How do you rate your self-esteem?

Multiple studies have demonstrated a strong link between subjective well-being (happiness or contentment) and self-esteem. How do you rank your own self-esteem? When asked, more than 4,000 respondents to the Authentic Happiness score actually give a mixed picture:
  • About half of them report their self-esteem as going up and down
  • 4 out 10 rate their self esteem as "generally strong"
  • 1 out of 10 reported it as "rather low".

In which category do you fall? Is this where you want to be?
If not, read more about growing your self-esteem and make the best use of our free learning module "Build Your Self Esteem" on www.authentic-happiness.com.
Be strong, be proud, create something unique!
Clara





Essential skills for a meaningful life

The Authentic-Happiness.com team just released a major update of the web platform.
You can now find over 55 different free learning tracks, tools, workbooks and templates to help you shape your life. We like to call them:


"Essential skills for a meaningful life: at home and at work".

New content include links to:
- a resolution chart
- your journey to increase happiness at work
- and more...
And as usual, content from Authentic-Happiness.com is in free access, to include the Authentic Happiness score.

Looking for your feedback and comments.

Have a productive and meaningful week,
Clara

2 secrets behind Happiness: the how and the why…



Happiness, contentment and well-being are goals. They are the outcome of our daily life, the products of our actions, the results of our behaviors and attitude. So, let’s step back and tiptoe back from these end goal to the footprints of events that lead to happiness and life satisfaction:
1. Going through the year in the absence of illness, migraine, small injuries, headache and backache. How do we know? Each of these little health incidents in life are our reminders and signposts telling us: enjoy life at its fullest as long as you are in good health. And this is true even through research studies from the field of positive psychology demonstrate that patients with a long-term illness have an equal ability to synthesize happiness;
2.  Enjoying the little moments in life, laughing outloud with friends, thanking a stranger, appreciating excellence and experiencing many positive emotions;
3. Achieving or even exceeding our expectations, working hard in a state of Flow towards mastery: at work, in our family, with our hobby;
4. Going out with our friends or family, discovering new places, generating collective memories;
5. Contributing to a cause bigger than ourselves, thereby strengthening our sense of purpose and self-satisfaction
All good and nice, let’s fill up our calendar and force fit positive events and a rich mix of all of the above in our already busy schedule.
Will we find happiness? Maybe yes, possibly, maybe not… So, what’s wrong with the approach? Let’s take one more step back. Happiness is not about force-fitting new activities in our calendar, it is the how and the why:
The how is about shaping our environment for happiness to flow naturally? This sounds idealistic, doesn’t it? Let’s pick an example: can we replace scheduled visits to our fitness centers with a new healthy lifestyle: walking our dogs, going out with our kids or friends, power-walking to lunch, biking to work, visiting new places over the weekend, parking a little further and enjoying sunrises in the morning.
The why is about clearly defining and following our personal vision. How do we apply our strengths and natural talents to contribute to the society? What do we want our legacy to be? The why defines our attitude, our behaviors and key decisions. It is our organic energy source fueling our motivation and enthusiasm, it is our compass when we hesitate and have to take balanced risks.
Therefore the question: how do we dynamically shape our environment and define a clear picture of where we want to be? Next year, in 2 years, in 5 years? Develop your own Vision Board (check www.authentic-happiness.com), combine it with a shorter term Action Board. Not convinced? Try it for yourself, draw a detailed picture of yourself, your strengths, your past successes, your passion and interests: add your personal vision of what you want to achieve, how you will contribute, where you want to travel, and how you will get there, etc…
What do you have to lose? At worst, you will keep on going with your life. At best, you will become a new person, happy and satisfied to progress towards accomplishing your life goals, and likely transforming the lives of people around you!
Like this post? Agree, disagree? I am looking forward for your comments, questions and feedback.
Clara


