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Happiness, 1.05 (V) Week 1 video 1 - Genesis of the course

[MUSIC] Hello. Hola. nǐ hǎo, Namaste and Aloha. It's really great to see you. Thank you so much for your interest and a life of happiness and fulfillment, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you from the sunny campus of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Let me begin by introducing myself a little more formally than I did in the course intro video. As you can immediately tell by taking one look at me I'm Chinese by origin. I'm just kidding, I'm Indian by origin but I do consider myself to be a bit of a world citizen. I live in the US, I'm a citizen of the US, but I'm currently visiting India as a professor of marketing at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, which is this really beautiful city of old forts, palaces, and monuments. I'm also a professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and I have been there for over 15 years. Now that I've given you some background information about myself, let me turn to a question that you may be wondering about. How come a business school professor is teaching a course on happiness, of all things? Isn't business the opposite of happiness? There is a story behind this. For the first seven years after I joined UT Austin, I was teaching a very standard business school course, Consumer Behavior. I really loved teaching that course and I was very happy doing it. Then in 2007, something eventful happened. I took a bunch of MBAs from McCombs to India as part of a course called Global Connections. The objective of this course was to expose the American MBA students to a totally different country and culture. By the time I brought the MBA students to India it had been about 15 years since I had graduated from my own MBA school, and about 20 years since I had graduated from my engineering school. So I got to meet some of my old batchmates from both schools. That's when I noticed two very interesting things. The first thing that I noticed was that there was very little correlation between academic success and career success. The guys who had done really well for themselves in school weren't necessarily the ones who were doing well in their careers. The second thing that I noticed was actually even more interesting and impactful on me. I noticed that there was an even lower correlation between career success and what you might call life success. The people who had done really well for themselves in their careers weren't necessarily the ones who were happy. I remember hanging out with this one guy who had done particularly well for himself. He was CEO of a big multinational company. I noticed that he had put on a lot of weight. He had dark circles under his eyes and bags under his eyes. He was very successful, but it was also very clear that he wasn't happy. And then there was this other guy, who had practically dropped out of the rat race. And yet he seemed far happier to me. This got me wondering about what the purpose of education is. To me, it seemed that the ultimate purpose of education is to give students the tools and the skill sets required to lead a happy and fulfilling life, and of course to also help other people do the same. If at the end of the day we aren't giving our students the knowledge to lead happy, fulfilling, meaningful lives, what's the purpose of that education? I felt that we weren't doing such a good job of achieving this goal. So that evening in Mumbai, I turned around to my MBA students from UT Austin. I remember this as if it happened just yesterday. I asked them whether they'd be interested in taking a class that focused on one of life's most important questions, what are the determinants of a happy and fulfilling life? The students said that they'd be absolutely delighted to take such a class. In fact, they all seemed to lament that they did not have the opportunity to take such a class. So after the trip to India got over, when I went back to Austin, I put together a syllabus. The main objective of the course was to be very simple, to give the students the opportunity to discuss this life's important question. Now, I have to confess, that I had a vested interest in teaching this kind of a class. For as long as I can remember, I've always been interested in happiness. Even as a teenager, I would read all kinds of books on philosophy and psychology, on what it takes to be happy. So I was personally very interested in teaching a class on happiness, but what I wasn't sure of is whether the business school would approve such a course. Like I mentioned sometime back, people don't normally associate MBA's and business schools with the pursuit of happiness. However, what's really great about a business school too, is that we believe in a free market economy. So, I went up to my dean and I asked him if I could be allowed to offer a course on happiness. And I was told that if a sufficient number of students enrolled in the class, then I could teach it. If not, the class would be taken off the roster of offerings. This was five years back in 2009. And from the beginning, not only have I had a sufficient number of students interested in the class. I have actually had students on the waiting list every time that I've taught it. In the very first year I taught the course, I was offered the university-wide professor of the month award. The next year, I was nominated for the professor of the year award. And, by the way, I'm saying these things not to pat myself on the back, but to emphasize that there seems to be a great deal of hunger for the topic of happiness. In the five years that I've taught this class, I have had over 1,000 students from all around the world. And, in a few short weeks, that number is going to be several orders of magnitude higher, thanks to Coursera. In the course of teaching this happiness class, I have learned more about happiness than I could have ever hoped. As they say, the best way to learn about a topic is to teach it. It is the things that I have learned from teaching the class that I would now like to share with you in this course. I'm also writing a book right now tentatively titled " If You're So Smart Why Aren't You Happy?" Which will be coming out sometime in 2016. And in that book too I cover a lot of the material that I'm going to share with you in this class. By taking this course, I'm confident that you will devil up something that I call happy smarts. Happy smarts is the ability to consistently make happiness enhancing decisions. Happy smarts is, by the way, very different from academic smarts, which has to do with IQ and test-taking ability and critical thinking ability, those kind of things. It's also different from career smarts, which has to do with the skills required to advance in your career. If you want to learn more about happy smarts, and how it's different from academic or career smarts I'd like to invite you to visit my website. It's www.happysmarts.com. You'll also discover a wealth of resources on that website including many of my articles that have appeared on my popular Psychology Today blog, Sapient Nature. With that, I'd like to extend, once again, a very warm welcome to a life of happiness and fulfillment. Thank you so much for taking the course, and I look forward to getting to know you better in the coming six weeks. Here's to happy smarts. [MUSIC]



