Another Simon Sinek podcast to share with you today. I love that guy. In his “A Bit of Optimism” podcast, Sinek recently interviewed Arthur Brooks, and they talked about a number of things including Brooks’ new book, From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of life. Here is the link to this podcast.
Why did it captivate me? Two main points resonated with me:
#1: “The Satisfaction Problem” (around minute 11:30)
As he prepared for this book, Brooks asked the Dalai Lama how to solve “the satisfaction problem.” We think of satisfaction as getting what we want, achieving something, of having things: “If I have that job, that relationship, that car or house, THEN I’ll be happy.” The Dalai Lama’s answer was that to get stable happiness, we need to stop striving to have what we want and start wanting what we have.
The real way to understand this: our satisfaction is what we have divided by what we want. HAVES/WANTS.
SO, if we spend less time WANTING, our satisfaction equation increases. Instead of, “I wish I had the new,” it’s “I love the thing I’ve got.”
#2: “Fluid Intelligence” vs “Crystallized Intelligence” (around minute 21)
And then, how do we continue that satisfaction into the second half of our lives? Around age 70, the population splits: ½ continues to be happier all the way to the end of life; the other ½ starts experiencing decreasing happiness. Why?
As we age, our intelligence shifts from “fluid intelligence” to “crystallized intelligence.” The first is defined by our energized, innovative, and creative work; the second reflects a different set of skills, wisdom, and intelligence, that we can capitalize on as masters/teachers and sharing that learning with the next generation. We can transition to becoming other-focused.
Brooks shared the example of Johann Sebastian Bach, an innovative musical genius, who made the transition to master/teacher. He was the creator of high baroque style, among the most prolific composers in history. One of his sons, Johann Christian Bach, created a new style of music – classical style. That son ultimately eclipsed his father. Instead of striving to compete, the father spent the rest of his life as a master teacher of the forms. He was beloved, happy, surrounded by family and students…. he spent the second half of his life in service to others. All by remodeling his life and embracing the transition.
Really inspiring to me – starting each day with a sense of fullness and satisfaction and focusing on how to serve others…. I hope it inspires you as well! Speaking of podcasts, listen to my latest episode of B's Table Talk featuring Amanda Rome, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Xcel Energy and check out the archives here.
See you in the trenches.
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