Week 3: Module 4: The 3rd sin, habit and exercise

Week 3: Module 4: The 3rd sin, habit and exercise

“The need to be loved–or its opposite: the need to go it alone…: Further evidence of our social nature…Why neediness lowers happiness…Why avoidance lowers happiness…Secure attachment…An alternative route to belongingness…Evidence for the need to love and give…Why the need to love and give enhances happiness…The rules for giving: When does giving enhance happiness and success?…The 3rd exercise: Creative altruism…Summary of week 3…Interview with Nipun Mehta (Optional)…Mid-course happiness measurement…”
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Summaries

  • The need to be loved--or its opposite: the need to go it alone
  • Further evidence of our social nature
  • Why neediness lowers happiness
  • Why avoidance lowers happiness
  • Secure attachment
  • An alternative route to belongingness
  • Evidence for the need to love and give
  • Why the need to love and give enhances happiness
  • The rules for giving: When does giving enhance happiness and success?
  • The 3rd exercise: Creative altruism
  • Summary of week 3
  • Interview with Nipun Mehta (Optional)
  • Mid-course happiness measurement

The need to be loved–or its opposite: the need to go it alone

  • The need to be loved or its opposite, the need to go it alone.
  • Like this second sin, the need for superiority, this sin too is very common; and it’s also totally understandable at one level why you would commit it.
  • Later this week, I’ll talk about the antidote to the sin, which is the need to love and give.
  • As Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn noted in their book Happy Money, if you were to wake up the happiest researcher in the middle of the night, and ask her quick, tell us one thing that we need to do in order to be happy.
  • What this tells us is that we have a deep seated need to be connected with other people.
  • Or more generally, as psychologists refer to it, we have a deep seated need to belong.
  • There are many ways in which this need is expressed.
  • We have a deep-seated need to belong and to be loved.
  • Although it seems obvious that the need to be loved is a very important need, we didn’t know exactly how important it was until someone named Harry Harlow conducted a series of experiments back in the 1940s and 1950s with our ancestral cousins, the monkeys.
  • In one experiment, Harry separated baby monkeys from their mothers and put them in a cage with two mother figures.
  • One mother figure was made out of wire and was harsh to the touch; the other figure was made out of cloth and was soft to the touch.
  • The catch was that the wire mother was a source of food for the baby monkey.
  • Harry’s question was how much time would a baby monkey spend with the wire mother, and how much time would it spend with the cloth mother? Now if love or a sense of being comforted by touch is not that important to monkeys than the monkeys should spend all their time with wire mother but that’s not what happened.
  • The rest of the time it spent with the cloth mother.
  • Here’s Harry Harlow summarizing his results He’s back on the cloth mother, and he’ll stay on the cloth mother.
  • Actually, this baby spends 17 to 18 hours a day on the cloth mother, and less than one hour a day on the wire mother.
  • Let’s find out what his reaction to his mother is when we frighten him.
  • He was running to his mother to touch her, to drive away his fear.
  • Contact with the mother changes his entire personality.
  • As you just saw, when a threatening object was introduced into the cage, the baby monkeys instinctively ran to the cloth mother for comfort, and not to the wire mother.
  • Conclusion from his experiments, was that baby monkeys need love In order to grow into healthy adults, and that the need for love may be even stronger than the need for food and nutrients.
  • There’s no doubt that we learned something very, very important from Harlow’s experiments, namely that baby monkeys need love in order to be psychologically healthy.
  • Given that we human beings share so much similarity with monkeys, it wouldn’t surprise you to know that we too have a huge need to be loved and nurtured.
  • When this need for love and nurturance is not provided to us, we turn out to be psychologically damaged, as well.
  • Being in love is one of the most cherished feelings worldwide, so long of course, that it is reciprocated.
  • It’s hugely important to have a sense of belongingness, a feeling that you’re cared for and loved in order for you to be happy.
  • In the next video I’m going to share with you some additional interesting findings that underscore just how important this need for social connections is.

