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We were told from a very young age, whether explicitly or implicitly, that happiness stems from success. It’s all about the attainment of the next goal. And yet, more often than not, achieving these goals does not bring us to a happier place, certainly not in the long-term.
One of the issues that people have with the pursuit of happiness is that it’s a selfish endeavor. But is it? When we pursue happiness, oftentimes, we are in a much better place to also help others. The problem though, doesn’t lie in the pursuit of happiness but rather in our concepts.
So is the pursuit of happiness selfish or selfless? According to Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar, it’s neither and both. It’s self-ful. Selfulness synthesizes the best of both worlds of selfishness and selflessness. The two work together reinforcing one another in an upward spiral of generosity and benevolence.
Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/series/explain-it-like-im-smart/finding-happiness-in-life/
About Tal Ben-Shahar:
Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is an internationally renowned teacher and author in the fields of happiness and leadership. After graduating from Harvard with a BA in Philosophy and Psychology and a PhD in Organizational Behavior, Tal taught two of the most popular courses in Harvard’s history: Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership. He then taught Happiness Studies at Columbia University. A prolific writer, Tal’s books have appeared on best-sellers lists around the world and have been translated into more than 30 languages.
Tal Ben-Shahar consults and lectures to executives in multinational corporations, educational institutions, and the general public. Topics include leadership, education, ethics, happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting and mindfulness. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is also the co-founder of the Happiness Studies Academy. Learn more here: https://www.happinessstudies.academy/
Tal is an avid sportsman and a certified yoga instructor whose work bridges Eastern and Western traditions, ancient wisdom and modern technology, science and art.
Read more of our stories on happiness:
Epicurus and the atheist’s guide to happiness
How to measure happiness: hedonia vs. eudaimonia
Happiness and why “happily ever after” is a myth
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