Top 7 Takeaways: Harvard’s Happiness Course
Why has Positive Psychology 1504 gone on to be the most popular course in the history of Harvard?
Just as when leaders receive a big promotion or nail a big deal they’ve been working on for months on end, when a high school senior receives admission to Harvard, their first thoughts are often “my life is set!”
Within a few weeks, they settle back into normalcy and early in their freshman year, they realize for the first time they are not in the top 1% of their class. The vast majority think they must be in the bottom 10%, and fall into despondency. In fact, in 2003, 80% of Harvard students faced mental health problems.
So in 2006, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar brought over 1,400 Harvard students to joyful tears in his ground breaking ‘Psychology of Leadership’ and ‘Positive Psychology’ courses. I completed the same 22 lectures and was equally moved.
My top 7 take-aways from this famed Harvard Happiness course:
- Curiosity and asking questions are traits that differentiate the most successful from the successful.
- Learn to fail or fail to learn.
- Being perfect is not a positive.
- Behavioral Change following Cognitive Change = Lasting Change.
- Why in my Happiness Book Club, we are discussing the steps we have taken as a result of reading the assigned book. It is not enough to be inspired. Must have a bias for action. Why having cohorts and coaches help in getting lasting results.
- Instead of trying to impress, express yourself and let people know you.
- Positive Psychology broadens idea generation; need pain to bring creativity. Never let a good crisis go to waste: need good + bad to be great!
I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment or share with your network. Please check out related posts: Asking Life’s Questions, Why Study Happiness?
About Grace Ueng
Ueng is a speaker, coach & consultant. After working for Bain & Company and Fortune 500 companies in marketing roles, she served on management teams of five technology ventures before founding Savvy Growth. A graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School, she is author of “Project Peak.” Follow on Twitter @savvygrace.
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