Leading Blog






08.27.20

Leading Thoughts for August 27, 2020

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

On how to be happy even in a crazy, unpredictable world:

“Some one in five U.S. adults is taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem; nearly one in four middle-aged women in the United States is taking antidepressants at any given time… You can’t escape it: when scientists test the water supply of Western countries, they always find it is laced with antidepressants, because so many of us are taking them and excreting them that they simply can’t be filtered out of the water we drink every day.

Twenty-two different studies have, in the years since, found that the more materialistic and extrinsically motivated you become, the more depressed you will be. Twelve different studies found that the more materialistic and extrinsically motivated you become, the more anxious you will be.

People who achieved their extrinsic goals didn’t experience any increase in day-to-day happiness—none. They spent a huge amount of energy chasing these goals, but when they fulfilled them, they felt the same as they had at the start…. But people who achieved their intrinsic goals did become significantly happier, and less depressed and anxious. You could track the movement. As they worked at it and felt they became (for example) a better friend—not because they wanted anything out of it but because they felt it was a good thing to do—they became more satisfied with life.”

Source: Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

II.

On how thinking about death can lead to a good life:

“Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death—say walking by a cemetery—could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Kenneth Vail of the University of Missouri says “the awareness of death can motivate increased expressions of tolerance, egalitarianism, compassion, empathy, and pacifism. One major implication of this body of work, Vail says, is that we should “turn attention and research efforts toward better understanding of how the motivations triggered by death awareness can actually improve people’s lives, rather than how it can cause malady and social strife. The dance with death can be a delicate but potentially elegant stride toward living the good life.”

Source: How Thinking About Death Can Lead to A Good Life

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Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index.

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