CMU Odyssey 2013
Happiness, Work, and CMU
David Kosbie, 11-Jan-2013

·         Happiness:  Sense of well-being

o   Sense:  Engagement + Mindfulness.  Well-Being:  Pleasure + Meaning

o   What is important?  Grades?  Learning?  Achievement?  Social ties?

·         The Limits of This Talk

o   Beyond the scope:  Depression?  Other disorders?  Get help --> CAPS!

·         Why does happiness matter?

o   Improves mental, physical, emotional states, academic outcomes, life expectancy.

·         Happiness and CMU

o   We have a broad happiness bell curve here

·         What about Money?

o   Very low correlation between wealth and happiness.

o   Money-driven people exhibit…

§  Lower self-actualization, vitality, happiness

§  Increased anxiety, physical symptomology, unhappiness.

·         Practical Happiness

o   Eat well

o   Sleep well (hint:  Ear plugs!  White noise! ), or…

§  Memory impairment, anxiety, increasing risk of depression

o   Take naps

§  People who nap consistently may live longer, show a 30% lower incidence of heart disease

§  Ideal: 15 to 30 minutes, mid-afternoon

o   Exercise regularly

§  Best time: after the most stressful part of the day.  Worst time: before bedtime

o   Socialize regularly

§  People matter most.  For fun.  For Emotional and academic support.

o   Recreate regularly

o   Escape + Indulge (once in a while)

o   Balance work-play-rest

o   Engagement + Mindfulness (Focus + Flow)

§  Pay attention.  In class.  Doing homework.  Playing.  Always BE there.

§  Study.  Read.  Follow directions.

§  Unitask (Do Not Multitask, since there is no such thing)

§  Meditate (5 minutes)

o   Happiness Media

§  Happiness List (Simple, readily available things that make you happy)

§  Happiness Playlist (Songs, pictures, videos that reliably make you happy)

§  Happiness Show (Make your own happiness movie/slideshow)

§  And, of course… Don’t just create these, USE them

o   Simplify

§  Clean your closet (and room, and inbox, and schedule, …)

§  Don’t oversubscribe.  (Don’t take too many courses.  Spread out the hardest ones.)

o   Manage your time.

§  Time Maps:  Estimated map, Actual map, Ideal map.  Then, reconcile these.

§  No heroics (split tasks up, take breaks;  start early, don’t procrastinate, don’t sprint it’s a marathon).

§  Intellectual Momentum:  MV (M = intellectual mass (IQ), V = intellectual velocity (smart effort))

§  Intellectual Vector Sums:  (Progress == directed effort, so don’t try harder, try smarter!)

§  Intellectual Satisficing (“bounded rationality”):   Do your best given your limitations.

§  Use rituals and structure.   Plan.  Schedule.  Respect your schedule.

§  Mornings are Magic

o   Don’t be foolish

§  Don’t overindulge in mood-altering substances

§  Don’t over-control (perfectionism)

·         90% of CMU students are not in the top 10%

·         You will get a CMU degree and a nice, satisfying, relatively high-paying job regardless

§  Don’t cheat!!!

§  Don’t put excessive emphasis on happiness

o   Social Investment

§  Hugely important.  Nothing matters more than the people.

§  Always find time for your friends.  And use that time well.

§  Find Mentors and Exemplars

§  Use Your CMU Resources Wisely

§  Consume ALL of CMU.

§  Get out of CMU.  See Oakland. Pittsburgh.  Beyond.

§  Volunteer.  A lot.

o   Happiness Mindset

§  Accept personal responsibility.  Own yourself.   Be intentional.  Be in control.

·         Lower activation energy for habits you wish to adopt.  Raise it for habits you wish to avoid.

§  Be outwardly happy.  Ac-cen-tu-ate the positive!  Smile.  Laugh.  A lot.

§  Be grateful.  Be reflective.  Be accountable.

o   Carpe diem.

§  “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Ghandi

§  An extraordinary life is still composed of about 30,000 mostly ordinary days.

§  Each day make some small, meaningful, positive change.  Start today.  Here.  Now.

o   Scholar-Citizen Reflections: Blending service + learning (Advice to CMU students,  to professors, to yourself)

Happy (the movie), (Netflix)
Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk,
Dave Crenshaw, The Myth of Multitasking video,
National Geographic, Humans Cannot Multitask,
Tal Ben-Shahar’s Daily Show Interview,
Penn’s Authentic Happiness site’s Test Center (registration required),
Wikipedia page:
Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, (Kindle edition)
Tal Ben-Shahar’s book, Happier, (Kindle edition)
Pierce J. Howard’s book, The Owner’s Manual for the Brain (3rd Edition),
David Brooks NYT Editorial, “It’s Not About You”,
Bridget Booher, Duke Magazine, “Pressure Beneath the Surface”,