Well-being – Internet Time Blog http://www.internettime.com Thu, 05 Nov 2015 01:35:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Science of Happiness MOOC http://www.internettime.com/2014/09/science-of-happiness-mooc/ Wed, 10 Sep 2014 01:25:46 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=19587 Continue reading Science of Happiness MOOC ]]> Along with 100,000 other people, I’ve enrolled in a free MOOC on The Science of Happiness.

UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, is producing the course. It’s being administered on the EdX platform

Week 1: Introduction to the Science of Happiness
Will be available starting on September 9 

Week 2: Happiness & Human Connection
Will be available starting on September 16 

Week 3: Kindness & Compassion
Will be available starting on September 23 

Week 4: Cooperation & Forgiveness
Will be available starting on September 30 

Week 5: Midterm Exam (and time to catch up on course material)
Will be available starting on October 7. Must be completed by November 18. 

Week 6: Mindfulness, Attention, and Focus
Will be available starting on October 14 

Week 7: Mental Habits of Happiness: Self-Compassion, Flow, and Optimism
Will be available starting on October 21 

Week 8: Gratitude
Will be available starting on October 28 

Week 9: Finding Your Happiness Fit and the New Frontiers
Will be available starting on November 4 

Final Exam
Will be available starting on November 4. Must be completed by November 18.

I’ll post about my experiences as we march through the material.

“The Science of Happiness” is being produced by the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley; course co-instructors Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas are the GGSC’s founding director and science director, respectively. The GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: Not only does it sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, it also helps people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. “The Science of Happiness” is a prime example of the GGSC’s work.



Happiness deck http://www.internettime.com/2013/03/happiness-deck/ Wed, 20 Mar 2013 06:14:46 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=18735 Continue reading Happiness deck ]]> Prototype for happiness/well-being card deck.

What do you think?

2My calling is to help a millon people lead happier and more satisfying lives. Mainly business people caught up in the rat race. There’s great hope and cause for celebration. Moore’s Law favors us all. Help me reach a million by the end of the year. Pass the word.

Let’s go viral now
Everybody’s learning how
Come on and safari with me
(come on and safari with…)      lyric


Want to be happier? Lead a more meaningful life? a http://www.internettime.com/2013/03/want-to-be-happier-lead-a-more-meaningful-life-a/ Sun, 17 Mar 2013 07:06:42 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=18616 ggsc

If you feel your life’s not all it could be, consider joining us in Berkeley on Wednesday evening for a small group session on finding true happiness. This is the unofficial member meeting of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. I’m speaking.


Can your team’s marriage be saved? http://www.internettime.com/2013/02/can-your-teams-marriage-be-saved/ Mon, 25 Feb 2013 23:51:37 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=18475 Continue reading Can your team’s marriage be saved? ]]> clo_logo_sm (1)Can This Marriage Be Saved?
by Jay Cross

Return to: http://clomedia.com/views/articles/can-this-marriage-be-saved/


The National Institute of Mental Health spent millions of your tax dollars to build John and Julie Gottman a Love Lab. At the lab, personnel observed thousands of couples. They shot video, monitored heart rates, jitteriness and skin conductivity. They amassed recordings of hundreds of couples interacting at different times in their relationships.

The couples in the videos were engaged in 15-minute conversations — with their clothes on. Nonetheless, the results were quite revealing.

John Gottman ran the numbers and isolated one factor that enabled him to correctly predict which marriages would end in divorce nine times out of 10. Julie kids John that this is why they are not invited to dinner parties. His first study predicted divorce rates with 93.6 percent accuracy.

John Gottman has written 40 books and 190 academic articles on marital relationships and has appeared on the “Today” show and “Oprah,” and in The New York Times, Psychology Today and the Ladies Home Journal. Nobody knows more about what makes or breaks a relationship.

The Gottmans found that:

• Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways.
• Happily married couples are able to repair negative interactions during an argument, and they are able to process negative emotions fully.

Here’s how to predict the success or failure of a marriage: While watching the 45 minutes of video conversation, count the number of times positive emotions such as joy, interest, contentment or love are expressed. Then count negatives like anxiety, sadness, anger and despair. If the ratio of positive to negative emotions falls below 3, this marriage is doomed. Most marriages rate a 5.