Back to work, with a balanced plan…

It is September time again: we are all back at work, at school or college, enrolled in our weekly activities.
This is the time when we all meet in conference rooms, downtown shops and restaurants, and on the road in traffic jams.
Our opportunities to sit back back and think are getting thinner, still it is essential that we find the time to:
1. Engage in health and fitness initiatives. Sara Snodgrass, a psychologist from the Florida Atlantic University demonstrated the significant positive impact of a 3 minute walk on our daily mood.
2. Pause to thank our friends, team, our co-workers, our leaders and our Customers for their contribution to our projects. Check the site from Prof. Seligman and the field of Positive Psychology: "a one-time act of gratitude produced an immediate 10% increase in happiness and 35% decrease in depressive symptoms".
3. Review our weekly schedule and allocate time to prioritize and "flow". What is "flow"? Check for Michael Csikszentmihalyi, he defines it as a state of intense concentration and productivity, and the best way to achieve self-contentment and boost your self-esteem.
4. Discover new friends, new colleagues at work and new places. Harvard proved it: there is a 0.7 (strong) correlation between the feeling of happiness and our social connection (Shawn Achor, 2012).
5. Sit back and reflect about how meaningful our activities are. Meaning in our life is the Number 1 driver of happiness; James Coyne estimated in his 2013 study a correlation factor of 0.79, on a scale ranging from 0 = no correlation to 1 = full conformity of the studied data to the correlation.
September is a period of stress for all of us: the time of busier schedule, higher productivity, from curriculum nights to lunch meetings. Studies prove it, we will achieve more (meaning) and better results when we balance the 5 dimensions of our life:
1. Health and fitness
2. Positive emotions and gratitude
3. Productivity and flow
4. Social and discovery
5. Leadership and meaning
Interested to find out more about shaping a balanced lifestyle, check your happiness score on www.authentic-happiness.com
Clara

Tuning our brain to Authentic Happiness






authentic-happiness.com has been conducted a survey of our satisfaction level since the beginning of the year. The outcome from 3 questions is particularly interesting:

  • About half of the respondents (48%) do NOT have a clear life vision;
  • 60% find that their work is NOT very meaningful;
  • Only 27% believe that they spend enough time doing what they are passionate about.
What is that telling us? How do we tune up our brain in our daily life to generate more meaning and more passion?
  1. There is a time when our brain needs to relax. This happens when we exercise, sleep, meditate or simply enjoy moments of happiness with our family and friends (The first pillar of Authentic-Happiness LIVE and the fourth pillar EXPLORE)
  2. There is a time where we need to be intensely focused on what we are doing: this is when we reach a state of “Flow” (See corresponding learning module in authentic-happiness.com). Our sense of time and environment disappears, our brain is completely focused on the task at hand. This moments of “Flow” typically result in a very productive outcome and sense of self-contentment. (The third pillar of Authentic-Happiness CREATE)
  3. There is a time to sit back and reflect: mine is at 7 a.m. everyday in my office: in the quietness of the morning, I pull all my tasks and projects together, check my progress and clarify priorities, starting with the most urgent and most meaningful. (The fifth pillar of Authentic-Happiness LEAD)
  4. And then, there is the rest of the time. Passively awake, with the auto-pilot mode switched on, our brain is essentially unplugged. Our pre-conditioned reflex are controlled by the sensory–motor cortex  in our brain: we do not have to think. Driving to and from work, watching TV, reading emails not addressed to us, sitting in endless meeting without an active role.
Nice categories but where do I start? Get a nice book and  quality pen, open your agenda with a typical week in from of you: how do you reduce activities in the fourth category (4. Unplugged) and replace it with:
1. Being physically active and enjoying quality time with our family and friends
2. Undisturbed time slots to reach a state of Flow