Further evidence of our social nature

  • Imagine that you’re a participant in the experiment.
  • As it turns out, there is only one other participant in the room and both of you are told to watch an ad together.
  • Now, you don’t know this, but this other participant in the room is actually a professional actor.
  • Someone that Kim and I have hired, and planted in the room to play the role of a participant.
  • From the reactions of the other participant, it seems very clear that he doesn’t like the ad at all.
  • How much would you rate the enjoyment of the experience of watching the ad with this other participant who disagrees with you? Now, imagine an alternative scenario, imagine that you find the ad to be terrible.
  • It’s boring and long, and it seems from the reaction of the participant that he totally agrees with you.
  • Now, in this scenario, compared to the previous one, how much would you enjoy the experience?
  • These scenarios, if you think about it, are quite similar to some other scenarios that are quite commonplace.
  • In the experiment that Kim and I did, we put participants in one of four different scenarios.
  • Some participants found themselves watching a really enjoyable ad and they were in the company of another participant, the actor, who agreed with them or disagreed with them.
  • Other participants found themselves watching really boring ads and where either in the company of another participant, again the same actor, who either agreed or disagreed with them.
  • In each scenario, after the whole experience was over, the participants were asked to rate how much they enjoyed the experience of viewing the ad. Consider the four scenarios on your screen.
  • In which scenario would you predict that the participant’s enjoyment would be the highest?
  • Scenario one, scenario two, scenario three, or scenario four.
  • Clearly, it would be scenario one, in which not only do the participants like the ad, they’re also in the company of somebody that agrees with them.
  • How about the two scenarios? Scenario two, in which the participant is in the company of somebody that disagrees with them even though the ad is enjoyable or scenario four where the participant is in the company of somebody who agrees with them but the ad itself is terrible.
  • As you can see from the graph on the screen, what we found is on average, participants enjoyed the experience more when they thought that the ad was not enjoyable, and the person that they were watching the ad with agreed with them.
  • In the scenario in which the participants enjoyed the ad, liked the ad itself, but the other participant disagreed with them, the participants actually enjoyed the experience less.
  • When others agree with us about something, we feel that we have a better chance of connecting with them, which makes us feel good.
  • By contrast, when others disagree with us, we feel that we can’t form a bond with them, and this makes us feel bad. There are several other studies which have also shown just how important it is for us to feel the sense of connection with other people.
  • In one study, Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Laureate, and his quarters, asked participants to think of all the things that they did the previous day, like commuting to work, eating, exercising, watching TV, socializing, etc.
  • Participants were asked to play a game called Cyber Ball.
  • The game involved throwing a virtual ball to two other participants on the computer.
  • Participants were led to believe that these two other participants were real human beings, but in reality, these other participants were actually a computer program.
  • So every participant was playing with two other virtual people who didn’t really exist.
  • The experimenters cleverly programmed these virtual people to either reject the participant or include him.
  • Imagine that you’re a participant in this study and you get to throw a ball to somebody else that you think is a real participant.
  • That participant throws the ball back to the 3rd person and this goes on for some time.
  • The 2 other participants stop throwing the ball to you, and keep throwing the ball to each other.
  • How would you feel? Compare that to a situation where you get the ball just as frequently as the other 2 participants get it.
  • Now, how would you feel? Researchers found that when participants were rejected, the same brain circuits that are activated when people experience physical pain got activated.

Why neediness lowers happiness

  • As you’ve probably realized from personal experience, even though being loved and nurtured, and having the sense of connection with others is very important, being needy is not the way to get the love and nurturance that you seek.
  • Why? The reason is because, to put it bluntly, being needy is not attractive.
  • You may remember from Mark Twain’s famous story of Tom Sawyer, that Tom too uses the scarcity principle to get his friends to paint a fence for him.
  • Tom doesn’t really want to do this; he would rather play with his friends.
  • So what does he do? When his friends show up, Tom acts as if he’s totally into painting the fence, as if he’s having flow moment painting the fence.
  • Tom acts as if he doesn’t want to give up the enjoyment he’s deriving problem of painting the fence.
  • Eventually his friends start offering Tom all kinds of goodies to let them have an opportunity to paint the fence.
  • By using the scarcity principle that is by making it difficult for his friends to get the opportunity to paint the fence Tom doesn’t just get his work done, he also gained some rewards from them in the bargain.
  • What all these findings from scarcity tells us is that when you’re needy that is when you’re too easily available to somebody else which is the opposite of being scarce, other won’t value you as much.
  • A related reason why being needy is not so attractive is because of loss of respect.
  • When you are needy, you’re basically willing to do anything and everything for somebody else.
  • A third reason why being needy lowers happiness is because of the kind of people you are likely to attract to yourself when you are needy.
  • It turns out that the needy people; the people who are needy attract those who are emotionally cold and distant, the kind of people that psychologists call avoidant.
  • Why? Researchers suggest that this may be because the needy and the avoidant kind of in a way complement each other and therefore, attract each other.
  • So they like dating people who are needy because it confirms the opinion of themselves as strong independent types.
  • The needy on the other hand find those on the other hand as strong and independent attractive and hence want to date them.
  • As it turns out although the needy may be attracted to the avoidant, they find being in a relationship with these avoidant people to be emotionally taxing.
  • If you want to learn more about this topic of being in fulfilling relationships, I recommend a book called Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.
  • Now let me move onto the fourth and final reason why being needy lowers happiness.
  • This has to do with the story you tell yourself when you’re needy.
  • As you can tell, such a story is not conducive for being happy.
  • Being needy is not good for happiness, for several reasons.