Why is this earth-shatteringly important to a CLO? Because the same scheme can predict the likelihood a work team will thrive or languish. The CLO’s role is to ensure that individuals, teams and their entire organization are productive. Influencing their emotional well-being does precisely that.

Most real work and learning these days takes place in close-knit teams. In business, no single person creates value; it takes a village. If teams become dispirited, ideas cease to flow, morale plummets and productivity disappears in a downward spiral of gloom. Many companies are dying a slow, lingering death because their teams lost their way as the world changed from logical and predictable to random and full of surprises.

Keeping teams energized is everyone’s job in a networked organization. We’ve got to help one another. Members of teams need to act like wives and husbands in flourishing marriages. Behave like good friends. Watch out for negatives — they are toxic and contagious. Encourage positive emotion. Be considerate.

Researcher Marcial Losada and psychologist Barbara Fredrickson found that the ratio of positive to negative emotions, known as the positivity ratio, predicts the success or failure of business teams.

Losada invited 60 business teams to use his executive conference room for strategy sessions. Observers coded positive and negative emotions from behind two-way mirrors. When they ran the data, they found that a positivity ratio of 2.9013 was a tipping point. Any less positivity than that, and if the team does not change, it fails. The more positive members are, the better the team.

Gottman and Losada show us it takes three or more positive outbursts to make the same impact as one negative one. Anthropologists explain that we evolved to trust negative information more than positive. Back on the savanna, people who avoided danger by taking threats seriously had better odds of surviving to contribute to the gene pool.

The word “businesslike” is almost universally taken to mean free from emotion. That’s why workers are disengaged and that’s what’s been wrong in general: we’ve treated people like cogs in the business machine. If we treat people — leaders, workers, managers, customers, all of us — like people, everyone will prosper.

Have you taken the emotional pulse of your critical teams lately? Saving important corporate marriages and accelerating the breakup of doomed relationships could be the one of the most important contributions you can make.

Jay Cross is CEO of Internet Time Group and a thought leader in informal learning and organizational performance.




Emotional Business http://www.internettime.com/2013/02/emotional-business/ http://www.internettime.com/2013/02/emotional-business/#comments Mon, 04 Feb 2013 07:56:20 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7833 Continue reading Emotional Business ]]> D R A F T

Some of you have inquired about my research into happiness and well-being. I paused the project for six weeks. Upon return, I realized there’s a lot more to it. Taking a broader perspective, I realized you can’t deal with happiness without addressing joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, love, sadness, anxiety, anger, motivation, and relationships, too.

Emotional business (which I will christen EB right here and now) concerns precisely the same thing it takes to replace 19th-20th century management with Management 3.0: treating people like people. That’s what it take to be an emotional business.

Today’s volatile business ride requires marines, not slaves. It’s a higher order game. Millions of people accustomed to being complacent cogs in the machine are taking on roles as savvy, enthusiastic, customer-facing folks who need to delight customers. To enable people to be their full, productive selves on the job means addressing good emotions and bad, the full spectrum. That includes making allowances for personal baggage. We’re all in this together. It takes trust to tango.

EB escalates the importance of the topic: emotion + business = all of us performing honestly as our true selves emerge. It’s the make or break discipline of social business.

Business has shunned psychology for too long. It’s now a positive field rather than the “nuts and sluts” attitude I studied at Princeton in the 60s. It holds many of the keys for leading a contented, satisfying life.

If we organize work around organic principles and fluid human networks, living more joy-filled lives can create a self-sustaining virtuous circle. “To become a better writer, become a better person,” wrote Brenda Ueland. Same thing to become a better corporate citizen. Work with your signature strengths, things you enjoy at a gut-level. You can change the nature of your contribution at work to spend more time doing what makes your day. Do what makes you satisfied and content.

I began with happiness but found you’ve got to deal with a whole range of other emotions.

