Last week’s very successful online Learning and Skills Group Conference was a hoot (see archive). As it was online, I felt I could take a few risks with the content – putting up sessions that interested me and had value, but which wouldn’t necessarily normally fit into a physical learning and development conference.
One of them was Jay Cross’s session on well being. I’m so glad Jay volunteered to get up at an unearthly hour on the West Coast to spread the word – I learnt a lot from his talk, and more from his blog.
As Jay talked, I was aware that suddenly happiness is everywhere. Or at least, that people are talking about it everywhere.
And for good reason – happiness and well being are not side effects. They underpin everything else we do.
Harvard Business Review devoted their Jan/Feb edition to happiness, and Henry Stuart (who runs a training company called … Happy) has been talking about the necessity of happiness at work for years – as when he recently launched Action for Happiness at Cass Business School. Meanwhile, Ara Ohanian, CEO of CERTPOINT Systems, says that happiness in the workplace is so important that he has changed his title to Chief Happiness Officer and CEO. Ara and Henry share a view, but they share something else besides – positive, productive workplaces. Happiness is good business.
This is no blip. Googling ‘chief happiness officer’ brings up 146,000,000 results.
Now, a lot of interesting things come my way in the learning and development field, and they all lay claim to being the next big thing. Some ( a few) actually do make a difference. They tend to be the ones that have something extra to them, something fundamental. I think this current focus on happiness and well being is one of them.
I’m no fan of pop psychology, but this isn’t fluffy nonesense. It’s supported by Positive Psychology. For more on this, see Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania.
If you want to know more, you could read the book. You could also attend an event in mid-August in London. It’s run by Sukh Pabial (@sukhpabial), whom I know through Twitter (and no, I have no monetary or other interest in this. I just like Sukh and wish him well with what looks like a timely venture!)
Sukh has been writing about various aspects of Positive Psychology which provide useful content to mull over and debate. One of the things that interests me in particular about this field of psychology is the focus on strengths of a persons character, how these should be amplified, and how you can increase lasting effects of feeling good with practical exercises.
You can find out more, and register for the event through the Positive Psychology eventbrite page.