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[MUSIC] Hello. Hola. nǐ hǎo, Namaste and Aloha. It's really great to see you. Thank you so much for your interest and a life of happiness and fulfillment, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you from the sunny campus of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Let me begin by introducing myself a little more formally than I did in the course intro video. As you can immediately tell by taking one look at me I'm Chinese by origin. I'm just kidding, I'm Indian by origin but I do consider myself to be a bit of a world citizen. I live in the US, I'm a citizen of the US, but I'm currently visiting India as a professor of marketing at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, which is this really beautiful city of old forts, palaces, and monuments. I'm also a professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and I have been there for over 15 years. Now that I've given you some background information about myself, let me turn to a question that you may be wondering about. How come a business school professor is teaching a course on happiness, of all things? Isn't business the opposite of happiness? There is a story behind this. For the first seven years after I joined UT Austin, I was teaching a very standard business school course, Consumer Behavior. I really loved teaching that course and I was very happy doing it. Then in 2007, something eventful happened. I took a bunch of MBAs from McCombs to India as part of a course called Global Connections. The objective of this course was to expose the American MBA students to a totally different country and culture. By the time I brought the MBA students to India it had been about 15 years since I had graduated from my own MBA school, and about 20 years since I had graduated from my engineering school. So I got to meet some of my old batchmates from both schools. That's when I noticed two very interesting things. The first thing that I noticed was that there was very little correlation between academic success and career success. The guys who had done really well for themselves in school weren't necessarily the ones who were doing well in their careers. The second thing that I noticed was actually even more interesting and impactful on me. I noticed that there was an even lower correlation between career success and what you might call life success. The people who had done really well for themselves in their careers weren't necessarily the ones who were happy. I remember hanging out with this one guy who had done particularly well for himself. He was CEO of a big multinational company. I noticed that he had put on a lot of weight. He had dark circles under his eyes and bags under his eyes. He was very successful, but it was also very clear that he wasn't happy. And then there was this other guy, who had practically dropped out of the rat race. And yet he seemed far happier to me. This got me wondering about what the purpose of education is. To me, it seemed that the ultimate purpose of education is to give students the tools and the skill sets required to lead a happy and fulfilling life, and of course to also help other people do the same. If at the end of the day we aren't giving our students the knowledge to lead happy, fulfilling, meaningful lives, what's the purpose of that education? I felt that we weren't doing such a good job of achieving this goal. So that evening in Mumbai, I turned around to my MBA students from UT Austin. I remember this as if it happened just yesterday. I asked them whether they'd be interested in taking a class that focused on one of life's most important questions, what are the determinants of a happy and fulfilling life? The students said that they'd be absolutely delighted to take such a class. In fact, they all seemed to lament that they did not have the opportunity to take such a class. So after the trip to India got over, when I went back to Austin, I put together a syllabus. The main objective of the course was to be very simple, to give the students the opportunity to discuss this life's important question. Now, I have to confess, that I had a vested interest in teaching this kind of a class. For as long as I can remember, I've always been interested in happiness. Even as a teenager, I would read all kinds of books on philosophy and psychology, on what it takes to be happy. So I was personally very interested in teaching a class on happiness, but what I wasn't sure of is whether the business school would approve such a course. Like I mentioned sometime back, people don't normally associate MBA's and business schools with the pursuit of happiness. However, what's really great about a business school too, is that we believe in a free market economy. So, I went up to my dean and I asked him if I could be allowed to offer a course on happiness. And I was told that if a sufficient number of students enrolled in the class, then I could teach it. If not, the class would be taken off the roster of offerings. This was five years back in 2009. And from the beginning, not only have I had a sufficient number of students interested in the class. I have actually had students on the waiting list every time that I've taught it. In the very first year I taught the course, I was offered the university-wide professor of the month award. The next year, I was nominated for the professor of the year award. And, by the way, I'm saying these things not to pat myself on the back, but to emphasize that there seems to be a great deal of hunger for the topic of happiness. In the five years that I've taught this class, I have had over 1,000 students from all around the world. And, in a few short weeks, that number is going to be several orders of magnitude higher, thanks to Coursera. In the course of teaching this happiness class, I have learned more about happiness than I could have ever hoped. As they say, the best way to learn about a topic is to teach it. It is the things that I have learned from teaching the class that I would now like to share with you in this course. I'm also writing a book right now tentatively titled " If You're So Smart Why Aren't You Happy?" Which will be coming out sometime in 2016. And in that book too I cover a lot of the material that I'm going to share with you in this class. By taking this course, I'm confident that you will devil up something that I call happy smarts. Happy smarts is the ability to consistently make happiness enhancing decisions. Happy smarts is, by the way, very different from academic smarts, which has to do with IQ and test-taking ability and critical thinking ability, those kind of things. It's also different from career smarts, which has to do with the skills required to advance in your career. If you want to learn more about happy smarts, and how it's different from academic or career smarts I'd like to invite you to visit my website. It's www.happysmarts.com. You'll also discover a wealth of resources on that website including many of my articles that have appeared on my popular Psychology Today blog, Sapient Nature. With that, I'd like to extend, once again, a very warm welcome to a life of happiness and fulfillment. Thank you so much for taking the course, and I look forward to getting to know you better in the coming six weeks. Here's to happy smarts. [MUSIC]


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