Companies will be against this matching of person and the relationships they are expected to make and maintain. Dangerous coddling. They would be wrong. Corporations always crave conformity. Better to have robots. Corporate cultures want to knock off people’s rough edges. Reward structures, old boy networks, and power struggles work against change in areas where the old boys do not trust the workers, where it’s still us vs. them. Dismantling something like that would be rewarding but I’d rather deal with people who are coming from a positive direction.

ggscA couple of miles from Internet Time Lab sits the Greater Good Science Center, close to the U.C. Berkeley Campus. Their vision takes the ideas I was drawn to further than I’d imagined.

Since 2001, we have been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our award-winning efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public.

They have an arsenal of behavior change findings ready to be harvested and put to work. The breadth of their vision and mine match perfectly, although they are sometimes overly academic and I want to see more practical implementation in corporations: the numbers, please.

Check out the the Greater Good Science Center website. I’m going to spend a lot of time there!

I’ve become webmaster for the GGSC members. The site is http://positivejay.wordpress.com/

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Your character strengths http://www.internettime.com/2013/01/your-character-strengths/ http://www.internettime.com/2013/01/your-character-strengths/#comments Sun, 27 Jan 2013 02:41:55 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7806 Continue reading Your character strengths ]]> use

You can achieve more success by fully leveraging your strengths than by shoring up your weaknesses.

Spend twenty minutes to take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths on the Authentic Happiness site.

Find opportunities to apply your strengths in everything you do. You’ll be happier.

Do it. It works.

Christoper Peterson

chris petersonChristopher Peterson, the godfather of personal strengths research, died this month, leaving behind a treasure trove of findings and insights.

ippaA special issue of the IPPA Newsletter is dedicated to his memory. Excerpts:

Chris deems character strengths as the foundation of humanity, and strength-congruent activity as a key route to the good life.

Peterson defines character as “a family of individual differences…distinct strengths that people possess to varying degrees.” He states that character is malleable, measurable and subject to numerous influences.

When speaking with Chris, he always seemed to shift the attention to me, making me feel not only that I had something to learn from him, but also that he had something to learn from me.

Like Aristotle, Peterson asserts that we can cultivate character. But there are no shortcuts. Only through regular practice can we make sustainable changes, create new habits, and improve our happiness. However, in order to mark our progress, we must be able to measure our character.

Peterson’s Values in Action (VIA) Classification is a conceptual and empirical tool that features explicit criteria for twenty-four universal character strengths. It is in the philosophical tradition of virtue ethics by emphasizing the moral excellence of the individual.

Once we become aware of our top strengths (dubbed “signature strengths”), we can craft interventions and apply them to our daily lives to further build good character and increase thriving. If love, gratitude, zest, and hope don’t already rank among our top strengths Peterson recommends we practice these strengths as well because they are most highly correlated with flourishing.

Peterson refers to personality as “the story we tell about ourselves” and asserts, “all too often, redemption is the narrative we tell.” He suggests we change that by looking at our lives as a story of triumph and strengths. As William James argued, by shifting our attention we have the potential to create healthy habits, cultivate character, and improve happiness. So, why not focus on the good and celebrate our strengths?

Asked for useful tips, Chris said “Be mindful of what I call strengths occasions, and rise to them. Also, practice, practice, practice.”

Marty Seligman on applying your strengths and increasing Flow:

Latest research

In the Newsletter, Ryan Niemic provides a research update on character strengths.

  • The most commonly endorsed character strengths reported around the world are (in descending order) kindness, fairness, honesty, gratitude, and judgment while the least endorsed character strengths are prudence, modesty, and self-regulation (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2006). This study is currently being updated by a leading personality researcher with a larger subject pool and more countries.
  • The character strength most related to achievement seems to be perseverance; however, several other strengths emerge repeatedly including self-regulation, hope, fairness, and gratitude, to name a few (Lounsbury et al., 2009; Park & Peterson, 2008; Park & Peterson, 2009).
  • In terms of positive health, several specific character strengths have been studied over the years and are connected with greater health (e.g., gratitude). When an individual has a physical disorder, there is less of a toll on life satisfaction if the person ranks high on the character strengths of bravery, kindness, and humor. For psychological disorders, there is less of a toll on life satisfaction if they rank high on the character strengths of appreciation of beauty & excellence and love of learning (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2006).
  • Strengths buffer people from vulnerabilities (Huta & Hawley, 2010). The character strength of hope appears to be one of the strongest factors in this area. Hope, zest, and leadership were substantially related to fewer problems with anxiety and depression (Park & Peterson, 2008).
  • The character strengths most associated with the meaning route to happiness are spirituality, gratitude, hope, zest, and curiosity; those most associated with the engagement route to happiness are zest, curiosity, hope, perseverance, and perspective. Lastly, those most associated with the pleasure route to happiness are humor, zest, hope, social intelligence, and love (Peterson et al., 2007). In general, the “Big 5 Happiness Strengths” those life satisfaction character strengths most correlated with well-being, in repeated studies are hope, zest, gratitude, curiosity, and love (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004; Peterson et al., 2007; Proctor, Maltby, & Linley, 2009; Ruch et al., 2007; Shimai et al., 2006).

