This course includes four days of video sessions and email-based course materials. We’ll meet four days in a row, Nov. 15 – Nov. 18, at 8pm Eastern. The cost of the course is $195.
When I first started this post, I wasn’t going to launch another course. I wondered if it was OK to follow a post titled I want to die with a post about a Happiness Bootcamp? But then I realized, wait, it’s a perfect combination. Because you don’t really know how happy a person you are until you have a really, really bad day.
It’s easy to be a happy person when you are having a good day. We are all Mary Poppins after we make a big sale, or win a big race. But for me, being happy is when I’m really sad, having the tools and support system to pull myself out of it in one piece, quickly enough to not push other parts of my life to go bad.
I am not a huge fan of happiness research, by the way. I’m more the cynic of happiness. I once loved the idea that scientific data could tell us how to be happy. I would read everything I could find. But everything I could find told me to eat less, exercise more, and get married.
At that point in my life I had just had a baby, so the taking-care-of-your-body articles sent me into a frenzy, and the getting married articles didn’t mention how kids can make any marriage go sour. (Don’t get so upset. Love for children is special: research says that love makes you blind to the fact that kids are totally ruining your life.)
I kept reading the research, though. It was fascinating. One guy quantified that you’d need to make $100K more from your job to compensate relocating away from family for the money. (Family is very important to happiness.) One person said you can’t be happy in your job if you can’t control the thermostat. (There is good data for this. If you have an opportunity in salary negotiations, definitely trade $5K for a signed agreement that you are king of the thermostat.) I couldn’t get enough data.
I combined a year’s worth of reading on positive psychology and economic development to figure out where to live. And then I moved to Madison, WI and I hated it. And what I learned is that we can get all the right answers in the world, but if they add up to something we don’t like, we will simply disregard the data.
In Madison I hit a happiness data deadend. I knew I had read enough to get a PhD in happiness when I started scouring university reading lists for happiness courses and I had already read all the material mentioned in the syllabi. So I started reading unpublished research about happiness. (INFJs have the hardest time being happy. ENFPs are very happy as long as they are not in college.)
I realized that first of all, the big stuff that makes you happy, like going to the gym every day, takes a ton of willpower. And the little stuff that makes you happy, like kissing your spouse good morning, isn’t nearly as happiness-inducing to me compared to saving up a good argument to start the day. I feel so close when we fight.
So then I did research on willpower and found that we have an infinite amount of data about what makes us happy but an infinitesimal amount of willpower to actually do it. (Did you know the part of our brain that handles willpower is the last to develop and is not highly functional?)
I tried to figure out how I rank in the world of willpower and discovered that me seeking to be respected for willpower is a path to unhappiness. We should not seek out other peoples’ respect. So instead, I started posting pictures of artists I admire, like Jan Voorman up there on top, because giving respect makes us happy.
So this course will be a sort of Cliff’s Notes to Happiness. You would have to be crazy to read all the happiness research yourself. It takes too long and also, you can’t implement it all. Really, I should just write a book, but writing a book on happiness would be the opposite of happiness to me. That’s why there’s a webinar.
I am grouping the research into the three most useful topics:
- Jobs that make people happy.
- Locations that make people happy.
- Relationships that make people happy.
If you can get these three things right in your life, you will be happy. Well, those things plus sleep—go to sleep and wake up at the same time day after day after day. Which may not be easy if you are taking this webinar from very far away. But look, happiness is a game of trade-offs, and for sure this webinar will be better for you than a good night’s sleep.
Remember, the cost of the course is $195.