Why avoidance lowers happiness

  • The last video I told you how being needy is not good for happiness.
  • In this video, I want to discuss why the opposite of being needy, being avoidant isn’t good for happiness either.
  • There are several reasons why avoidance is bad for happiness.
  • Before I get into those reasons, let me first mention why feeling like you don’t need the love of others to be happy can be so alluring in theory.
  • When we tell ourselves the story that we don’t need anyone else, we feel that we’re independent and free.
  • The way to autonomy and freedom is actually not by becoming avoidant.
  • Another reason why being avoidant sounds so good in theory is because it sounds like the kind of thing that a mentally strong person would do.
  • However the appearance of being strong and independent is often just that.
  • The desire to put up this facade is a big reason why many men don’t seek help when they are depressed or have psychological problems.
  • Any Rand might have propagated the theory very successfully, but as human beings, we need to feel connected to others.
  • Now, getting to why the philosophy of going it alone, or being avoidant, lowers happiness.
  • As we have seen across so many studies that I discussed the previous videos, as human beings, we are a highly social species.
  • A second reason why being avoidant is likely to lower your happiness is because avoidant in general, get less cooperation from other people.
  • Avoidant tend to not share their emotions and feelings with others.
  • A third related reason why avoidant people are likely to be less happy has to do with how satisfied they are with others.
  • It turns out that avoidant generally tends to be less satisfied with the help that they get from others.
  • As a result of all these reasons, avoiders are likely to be least happy at work.
  • There are seven reasons why being avoidant is not good for happiness.
  • Second, being avoidant makes us disliked by our colleagues.
  • For all these reasons, it’s better not to be avoidant.
  • In addition to all these reasons, there is another reason why being avoidant leads to unhappiness.
  • That’s because, when you’re avoidant, you feel lonely.
  • Of course, avoidant are the ones who seek not to be in intimate relationships.
  • So to summarize, as we saw from the previous video, being needy is not good for happiness.
  • As we saw in this video, the opposite of being needy, being avoidant or going it alone, is not good for happiness either.

Secure attachment

  • In the last two videos, I talked about how neither being needy nor its opposite, being avoidant or going it alone, is good for happiness.
  • In this video, I want to talk about what’s the right way to be with regard to relationships, if you want to be happy.
  • It’s what psychologists call secure attachment.
  • You might be wondering what secure attachment is and how it’s different from being needy and being avoidant.
  • To help you figure this out, I’m going to have you fill out what’s called an attachment style questionnaire.
  • This questionnaire has 12 items, and you need to respond to each item by indicating whether it’s true or false for you.
  • Needless to say, if you want an accurate picture of how you are in relationships, it’s very important that you are totally honest when responding to these items.

An alternative route to belongingness

  • In other words, a big reason why people exhibit neediness or avoidance is due to the kind of treatment that they got from their parents or caretakers as infants.
  • The fact that the people’s neediness or avoidance can be traced back all the way to childhood, doesn’t mean that they are forever doomed to be stuck to the present levels of neediness or avoidance.
  • Wrote by Mario Mikulincer and Phillip Shaver, two of the most prominent researchers in this field and they’re colleagues, suggest that people can overcome the tendency to become needy and avoidant if they really want to.
  • In one of their studies, Mikulincer and Shaver found that exposing people to security related words like love or hugs.
  • This finding also supports this idea that reading this story in which someone receives support from his parents can make people feel more securely attached.
  • Remember what research tells us about why people are needy or avoidant.
  • So by being self-compassionate, what you’re doing is you’re giving yourself the love and nurturance that you may not have had from others, particularly when you were an infant.
  • One study I recently published with a colleague shows very strongly that people’s self compassion make better relationship partners.
  • So I think for people who do have relationship problems, first of all, the self-compassion might help deal with some of the insecurity that may be keeping them from feeling intimate, feeling comfortable in a relationship.
  • Just like we all have the desire to be loved and nurtured, we also have a deep desire to love and give.
  • Our need to love and give goes well beyond our closest circles, our babies, our pets, and families, on to people in society and even to the world at large.
  • In one of these studies, Mike and his co-authors gave some money to students at the University of British Columbia as these students were heading towards their classes.
  • Asked them to spend the money either on other people, or on themselves.
  • Imagine that you’re a student heading towards your classes and you’re given $5. You’re then told to spend the money either on yourself or on somebody else.
  • What do you think would make you happier? Thank you for answering that question.
  • As it turns out, Michael and his co-authors found that most people specifically 63% of people think that spending money on them would make them happier.
  • Were these people right? Rather than answer the question myself, I’m going to let Mike answer it.
  • You’ll first hear what Mike describe what he and his co authors did in this study, then you will hear them tell us what they found >> When we first had the idea of testing whether spending money on other people could make you happier than spending it on yourself, we had to figure out how to test it.
  • The very first thing we thought of doing was basically give people money, tell them to spend it different ways and then see what happened.
  • We literally just went out on a college campus and we gave people envelopes filled with money.
  • Some people we gave $5, some people we gave $20. And then we also gave them a slip of paper that said for some people by 5 PM today, spend this money on you.
  • Other people got a slip that said by 5 PM, spend it on somebody else.
  • We called them up at night and we asked them how happy they were and then we said what’d you spend the money on? Really the simplest thing we can think of to just test the idea is we make you do this versus that with your money.
  • What wins? What’s better for you happiness? And it turns out that people who spend money on themselves; they buy coffee and regular stuff.
  • People who spend on somebody else, even people who just instead of buying a coffee for themselves bought it for somebody else, they end up being happier at the end of the day.
  • When you spend on somebody else you seem to be happier.
  • In other words, most people seem to have it wrong when it comes to what will make them happier.
  • They think that spending money on them is going to make them happier, when in fact; spending money on others is what makes them happier.
  • You might wonder whether participants in the study that I just described were happier when they spent the money on others because they got the money for free from the experimenters.
  • What if you spent your own money? Would you be happier if you spent it on yourself or on others? And what about people who are poor? Would they also be happier if they spent on somebody else or on themselves? These are the questions to which I want to get to in the next video, till then.

