A scientific study proves self-care can only take you so far.
Forget meditation apps, Tony Robbins seminars and all-inclusive wellness retreats. Happiness’ business model is pyramid-shaped.
A research article in The Journal of Positive Psychology says happiness comes from “making others feel good, rather than oneself.”
Very in fashion with the pyramid scheme model: you can make your first steps towards happiness on your own — read self-help, maybe do some yoga — but if you really want to make it, get your friends and relatives involved somehow.
I think this is a refreshing pivot. Pyramid schemes used to be all about scammy tactics to trick people into buying over-hyped multivitamins and surface cleaners.
Now it could be the model that helps us understand what makes us happier.
Happiness’ secret ingredient is “relatedness,” researchers say
Relatedness is a basic psychological need.
Some people think if we were not restrained by laws and moral codes, society would immediately spring into a rioting rampage of rape and murder and robbery. But our brains are wired to feel good when we nurture a sense of collaboration and community.
We evolved to scratch each other's backs, and given how anatomically difficult it is to do it on your own, I believe Mother Nature wanted us to figure out we need one another after all.
Like in any pyramid scheme, happiness is rigged against individuality.
The researchers tested it: you can’t hack relatedness by sending good vibes back to yourself. And that’s why most happiness-seeking models don’t ultimately work: they lack this sense of community.
Self-help, for one, has ‘self’ in its title
That should be a red flag.
Although I’m not saying we should neglect ourselves. I eat healthily, meditate and exercise, get my hours of sleep and sunshine, and drink lots of water (and since that kidney stone catastrophe of 2019 I’ve been extra diligent with that last one).
I don’t think we could be physically and emotionally inclined to make others feel good unless we’ve done a bare minimum of self-directed work.
But you know. Self-care can only take you so far.
To keep improving your happiness levels, ditch the “self” and embrace the “help.” There’s no “I” in “next level.”
Can money buy happiness?
Getting the millions with a B is another one of those self-centered tactics that won’t work. It’s a pity some of us will remain skeptical right up until we’re crying in our Lambo.
Here’s the thing: material wealth only increases happiness as far as our basic needs go. Once those are satisfied, the Musk bucks and Buffet bills won’t make our lives any merrier.
Speaking of pyramids, do you know about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?
Money can take you into the first floor of the pyramid, the physiological needs, and up to the second floor, the safety needs.
But once there, there is no more material deprivation to relief. Money can’t buy a VIP ticket to the penthouse of that pyramid: self-transcendence. The pinnacle of human fulfilment, where we find ourselves transcending the ego and focusing on something bigger.
What about going spiritual?
Those who don’t know how to set up funnels to get rich may opt for detachment instead.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why trying spirituality, studying Buddhism, going monastic, and meditating your way out of the illusion of the self.
But spirituality’s been capitalized into yet another product for the “Health and Wellness” aisle.
And if it were the ultimate solution, I’d expect Andy Puddicombe not to come back from the Himalayas after 10 years, meditating 16 hours a day, to create a subscription-based meditation app.
Some of us just crave the frenzy of the west. As for me, I’m a writer. I need to be one with everything, but through an internet connection — which I suspect is something the Himalayas are in scarce of.
Philosophy can make you wiser — and sadder
Tell me if a cheerful person could’ve come up with the trolley problem:
A runaway train is headed towards 5 workers on a railway line. The only way to save the workers is to operate a lever that would make the train go down a side rail. Problem is, there’s another worker on that one too. So, do you leave the lever untouched and have 5 workers killed, or do you switch the lever, killing the one worker on the side rail, but saving the other 5?
I get philosophy it’s meant to make us wiser, sometimes by testing our moral virtue with thought experiments. But it doesn’t work for me. I’d prefer to imagine the 6 workers and me over a barbecue.
In fact, it seems that if you drift too much into philosophical self-absorption, you’re bound to become depressive about existence. All for something that, in the end, no one cares about.
Or as Plato put it: “That man is wisest who, like Socrates, realizes that his wisdom is worthless.”
Self-centric tactics out of the way — how do we make others feel good?
Here’s how I’m doing it: I don’t try to force it. Because that would be inauthentic, right? That would be the ol’ self-centric impulse showing, trying to hack my way to greater happiness.
Instead, if the opportunity to make someone else feel good presents itself naturally, I take it.
Even the little things can make an impact. In one study, researchers approached people that had just park their cars, gave them a few quarters, and told them to either feed their own parking meter or the meter of a stranger. Participants showed a greater lift in happiness levels when they fed others’ meters.
But again, it’s the genuine gesture, not the quarters, that made them feel good. It’s the magic of relatedness, available to everyone and everywhere.
You don’t need a researcher approaching you on the street after parking your car. Just get your head out of your ass and pay attention to these opportunities.
One final tip from the pyramid scheme canon
Just recruit five people.
You know how it goes: make five people feel good, because if they make five more people feel good, and then those make five more people feel good…
It sounds like an impossibly large chain, but if you do the math, you’ll see we can repeat this cycle only 14 times. After 14 cycles, you run out of people on the planet. That shows the true, shady nature of pyramid schemes — but also, how easy it could be to spread The Good Vibes.
So now you have a legitimate reason to message your aunt on Facebook, without any pressure to segue the conversation into selling her a disinfectant.
Go make those five people feel good.
