March 31, 2009

What you might henceforth learn at B-school

Good business schools are becoming aware that apart from learning how to maximise wealth, they need to also learn how to maximise happiness - their own and of those around them.

There is a difference between happiness and what we describe as joy and pleasure. On a warm day what a glass of cold lemon juice gives you is pleasure for it is momentary and sensory. Happiness, on the other hand, is experienced in the mind and is therefore infinitely more powerful.

Are we happier today than we were a hundred years ago? If we're not, isn't it amazing that technological aids have not been able to add to our happiness?

What could we do to feel happy or happier?

1. Identify what makes you happy: I have met very few people who are clear about what makes them happy. Since they are unclear about their objectives, they live a perennially unhappy life. List down what will make you happy. Generate goals that are specific, achievable but challenging.

2. Compete with yourself: A study conducted at Harvard demonstrated that people are happier when they are relatively more prosperous than their compatriots. Respondents chose between two situations: a) Your annual salary is $1,00,000 while your compatriot gets $75,000; b) Your annual salary is $1,50,000 while your compatriot gets $1,75,000. Though the salary was more in the (b) situation, respondents overwhelmingly preferred (a). Why not compete with oneself instead of grieving over others' achievements?

3. Don't expect everyone to agree with you: We usually equate disagreement with enmity in spite of knowing that intelligent people rarely agree on anything; every individual has a perspective that's unique. So try and persuade the other person but don't be unhappy if you fail.

4. Live life according to your beliefs: Intellectual independence must follow financial independence. Implement your beliefs without inconveniencing others and be happy.

5. Live in the present: The past is dead and gone. Peep into it only to learn from mistakes. Dream of the future but remember you can't enjoy it until it becomes your present. So don't postpone what you can do today.

6. Increase the sources of your happiness: Gardening, singing, playing an instrument, exercising, meditating... The more the merrier.

7. Limit your desires: We get caught in that vicious spiral of infinite wants. The happiness you derive from moving from one product to another 'bigger, better, more expensive' is at best short-lived. Try to figure out what you can do without. Incremental benefits as you climb up the value chain of materialism are fewer than the incremental costs that you might incur.

8. Forgive and forget: Forgiving your opponents who played dirty may not make you a winner but it would surely make you happier. Jealousy and prolonged anger are agents of death.

9. Keep your curiosity alive: People who vigorously retain the childlike habit of questioning are happy on two counts. They enjoy getting to know the answers and their curiosity keeps their mind alive and kicking.

10. Shun hypocrisy: We worship women as goddesses but don't respect them at home, workplace or any other situation. We keep our courtyards clean by dumping garbage in the neighbour's compound or on the street. Double standards don't contribute to happiness.

11. Spend time with the young: Their happiness is infectious and costs nothing.

12. Give liberally: Share your smile, advice, cheer, money, help or just company. Giving should reduce your assets but giving happiness actually increases your own inventory - just try it out!

Courtesy: The Times Speaking Tree


Mandar Deodhar said...

Why you need a B-School to teach that ? There is a great teacher - Life .. which teaches that with all good and bad experiences. The only difference between life and teacher is - teacher teaches lesson first and then takes exam, life takes exam first and then teaches a lesson.

Arunkiyer said...

Hey...I was thinking of posting this too :)

nivedithasperceptions said...

Amazing read... :)