How to Better Understand, Pursue, and Attain Happiness
Learn about the Science of Happiness with Dr. Tal Ben-Sharhar
June 1, 2020
Economics, psychology, literature and philosophy etc. fields of inquiry never fail to intrigue me. I have both formerly taken classes in college and graduate school and enrolled in non-degree programs and trainings; most of the time, I simply appreciate the journey of reading about great minds and reflecting on insights that resonate with me, learning for the sake of learning so to speak.
During my exploration, one highlight I wanted to share is the Happiness Studies Academy with Dr. Tal Ben-Sharhar, a renowned scholar in the areas of positive psychology and leadership. At Harvard, he taught two of the most popular classes in the university’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership, and continues to share his knowledge to the world about topics such as leadership, ethics, happiness, resilience, mindfulness - you name it.
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”
― Tal Ben-Sharhar
What is Happiness and Why is It Important?
This sounds very philosophical, but let’s break it down: regardless of what needs or wants we have, happiness is the end goal. It can be a thought, emotion, feeling, or a combination of all. Happiness is hard to define or measure. But we all identify it as something we all want more of.
Great thinkers have explored the idea of happiness, and they conclude that happiness is the highest on the hierarchy of needs. Dr. Ben-Sharhar shared his journey of creating the course on happiness in , that you’ll find refreshing.
If you’re interested in exploring happiness then I strongly recommend starting with the Happiness Studies, as it’s a resource I dearly trust.
Why I Advocate for Happiness Studies
My first passion for exploring happiness started through economics. My college advisor suggested I do a thesis on happiness, since I loved learning about individuals from a microeconomics perspective. This was more than a decade ago, when research and publications was relatively little; but I was able to find content from a philosophy psychology perspective. I used my Math/Econ background, and did a simple regression analysis on happiness and parenthood. It was fun for me to have explored a philosophical topic with both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
That is why I particularly enjoy Happiness Studies, for the wide angle of many disciplines involved. Quality lecture videos, regular live conversations with Dr. Ben-Sharhar on any topics interest the audience, and wonderful support from the academy. The student body is one of the most diverse groups I have encountered: professions, personal interests and hobbies, languages spoken, nationality, ethnicity, time zones, and so on. And yet, there is also a strong unity in intellectual curiosity, learning about the world, and acceptance of humans being human.
I think what has been energetically holding such an inspiring head and heart space for learning and attaining happiness, is Dr. Ben-Sharhar's passion in teaching and connecting with students. Sharing in joy is one of the best characters of a teacher I'd love to follow and what makes Dr. Ben-Sharhar stand out.
What to Expect from the Happiness Studies
- Framework: Theory & Application
There are two courses, one focuses on theory and the other application, including lectures, life journal, live webinar, and a forum deliver and engage participants with learning on happiness.
- Theory: the SPIRE approach
SPIRE refers to the 5 aspects of the self: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational, and Emotion. The first course, Introduction to Happiness Studies, dives into what are some critical spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational, and emotional principles and how they contribute to personal happiness and organizational wholebeing.
Search keywords such as positive psychology, leadership, wholebeing, and SPIRE result in many video resources, among which, Wholebeing Happiness and the SPIRE Approach, provides a glimpse into the SPIRE approach.
- Application: evidence-based techniques
The second course, Facilitating Happiness, provides evidence-based techniques as well as science behind to help participants practice pursuing and attaining happiness. For many roles we have in life, as a parent, a leader, a professional, how to bring out the best in self and people around, build authentic relationships, and improve performance.
2020 cohort course syllabus here: Introduction to Happiness Studies and Facilitating Happiness.
Learn More about the Happiness Studies
If you have not, head to the Happiness Studies Academy for the first lecture of Certificate in Happiness Studies course and course related resources. Dr. Ben-Sharhar shared his story of how and why he created a course in Happiness Studies. I particularly enjoyed learning from King Solomon, Aristotle, to Helen Keller and Dalai Lama what great thinkers have said about happiness.
Certificate in Happiness Studies means your consistent commitment and Dr. Ben-Sharhar’s sincere support. The course is 6-months in length, and takes on average 3-4 hours of quality investment weekly. The jewel of the certificate program is being part of the Happiness Studies Academy family, participating in the forum and regular live webinar with Dr. Ben-Sharhar. For the very challenging 2020 has been, the deep understanding, empathy, and advise Dr. Ben-Sharhar has provided in his webinars is priceless. Any participant can feel his genuine and committed effort in sharing knowledge and extending support as a human being to another human being.
Dr. Ben-Sharhar provides a statement for those of us seeking perfection. In his book Being Happy encourages us to make peace with good enough. We should focus on the process of heading towards somewhere, instead of focus on the final destination or product. Read an except here. My take is to value the experience of consistently moving and growing, without judging myself for imperfection.
Happiness Studies Academy offers equal installment payment plan (same total payment), which is helpful.
- Books on Happiness and Fulfillment
1. Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment (2007)
2. The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life (2009)
3. Even Happier: A Gratitude Journal For Daily Joy And Lasting Fulfillment (2009)
4. Choose the Life You Want(2014)
5. The Joy of Leadership: How Positive Psychology Can Maximize Your Impact in a Challenging World (2017)
6. Shortcuts to Happiness: Life-Changing Lessons from My Barber (2018)