The character strengths:

Wisdom and Knowledge – Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge

  • Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it
  • Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering
  • Judgment [critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly
  • Love of Learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows
  • Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people

Courage – Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

  • Bravery [valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it
  • Perseverance [persistence, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks
  • Honesty [authenticity, integrity]: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions
  • Zest [vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated

Humanity – Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others

  • Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people
  • Kindness [generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, “niceness”]: Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them
  • Social Intelligence [emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick

Justice – Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life

  • Teamwork [citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty]: Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share
  • Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.
  • Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done, and at the same time maintaining good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

Temperance – Strengths that protect against excess

  • Forgiveness: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful
  • Humility: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is
  • Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted
  • Self-Regulation [self-control]: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions

Transcendence – Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

  • Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [awe, wonder, elevation]: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience
  • Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks
  • Hope [optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about
  • Humor [playfulness]: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes
  • Spirituality [faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort

Character strengths and business

  • The most recognized intervention with character strengths is “use your signature strengths in new ways.” This exercise involves having participants identify their highest strengths by taking the VIA Survey and then use one of these strengths in a new way each day. This has become a quintessential intervention in the practice of positive psychology since the first study found increases in well-being and decreases in depression for six months (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).
  • Engaged employees are involved, enthusiastic, and further their organization’s interests. Survey research finds that the majority of employees are disconnected or disengaged from their work. Disengagement leads to poor performance and lower productivity while employee engagement leads to higher performance and productivity. A 3-year analysis of employee engagement by Crabb (2011) found that one of the primary drivers of employee engagement in organizations is the deployment of character strengths. Crabb refers to the practice as focusing strengths and explains that the key strategies for employers are to assess employee strengths, have a conversation with the employee regarding their agreement or disagreement with the findings, find ways for the employee to use their strengths in the organization, and create ongoing support in the organization. Employers are encouraged to ask the question: “What opportunities are there within the employee’s job and the organization to foster his or her character strengths further?”
  • Examples of strength-based practices embedded in PPT include the forgiveness letter, using one’s signature strengths to offer the gift of time, and the one door closes, another door opens strategy to boost the strength of hope.

The book


The front-end of Chris Peterson’s seminal book (2004), co-authored with Marty Seligman, is online. If you are hungry for scientific backup, an explanation of where these strengths come from, moral issues, Biblical references, other religions, previous studies, and Howard Gardner, get a copy. Here is the companion web site. The site has lots of interesting findings, for instance:

  • Using one’s signature strengths in a new way increased happiness and decreased depression for 6 months (Gander, Proyer, Ruch, & Wyss, 2012).

Individuals who use their character strengths experienced greater well-being, which was related to both physical and mental health. Strengths use was a unique predictor of subjective well-being after self-esteem and self-efficacy were controlled for (Proctor, Maltby, & Linley, 2009).

