At first glance this article would seem to have little to do with college, academics, learning, etc. In fact, it gets at the whole point of higher education, in my opinion. My students often here from me that college has never really been about preparing a student for a job; it is about helping a student learn to live more effectively (which, by the way, generally makes a student more attractive to an employer).
Here is how Cal Newport expressed the insight: “Finding the right work pales in importance to learning how to work right.”
As both my students and my children probably get sick of hearing: it’s not what happens to you but what you think about what happens to you that determines your experiences.
There’s a lot of discussion around passion and finding it for college students. No, not that kind of passion–get your mind out of the gutter. Passion as in caring deeply about.
Cal Newport’s guest post on the Zen Habits blog goes into many aspects of this. Here’s a quote from The Minimalist’s Guide to Cultivating Passion that summarizes a practical insight:
As Caldwell’s research reveals, true passion can’t be forced. You can participate in personality tests and self-reflection exercises until you drop from exhaustion, but it’s unstructured exploration coupled with aggressive follow-ups that most consistently leads people to a life-consuming interest.
He gives several practical examples. It’s worthwhile reading the article, and then thinking about what it means in your life, which is probably cram packed with activities. In light of Newport’s ideas, no wonder we have trouble finding or remembering our passion in life!
Here’s another post related to the common book. At first glance you may think it makes fun of spiritual materialism (read the post to see what I mean by that if you’re not sure), but Kept in the Dark and Fed Sh*t is actually fairly respectful of those who engage in it. They simply make the point that it’s not the “real article.” Do you think the post relates to The Geography of Bliss in some way? (Use the comments below if you would like.)
This is the first post on this blog in a new category, which I’ve simply labeled “Bliss.” It’s in support of the use of this year’s common book, The Geography of Bliss. I’m still not quite sure how I’m going to develop it for use in my own classes, and I’m still reading through it myself. But as I’m reading it, I’m getting sensitized to articles, posts, Web pages, etc., that perhaps connect to it. Posts here related to the common book will not go into any discussion of the concepts (I don’t want to impose my own view on whatever it is students are doing with the topics), but will simply point to the related resources with perhaps a brief explanation of what provides the relevance.
Today, I would like to point you to But Will It Make You Happy?, an article that first appeared in the New York Times, that has been shared from them via Yahoo Finance. There is some depth here around recent research that suggests you are better off spending on experiences rather than things, and also that the way you spend has more to do with happiness than does your income.