Happiness is no laughing matter

June 2007

Earlier this month 3,500 people attended the 2nd Happiness & Its Causes conference in Sydney. This successful event attracted a diverse group of highly respected national and international speakers from many disciplines.

Below are quotes or paraphrased points which sum up some of the very interesting topics covered.

Many thanks to Karen Horne (my sister, friend, the creative talent in my life, my website designer, and the source for much of the information below), and Judyth Wiley (friend, executive coach and marketing consultant, who also contributed to this newsletter).

When reading these, consider a range of perspectives: how this applies to you, relationships, colleagues, your workplace, community.

Venerable Robina Courtin, Director, Liberation Prison Project, Australia and USA:

“Deal with what’s there – from this comes peace of mind”

“The goodness within us defines us”

“The neuroses do not define us and can be removed”

“27 people tell you you’re good and you’re hungry to hear it, but you don’t believe it”

“1 person criticises you and you hear it and believe it”

“It is the hardest thing to know your mind. It takes confidence.”

“We don’t eat food which makes us sick, but we don’t apply the same to thoughts which make us sick”

Corey Keyes, Associate Professor, Emory University, Atlanta USA:

“Only 25% of us are flourishing, functioning well and feeling good”

“The absence of mental health is a greater burden on society than the existence of mental illness”

“Health is more than the absence of illness, it’s the presence of something positive”

“Focusing on happiness is no laughing matter”

Dr James Franklin, Associate Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistic, UNSW:

“Happy people have more to give”

Natasha Mitchell, presenter “All In The Mind”, ABC Radio National:

“Service to others and reaching out to others is the key. It’s not about us, it’s about community”

Amanda Gordon, President Australian Psychological Association:

“We spend our life noticing the bit that’s missing”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso:

“Modern Education should include warm-heartedness and inner values.” (Children are growing up fearful and insecure)

“Genuine, unbiased, compassion is based on respect of others’ rights, regardless of their attitude towards yourself” (as opposed to spontaneous love/compassion which is based on others’ attitude towards yourself), “It is not spontaneous, but can be learned and developed through training the mind”

“Mental pains and emotions are deeper and more serious than sensory discomforts. We need to work on our mental emotions.”

“This does not require religious faith, just secular ethics and science.”

“Happiness is the peaceful mind, the subdued mind. This is a daily, active pursuit.”

“Happiness comes when reality exceeds expectation. So you can work on either increasing your reality or decreasing your expectation.”

Clive Hamilton, Executive Director, The Australia Institute:

“To get what you want, you first have to give up wanting….allow your life to unfold”

Howard Cutler, Psychiatrist, Arizona USA, and co-author with the Dalai Lama The Art of Happiness:

“Our happiness is linked to the happiness for others around us”

“There are many ways to happiness, but training the mind is a direct path”

Richard Eckersely, Social Analyst, Australian National University:

“Giving other greater opportunity to improve their wellbeing (that is, to increase population health) means changing society, not just ourselves”

Regarding the social and personal perspectives on happiness, Richard offers a different approach for addressing happiness at a social level: see www.fairshareinternational.org, for the 5-10-5-10 principle.

Dr. Julian Short, Psychiatrist:

“Treat people with respect and caring. We want to belong”

Dr Ian Gawler, OAM, Therapeutic Director, The Gawler Foundation:

“When people are clear and comfortable in themselves, this allows true relationship to be established and deepened”

Barbara Pocock, Professor, Director, Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia:

“Long hours damage our social fabric”

“We need decent work and decent work conditions”

Salim Lee, Director, Regents Garden Group, Perth:

“Don’t waste this precious life”

“We are happiest when making others happy”

Discussion Panel on Resilience and Adversity:

– The power of a sense of humour in the face of adversity

– No matter how awful a situation you must learn from it. (Live your life and share with other people)

– Emotions are the royal road to the soul

– From personal pain, depression, people have learnt tolerance, empathy etc.

– 80% of surveyed people would NOT take a happy pill even if it was free and had no side effects. The downs are important too.

– How to deal with Pain and Loss: you need a calm mental attitude – the strong foundation of a healthy mental immune system.

– You need the wisdom to look at things from different angles – past the illusion. A wholistic view.

– Happiness is a political as well as personal responsibility. We should try to effect political change.

– A nation based on materialistic values ends up with a society that lives by these values. (eg Bhutan – rates gross national happiness higher importance than gross national product)

Garry McDonald, Board member: beyondblue; actor; anxiety sufferer:

Problem: we want a quick, easy solution…. but it takes constant mental training and discipline – eg athletes train daily

Keep conditioning your mind or it will run rampant

Meditation really helps. Even if you only still your mind for 1 minute a day, it rejuvenates and de-stresses

Stephanie Dowrick, Interfaith Minister, Author of Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love:

The rational mind does not understand forgiveness

Forgiveness is an act of love; is acceptance that things go wrong.