More research findings

  • Employees who used four or more of their signature strengths had more positive work experiences and work-as-a-calling than those who expressed less than four (Harzer & Ruch, 2012a).
  • Regardless of which character strengths are used, the congruent use of strengths in the situational circumstances at work is important for fostering job satisfaction, pleasure, engagement, and meaning in one’s job (i.e., the alignment of one’s signature strengths with work activities is what matters; Harzer & Ruch, 2012b).
  • Across occupations, curiosity, zest, hope, gratitude, and spirituality are the Big 5 strengths associated with work satisfaction (Peterson et al., 2010).The most prevalent character strengths in human beings in descending order are kindness, fairness, honesty, gratitude, judgment (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2006).The least prevalent character strengths in human beings are prudence, modesty, and self-regulation (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2006).
  • The 5 character strengths most highly related to life satisfaction are hope (r = .53), zest (r = .52), gratitude (r = .43), curiosity (r = .39), and love (r = .35). These strengths consistently and repeatedly show a robust, consistent relationship with life satisfaction (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004). The correlations given were from a sample of 3907 individuals; see article for data on two additional samples.
  • The character strengths least related to life satisfaction (weak association) are modesty/humility, creativity, appreciation of beauty & excellence, judgment/open-mindedness, and love of learning (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004).
  • The pursuit of meaning and engagement are much more predictive of life satisfaction than the pursuit of pleasure (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005).
  • Strengths of character most associated with life satisfaction were associated with an orientation of pleasure, engagement, and meaning (“the full life”; Peterson et al., 2007).
  • The character strengths most associated with the meaning route to happiness are religiousness, gratitude, hope, zest, and curiosity (Peterson et al., 2007).
  • The character strengths most associated with the engagement route to happiness are zest, curiosity, hope, perseverance, and perspective (Peterson et al., 2007).
  • The character strengths most associated with the pleasure route to happiness are humor, zest, hope, social intelligence, and love (Peterson et al., 2007).

Jay’s experience

jayWhatever I do must play to at least my top five Character Strengths. Otherwise, I won’t do it.

The things on this list, and their sequence, haven’t changed much over the years. The top three are always the top 3.

Here are all my strengths — and weaknesses — in order, from taking the 2012 VIA Strengths Survey. 2003 ranks are in parentheses. The top five are spot on. Red indicates “not me at all” — my “unmotivated skills.” Text following “|” is how I identify with each item.

Creativity, ingenuity, and originality (1) 99th percentile
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible. | My hallmark.

Curiosity and interest in the world (2) 99th percentile
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery. | Yes, yes, yes.

Love of learning (3) 99th percentile
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn. | Not school, but reading and museums.

Bravery and valor (4) 97th percentile
You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions. | True.

Humor and playfulness (6)
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations. | Yes, although people often don’t get my jokes.

Perspective (wisdom) (7).
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself. | This feels right.

Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness (9)
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind. | Yes, I change my mind about things. Some question how solid my evidence is.

Zest, enthusiasm, and energy (5)
Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure. | This is true.

Appreciation of beauty and excellence (8)
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience. | Yes.

Gratitude (12)
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks. | Not naturally. I have to work on this.

Kindness and generosity (16)
You are kind and generous to others, and you are never too busy to do a favor. You enjoy doing good deeds for others, even if you do not know them well. | Yes, I help individuals where I can.

Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty (14)
You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group. | No, I am more often a loner, not a team player.

Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness (18)
You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a “real” person. | I try.

Leadership (13)
You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen. | My work history disagrees.

Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness (15)
You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control. | Somewhat. All one level, we are all but pebbles in a stream.

Social intelligence (19)
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease. | No, I am often totally blind to this. Lots of people misread me and vice-versa. A decided weakness.

Capacity to love and be loved (10)
You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you. | Can’t evaluate. I love a number of people. I’m neutral toward most.

Fairness, equity, and justice (20)
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance. | No, I am more elitist than this.

Forgiveness and mercy (17)
You forgive those who have done you wrong. You always give people a second chance. Your guiding principle is mercy and not revenge. | Not always. I don’t work with assholes or toxic personalities.

Self-control and self-regulation (21)
You self-consciously regulate what you feel and what you do. You are a disciplined person. You are in control of your appetites and your emotions, not vice versa. | Disciplined? Not hardly. I can blow off a month or two without realizing it.

Caution, prudence, and discretion (22)
You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret. | No, not me at all. I take stupid risks and often color outside the lines.

Industry, diligence, and perseverance (11)
You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you “get it out the door” in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks. | No. I am easily distracted. I’ve started many personal projects that never made it to the finish line. I keep customer commitments but not personal ones.

Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith (23)
You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you. | No, I am a-spiritual, a non-believer, a skeptic of the first order.

Modesty and humility (24)
You do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You do not regard yourself as special, and others recognize and value your modesty. | This is not me. I am a braggart and self-promoter.

My calling is to make at least a million people in business happier. More information.

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Greater Good Science Center http://www.internettime.com/2013/01/greater-good-science-center/ Thu, 24 Jan 2013 07:50:05 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7740 Continue reading Greater Good Science Center ]]> ggsc

I just got back from the first local member meeting of the Greater Good Science Center here in Berkeley. Started by a grant a dozen years ago, Greater Good was a print magazine. The founders imagined “an organization that would identify the roots of healthy relationships and flourishing individuals, exploring qualities such as compassion, altruism, respect, trust, tolerance, and wisdom.” The print magazine morphed into a web publication, which appears to be its major outreach program. They host events (check this out; I wouldn’t miss it.)



The Center has amassed an impressive collection of articles and programs on its core theme. I plan to spend more time there. For example, here are Stories for Managers. I like their summary of happiness habits worth cultivating:



Amazingly, the Center does not appear to have anyone looking after membership. Tonight’s meeting was initiated by one guy who happened to inquire about membership programs when he recently moved to Berkeley. Twenty or thirty people showed up on a drizzly night for our first meet-up. A couple of staffers were on hand for the first part of the session. CCSC’s position is to “Let those in the room drive this.” I’ll be back to see how we might grow this.

Greater Good Science Center

Greater Good Science Center

Greater Good Science Center

Internet Time and Happiness

A friend asked if I’d dropped Happiness as an interest. She said I was all over the place with the topic for a few months and then went off the radar.

I’m still a true believer. Legitimizing the expression of emotion in business is going to be HUGE. People will be able to participate with 100% of their beings, not just the über left-brained portion. My research marches on. I’m reading a lot and talking with a lot of people.

I have recast my calling as: “My calling is to make people happy. Millions of people. Particularly people in the rat race we call business. They deserve more fulfilling, inspired lives.”

This may not be my immediate business focus, but it’s a area where I expect to make a major difference. Pro Bono.

Happiness is yours for the taking http://www.internettime.com/2012/12/happiness-is-yours-for-the-taking/ Mon, 31 Dec 2012 18:46:07 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7619 Continue reading Happiness is yours for the taking ]]>  

Pier 39, home to a dozen restaurants and a thousand sea lions.
Pier 39, home to a dozen restaurants and a thousand sea lions.

Thirty years ago my boss gave me an assignment I’ll never forget.

“I’ve rented a Santa Claus costume for tonight’s Christmas party,” he said.

“Great!” I replied.

“And you are going to wear it,” he told me.

That evening I changed into the red suit and beard in the parking lot San Francisco’s Pier 39.

We were holding the company party at the restaurant at the far north end of the Pier.

As I walked the length of the Pier, children came running to tell me what they wanted for Christmas. Imagine the luck — bumping into Santa Claus just walking along the dock like a normal citizen. They beamed. I felt like a god.

Last night a group of folks from NextNow and Natural Logic came together for a Seasons Party at the NextNow Collaboratory in Berkeley. Once again I donned the Santa suit. (I do it every year now.)

Santa arrives.
Santa arrives.

Santa wished everyone a very, very happy 2013. Then I shared my new calling: I am out to make people happy. Millions of them. Mainly people trapped in the rat race of organizations.

We’re each in control of our own happiness. Lots of it has to do with how we look at the world. We can literally rewire our brains by shifting what we pay attention to and how we interpret the past. It’s not that difficult. I aspire to be the Pied Piper Santa who leads people to more fulfilling work and contented lives. Don’t we all deserve lives worth living?

Picasso wisely said, “I do things I don’t know how to do in order to learn how to do them.” Me too. I don’t know how I am going to play Santa year round. I may write a book or an ebook, or show companies how happiness boosts the bottom line, or lead workshops, or all these and more. I’m certain to be discussing the topic here. I’m open to your suggestions. Life is for learning.

