Do you know what’s Yale University’s most popular class ever? It’s one that teaches you scientifically proven ways to bring lasting happiness! The name of the class is called The Science of Well-Being, and it’s taught by Psychology Professor Laurie Santos. The course is being offered on Coursera.org, and anyone can take this 6-week workshop for free. I opted to pay a small fee for the certificate so I can take all the quizzes and do the practice assignments. I figure it can only help me improve my skills for a job that’s based on sparking joy. So for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be sharing with you my experience on this journey to learn about the misconceptions about happiness, why are expectations are so bad, what stuff really increases happiness, strategies to reset our expectations, and putting strategies into practice.
Week one was more of an introduction and gathering of information. After reading a few short pages of the course we were asked to go to another website to take an online assessment to measure the baseline of our happiness level. The test is called The Authentic Happiness Inventory, developed by Christopher Peterson at the University of Michigan. I love the name of it because, in my work, I can see people associating happiness and joy with the objects they choose to keep. It has to be authentic and true to their heart for them to physically feel a sense of joy from it. There are so many people out there who are always looking for the next bigger house, a better car, nicer clothes and think they’ll be happier. However, if they never connected to the deeper reasons why they have those desires, they’ll always be chasing after a newer version and still not feel satisfied.
I took the 24 question survey which in the end gave you a score between 1 and 5, and I got a 3.3 which seems pretty accurate. At the end of the 6 weeks, I’m supposed to take the survey again and see if my happiness level has improved.
The second online test we needed to take was from the VIA Institute On Character website, used to identify our character strength. Research has classified 24 character strength and virtues. The test took about 15 minutes and based on my responses it ranked my characters.
Their studies have shown that by using our character strengths more frequently, it can dramatically improve our level of happiness. Not only that, it can help us overcome problems more easily, improve relationships, and enhance health and overall well-being. When people who use many of their top character strengths at their work, more often they refer to it as their “calling” instead of a job. That’s the kind of job that doesn’t feel like work. It’s not just knowledge, experience or skills that make you good at the job. It’s how you use all of that plus the essence of who you are that makes the work feel so rewarding.
I was pleasantly surprised that my top 5 strengths are:
Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.
Valuing close relations with others, in particular, those in which sharing & caring are reciprocated; being close to people.
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.
Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself/others.
Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.
I know I’ve said that I was meant to be a professional organizer, but now it has also been scientifically proven I am using all of my top 5 character strengths being a KonMari consultant! I do feel like it’s my calling and now I understand why.
So for this week’s “Rewirement” assignment, we were asked to use our signature strength in a new way every day. So far I’ve taken my mother-in-law to the movies (Love), I came up with a clever storage solution working with a client (creative/perspective), and talked to a girlfriend who needed a heart-to-heart (Kindness/Love/Perspective). Happiness meter going up!
Stayed tuned for next week’s happiness adventure!