Skip to this page's content

Blog: 300 The Fenway

Back to blog homepage

Professor Naresh Agarwal knows the secret to happiness

According to GSLIS Assistant Professor Naresh Agarwal, we are all responsible for our own happiness. The good news is, it's already in you.

By following his "Seven Commandments: Toward a theoretical model of happiness," he assures us a robust, meaningful feeling of joy is within reach. That said, these principles aren't easy, and Naresh emphasizes that they are meant to be "practiced, not preached."

Follow along and let us know if these work for you:

1. Be happy, always, no matter what

Don't let events, good or bad, disturb your state of bliss. Choose to see the glass half full--it is, indeed, a choice that you have control over.

2. Have zero expectations from every other person and 100% from yourself

Personally, I find this one a bit pessimistic. I think it is the ultimate expression of trust when you surrender a bit of the responsibility for your happiness to someone else. But Naresh has a good point when he says, "when you don't expect, you'll never be unhappy, everything you get, is a bonus."

3. Never compare yourself with those around you

Just give 100% and don't worry about the result.

4. Everything happens for one's own good

This is the idea that everything happens for a reason, or we get what is best for us, says Naresh. This one falls in the, "practice don't preach," category. Obviously, if someone has experienced a loss, announcing that it's for their own good is not going to help them. But understanding this within yourself might help you put faith in the future even when something might not go your way--you don't get tenure, you don't get into a particular school, your offer to purchase the home of your dream falls through, etc.

5. Live in the present moment

Don't worry about the future; it will take care of itself. And the past cannot be changed. Naresh announced that right now, in this lecture, we were the most important people in his life. And, I have to say, there was something wonderful about being addressed by someone who considered you, a member of the audience, their top priority in that moment.

6. You can do the impossible

Naresh reminds us that with technology there's so much we can accomplish ourselves. You want to write a book? Write it, and self-publish it, he says. (I relate this example with the caveat that I worked as an editor at a prestigious book publisher, and I still believe in the importance of a good editor, marketer, and publisher to a successful book launch. Nothing hits the NY Times best-seller list by accident.)

7. From every person you see, imagine that you're seeing and meeting, God (or replace "God" here with the name of someone you love)

If you identify with each person you meet in this way, your interactions won't be anxious or contrived; they'll be easy and warm. I like this one. Someone once asked Argarwal if they could substitute their mom for God in this commandment--he thought that'd work just fine.

What do you think? Impossible? Realistic? Do you already practice these commandments? Let me know at: Kathleen Carr is the Editor of the Simmons magazine and, in general, a very happy person--she can't help it!

Posted by Kathleen Carr

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kathleen Carr published on March 22, 2011 12:03 PM.

Professors Bailey, Sealey talk about their careers in social work was the previous entry in this blog.

Simmons alumna takes remarkable journey to support women is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.