October 2006 Insight Newsletter

IN THIS ISSUE: Feature Story on Work Life Balance, New Format Notes, What’s In Progress? The Happiness Hypothesis, Book Highlights and related Quote of the Month

Feature Story: Work Life Balance
Introducing a new section dedicated to this key topic on the web site is an outline of how little has changed in 20 centuries of human history when it comes to over-work and stress. Read more about this and lessons we can learn from “This Ancient Problem” HERE.

Format Notes:
Welcome to the new format. All comments will be appreciated!
Content headings are designed to show what’s here in the way of summaries that link to complete articles on our site or elsewhere. We’ll still link to Past Newsletters, but the aim is to create more ways to find or rediscover articles you’ve read along with others on the same lines.
Please feel free to report errors or send comments or questions via email. A sign-off link still appears at the bottom of every issue or email us.

What’s In Progress?
Monthly features will aim for useful insights on new books, ideas and other material to shed light on our primary goal of linking simpler ways to develop more effective results with people, including yourself. In fact, successfully working with others begins with understanding what works for ourselves. The challenge with newsletters is to make them connect more immediately with useable information as well as easier to read.

Book – The Happiness Hypothesis:
Although not quite through this new book by Jonathon Haidt I have to say it’s one of the best I’ve read for understanding what creates happiness and how we can manage the elements better. This matters because we are drawn toward what makes us happy and spend time on becoming better at it. If we don’t know or understand, then we’re trying to force ourselves to spend time on things we won’t become good at and won’t benefit from. Understanding happiness points us in the right directions to resolve other key problems we face. Stay tuned for a more complete review next month. In the mean time, Amazon reviews are HERE.

Some Highlights from the Happiness Book:
Summarizing the two keys to happiness as doing two things well – Love and Work, Haidt observes, “Only by knowing the kinds of beings that we actually are, with the complex mental and emotional architecture that we happen to possess, can anyone even begin to ask about what would count as a meaningful life. …psychologists can now tell us how love and work get converted into happiness and a sense of meaning.” He goes on to explain how in easy to read terms.

One key he notes is to understand that those who have some say in how they get things done are far happier than those who must simply follow orders. This echoes unspoken advice from our Feature Article to work at your own pace, ideally at tasks you find meaningful. Doing so is the surest path to both productive work and effort that pays back to the worker in both income and satisfaction.

Haidt has definitely managed to craft a philosophical guide not only to happiness, but success. It provides the simple suggestions we desperately need in today’s complex world.

Quote of the Month:
Haidt quotes the usually flowery Kahlil Gibran: “Work is love made visible.” It’s one of his briefer and clearer comments. See more his quotes: HERE.

The message – one of three possible routes: make sure you choose work you can love! Or alternatively, learn to love your work. Or seek ways to make it into something you can love! Whichever of these you choose, work at it consistently until habits form and you truly enjoy and profit from what you will inevitably spend your life doing.

PS: the Gibran link is to the Quoteopia site (www.Quoteopia.com), a comprehensive Google-like source of quotations, recently discovered. Quotes, especially short ones, can often help us recall and develop key ideas we need to work on.