3. Daily habits to think, reflect and lead your life towards more Authentic Happiness.



What we truly need to enjoy life

Do you sometimes feel bored with the expensive gifts and toys you just bought a month ago?
What do we really need to be happy? This is the theme of this week’s blog: a simple story to make us think and reflect upon who we are, what we have and what we truly need to live a good life.
A rich father, motivated to teach his son what poverty is, encouraged him to spend a few days in the countryside, in a very modest family. The child spent three days and three nights, living in the nature. Back to the city, the father asked him 2 simple questions.
“What do you think of your experience?
- It was good, replied the son, a little distant.
- Did you learn something, insisted the father?
- Yes, ‘replied the child.
  • We have a dog, they have four.
  • We have a pool with treated water, they have the whole river, clear water, and fish.
  • We have an electrical installation and lights in our garden, they have the stars and the moon for light.
  • Our garden reaches the wall, theirs stretched to the horizon.
  • We buy ready meals, they cook their own food.
  • We listen to ipod and radio, they listen to a symphony of birds, crickets and flowing water from the nearby stream.
  • We live surrounded by walls, protecting our belongings with alarms, they live in the open, protected by the friendship of their neighbors.
The father was impressed with the observations of his son. The son concludes: “Thank you for allowing me to learn that we actually are poor.” End of story and simple conclusion: we do not need much to be truly happy, friendship and life experiences are more valuable that what money can buy.
Intuitively, we sort of knew that but let’s think again: let’s reflect upon about the day ahead of us. How do we reconnect with nature, appreciate its simple beauty? How do we care for our family and friends? How do we look up from our laptop and TV to engage in meaningful activities?
The voice of this boy should stay in the back of our mind and remind us to simply lead a good life.



Redefining success outside of $ and power

That’s it, weeks of work culminated in the release of the new web site design.Check www.Authentic-Happiness.com and tell us what you think: How do you like the new slider? How engaging is the new design? Anything else you would like to see?
How do we Measurably Thrive in 5 Core Areas of our Life outside of more money and more power?
What has not changed are the fundamental, evidence-based principles behind  www.Authentic-Happiness.com: i.e. our mission to provide free tools, content and questionnaire designed to help us shape our life.
Grounded on essential concepts from Maslow to Positive Psychology, our approach is to become aware and measurably develop our “life skills” to thrive in 5 core areas:
1. Our Health & Wellness: Life is fun, make it last.How active is our lifestyle? How many thousand steps do you typically walk everyday?
What is our BMI? Do we eat sufficient fruits and vegetables? About how long do you typically sleep?
2. Positive Emotions & Gratitude: Emotions are beautiful, Embrace them Everyday
In a typical week, how many times do we spend meditating or relaxing?
How often do you shout or sulk at somebody? How many entries do we write in our personal journal?
3. Our Productivity and Expertise: your Talent is a Gift, Make Use of it, Become an ExpertHow well do we complete your weekly to-do lists? In a typical day, how many hours do we experience “flow”? How sufficient is our income to cover basic life expenses? How many remarkable achievements are we proud of?
4. Our Social Life & Discovery of the World around you: Life is an Adventure, Go out Discover the WorldHow many new places have you visited over last year?
How many people are very close to us? With how many people do we interact during a typical day?
5. Thrive: this is our Life, let's live our Dream nowFor how many years ahead is our life vision very clear? How many hours do we spend doing what we are passionate about?
How many people have we helped achieve a better life? How much do we donate or raise for good causes?
Many self-reflective questions to ask ourselves at 6am in the morning, as a new day is rising and we enjoy our morning coffee…
Have a meaningful week,
Clara
www.Authentic-Happiness.com


How a jar tells us to simplify our life

Have you heard the story about how to capture a monkey?
High in the mountain in a small village, a wise man devised a simple solution to catch a monkey: a jar with a fat bottom and a narrow opening.
How does it work? Put an juicy orange or some peanuts at the bottom of the jar, and wait. The monkey will come, attracted by the smell of food. As he grabs into the jar, his closed hand with the food remains trapped inside the jar, unaware of his embarrassing situation until the end of the day.
Simple zen story and a bit of a fairy tale, isn’t it? Literary yes, so what about our world dictated by “busyness”, power and money. Aren’t we the prisoners of our life with our hands stucked in the jar of materialism, monthly expenses & house credit? Unaware of our situation until the dawn of our life?
According to the Happiness Score, only 28% of 2,100 respondents actually believed that they spend enough time doing what they are most passionate about. What is your score?
How do we free ourselves? By letting go of unnecessary burden and refocusing our life on meaningful goals.
This sounds nice, should I quit my job and stop paying my mortgage? Certainly not, but consider the following:
1. Simplify your life, donate what you have not been using for years, this is more space in your life and will make people in need happier.
2. Take a small bag, leave all your “stuff” behind and go out on vacation. Discover the world with the people close to you, you will discover them as well.
3. Live your dream, find out what your passions are, this is often what you loved doing as a kid. Become an expert of it and share your passion.
Thoughts, feedback? What is your personal experience?
Does it work for you?
Have a fun and meaningful Sunday,
Clara
PS: more like this, visit www.Authentic-Happiness.com, check your happiness score and get a free personal Life Satisfaction report.

