Tag Archives: Social Interaction

Happiness Matters To You

If you want to live a better life, then you need to know that happiness matters to you.

Think about it: When you’re happy, you treat others better. Which makes them happy, which makes them treat others better. Etc. etc. etc. etc.

And, yet, how much work do we actually put in on making ourselves happy? Not a whole lot, I’ll tell you. In some instances, it’s like folks think they should suffer, because suffering is good for them. While pleasure and feeling happy is bad. I don’t understand those people.

Henry S. Miller, an author and motivational speaker, is a dude I think I’m starting to understand. He’s been a guest here before and talked about happiness then as well. This time around he’s going to discuss just why, exactly, happiness matters to you dudes.

Although some would have you think otherwise, the uniquely human pursuit of happiness is not merely some frivolous idle-time activity for the fortunate few. Far from it. Instead, it is a serious pursuit—a duty and responsibility for each of us.

 As the progress—or lack thereof—of human evolution has demonstrated, being in a positive, optimistic, and happy frame of mind seems to be what allows some humans to be more successful than others in obtaining life’s essentials: food, shelter, social support, even a mate. So it has always been and so it continues today. And if you still doubt the seriousness of pursuing a happier life, consider your loved ones. Fulfilling the duty of being happy benefits not just yourself but also those closest to you.

 The Benefits

Most of the benefits of living a happier life are familiar, yet they are powerful and seemingly endless—and they far outweigh the costs and work needed to achieve this state. Nonetheless, many in our societies often try to diminish the idea of simple, lasting happiness, instead extolling the thrill of peak pleasures and magnificent accomplishments. As a rejoinder to them and a reminder to us all, here is a consensus of what researchers around the world have proven to result from simply being happy, especially when compared to unhappy, sad or depressed people:

 • Success. Overall, happiness matters because happy people are more successful across multiple major domains of life including work, social relationships, income, and health. In addition, the relationship between happiness and success seems to be reciprocal: not only can individual success—whether in love or at work—contribute to feelings of happiness, but happiness also results in more success. In this way, happiness becomes an even more worthwhile pursuit, both as a desirable end in and of itself and as a means to achieve other significant life goals.

 • Personally. Happy people more frequently exhibit characteristics such as being strikingly energetic, decisive, and flexible. They are more creative, more helpful to those in need, more self-confident, more forgiving, more charitable, more sociable, and more loving. Compared to unhappy people, happier people are more trusting, more loving, and more responsive. They have greater self-control, can tolerate frustration better, are less likely to be abusive, are more lenient, and demonstrate enhanced coping skills.

 • Socially. Happy people have more friends, richer social interactions, Henry S. Miller wrote The Serious Pursuit of Happiness and he's given A Dude's Guide to . . . Everything a not-even-close-to-exclusive excerpt from the book.correspondingly stronger social support, and experience longer and more satisfying marriages.

[Excerpted from the book The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive]

Yep, that little ol’ note up there means it’s time for us to close up shop for the week. We’ll be back on Sunday with a little fun and video and then on Monday, April 18, we’ll have the second half of the guest post from the happiness matters dude.

 Henry S. Miller knows happiness matters. He is the author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness:  Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness:  Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life. He is also the creator of the online membership program Get SERIOUS About Your Happiness:  20 Transformational Tools for Turbulent Times. As President of The Henry Miller Group (www.millergroup.com), he is a speaker, trainer, and consultant helping organizations improve engagement, performance, and productivity specifically by increasing employee well being.

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Sexual Harassment In Middle And High Schools

by Richard

Okay, dudes, this is getting more than a little scary.

According to a recent bit of research, nearly half of all kids in grades 7 through 12 have reported being the object of sexual harassment. And of those, 87 percent reported detrimental effects such as absenteeism, stomachaches and sleeplessness as a result of being sexually harassed.

Dudes, that’s kids as young as 12 getting sexually harassed. That’s just plain wrong.

