Why Entrepreneurs Should Look for Meaning, Not Happiness

By Damon Brown

IMAGE: Getty Images

If you’re looking for happiness as an entrepreneur, then you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. JetBlue Airways has a new, fun short film, HumanKinda, exploring how little enjoyment we get out of our over-scheduled lives. The elusive feeling of happiness, though, seems inversely proportional to the time we set aside to create it. And business owners don’t have a lot of time.

Instead, we should be looking for meaning in our lives, argues Dr. Christine Carter, the featured sociologist in HumanKinda and author of The Sweet Spot. I talked with Carter about how meaning leads to happiness, what tech does to our focus and why it may have been easier for our entrepreneurial ancestors to have balanced lives.

Read the full post.

Happiness | Gratitude Revealed

I was honored to be a part of filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s Gratitude Revealed series — 16 film shorts that explore what gratitude is. Over the next few months, we’ll highlight one film a week, illustrating why gratitude is important and what we can all do to live more gracious lives.

Thursday Thought

“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough.” ― Julia Cameron

3 Surprising Ways to Feel Less Busy

Busyness stinks.

Although people tell me all the time they like feeling busy — perhaps because it makes them feel important and significant — I’m not buying it. Would you ever choose busyness over a more relaxed form of productivity? catadvice_CMYKWhen life starts to feel hectic, here are a few ways to dial back the overwhelm.

  1. Give yourself a shot of awe. When researchers induced feelings of awe in people — by showing them video clips of people next to vast things like whales or waterfalls, it altered their perception of time such that they — those people felt like they had more time on their hands. So much time on their hands, in fact, that awe-struck people become likely to give away their time by volunteering to help someone out. They also report fewer feelings of impatience.

    Not sure where to find yourself some awe? Look no farther than YouTube. Try searching “awe” and “whales,” or just watch this oldie but goodie video clip — it makes me feel awestruck every time. If the concept of “awe” feels too abstract, try thinking about things that amaze you. What makes you feel a childlike sense of wonder? Makes you feel elevated or inspired? Now take five minutes to let one of those things work their magic on your busy brain.

  2. Create an anti-busyness ritual. Researchers believe that the brains in both humans and animals evolved to feel calmed by repetitive behavior, and that our daily rituals are a primary way to manage stress. This is especially true in unpredictable environments or situations where we feel pressured, a lack of control, or threatened in some way.

    When the pace of life seems to be taking off without you, create a ritual to help you feel more in control. What counts as a ritual? Something you do repetitively in certain situations — usually a series of behaviors done in the same order. Think of your favorite ball player’s pregame ritual.

    When I start to feel pressured for time, my own “busyness ritual” kicks in: I stretch my neck (first by looking to the left, and then to the right, and then by tipping my left ear to my left shoulder and my right ear to my right shoulder). I exhale deeply with each stretch, and then center my head, and straighten my posture. On my last exhale, I think to myself: “I have plenty of time.” The stretching and deep breathing may be what helps me feel calm, but also having and using a ritual — any ritual — can help us feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

  3. Find “flow.” Dropping into “the zone” or finding flow is the opposite of feeling busy. Time seems to stand still — if we are aware of time at all. Finding flow isn’t as elusive a state as you might think, but it does require that we stop multi-tasking, and that we build a fortress against interruption around ourselves. (I also have a “get into the flow” ritual that I use before I write).

I know, I know. You don’t have time to foster awe, or create an anti-busyness ritual, or stop multi-tasking. You’re too busy!

Listen: You don’t have time NOT to do these things. Busyness is a mark of what neuroscientists call “cognitive overload.” This state impairs our ability to think creatively, to plan, organize, innovate, solve problems, make decisions, resist temptations, learn new things easily, speak fluently, remember important social information, and control our emotions. In other words, it impairs basically everything we need to do in a given day. So if you have important work to do, please: Take five minutes to dial back your busyness.


If you liked this post, you’ll love this short and funny documentary, HumanKinda. The premise is that busyness robs us of our humanity, making us only “kinda” human.

Photo credit: Gemma Correll commissioned by JetBlue for Humankinda.

Chariots of Dreams

This makes me smile more than Halloween candy.

Thursday Thought

thursday_thought_christine_carter_hidalgo“You make a mistake, and that happens to take you in a new direction. Without that mistake you stay in the same place.” Giovanni Hidalgo

10 Friendship Skills Everyone Needs

by Sunshine Monke

As parents and adults who work with youth, we can positively impact kids’ lives through helping them build good social skills, which are, I believe, more important than academic or athletic skills.

At school, very little–if any–time is spent teaching these important skills, but for youth who struggle with social skills deficits, this attention is vital. Deficits in social skills are linked to a myriad of problems for youth and adults, while healthy social skills are associated with many positive life outcomes. Therefore, it behooves us to teach social skills to youth. But where do we start?

One place is with a quick assessment of which of the following ten skills need the most strengthening, then pick just one to work on at a time. As you introduce a skill, be positive and not condemning or critical. Say something like, “Making friends can be hard sometimes. I’d like to talk with you about something you can do that will help you make friends. How does that sound?” Read the full post for 10 essential friendship skills every kid needs.


Photo credit: Nicola Barnett


Does your to do list have a to do list? Are you human or humankinda? I had a lot of fun participating in this short film about the busyness epidemic.

Thursday Thought

thursday_thought_christine_carter_anonymous“Some pursue happiness, others create it”


Thursday Thought

christine_carter_thursday_thought_tao“They who want to expand the field of happiness in the world, let them lay the foundation of it on the bottom of their own hearts.” –Tao saying