Category Archives: Happiness

Soft Skills for Work

Source: Fast Company, Nov 2019

According to a 2015 LinkedIn report, people with high EQ make on average $29,000 more than their non-emotionally intelligent counterparts. The bottom line is that you’ll thrive in the job market if you have strong interpersonal skills.


It’s easy to get absorbed in our work (or ourselves) and forget about common courtesy, but demonstrating respect for others is key to developing personal relationships.

When you’re in a meeting—or anywhere else, really—wait for people to finish what they’re saying before you chime in. Thank others when they’ve shared an idea, acknowledge their contribution, and build upon it. If you’re leading the meeting, acknowledge everyone’s presence by inviting comments from each person and thanking them for participating.

Another way to convey respect is by showing up on time for appointments and meetings. (And if you come into a meeting late, don’t try to justify it by saying, “I had a meeting with our chairman,” or “I got stuck in traffic.” Just show up on time.)


A just-released study reveals that 48% of employees have felt embarrassed because they didn’t know a coworker’s name. This should go without saying, but make it a point to learn the names of your colleagues (even if they work in other departments or offices) and use them.

Once you get to know someone, remember what they’ve told you. If someone has given a big presentation or has a family event, don’t let that slip from your mind. Ask about it, and make sure you talk more about them than about yourself.


One of the best ways to make sure you sustain your focus on the person you’re talking with is to put your phone away, and use body language to keep yourself centered on the other person.

Look others directly in the eye and align your body with theirs. Facial expressions, too, can help show you’re focused. These sorts of body language cues will show that you are paying attention, which will also help you stay connected.


Listening is a delicate art, but there are three simple ways to listen: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physical listening means watching the body language of others, and responding accordingly. If someone has a frown or closed arms, realize you’re not getting through, and revamp the conversation.

Mental listening involves connecting with what others are thinking, and probing to get to the heart of what they are saying. So ask, “Do you think we should launch this program? Tell me more.”

Emotional listening means listening for what others are feeling, and showing that you understand and care. You might say to a team member, “Do you feel comfortable with this assignment?” Or, “Did you enjoy the conference?” Avoid the more generic, “How’s it going?” (That cliché is bound to prompt others to respond with a cliché of their own: “Not bad.”)


While it’s rare for us to think of love in the workplace, there are absolutely grounds for doing so. Sigal Barsade, professor of management at the Wharton School, writes about the importance of “companionate love” in the office. By this she means “feelings of affection, compassion, caring, and tenderness for others.”

Finding a Nice Person

Source: The Daily Excelsior, Feb 2019

The key to a happy relationship could be as simple as finding a person who is conscientious and nice, according to a study which suggests that sharing similar personalities may not be as important as believed.

The most striking finding of the study was that having similar personalities had almost no effect on how satisfied people were in their lives and relationships, he said.

Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which is a long-running survey of households, Chopik and Richard Lucas, MSU Foundation Professor, measured the effects of personality traits on well-being in more than 2,500 heterosexual couples who have been married for roughly 20 years.

Even among the couples who share similar personalities, researchers found having a partner who is conscientious and nice leads to higher levels of relationship satisfaction, researchers found.

Saying Thank-You (Professionally)

Source: Fast Company, Sep 2019

the thank you-note writers “significantly underestimated” how happy their letters would make recipients feel—and overestimated how awkward the letters would make recipients feel. “People know there will be a good reaction,” Kumar says. “But they underestimate just how good of a feeling it can incite to reach out kindly.”

There’s an underlying psychology at play. “We call it competence versus warmth,” Kumar says. When we evaluate others, we focus more on their warmth—their sincerity and positive intent. When we evaluate ourselves, however, we focus on competence: on whether or not we have crafted the perfect, most articulate words. “We underestimate the power of warmth on recipients because we are so busy evaluating ourselves on an entirely different basis,” Kumar explains.

What does that mean for thank-you note writers? Stop second-guessing your words and simply focus on penning something heartfelt. It will make the recipient feel better than you imagine.

