fulfilment vs happiness


The Ancient Greeks resolutely did not believe that the purpose of life was to be happy; they proposed that it was to achieve Eudaimonia, a word which has been best translated as ‘fulfilment’.

What distinguishes happiness from fulfilment is pain. It is eminently possible to be fulfilled and – at the same time – under pressure, suffering physically or mentally, overburdened and, quite frequently, in a tetchy mood. This is a psychological nuance that the word happiness makes it hard to capture; for it is tricky to speak of being happy yet unhappy or happy yet suffering. However, such a combination is readily accommodated within the dignified and noble-sounding letters of Eudaimonia.

The word encourages us to trust that many of life’s most worthwhile projects will at points be quite at odds with contentment and yet worth pursuing nevertheless. Properly exploring our professional talents, managing a household, keeping a relationship going, creating a new business venture or engaging in politics… none of these goals are likely to leave us cheerful and grinning on a quotidian basis. They will, in fact, involve us in all manner of challenges that will deeply exhaust and ennervate us, provoke and wound us. And yet we will perhaps, at the end of our lives, still feel that the tasks were worth undertaking. Through them, we’ll have accessed something grander and more interesting than happiness: we’ll have made a difference.

The School of Life, full article and video here.

Gemba – go to the place

Gemba – 現場 – Japanese term meaning “the real place”

“In quality management, gemba means the manufacturing  floor and the idea is that if a problem occurs, the engineers must go there to understand the full impact of the problem, gathering data from all sources.”

“The only real way to understand a problem is to go and see it on the ground.” Economist article on Genchi genbutsu here.

How to apply the brain science of resilience to the classroom

Neuroscience isn’t on many elementary school lesson plans. But this spring, a second grade class at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the South Bronx is plunging in.

Sarah Wechsler, an instructional coach with wide eyes and a marathoner’s energy, asks the students to think about the development and progress that they’ve made already in their lives.

Read full NPR article here.

How to raise a feminist son

Let him cry.
Give him role models.
Let him be himself.
Teach him to take care of himself.
Teach him to take care of others.
Share the work.
Encourage friendships with girls.
Teach ‘no means no’.
Speak up when others are intolerant.
Never use ‘girl’ as an insult.
Read a lot, including about girls and women.
Celebrate boyhood.

Read full NYTime article here.