Evidence for the need to love and give

  • The last video, I had Mike Norton describe a study in which they found that students who spent money on others were happier than those who spent it on themselves.
  • Does this study provide convincing enough evidence that being generous makes us happier? One concern with this study is that the participants may have about laid about their happiness levels.
  • After you’ve spent the money on them, they ask you did that make you feel happy. Of course, you’re going to say that it made you feel happy.
  • I gave it to a homeless person and then I said are you happy about it? And he said I’m miserable.
  • Obviously it sounds like you’re a jerk, right? We’re supposed to be happy when we’re nice to other people and so we were really worried as you asked about wither people are telling us the truth about being happy or not.
  • I can somehow ask you later how happy do you feel.
  • What we find is that if we take all of those other reasons away, and we make it completely anonymous, people still get happier from giving to other people than spending on themselves.
  • As you just heard from Mike, even if you take all the desire to impress others, people still report feeling better when they are nicer to other people.
  • There’s always going to be some concern that even if people don’t really feel happy when they’re asked to be generous to others, they won’t admit this freely.
  • Are those people happier than those who are not routinely generous? That’s what Mike and his coauthors try to do in another study.
  • Yes or no? The survey also measured how happy the respondent was at the time that they filled out this survey.
  • That is in 90% of the countries in the world, those who donated to charity the previous month reported being far happier than those who hadn’t donated to charity.
  • The Gallup data suggests that you are likely to be just as happy as someone who owns double your income, $100,000 a year and does not donate to charity.
  • That is it’s not clear if people are happier because they donated to charity or that happier people tend to donate to charity.
  • As you may recall from week one, findings show that happy people are more generous so it’s possible that all the Gallup data is showing, really, is that happiness leads to generosity, and not the other way around.
  • I also asked him whether there were any studies on generosity with kids.
  • Imagine a study in which kids are given some money and either asked to spend it on themselves, or on others.
  • Finding that kids asked to be generous are happier than those who are not would provide really convincing evidence that generosity leads to happiness.
  • This is because kids, unlike adults, are less likely to lie about feeling happy when they are generous.
  • Some of my co-authors have a paper with kids, Kylie Hamlin, Lara Acknin, and Liz Dunn, where they asked exactly the question you just asked, which is, do little kids still feel happy about giving to other people? And if you’ve ever interacted with little kids, you know that sometimes they don’t like to share and they get very upset if you ask them to share things.
  • Then at the same time, sometimes little kids are amazingly generous and thoughtful and come over and give you things.
  • So they decided to do a study to look at very young kids, actually toddlers, so these are like two year old, three year old little tiny kids.
  • They wanted to test if giving makes them happy as opposed to spending on themselves.
  • Then ask them how happy you are on a scale from one to ten.
  • So instead of money as the currency, they used Goldfish crackers, because for little kids, those things are amazingly good and they’re easy to count.
  • Instead of asking them, one to ten, how happy you are, they just record their faces and look for signs of happiness on their face.
  • Then what they do is, they have these kids with Goldfish crackers and they have the kids eat one themselves.
  • Then they have the kid meet a monkey puppet that really happens to like Goldfish crackers, and they tell the kid, will you give one of your crackers to the monkey? And, all the kids do it.
  • Then the experimenter says I have an extra goldfish, not one of the kids’ goldfish.
  • Will you give that to monkey? And all the kids do that too.
  • They looked at the kids’ faces to see how happy they were.
  • It seems to be a pure thing where even very tiny kids when they give to others they feel happy.
  • The other studies also found the same effect, namely those kids as young as two years old feel happier when they have been generous.
  • It seems quite clear that being generous does make us happy.
  • What that means in turn is that if you want to lead a happy and fulfilling life, you would do well to take advantage of this source of happiness.
  • It turns out that all kinds of generosity will make you happier.
  • It turns out that there are certain rules for generosity and that for generosity to make you happy, you need to be smart about when, to whom, and how, and how much you’re generous.
  • Although I have discussed evidence from several studies to show you that being generous makes us happier, I haven’t yet told you why it makes us happy.