Rethinking learning


The fourth and last blog of our Authentic-Happines AH@Work Miniseries!
The world of corporate Learning is looking for a new answer: more innovation, focus on learning transfer, traditional models need modernizing. What has changed in the 21st century? Big data & technology are reshaping by turning data into knowledge, information, intelligence and ultimately new transformative solutions
Still, in the end, learning remain “the people”: and a large majority of us do not rate our job as very meaningful nor do we find sufficient time to spend for our true passion. This blog introduces the AD3 Model, a simple but powerful framework to structure the transformation of “brute-force” learning into data-driven, integrated, agile solutions focused on generating immediate results for the Employees and the Enterprise
So where do we start? With people data and the 5 dimensions of Authentic Happiness:
1. Health & Fitness. Life is fun, make it last2. Positive Emotions & Gratitude.Emotions are beautiful, embrace them everyday3. Productivity & Flow: Your talent is a gift, make use of it, become an expert4. Social & Discovery: Life is an adventure, go out & discover the world
5. Leadership & Meaning: This is your life, life your dream now
By turning these data into knowledge, and knowledge into intelligence, we open up new opportunities to design transformative solutions, as depicted in the following model:
Capture
The AD3 stands for Analytics, Diagnostics, Design, Deployment.
Do you want to find more about the details of each step and how the AD3 can be applied to develop powerful transformative solutions with immediate and sustainable impact?
Visit www.Authentic-Happiness.com and go to the resource section to open the latest ISPI presentation.

AH@Work: About Meaning and Passion

Miniseries Blog 3The world of corporate Learning is looking for a new answer: new innovative approaches to learning are shattering the traditional instructor and online learning approach, challenging the inability of the current models to produce measurable outcome (more in our first blog AH@Work from May 8, 2014).
What has changed in the 21st century? Big data & technology are reshaping our life by turning Data into knowledge, information, intelligence and ultimately new transformative solutions (our second AH@Work blog from May 12, 2014).
Still, in the end, learning remain “the people”: what is meaningful for us, how we enjoy our daily life and spend time doing what we are passionate about, key dimensions of our Authentic Happiness. Authentic-Happiness.com has opened up a free survey and collected over 1,300 responses from internet users around the world. In the following are 2 interesting insights from this survey:
Untitled 1

  • 40% rate their job as meaningful. Sounds like a good score ? Maybe, sort of but let’s look at the 60% who believe that their job could be more meaningful, or not at all. How truly motivated and engaged are they when performing their daily jobs?

Untitled 1

  • Only 27% believe that they spend enough time rate doing what they are passionate about. What if we could ignite some new passions and reconnect those with our daily work? What if learning and leadership was so engaging that employees would become over time true passionate experts in their field of work:

This sounds like Utopia Inc. ! Maybe, but there is no doubt that getting closer to this goal would result in significant performance gains. Isn’t this the ultimate goal of the learning department???
In our next blog, we will introduce the AD3 Model, a simple but powerful framework to structure the transformation of “brute-force” learning into data-driven, integrated, agile solutions focused on generating immediate results for the Employees and the Enterprise. One step at the time, we will walk through this framework in order to come some steps closer to our vision: high performing employees who love what they do and generate outstanding business results.

