new situation will become a status quo. Striving for happiness in this manner is an endless loop that doesn't end up in fulfillment to say the least.
Happiness is what we are made to believe...
I was taught early on by my family, friends, social circle and society that I must achieve something to be happy. I believe this is universal and applies to all cultures. Maybe the forms may be different but in its essence it's the same. Achieving safety especially via financial freedom equals the formula for happiness.
I remember the formula vividly. You had to work hard to be a successful student. This would open the doors to a good university education and that would pave the way to a good job. Once you have enough financial freedom to have bought an apartment and a car you will be happy.
The funny thing is I did all that by the time I was in my thirties and happiness was still something that was still coming and going.
Being Present and its connection to Happiness
After working on myself for 8 years through Dharma I have come to realize that there is no future state to be achieved. The past is gone and has no meaning. Being stuck in the future and the past is taking me away from the present moment and in being content with the present moment. There is nothing else but the present. We can choose to be at peace with whatever is happening in the present moment (and be happy). Alternatively, we can:
get bogged down with our regrets of the past or
get stuck in the search of a future state that may or may not happen
I think we all know what we should be choosing.
Life is an ever-changing flow and I have learned that to be happy it helps to just let go of the past, live in the present and not worry about the future. It's all happening now.
I can hear you say,
"It's all good on paper but how can we be at peace in the present moment?"
Being Present - The way forward
One needs to stay focused to be aware of what is currently going on. That can be achieved through a certain level of concentration. It may sound complicated and very technical but actually it's not that difficult to put into practice.
A simple example: Let's assume you are brushing your teeth. If you are not in the present moment, you are most probably in the past or future. You may be thinking about the argument you had yesterday with a friend, or your mind might be off to the stressful presentation you have coming up. Either way you are not present.
As a result, to maintain an adequate level of awareness and concentration one must practice awareness and concentration. One of the great ways to achieve this is by way of meditation. Assuming you will practice meditation where you concentrate on an object of meditation (your breath or something else) while you are aware of the present moment. As you can see this is an ideal method to practice and improve awareness and concentration. If one can maintain a consistent habit of meditation the awareness and concentration will strengthen.
Putting it into Practice
Assume you are in a stressful conversation. If you are aware of your feelings and can concentrate on the subject at hand you will see that you will not feel stressed. Why? Because there is only the discussion going on and nothing else. There is no worry about how the meeting will end and what the outcome will be.
With all this in mind how could we define happiness?
Being content with what is in the present moment can be called happiness.
Today's article is by :
Main points of the article that I found interesting are as follows:
Most of us believe that once we achieve certain goals, such as attaining a better job or purchasing a nice house car, we will be able to be happy and live happily ever after. But happiness is neither a destination nor a rigid state. Happiness is a mindset, and we revisit it throughout life.
Happiness is a frame of mind that permeates exchanges through the remainder of life. Based on the findings of author Penny Locaso, she identified a core attribute to bolster the potency of this mindset: intentional flexibility. Locaso postulates that fine tuning your ability to adapt by yourself leads to a high degree of happiness. She found three techniques to fine-tune to take on intentional flexibility. To be more adaptable, focus on what you want to experience, display bravery, and be more curious.
Who is Penny Locaso?
As stated on her website:
Penny Locaso is the world’s first Happiness Hacker on a quest to teach 10 million humans, by 2025 how to flourish in life.
Voted one of the most influential female entrepreneurs in Australia, Penny is her own ongoing experiment. A little while back she turned her life upside down in pursuit of happiness. She left a sixteen-year career as an executive, relocated her family from Perth back to Melbourne, left an 18-year relationship, and started her own purpose-driven company HackingHappy.co
With over 20 years’ experience in enabling adaptability Penny's calling is to empower people to release their fear of uncertainty, find their flow, and flourish.
Penny works with governments, corporations, and educators to build a more intentionally adaptable society. She has partnered with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Booking.com, SalesForce, Deloitte, and LuluLemon, to name a few.
Penny created The Intentional Adaptability Quotient®. A world-first psychometric tool and education program that decodes the skills required to not only navigate but flourish in complex and uncertain change.
Alongside Penny's entrepreneurial endeavours, she is the published author of Hacking Happiness, a Harvard Business Review contributor, a passionate yoga teacher, a faculty member at the esteemed Singularity University, and a student completing her Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Imagine what could be possible for you, your team, or your community if you had a Penny in your pocket!
Today’s quote is:
"The fact that happiness is associated with relaxation does not mean that it is impossible to be happy in the midst of strenuous effort, for to be truly effective great effort must, as it were, revolve upon a steady unmoving center. The problem before us is how to find such a center of relaxed balance and poise in man's individual life - a center whose happiness is unshaken by the whirl that goes on around it, which creates happiness because of itself and not because of external events, and this in spite of the fact that it may experience those events in all their aspects and extremes from the highest bliss to the deepest agony.”
Alan Watts, The Meaning of Happiness
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