When forgiveness if most difficult, we learn the most from it eg courage, tolerance, patience, generosity, restraint.

Panel on Trauma & recovery:

The purpose is to learn something from the trauma – whether personal or large scale (eg the recent Tsunami)

There is no recipe for recovery

Tread lightly on the planet.

Cultivate inner peace.

Show by example. If you want peace, show your inner peace.

Rachel Kohn, Presenter ABC Radio National, The Spirit of Things:

“Remember life at any moment can turn to less. We are busy wanting more.”

“Buddha said: Time changes all things. Not recognising this is the source of all pain.”

Dr Anthony Grant, Director, Coaching School of Psychology, Sydney University:

“Deferring happiness to later, working hard now and putting wellbeing on hold, leads to stress and depression”

“What is the quality of the conversation?”

This article…

…aims to provide you and your teams with information for your professional and personal development. Topics are based on areas of interest raised by clients and colleagues, with material drawn from journals, books, articles and shared experiences.

© Amanda Horne Pty Ltd, April 2007

Articles Archive

Here’s an archive of my articles from 2004 – 2007 in PDF format:

February 2007 Pyramid-shaped Tea-bags
The economics of happiness and wellbeing

November 2006 Purpose and Passion
Finding meaning and purpose at work

October 2006 Appreciation
The importance of cultivating a culture of appreciation

September 2006 Winning
An elite athlete’s tips for success

August 2006 Confidence
People’s experiences with how to build confidence

June 2006 The Business of Happiness
Economics, business trends and happiness

May 2006 Mindfulness
What is it, relevance to the workplace

April 2006 We Love Work!
Enjoyment, engagement and meaning at work
For AFR article, click here “Companies Where People Want To Work
Australian Financial Review, Weekend Perspective Section, Saturday 4 March 2006, pg17-19

March 2006 Martin Seligman in Australia
Links and information relating to Marty’s recent visit

February 2006 Sharpen Your Mind
Insights from Time Magazine’s January Mind / Body issue

November 2005 Christmas Cheer
Giving for workplace meaning, engagement and satisfaction

October 2005 What’s Positively New?
Updates from the press and recent Summit

September 2005 The Loyalty Balance
How to entice employees to stay a little bit longer

August 2005 Frenzied Underachievers
Managing overload and overwhelm

July 2005 Healing – The Leader’s New Role
Suggestions for how to create a healthy workplace

June 2005 Can You Really Change?
Research on what does and doesn’t influence change

May 2005 From Strength to Strength
Using your strengths, focusing on what’s good

April 2005 The Resilient Manager
Optimism and resilience give you the edge

March 2005 Managing Time or You?
How working on ‘you’ can help with time management

February 2005 The Power of Positivity
The impact of positive emotions on people and the workplace

November 2004 Conscious Conversations
Communicating with awareness is important
when mentoring your staff

October 2004 Interior Designers
Mindsets, attitudes and beliefs are critical to your performance

September 2004 Storytelling – Not Just For Kids
A communication tool for leaders and managers to influence change

August 2004 Thriving in the Workplace
The reality of the workplace and what we can do about it

July 2004 Meditation, Mediation or Medication?
How Meditation helps in all aspects of life

June 2004 The Importance of Being Reflective
Too busy doing to have time to think?

May 2004 Reaching Beyond Our Boundaries
Taking an alternative view, behaving and feeling differently, and going beyond your boundaries

April 2004 I’ll Tell You What I Know (Perhaps)
How can we and others improve our knowledge sharing skills?

March 2004 Honing Your Coaching Skills
Leaders and managers are recognising the importance of honing their mentoring and coaching skills

February 2004 Cultivating Relationships
The importance of business relationships and how to develop them

Archive – 2004 PDF articles

2004 Articles

Feb 2004 – Cultivating Relationships

March 2004 – Honing Your Coaching Skills [pdf]

April 2004 – Tell You What I Know [pdf]

May 2004 – Reaching Beyound Our Boundaries [pdf]

June 2004 – Importance Of Being Reflective [pdf]

July 2004 – Mediation Medication Meditation [pdf]

Aug 2004 – Thriving In The Workplace [pdf]

Sep 2004 – Storytelling Not Just For Kids [pdf]

Oct 2004 – Interior Designers

Nov 2004 – Conscious Conversations