On its survey of a nationally representative group of 1,965 students, the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit research organization, defined harassment as “unwelcome sexual behavior that takes place in person or electronically.” Over all, girls reported being harassed more than boys — 56 percent compared with 40 percent — though it was evenly divided during middle school. Boys were more likely to be the harassers, according to the study, and children from lower-income families reported more severe effects. […]

In the survey, students were asked to identify what had the worst effect on them. For boys, it was being called gay — “Everyone was saying I was gay, and I felt the need to have to run away and hide,” a ninth-grader said. For girls, the leading problem was having someone make “unwelcome sexual comments, jokes or gestures to or about you.”

Once again, this is something that we as parents can step in to help. Kids, especially those in middle and high school, are all about the hammer and nail philosophy of social interaction. That is, the one that sticks out will get hammered down. Especially if the difference involves something sexual, which is at the forefront of every mind that age as their brains become washed in an intoxicating brew of hormones.

Talk to your kids. Let them know that sexual harassment is just as wrong as bullying and, often, can be seen as the same thing.

AAUW‘s Holly Kearl noted, “[b]ullying is getting a lot of attention […] we don’t want schools to forget about sexual harassment.” But it seems to me that a lot of the sexual harassment described here is bullying. Would it be more effective to address sexual harassment as a form of bullying? Studies suggest that both Title IX policies and anti-bullying legislation is needed, especially considering the fact that Title IX doesn’t have the potential for enumerated policies that anti-bullying legislation does. And unwanted touching and gestures would likely not be considering a form of bullying — and that form of sexual harassment is important to put a specific name to.

Let’s get to work on changing this, dudes. This sort of thing is affecting both girls and boys and is making untold lives miserable. We might not be able to step in and prevent every instance, but we can let out little dudes and dudettes know we think it’s something they should never do and never stand still while others do.

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Cleaning Up To Get Down

by Richard

Today’s a big day around here. Well, not exactly around here, but in general. See, Sarcasmo and I are away in Salem, Virginia, on the campus of Roanoke College.

Roanoke is one of the institutes of higher education to which Sarcasmo was accepted earlier this year. The deal is that Roanoke is a great school, but it is expensive. So, when we learned that Sarcasmo could get a pretty good scholarship there, well, we were quite interested.

The only drawback is that Sarcasmo has to actually go to the school and participate in a competition with other incoming freshmen to see who gets the scholarships. The parents were thrilled. The competitor, well, not so much.

Sarcasmo is a young dude who believes social interaction is best achieved when there’s little to no actual social in it. That is, he’s not real big on the whole making a good first impression thing. Social graces to him consist mainly of not actually cramming food into his mouth at the dinner table. Dressing up? Talking politely and coherently to adults? Actually putting on an appearance of being interested in what the other person has to say? All these things might as well be in a foreign language that’s been dead for the past two thousand years to Sarcasmo.

Not a people person, is what I’m saying. Which is odd, really. Sarcasmo is bright, friendly, warm and a real charmer. When he’s with people he knows. When he’s around folks he doesn’t know as well? That’s when he starts avoiding eye contact, mumbling incoherently and fidgeting.

The competition in which he’ll be, um, competing today is two parts. The first part is a one-on-one interview with a faculty member, which is why we had to go out and buy the young dude a jacket, nice shirt, and nice pants. He’s too big to fit into my stuff now. The second part is a timed essay contest. He’s looking forward to the essay. Not so much the interview.

Which is why he’s been hating on me more than usual this past week. We’ve been doing practice interviews most every night. It’s hard to simulate an imposing faculty person when all he sees is his dad, but we’ve been working on it.

The strange thing is I don’t really remember ever having to be taught the whole, firm handshake, look him in the eye, focus on what he says thing. And those are the things we have had to work on first and the most.

It should make for an interesting day, to say the least. I’m looking forward to seeing Sarcasmo start taking those first couple of steps out on his own. I’m also really hoping for success for him. I don’t even care if he wins the scholarship (although it would be very, very, very nice to have that money available to send him to this school, don’t get me wrong). I just want to see him step outside his comfort zone and find out that he can do it when he wants to. I want him to feel good about what he did, what he accomplished, especially if he actually did do good and accomplish something.

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