AH@Work: 3 key trends that are reshaping our life

The world of corporate Learning & Development is looking for a new answer: see the first blog of our mini-series AH@Work “Time to rethink Corporate Learning”. New innovative approaches to learning are shattering the traditional instructor and online learning model: ADDIE and curriculum-based LMS Solutions need modernizing.
What are the triggers for change in the 21st century? Let’s look at those and how these new trends are transforming our life:
Key trend #1: big data and IT processing power are reshaping industries: e-retail is taking over from traditional brick-and-mortar models, best examples are amazon, ebay or Infinity Augmented Reality solutions. Access to knowledge and information challenges the traditional newspaper and publishing industries, introducing new media and social collaboration such as Google news, Google search, Wikipedia, youtube,... Finance & Insurance also leverages IT to develop more complex modelling algorithm and execute their strategy in millisecond stock trading. Find out more about Big Data drives significant productivity gains across multiple industries in a study conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and McKinsey Global Institute (picture below).
Image
Key Trend #2: Technology is also modifying our daily behaviors and expectations. According to a report from Mary Meeker, Scott Devitt and Liang Wu from Morgan Stanley (Apr. 12, 2010, “Internet Trends: Report”), we spend an average of 220 minutes per month on Social Computing platforms versus 120 minutes reading email. The same report estimated a growth of 500% in mobile-internet users versus only 70% for desktop internet users over the same period.
Key Trend #3: new portable technologies also sets an expectations of immediacy, agility and convenience: we want stores to be open 24x7 (they are, online) and we want to be able anything: a car (e.g. carvana com), sign up for a house mortgage, watch a movie, or even pay for a speeding ticket, ...
In summary, big data & technology are reshaping our life by turning data into knowledge, information, intelligence and ultimately new transformative solutions. Still, learning remain “the people”: what is meaningful to us, how we enjoy our daily life, specially when we spend time doing what we are passionate about, the pillars of our Authentic Happiness platform.
Our blog next week will explore a simple but powerful framework to structure the transformation of “brute-force” learning into data-driven, integrated, agile solutions focused on generating immediate results for the Employees and the Enterprise. What's the end goal? To generate sustainable Authentic Happiness at work...



AH@Work: Time to Rethink Corporate Learning

The business equation is straightforward: employee productivity drives value and competitiveness in a global economy. Therefore, the simple question to corporate learning and development departments is: how do we maximize employees productivity?
The 20th century’s response to this challenge has been to “industrialize brute force learning”:
  • One core curriculum is defined for a specific job function;
  • A Learning Management System (LMS) is implemented to assign this curriculum to individual employee;
  • It takes one year to develop and multiple years to deploy this curriculum to all target employees.
This sounds like a good plan, except that the business expectations to measurably increase productivity were largely not met:
  • According to recent studies from trainingindustry com, skillsoft, 24 /7 learning and Knowledge- Advisors, approximately 45% to 55% of all learning content delivered is found to be scrap learning;
  • 46 % of corporate organizations are frustrated with their learning management system value for money (Studies from Brandon-Hall) and 30%of those plans to replace their LMS;
  • At the same time, employees memorized less and less information, from 75% in 1996 to 10% in 2006;
  • Lastly, learning impact measurement remains the number one challenge, mentioned 37% of the time ahead if any other other training challenges, according to a study from Bersin & Associates.
In summary, many studies conducted over the last 10 years clearly describe a high level of frustration with finding the right content and tools. Fortunately, data and processing power technology are changing the game in the 21st century, we will look at key trends and how they are impacting our daily life in our next blog, stay tuned.
Want to find more right now, visit Authentic-Happiness.com and check our online presentation in the Resource Section of the home page.
Have a great week full of Authentic Happiness (AH).

Does exercising make us happier?

Does exercising make us happier? Really? Let’s check the facts hidden behind this common wisdom.
An article from James Vlahos published in the New York Times on 12 Apr 2011, reported that, over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. So fat for the negative effects of the lack of exercising. What about the positive impact of a balanced fitness program?
The Daily Mail published on 16 Dec 2008 the following study outcome from the University of Bristol in the UK. Evaluating a group of 200 employees, they found out that:
  • 72% of the employees exercising regularly reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days;
  • 79% of the same group said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised;
  • 74% said they managed their workload better.
This represents a statistically significant difference, confirming our initial presumption. One of the main cause and effect mechanisms behind the numbers is known and simple: exercising stimulates the production of endorphin, these chemicals that are able to cross through the gaps between neurons in order to pass along a message from one to the next. When endorphins lock into special receptor cells, they block the transmission of pain signals and also produce a euphoric feeling. In simple term, increasing your  endorphin level is like receiving a blast of happiness through your body. Too much will lead to euphoria, also known as the “runner’s high” feeling.
What do you think? Let us know your personal experience.
Do you want to find out more? Check wikipedia, science.howstuffworks.com, … and have fun shaping your active lifestyle.