Why the need to love and give enhances happiness

  • In my previous video, I shared with you studies that showed that we have a deep desire to love and give.
  • The truth is, although toddlers have a high need to love and give, they’re also quite self-centered at the same time, but we all knew this already.
  • What we didn’t know as much is that they also have a high need to love and give.
  • If we were raised to be kind and generous and if we find you in a culture that encourages kindness and generosity and we see it all around us, then that’s what we’re likely to exhibit.
  • One reason why the need to love and give makes us happy is because we seem hard-wired for kindness, similar to how we are hard-wired to eat food high in energy like sugar and fat.
  • Another reason why the need to love and give boosts happiness levels is because of the story you tell yourself when you’re kind and generous.
  • One of the key things that makes you happy when you give is actually the feeling that you’ve had a positive impact on another person, and the feeling you’re having an impact on the world is good for our well-being and all the domains.
  • When you are kind and generous, others like you better, and therefore, they are likely to be loving and kind to you in return.
  • Remember the study by Sara Algae and her colleagues with the sorority sisters where they found that those who were more grateful to their seniors made more friends? Being grateful is one way to be kind and generous.
  • Just to give you a little bit of a flavor for what the findings show, consider this findings by the economist Arthur Brooks.
  • He found that for every additional dollar that somebody earns, giving to charity went up by 14 cents.
  • Surprising as it seems, people who give more go on to earn more.
  • Giving indiscriminately is also not such a good thing for either happiness or success.
  • What this means as I mentioned briefly in the last video is that you need to be smart about giving.
  • You need to make sure that you don’t become what Adam Grant calls a selfless giver, someone who’s so indiscriminate about giving that you end up hurting yourself and burning out.
  • What you want to be instead is what Adam Grant calls an others giver, someone who protects your own self-interest even as you’re focused on helping other people.
  • It turns out that it is the others givers who end up being most successful in life, not just in their careers but also successful in terms of helping other people because they don’t burn out.
  • Where exactly does this lie line between selfless giving and others giving? In other words, what are the rules for giving so that you can maximize not just your happiness but also your chances of success? That’s a question I will tackle in the next video.

The rules for giving: When does giving enhance happiness and success?