By Loudt Darrow
Photo by arash payam on Unsplash (modified by author)
1. The Present
Eckhart Tolle refers to living in the now, which means being able to see and feel what your life is in the present moment.
The present-day buzzword for this is to be mindful by practicing mindfulness.
Standing in a beautiful park, by a calming body of water, or attending your child’s school play or other family event, and actually seeing the trees, feeling the flow and energy of the water, enjoying the play or event while feeling joy instead of being lost in your thoughts (which are taking you elsewhere) is experiencing the now, the present moment, being mindful of that very moment.
Thoughts can propel you into an entirely different location even if you are not there physically. It seems odd that we do not just naturally live in the now. After all, almost everyone would agree that the present moment, the now, is all we have.
When you are able to live in the day life becomes more relaxed and enjoyable. You empower yourself by influencing what you can influence.
This becomes a powerful technique to step out of stress.
This is not to say you should never think of the future and plan to reach your goals and avoid pitfalls.
It is more about how this is done. Keep your energy where it is needed - in the day.
Examine your present-day reality and determine what is working and what is not working.
Explore what you can influence and what not.
One of the most powerful words in the English lexicon today is “trigger.” We are finally accepting that there is a spectrum of internal and external influences that can legitimately take us off course. We understand that a person, place, object, event, even a smell can trigger an emotional response so potent, we can be transported back to a trauma we’ve worked hard to forget, or come to terms with. These triggers can threaten our well-being and disrupt feelings around our core values. They can appear out of nowhere and make us feel powerless.
As an aspiring leader, a trigger can become your biggest obstacle. A strong, effective leader needs to be able to identify their emotional triggers, understand what can set them off, and steel themselves when these triggers threaten to topple everything they’ve worked for.
Here are some strategies to help you identify and deal with those triggers so you can grow and develop into the leader you are meant to become.
by Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach and Life Coach for Personal Development, Self-Help Author
How can companies best support their employees during these difficult and challenging covid related times?.
Working from home has added some extra issues to deal with.
Individuals benefit from support dealing with:
(Coaching is not a substitute for counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care or substance abuse treatment)
by Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach and Life Coaching focusing on Personal Development, Self-Help Author: Balance - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments
Coaching your team? Add this skill to your coaching style – being non-judgmental.
There is an abundance of articles on being a coach to your people. I enjoy reading the quality information provided by the Harvard Business Review.
The desire to increase, enhance or maintain the quality of work, and in some cases even the quality of life at work, is evident.
The article in the HBR: Most Managers Don’t Know How to Coach. But They Can Learn, offers wonderful insights on what coaching is all about and aims to achieve.
Your responsibilities include leading, motivating, inspiring and with your coaching you hope to further their growth, development and enhance their skills.
by Suzie Doscher
Feel like you keep facing the same uphill struggle?
Sometimes you create your own problems with your thoughts and beliefs. It is these particular thoughts that hold you back, keep you stuck and consequently limit you. In my coaching practice, as well as my own personal experience, I have witnessed how a self-sabotage routine can be created with these thoughts and beliefs. If you find that you keep coming back to the same type of situation again and again, it is well worth exploring if, in fact, you are running a self-sabotage routine.
To break this self-sabotage cycle, you will need to first determine what this limiting thought or belief is. Once you have figured that out (by yourself, with the help of a friend/boss or qualified coach), consider the information below to help yourself make a lasting change.
The best approach is to replace whatever you are thinking is with a thought that is more positive. For example:
By Marcel Schwantes at Inc.
In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its fascinating Future of Jobs Report, where they asked chief human resources officers from global companies what they saw as the top 10 job skills required for workers to thrive by 2020.
One skill projected for success in 2020 that didn’t even crack the top 10 list in 2015 was — you guessed it — emotional intelligence.
According to many experts in the field, emotional intelligence has become an important predictor of job success for nearly two decades, even surpassing technical ability.
In one noteworthy CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals, it was found that “fifty-nine percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low [emotional intelligence].”
In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said they’re more likely to promote someone with high emotional intelligence over someone with high IQ.
Companies are placing a high value on workers with emotional intelligence for several reasons. In my own studies and observations over the years as a leadership coach, here are six that really stand out...
'Balance - A Practical Handbook and Workbook for Life's Difficult Moments'
by Suzie Doscher is about change and learning the necessary everyday skills required for life = life skills.
The exercises help you improve the quality of your life, supports you in difficult moments and handle life’s challenging every-day situations better.
It is a practical hands-on self coaching tool.
Read or listen to it when you feel vulnerable, unsure of yourself, or ineffective in difficult and stressful moments.
Learn how to handle your stress effectively with the help of the insights in the book. Bear in mind that there is no balance where there is stress – stress contradicts calmness and happiness. Choose which one you wish to have more of..it is up to you.
The goal of this book is to help you create new opportunities, learn new behaviors, and become the best version of yourself. It is all about practical action oriented insights, steps and behavior change.
Order Your Book Now
By Brie Schwartz
In Oprah Winfrey's latest book, The Path Made Clear (available March 26) she explores the power of setting intentions and accepting your calling. Through her inspirational words, we're reminded to follow our intuition—something she explains has been instrumental in her career. Her upcoming work compiles the key lessons she's learned on her journey to self-discovery, combined with wisdom and personal stories from those she admires—including Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Eckhart Tolle.
Emotional Intelligence (EI Or EQ)
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