Achievement and relentless growth have been in my blood for as long as I can remember. Whether it’s my nature or the fruit of nurture - I can’t explain it. It’s just there - for me and every high-achiever who I’ve ever mentored, helped, or consulted.
High achievement for this breed of human has very little to do with luck - it’s an inevitability. Whether it can be sustained or maximized is a very different proposition.
When high-achievers ask for help, most of them want to get more of this: Success, Peak Performance, Optimization, and Efficiency; yeah, I know. I want the same things. The question is, are you thinking of a sprint version of that or a marathon version?
This is where the disconnect happens. We want it for right now, for this week, and this year. The problem is, what optimizes, and what brings peak performance. The things that bring success and create efficiencies for the now, are very different from what gets the job done for a lifetime of high impact, flourishing, and meaning.
This is why I optimize for happiness, not the feeling - the skill. Happiness is the long-term, life-long, ultimate peak performance state of being.
As a classic high-achiever, I aspire to learn from the best and Tal Ben-Shahar is literally at the very top of the game of Happiness as a Skill.
With his Ph.D. from Harvard, Tal taught the most popular course at Harvard, specifically on Happiness, and has subsequently written several best-selling books, including 2 children’s books.
He is also the founder of the world's first Happiness Studies graduate-level program. If you are a fellow high-achiever and wrestling with the classic set of tensions we all do - you will want to listen to my conversation with Tal. We cover quite a wide range of topics, all profoundly relevant in answering the question: Why is the pursuit of happiness so ingrained in us? And why don’t we develop it as a skill instead of thinking of it as something that needs to be pursued?
Enjoy my wide-ranging conversation with Tal Ben-Shahar.
P.S. Closer to the end of the conversation, we discuss our work with the Ascend Academy in Maputo, Mozambique - where we teach happiness as a skill to some of the poorest kids on the planet, helping them raise out of poverty. I would love it if you took a look and chose to support our work there. Click here to learn more.