  • The final strategy is to practice kindness and generosity, and thereby, strengthen the need to love and give, a need that appears to be hardwired in us.
  • First, we appear to be hardwired to be love and giving as I just mentioned, sometime back.
  • Reb collaborates a lot with Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, who I’ve already mentioned a few times in this course.
  • Before answering this question, I asked Reb to also give us a little bit of a background knowledge that will help us better understand the findings from this area.
  • You’re first going to hear Reb talk about reciprocity styles, and the three different types of people, givers, takers, and matchers.
  • So you can be a giver, which is that, when I interact with you, if I’m a giver, then what’s going on in my mind is thinking about, what do I have to offer? How can I give something to you? On the flip side, if I’m a taker, if I have a taker reciprocity style, then my mindset is what do you have to offer me? In our interaction, in our relationship, in our exchange, what can I get from you in the pursuit of my goals, and in the pursuit of what I’m aiming for? And then the third bucket, which is actually what most people are most of the time, is a matcher, which is that we interact with people in a way where we seek equity and justice and fairness.
  • What he found across a range of different professions, medicine, engineering, sales, lots of different contexts, is that maybe, somewhat surprisingly, givers are disproportionately represented at the top.
  • It’s the people who are spending additional time, giving resources to other people who end up with the best grades in med school, the most sales, and the most technical, engineering drawings.
  • So givers are ending up at the top of the success ladder.
  • Takers and matchers, while they certainly can get there, the givers are more likely to end up at that spot.
  • The sort of working theory or hypothesis about why that is that givers are able to harness a lot of extra resources, even unintentionally because of the goodwill that they’ve built up in other people who are willing to then help them out in return.
  • So if I’m going about figuring out how I could offer my services to other people, if those people are matchers themselves, they’re in turn, even if I didn’t want them to, going to be inclined to speak highly of me, to recommend me to their colleagues, to help me out when I need a hand.
  • The catch though is that when Adam looked at the bottom of the success ladder in all of these different professions, he also found givers to be more likely to end up there.
  • The giver is sort of divided and some of them ended up at the top of the success ladder and some of them ended up at the bottom.
  • Others who do that are sort of self-sacrificing and ending up burning themselves out and giving up their own opportunities.
  • What we find in our research and our work with lots of organizations is that the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful givers primarily comes down to their ability to attend to not just the needs of others, but the needs of themselves.
  • So in a sense, you can think about it as they include themselves in the people that they have to give to at least some of the time.
  • So instead of being selfless or selfish, the successful giver is what he calls others, in that they’re primarily oriented toward helping other people.
  • So instead of giving to anyone, anytime, in any way, with anything that they ask for, the successful givers have filters.
  • They take time to say no at times when they’re going to need to because that’s going to give them more energy, more resources to be able to help more people down the line.
  • Sort of a long answer, but the gist is that givers have these great pathways, especially in today’s hyper connected age, to be both sort of good, kind, caring person, and achieve their own goals, but they need to attend to how they’re doing it so that they don’t burn themselves out in the process.
  • So as you just heard selfless giving is not good for success.
  • You’re likely to burn out if you’re totally selfless and indiscriminate in your giving.
  • The most successful givers turn out to be what the researchers call others givers, givers who include themselves in the acts of generosity.
  • What are some of the strategies that others givers use? As you just heard from Reb, they seem to use two strategies in particular.
  • I’m sure this is authentic proud as opposed to hubristic proud, which energizes them to give more.
  • You are likely to feel happier when you can actually see the effects of your giving, because seeing that is going to make you feel more competent and capable.
  • Having fun while you’re giving, I’ve discovered from my own personal experiences, as well as from the experiences of my students, is less likely to burn you out.
  • With that, let me bid you till the next video, in which I will be giving you the instructions for something that I call, the creative altruism exercise, which is the third exercise for this course.

The 3rd exercise: Creative altruism

  • Keeping all these three rules in mind is going to be very important for the next and the third exercise in this course, which is the creative altruism exercise.
  • She’s going to come in and explain the instructions for the exercise.
  • I am excited to give you the instructions for my one of my favorite exercises for this course.
  • The third exercise, we call it the creative altruism exercises because, as you will soon find out, you will have to be both creative and altruistic in this exercise.
  • Remember how we used to play pranks on others when we were kids, like letting the air out of someone’s bicycle, or throwing toilet paper over the neighbor’s house? In this exercise, too, you’ll be asked to play a prank, except that it won’t be just you who’s having fun.
  • That will lead you to Step 1 of the exercise, which is to watch this really neat video that will get you into the mood of creative altruism.
  • It’s just a short five-minute video, but if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step, and click on Continue to go on to the next step, which is to type out your idea and your plan for the exercise.
  • In order to see maximum benefit from the exercise, make sure that executing the idea will take some time and effort on your part.
  • Your idea can’t involve just observing others’ altruistic behaviors.
  • If you have an idea and a plan, click on the I have an idea, let’s go to the next step button.
  • Once you have typed in your idea, click on the Proceed to step 3 buttons, which will take you to the next step in this exercise.
  • In executing the idea, keep in mind the three rules for giving that Professor Raj talked about, which are contain your cost of giving, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself or your resources.
  • Otherwise, that is, if you’re happy with your plan, you can click on the Proceed to step 4 buttons, which will take you to Step 4 in the exercise.
  • Question 1, what was your idea or plan? Question 2, how did you execute the idea? Did you stick to the three rules for giving, like containing cost of giving, having fun, and registering the impact? If not, why not? What did the recipient feel? In answering this question, focus on what the recipient said or did when he or she experienced your act.
  • Question 4, how did it make you feel? What effect did the entire exercise have on you? Take your time in providing these answers since we, the Happiness Team at the Indian School of Business, love reading about students’ experiences in the creative altruism exercise.
  • If you are satisfied with them, click on Proceed to download PDF, which will take you to the fifth and final step of the exercise.
  • Share your experiences with us on the discussion forum for this exercise, which is called Creative Altruism Exercise
  • As with the other exercises in this course, you can download a soft copy of your inputs for the exercise by clicking on the Download PDF link that you will see on this last screen.
  • Downloading the PDF will not only make it easier for you to share your experiences with other students on this exercise.
  • It will also help you retain a personal memoir of your experiences with this exercise.
  • Bye for now, and see you next week, when I’ll give you the instructions for the fourth happiness exercise.
  • I feel like actually taking part in the Creative Altruism exercise myself after listening to her instructions.