Happiness is ...

WHEN YOU ARE AWARE of your good and bad habits, and when you make progress in streamline your weekly agenda to maximize what you enjoy doing (check out your Happiness Score on www.authentic-happiness.com)
WHEN YOU KNOW your strengths, home them, apply them to realize something great and memorable
WHEN YOU FIGURE OUT out how to ignite a true passion inside yourself and massively invest your time to reach a state of flow
WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE positive emotions, have fun with friends and family, enjoy simple things like a good movie at home, a colorful sun rise at 7:00am in the morning, ...
WHEN YOU PRACTICE gratitude, or when somebody gives you a true and honest “thank you” for the help you gave them a long time ago and which made a difference in their life!
Please reply to this post band let us know what are your moments of happiness?


Can You Measure Happiness? Really.

Are you 90% happy today?
Does it make you feel better than being 60% happy?
In a world where data and analytics are king, we are all confronted with articles, blogs and daily examples of the "quantified self": the knowledge of ourselves through quantified numbers.
How do we quantify happiness? Is there an ultimate "Happiness Score" which can accurately reflect our state of mind about how happy we feel:
- Would this score reflect our "instant happiness" at this precise point of time or over a specified period of time?
- Which dimensions of happiness should it measure? Our happiness to enjoy life and experience positive emotions, our feeling of satisfaction when we create something in a state of flow while applying our best strengths and expertise, our relentless passion to give our time to a truly meaningful cause, ...
Many questions which deserve multiple answers and take us back to our original question: is the attempt of establishing a common measure of happiness truly meaningful? Well, maybe it can be, let's explore the how and what: the true answer is not only in the actual value of the happiness score: 90%, 60% or 10 out of 15, ... Let's see why:
1. Our happiness score becomes an indicator worth watching when we benchmark it against our friends, family, peers or role-models. Behind sheer jealousy, differences in score should be challenging and energizing us to understand what others are doing better, what we could improve. Check you score today, get your free Life Satisfaction report.
2. Like for data, new information are revealed when we analyzing trends and compare data points: how do we score on Friday versus Sunday evening? Does our score change in autumn versus spring? How is it impacted by our activities and relationships?
3. The real value, though, is the details, hidden behind one number: which questions and facettes of our life fills our life with authentic happiness, which ones make us sad, disappointed and fill us with negative emotions? Understanding this is the first step, or descriptive analysis.
The next step is the diagnosis: what are the root-causes for our low and high happiness moments? What are the cause-effect mechanisms? How can we identify daily stressors, which, for instance, do not allow to reach a state of flow and focus on our work?
The third and final step is to prescriptively target the areas of our life where we need to adjust our lifestyle and weekly habits, such as:
- expressing daily gratitude to our co-workers and family
- standing up early on Saturday and enjoy a walk in the nature while the sun is rising
- dedicating part of our time, every week, to a Good Cause like a charity organization
"OK, nice theory, good thoughts and 3 logical steps: where do we start?"
Step 1: Start with a survey such as the Authentic-Happiness score (www.authentic-happiness.com)
Step 2: behind the score, you will also get personalized feedback and recommendations on the specific areas you need to focus on.
Step 3: educate yourself, find out about your weak areas, analyze them, identify best practices, proven tools and processes (www.authentic-happiness.com has over 30 free learining modules).
Step 4: adjust your habits and lifestyle, design your Ideal Week ( see www-authentic-happiness.com free template).
Can You Measure Happiness? Really.
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In the end, implement your newly defined weekly activities and habits, check your weekly progress and re-evaluate your Happiness Score. Did it increase???