Saturday, 30 June 2007

Stefan Sagmeister's Pearls of Wisdom

In my post on Wednesday , I promised to summarise the gems from Stefan Sagmeister's diary: 'Things in my life I have learned so far', which he presented in his talk on Design and Happiness. Many of them are underpinned by Positive Psychology concepts and research, some of which I have shown in italics. Here are the ones I think are most relevant to a discussion on Positive Psychology and coaching, in no particular order:

*Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid - I have to live now (research on Time Perspectives by Zimbardo and Boniwell suggests that people who are very future-oriented miss out on enjoying the present. Also, research on flow suggests that people are happier when living in the

* Money does not make me happy (research suggests that over a certain threshold (which is actually quite low), more money does not actually make you happier.)

* Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted (this is a process called 'adaptation' i.e. you adapt back to a mildly pleasant mood after both good and bad events. This has two important implications which are often overlooked: 1) that we should not expect full-on intense happiness all the time, and 2) that we should expect to recover from any hardship and difficulties in our lives.)

* Trying to look good limits my life (research suggests that concentrating on your physical appearance does not make you happy.)

* Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses (This is a way to overcome the adaptation process mentioned above i.e. you consciously don't allow yourself to get to a position where you do adapt to material luxuries, because eventually you would stop enjoying them and crave something

* Keeping a diary supports my personal development (this is a good coaching tip - by taking 5 or 10 minutes every day to reflect on what happens in your life, you often get insights which aid personal growth.)

There speaks a true Positive Psychologist! If you have any of your own tips for maintaining your well-being which others might benefit from, we'd love to hear about them.

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