Summary of week 3

  • We started out with how, as human beings, we have a deep seated need for love and connection.
  • In particular, if we don’t receive a sufficiently high level of the right kind of love and nurturing as an infant, especially in the first year and a half of her life.
  • Why? Because being avoidant makes us less likable to other people, makes our interactions with them more painful and less enjoyable and also lowers our overall satisfaction with life, including job satisfaction.
  • As we saw in some earlier videos, finding sure that people can be made to feel more secure by exposing them to words like hug or love.
  • Or the stories of parental support and love or by asking them to recall a positive parental experience from childhood.
  • The question is what can you do to become more secure in your relationships? And I’ve discussed three main things that we can do.
  • The first is to practice self-compassion, which is to be kind and compassionate to yourself, particularly when you fail at something or when you feel unworthy of others love and attention.
  • The reason why being self-compassionate is likely to make you less needy and avoidant and make you feel more secure, is because what you’re doing when you’re self-compassionate is you’re reversing the reasons why people become needy and avoidant in the first place.
  • Not receiving sufficient of the right kind of love and nurturing from others.
  • Studies show that people like to be around those who are grateful, so by expressing gratitude, you make yourself more likable and worthy of being around.
  • This, in turn, is likely to make you feel more secure.
  • The final way, which is the way on which we really focused on in this week, is by exhibiting what I call the need to love and give, that is, by being kind and generous.
  • Being kind and generous works in much the same way that gratitude does to make you feel more secure.
  • When you’re kind and generous to others, you build goodwill for yourself in their eyes.
  • These sets up a virtuous cycle that makes you feel more connected and included in others’ lives.
  • In addition to making you feel secure in relationships, there are at least two other reasons why being kind and generous is likely to make you feel happy.
  • First, it seems that it is part of our nature to be kind and generous.
  • Second, when we are kind and generous we feel more competent and capable and this in turn, makes us feel happy and good.
  • You may be wondering whether there is yet another reason why being kind and generous makes you feel happy.
  • A sense of love and compassion that you end up feeling for other people that naturally makes you feel happier.
  • Barbara Fredrickson explores this idea quite well in her excellent book, Love 2.0, which I would highly recommend.
  • Another person, who has not just explored the idea of how being kind and generous makes you feel happier by triggering what he calls an inner transformation.
  • Which is really the same thing as making love blossom in your heart, is Nippon Mehta?
  • Just in case you don’t know Nipun, he is in my opinion, one of the most inspiring human beings in the world.
  • You can learn more about Nipun and what he does by watching the next video, which is an optional called, called Interview with Nipun.
  • Just to give you a quick idea of what Nipun means by this inner transformation that happens when you’re kind and compassionate.
  • At the end of dinner, Julio says, I’d love to treat you, but you have my wallet.
  • There are many reasons why I love this story that we just heard from Nipun.
  • On reasons I love it is because it shows how, when you operate from a space or place of kindness and compassion, it evokes kindness and compassion in others too.
  • Another reason I love it is because it shows you how when you’re kind and compassionate and generous.
  • It makes you view the world from a position of love and kindness.
  • From this position, you can clearly see that everyone, even seemingly very self-centered, mean people even are capable of love and generosity.
  • Overall, there seem to be several reasons why being kind and generous can make you happier.
  • Including that you it makes you feel more secure in relationships.
  • Given all these reasons it’s a no brainer that being kind and generous is a much more reliable way to happiness than is being needy or avoidant.
  • Unless you are like the Dalai Lama, being kind and generous doesn’t mean being indiscriminately giving to everyone and anyone, all the time.
  • So be kind and generous to yourself even as you’re being kind as generous to others is very important.
  • Second, it’s important to try and get to see the impact of your generosity, since one reason being why being generous boosts our happiness levels.

