I recently discovered a new podcast: The Happiness Lab. It’s fairly new—there are only eight episodes so far—and I learned about it through a plug on Revisionist History.
This coincided perfectly with a personal goal of adjusting my mindset in certain areas so I can be happier.
Episode 3: A Silver Lining.
They talked about how of the three medalists on the podium at the Olympics, the silver medalist is typically the least happy, sometimes not happy at all. And how this lasts well beyond the end of the winner’s national anthem.
They talked about making less money but double the people around you, versus making twice as much money but half the people around you … and how when asked which they’d prefer, people responded overall in a roughly 50/50 split.
The whole episode was fascinating to listen to. And had some moments of familiarity.
Whether you compare yourself physically, financially, socially, emotionally, or some other way, we all do it sometimes. The more we do, the less happy we are, because Top Dog is a difficult status to achieve and harder to maintain.
Where are you only happy if you’re better than the people around you? And where are you happy regardless of the state of the people around you?
There is no shortage of parenting advice out there. Its quality varies, and its application varies.
I’ve also figured out that many of the pieces that are excellent are applicable to all humans, not just little ones.
Avoid saying “be careful.”
Give specifics. What do you actually want them to watch out for?
For example: be careful crossing the street.
Instead: Cross the street at the corner. Remember to look both ways before you cross, wait for cars to go before you go, and walk.
Yeah, that’s a lot of directions. If they don’t have those in place already, maybe they’re not ready to take that one on alone.
Much of the time, when we tell someone to be careful, it’s not because we think they need the reminder but because we’re trying to do something with our own anxiety about their safety.
So instead of telling them to be careful, tell yourself to be calm, give useful directions if needed, and on we go.
This popped up recently in my Facebook memories. I was going to rewrite it, but it’s succinct and to the point as-is.
(The year this was written, Halloween was on the upcoming Friday.)
It’s red ribbon week (AIDS? heart disease? hemophilia? no—substance abuse!). As part of celebrating (?) at school, some information is included in the morning announcements.
This morning, a bunch of nasty long-term side effects of tobacco was rattled off.
All but one are also nasty long-term side effects of sugar.
But on Friday, we’re going to distribute that generously. (Don’t even attempt to argue “It’s just one day” because you know that’s BS.)
I’d be attacked for suggesting we just pass out cigarettes for Halloween…
I am just a few days shy of a year of daily blog posts here.
At the beginning, it was pretty easy, as the beginning often is. Because—exciting!
And then it was less easy. Because—work!
The last few weeks, there have been many days that, were it not for the streak, I wouldn’t have written and posted.
Apply that to you.
If you’re looking to make a habit, find a way to keep track (in a tangible way) of doing it daily. Mark a paper calendar, use an app, whatever.
Eating veggies. Drinking enough water. Getting enough sleep. Taking 15 minutes for yourself in a quiet space. Exercising. Talking to friends. Spending half an hour uninterrupted/distracted with your child. Or your spouse. Reading. Journaling. Making the quilt you’ve never made time for.
Whatever The Thing is that you need to make part of your life. Do it. Just a little bit. Every day. Keep track. Make a streak. Keep the streak alive. You can do it!
So many people discrediting each other based on their age. “You are [young/old] so you don’t know anything” attitude.
Take age out of it. Is the person informed? Experienced in this? Depending on who/what the conversation is about, are they articulate? Do they look at things from multiple vantage points?
People at any age can have a legitimate point. Life isn’t as simple as the media (or your crotchety neighbor/coworker, or your kid) makes it out to be, and the good ol’ days weren’t necessarily better. (Nor were they necessarily worse—depends on who you are and where you’re from.)
Everyone has experiences we can learn from, and I want to hear your tales and your advice… and maybe some of it will resonate and maybe none of it will and it will have been an interesting conversation and that’s all.
In spite of having aged, you might actually know less than someone younger and you might want to also listen and consider their advice. Age is not greater than knowledge. There are 15-year-olds who know more than I do. And they might know more than you, too, depending on what you’re talking about.
Making this a little bit broader…
In several classes and trainings I’ve been to in the last handful of years, I’ve had to take a questionnaire titled, “Can you survive in a different social class?” Someone put it on Survey Monkey; you can see it here. (I don’t know who gets the answers—I share it just so you can look at the questions.)
Unless your experience has been broader than most, there’s plenty you could learn just about societal basics of classes that aren’t yours. Or you could learn about what it’s like to be the opposite sex. Or a different sexual orientation. Or a different race. Or religion. Or mental health status. This list could go on and on because we have such a wide variety of ways we pigeonhole people.
So. Listen and think. Be thoughtful—don’t take something in or reject it without processing it first. There’s so much to learn.