Happiness Matters

Source: Psychology Today, Jun 2019

Things Happy People Choose Not to Do

  1. Don’t dwell on setbacks or unpleasantness. Ruminating on negative thoughts crowds out space for positive thinking while also creating grooves in our brain that allow negative thought processes to become the “go-to track” for our brains.
  2. Don’t stress out when things don’t go your way. Take a breath, consider your options, and then move forward. Stress and anxiety don’t allow your brain to assess situations and generate elegant solutions.
  3. Don’t waste time or energy on resentment or envy of other people’s successes. If the Facebook feeds of friends or family just leave you frustrated with your own life, stop surfing others’ feeds. Post what you want, if you want, and then log off.
  4. Don’t jump to conclusions if things don’t turn out the way you want – not in relationships, on the job, or in life. Jumping to conclusions usually takes our thoughts to our less helpful and less healthy assessments and beliefs. Look deeper, reflect more, and seek out more effective solutions
  5. Don’t catastrophize the complications or glitches you run into in life.No one’s life runs like a well-oiled machine 100% of the time. When you turn the proverbial molehill into a mountain, all you’ve done is made your job harder and created more work for yourself and more negative thinking to combat.
  6. Don’t waste time trying to force a “perfect life.” When we learn to let go of the things that we just can’t control, it frees up more energy to better shape the things in life that we can.
  7. Don’t spend as much time worrying about your own petty problems as you spend engaged in healthy interactions with others. An outward focus is key to getting out of your own way in your ability to experience the happiness to be found in everyday living.

Things Happy People Choose to Absolutely Do

  1. Focus on what is going right in life. Positive thinking generates gratitude and an appreciative state of mind. These two things both increase happiness.
  2. Give the brain time to reset–every single day. Meditation gives our brains a chance to let go of negative thoughts and “erase” the damage that negative thinking can do.
  3. Practice awareness of the world around you and stay grounded in the present. Rather than ruminating about the past. You can’t plot a course for your future if you can’t let go of the past.
  4. Debunk negative thoughts. When the brain is mired in negative thought patterns, you need to challenge these thoughts and test them against reality. You can only control so much in this world, but things like the weather, other people, or climate change are beyond your reach. Let go of negative thoughts and faulty thinking that get in the way of your well-being.
  5. Create a strong social support network. The value of this advice can’t be overestimated as every study on happiness points to the presence of a healthy support network as a key predictor of happiness.
  6. Belongingness is essential. Once you develop your network or find your tribe, be willing to work out differences, practice forgiveness, and stay engaged in relationships.
  7. “Give-and-take” with others is what cements relationships and enhances well-being. Remember that a burden shared is a burden halved – ask for support when needed and be willing to offer support in return.

Related Resource: GreaterGood, Mar 2016

  1. Acknowledge the good
  2. Add happiness through subtraction
  3. Find meaning and purpose
  4. Use your strengths
  5. Connect with others

Best Learners, with Intellectual Range & Curiosity

Source: The Verge, May 2019

The best learners have the trait of reflecting on things they’ve done, because they’re learning about who they are.

having intellectual range and taking in lots of information. 

the ones who were highest in science curiosity. Not science knowledge, but science curiosity measured by the fact that when they were faced with information that didn’t agree with their preconceived information, would they follow up and research broadly or would they put that aside and ignore it and leave it there?

a hallmark of what the people with the best judgment … widely gathering a large array of sources to try and test their own ideas. You can get so much positive feedback for not doing that as long as you stick to your little corner of the universe.

Nerds Learn Improv Comedy

Source: ZeroHedge, May 2019

Computer-science majors at Northeastern University face perhaps the most difficult test they’ve ever encountered; improv class.

The class forces the bona-fide computer nerds to bring out, or at least emulate, their inner alpha – overcoming crippling fears of interacting with other humans, face-to-face, in front of a bunch of other people. The course requires public speaking, lecturing on nontechnical topics, and speaking gibberish such as “butuga dubuka manala phuthusa,” according to the WSJ’s Sara Castellanos.

Over 800 Northwestern CS majors have taken the class, which also involves awkwardly staring into a classmate’s eyes for 60 seconds unless someone laughs first. Another activity requires students to tell a joke.

“The stereotype is that we can’t talk to people and we’re nerds and wear hoodies,” said Catherine McLean who was initially skeptical about the course, only to find that she learned to better use her voice’s volume and pitch, as well as the ability to hold casual conversations with people on topics which she was not an expert.

Coolest Inventions with Phineas & Ferb