Will you join my on this journey? As Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”





Giving my computers a break http://www.internettime.com/2012/12/giving-my-computers-a-break/ http://www.internettime.com/2012/12/giving-my-computers-a-break/#comments Sun, 09 Dec 2012 07:40:13 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7538 Continue reading Giving my computers a break ]]> Ten years ago next month, Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves published The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places. The Stanford profs had conducted a series of standard psychology experiments but substituted a computer for one of the participants. From the Amazon review:

“Fresh evidence of human gullibility never fails to entertain. Stanford professors Reeves and Nass provide plenty of cocktail-party ammunition with findings from 35 laboratory experiments demonstrating how even technologically sophisticated people treat boxes of circuitry as if they were other human beings. People are polite to computers, respond to praise from them and view them as teammates. They like computers with personalities similar to their own, find masculine-sounding computers extroverted, driven and intelligent while they judge feminine-sounding computers knowledgeable about love and relationships. Viewers rate content on a TV embellished with the label ‘specialist’ superior to identical content on a TV labeled ‘generalist’ (they even found the picture clearer on the ‘specialist’ box).”

It proved tough to put the theory into practice. Microsoft Bob was based on Nass and Reeves’ research. But the results weren’t all bad: Bill Gates married Microsoft Bob’s marketing manager, Melinda. Wikipedia reports that…

Bob received the 7th place in PC World magazine’s list of the 25 worst tech products of all time, a spot in Time magazine’s list of the 50 Worst Inventions, and number one worst product of the decade by CNET.com.

The notion of treating computers as if they are people popped into my head this morning when my wife stuck her head in my office to ask what was wrong. “Nothing,” I said. “Just swearing at the computer.” My research on well-being at work has sensitized me to the impact of negative emotions. At team whose members don’t express at least three positive emotions for every negative emotion will fall apart.

Could my outbursts against the computer be stressing me out? Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated that the slightest emotional transaction can color one’s mood for hours. And I was swearing at my computer whenever I hit a glitch, which translates into one rant every fifteen or twenty minutes throughout the day.

Would it make me happier if I stopped griping about the machine? I decided to find out.

As of right now, I have ceased swearing at my Macs. In fact, I’ll praise them when they do a great job. After all, the iMac I’m writing this on is 25,000 times faster than the first computer I ever operated — an IBM 7094 Mod II — and cost 25,000 times less. And it connects me to the world. Not bad.

Unlearning habits formed over the course of decades will take strong reminders. I’m giving that reminding task to Mr. Bill and Ratbert. They’re right on my machine, ready to remind me that the problem is just a software issue (Mr. Bill takes those hits) or human error (Catbert’s department.) They will council me to calm down. Time fixes all glitches.

Redefining the Media Equation

Think I’ll be able to hang in for at least a week? And do you think it might improve my mood?

Redefining the Media Equation


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Sitting kills http://www.internettime.com/2012/12/sitting-kills/ http://www.internettime.com/2012/12/sitting-kills/#comments Sun, 09 Dec 2012 01:50:39 +0000 http://www.internettime.com/?p=7531 Continue reading Sitting kills ]]>


Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics

The health hazards of sitting for long stretches are significant even for people who are quite active when they’re not sitting down

Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The science is still evolving, but we believe that sitting is harmful in itself,” says Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor of health services at the University of California, Los Angeles.

I switched to standing desks several years ago. My upper office work tables are a few inches above waist-height. A fat squirrel enjoys running up and down the redwood tree just outside the window.

Standing desk

Step-stools lift my 120″ x 32″ work surface off the floor.

Bench to raise desk

Downstairs in the Lab, I work at a waist-high slab of butcher block I bought at IKEA and mounted atop storage cabinets.

Standing desk at Internet Time Lab

Those with sharp eyes will note Internet Time Lines, my n-scale model railroad, at the back of the butcher block top.

Standing desk at Internet Time Lab Internet Time Lines

Internet Time Lines Internet Time Lines

Do I get tired from standing all day? Never. I do suggest standing on a rug rather than a hard floor:

Rug at workstation

Leonardo da Vinci, Ben Franklin, and Winston Churchill worked at standing desks and that’s good enough for me.

Wondering what this has to do with my primary interests in happiness and working smarter? Healthier people are happier and more productive than the norm. Standing up at work adds a few years to your life!

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