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Do you have an “I’ll be happy when” checklist? You know, that idea that says: I’ll be happy when I finish this project. Launch my company. Meet my significant other.
Nataly Kogan used to—before she learned the hard way that chasing things on that kind of list might lead you to a state of exhaustion but not happiness.
Consider, for example, the last big goal you accomplished. Now think about how long it made you happy before some negative thinking or dissatisfaction crept in. A week, a day, an hour? Sooner or later, the shine will wear off because that’s the way our brains our wired.
So, what’s the better alternative?
It’s worth thinking about since, as Kogan, author Happier Now, points out: Research shows that, as women today, we are less happy than our mothers and grandmothers were; and a full 85 percent of Americans report feeling burned out or overwhelmed at work.
As you think about possibilities for the New Year, here is what she recommends:
- Step one: Change your idea about happiness. It’s not something we experience after we achieve some mythical state of perfection; rather, it’s something to practice right now.
- Step two: Recognize the happiness doesn’t mean being positive all the time. To the contrary, when you allow yourself to feel difficult feelings, you experience them with less intensity and for shorter periods than when you try to resist them.
- Step three: Know that happiness is not just a feeling that comes (or doesn’t) but a skill you can develop.
Kogan brings deep personal experience to this work—having come to the United States as a refugee and worked tirelessly to succeed before hitting what she describes as a very scary experience of burnout,
She shares her life and learnings about happiness in the latest episode of Women Amplified. Tune in when you have 30 minutes in the car, on the train, or at the gym—or, even better, when you are not chasing any goals at all.
This Month’s Guest:
NATALY KOGAN is the creator of the Happier Method™ and an entrepreneur, speaker, and author. Her mission is to help millions of people improve their emotional health by making science-backed, practical skills part of their daily life. Her book Happier Now was published in May 2018. At thirteen, Kogan fled the former Soviet Union with her family and came to the US as a refugee. She reached the highest levels of corporate success at McKinsey and Microsoft, and at twenty-six she became a managing director in venture capital. She became burned out from juggling non-stop work and family and felt unfulfilled. Her journey to find meaningful, lasting happiness and discovery of scientific research on emotional well-being led her to found Happier. Since then, Happier’s online courses, Happier @ Work™ training programs, book, and the Happier app have helped more than a million people live their best life. @natalykogan
CELESTE HEADLEE is a communication and human nature expert, and an award-winning journalist. She is a professional speaker, and also the author of Heard Mentality and We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter. In her twenty-year career in public radio, she has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, and anchored programs including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as cohost of the national morning news show The Takeaway from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel. Headlee’s TEDx talk sharing ten ways to have a better conversation has over twenty million total views to date. @celesteheadlee