Discovering Meaning (3 Exercises)

Joy, happiness, Awe, Sean Doyle, Positive psychology

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said that “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Research and experience have shown this to be true. Having a sense of meaning makes us more resilient and persistent, and less dissuaded by setbacks. It helps us find creative…

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Changing the Narrative (Part 1)

The stories we tell ourselves matter. They make a difference in how we think about who we are and the way we structure our lives. They affect the paths we blaze and those we follow. Our stories inform every sigh and every tear, keep us afloat, and connect us to…

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Sharks and Stoics

One day my wife and daughters were at the beach enjoying cups of ice cream and sun and walking out on the pier. My youngest looked over the rail, and bursting with joy, shouted, “How cool! A shark!” Her excitement was absolute and unrestrained. My older daughter, turned and glanced…

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Presence and Immediacy

It all started with an encounter. After a morning of ‘religious enthusiasm’, Martin Buber was visited by a young man. Buber was friendly and attentive, but says he was not there fully in spirit. Later, the philosopher and theologian discovered that the young man had been wrestling with something. He…

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Having Been Asked Whether To Get A Dog

A good friend of mine recently asked whether he should get a dog. Relatives and well-wishers were all offering advice, the good and the bad that we have all heard before. They would talk about unconditional love. Regardless of how your day went, whether your wife was mad at you,…

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Visigoths, Happiness and Middle Age

Something curious happens when we track satisfaction over the course of our lives.  Couples meet, fall in love, get married and life could not be more wonderful.  Then they have children and satisfaction falls.  It plummets. Happiness only begins its rise once again after the little ones are hatched and…

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Naked Truths

In many ways this is the greatest period of history. Yet ours is a culture of longing. The world is of course the world, and it is filled with tragedy, hardship, pain, loss and indiscretion.  Yet life expectancy and literacy rates have been steadily rising for decades.  We are richer…

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What Gives You Joy?

Joy, happiness, Awe, Sean Doyle, Positive psychology

Readers Respond:  One of the things author David Pollay (the Law of the Garbage Truck, The Three Promises) advises us everyday to do everyday is “Find Joy.”  What is one thing you did this week that gave you joy?   (If you are interested, here is my review of the The…

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Kisses Not Candy

positive psychology,

The costumes have all been put away and the trick-or-treaters are gone leaving only a few feathers or streaks of glitter on the walkway next to the sagging pumpkin with its memories of smiles. All we have is candy.  Candy collected by our own children, or the leftover treats reserved for…

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