the Secret to Happiness?

I happen to catch this speech on the radio and a few phrases resonate with some ideas in my head lately:

“The fact that we’re all connected now is a blessing, not a curse.  We can solve many, many problems in the world as a result.  Not only is it an advantage that you all have, but it’s a responsibility.

All of these connections that you forge … are also not possible without you, without a heart.  …  But you cannot let technology rule you. … Take 1 hour a day and turn that thing off.

Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person that you love. Alright.  Have a conversation, a real conversation with the friends that make you think, with the family who makes you laugh.  … Engage in the world around you, and feel, taste, and smell and hug what’s right there, right in front of you.


Friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life is not about a friend count but about the friends who actually you can count on.  … Life is about who you love, how you live, it’s about who you travel with through the world, your family, you collaborators, your friends.  Life is a social experience first.  And the best aspects of that experience are not lonely ones, they’re spent in the company of others.

Now our modern landscape has changed, yes, but our humanity will always remain.  And that above all else makes us who we are.”

excerpted from Eric Schmidt, Commencement Speech for the 2012 Boston University Graduation

I have been thinking about how we treat each other and how we want to be treated by others.  Essentially, I think we’re all searching for acceptance.  We want to know that what we do matters to someone, has an impact on their lives, and makes them happy.  The best thing we can do for people is accept them for who they are (while helping them improve upon faults) and make them feel like they matter to us.

Another point of view on this topic is thinking about how we bring joy to others: TED Talk by Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work  (related book How Full is Your Bucket?)

My friend Laura is such a nice person, and so great at paying attention to people and making them feel important.  She always remembers things I say, when I give a gift, the next time I see her she talks about using the gift or shows me how she has displayed the item.  Her ability to make everyone feel important amazes and inspires me.

I think the people who need this the most are often the ones least likely to receive it.  Or maybe the ones that receive it the least are the ones who really suffer from this missing element.  I guess we all need this treatment, in a sincere and constructive way.


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