Interview with Nipun Mehta (Optional)

  • He’s the kind of person that I think could have been very successful at almost anything that he chose to do.
  • Within two years of working there, Nipun realized that he wasn’t finding working for corporate America to be as meaningful as he found volunteering his services at a hospice and, in general, helping people in need out.
  • So I saw that a lot of people around me were going with the de facto sort of standard that you go out and you get and you get and you accumulate, and he who has the most toys wins.
  • So I saw all these people trying to achieve it, and you achieved it in, that was a time when we were all on steroids.
  • People were achieving things in two years what it would take a generation to achieve.
  • So you saw a lot of people spike up and then just crash down.
  • Just seeing all that and just being a rational person, I was like, huh, does that make sense? Or is there another way? I think this is where I was like, wow, I don’t know if there’s another way.
  • I think for me, at some point I started questioning that, in my early twenties.
  • I said, well, is there another way? And what is that other way? And I started to say, well, if greed isn’t going to do it for you, how about doing its opposite, which was generosity? What if we just went out and did something purely for the love of it? We realized that was very liberating.
  • So I think that, for me, just doing those experiments is what really led me to continue.
  • I think that’s the beauty of it, is that the size of the act or the impact of the act almost doesn’t matter.
  • So it’s an incredible, so if you start to look at it in that way, and if I’m different, most people serve the world to say, oh, look at this person, let me help them.
  • If you change for the rest of eternity, it’s going to have its own ripple effect.
  • I think how do you put yourself in a state of naturalness? And you can try.
  • You’re not worried about how this thing is going to go away from you.
  • I think it’s, I would just say, experiment.
  • You know what I mean? There are those people who really wait for science, and that’s great.
  • I think for me it’s just been, it’s a more natural way of being, and I do think it’s natural to be connected, and to be happy, and to be accepting of all things that come our way.
  • It’s zero, because someone before you has paid for you, and you pay forward, for people after you.
  • Most people look at that and say, wait, you mean you trust people to pay forward? And if, we are self interested, maximal thing for me kind of animals, then we would just not leave anything, and we said, yeah, maybe.
  • We found out that actually people pay, but what is it that makes it work? Can everything work in this way? Probably not.
  • Is your Lexus car dealership, if you say pay what you want, is that going to really work? No, that would be my guess.
  • Why does Karma Kitchen work? And I think one of the core things around generosity, around our response of generosity, when we see other people’s generosity, and when we receive generosity, is the context.
  • It’s not going to be Karma Kitchen, it’s not going to trigger a response of generosity, of compassion, of connection.
  • When you sit on this table, underneath the table, there’s a positive quote, right? So it starts to get you thinking in tat way.
  • And kids love it, right? And it’s the kind of thing, where you’ll hear it, and you’ll say, well, what’s the big deal? But when it actually happens, and in the process of actually taking that card and saying, wow, now am I going to do it? Your brain starts to release very different kind of chemicals, and you feel very different, right? And then in between all of this, you may take a look at the restaurant, and you’re like, wow, no one is paying for their own self.
  • Really what is such a meal worth? We’re not going to give you a suggested donation price, because we don’t know what its worth to you.
  • Right? It’s not like, if I have to sell you Coca-Cola, you’re going to get tired of drinking it.
  • So I have to keep on advertising, and bringing all these different actors and actresses in front of you, to tell you wait a second, it’s cool to keep on going on.
  • Like there’s no one trying to spin anything but it’s just that inevitably you have a propensity towards a greater connection and that propensity is what is going to propel.
  • You’re going to receive a generous act and you’re going to pay it forward because your cup of gratitude is going to overflow.
  • How people pay it forward, how much they pay it forward, that’s going to be very dependent on so many different factors.
  • A lot of people will say, oh wait a second, yeah I kind of, yeah all right, I kind of should and I’m going to go and okay fine you know I’ll do that.
  • Then you know and then it can create that kind of setting, right? But I think that if you look at the whole supply chain, if you want to call it that, right.
  • The reason why we don’t have a suggested price is because we want people to ask this question.
  • Whatever’s in them is going to come out right? And which is to say is it going to be positive or is it going to be negative? Or how do I handle it with other people? How do I process a whole community that’s behaving in this way, right? How do I process receiving from volunteers? In our house, we run these awaken circles, which now run all over the world as well, but 17 years ago my parents and I, actually my mom, another friend, and I, we sat down and we said we’re going to sit in silence for an hour and we’re going to open up the door.
  • Over the years, tens of thousands of people have come.
  • You would be surprised, Raj, a lot people would come in not a lot, but there are people who, I met this one particular guy, met him in a different city in southern California.
  • How in the world are we going to pay back nine months of a gift that starts our life? But that was asked at one point.
  • So it’s we are to think that we can pay back for everything, is sort of a mentality that we have created.

Mid-course happiness measurement

  • This moment indeed is very enjoyable, you know why? Because we are going to do a mid-course happiness evaluation.
  • Hopefully, you will see that your happiness levels have improved.
  • You have another three weeks to go to see an improvement.
  • That’s it for this week folks; see you bright and early next week.

Return to Summaries

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