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Happiness, 6.14 (V) Week 6, Video 12 - Two Approaches To MBA

[MUSIC] Hola everyone and welcome to the very last module of the course. In the next couple of videos I will go over what you can do to keep your happiness levels up after this course ends. And also take some time to thank a few people who were very instrumental in putting this whole course together. In this video I am going to try and do the impossible. I am going to try and summarize everything that we have covered over the past 80 odd lectures in about ten minutes. Clearly, I can't do this by going over all the sins and all the habits and all the exercises in detail, so I'm gonna use a slightly different approach. I'm gonna use a framework that I call two approaches to MBA to summarize the course material. This framework provides some answers to questions with which we started the course. What are the determinants of a happy and fulfilling life? If you were to take a bird's eye picture of everything that we have talked about, say from the 15,000 foot level, which is the height at which the condor flies, by the way, you would walk away with the conclusion that once our basic necessities are met, we need three things in order to be happy. Now, we didn't spend a lot of time talking about the importance of basic necessities for happiness, of course. But that's because it is such an obvious requirement that it doesn't really merit an elaborate discussion. We clearly can't be happy unless we have access to food, clothing, shelter, water, etc. That just goes without saying. But once our basic necessities are met, three things become very critical of happiness. And the first thing we need is to feel that we are good at something. Dancing or painting, teaching, whatever. Let's call this the need for mastery. We have discussed this need in several contexts, including how one of the reasons we seek superiority is so that we can assess our progress towards mastery. We also discussed mastery in the context of flow. If you remember how flow enhances happiness by enabling our progress towards mastery. One other context in which we discuss mastery is taking personal responsibility for our happiness. A big reason why taking personal responsibility for happiness, or taking what I call internal control sometimes enhances happiness is because it fosters what might be called personal mastery. That is mastery over ones own mind or feelings. Okay. So mastery is one. The second thing that we need in order to be happy is to feel a sense of intimacy or connection with at least one other person. Let's call this belongingness. We discuss belongingness in many contexts as well, including when discussing the need to be loved, and also the need to love and give. It is this desire for belongingness that among those who didn't get sufficient or the right kind of love and nurtururance as infants makes some of us needy. It is also this same need that leads some of the others, some of us to become avoidant. It is the same need, again, that is at least partly responsible for why we feel good when we are kind and generous to others. And when we trust others and our trust is reciprocated. Okay. So mastery, belongingness, the third thing that we need to be happy is to have a sense that we are free. That we are the authors of our own judgments and decisions and that we are not under somebody else's control. Let's call this autonomy. We discuss autonomy in many contexts, as well, including how being superior to other people fulfills this need for autonomy. We also discussed it in the context of seeking external control. That is how the need for autonomy evokes this psychological reactance among those who feel controlled by us. Finally although I didn't explicitly bring it up when discussing the idea of internal control and how internal control enhances happiness, autonomy is actually one of the big reasons. Autonomy over our thoughts and feelings, over our internal environment, which enhances our happiness levels. When you have freedom over what you think, life becomes much easier. As En Vogue once sang, free your mind, and the rest will follow. So, from a 15,000 foot level, it seems we need three things to be happy once our basic necessities are met. Mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. That is, we need an M, a B, and an A. So, what we all need in order to be happy is to get an MBA. So, folks, the whole course has really been about convincing you to get an MBA from the Indian School of Business. Bye-bye and see you later. I'm just kidding, of course. It's just a coincidence that MBA happens to be an acronym for mastery, belongingness and autonomy and also for Masters in Business Administration. Okay so back to our summary, the conclusion that we need all three things, mastery, belongingness, and economy to be happy is actually not news. Those who are familiar with something called self determination theory will know that the importance of all these three needs has been documented in several studies. There is, however, something new in what we covered in this course. And this comes into view at a slightly higher level, at the 30,000 foot level, which is the height at which the common crane flies, by the way. Oops, sorry, wrong picture. Here's the right one. This is the height at which the fourth determinate of happiness after basic necessities have been met comes into view. And this determinant has to do with the approach or route that one takes to pursue mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. For the sake of simplicity I've labeled one route, the scarcity route. And I've labeled the other route the abundance route. It will soon become clear why I have chosen these terms, but the basic idea is that it's not just whether we are progressing toward the M and the B and the A that matters. It also matters a lot what approach we're taking towards them. As we have seen, there are two routes to Mastery, pursuing superiority and pursuing flow. Likewise, there are two roots to belongingness. The need to be loved, or the need to love and give. And in the case of autonomy, the two roots are the need for external control, control over other people or over outcomes, and the need for internal control. I use the word scarcity to label the first set of routes, because this term captures an important element common to all three. A person who seeks superiority over others is someone who believes that life is a zero-sum game. Or put differently this person thinks that things that she needs to be happy are scarce, which is why she ends up seeking superiority over others. If things weren't scarce, and were in face abundant, she wouldn't be as motivated to seek superiority over others. Likewise, a person who's desperate for the love of others believes that his cup of love is not full, or not full enough. So he feels incomplete and therefore needs somebody else to complete him. He also feels that he's not got much to offer, which is what makes him either needy or avoidant. And these types of self-perceptions, that I'm not worthy enough, I'm not complete enough, etc, have a strong scarcity related theme to them. Being overly controlling of others in outcomes, too, stems from a scarcity orientation. Specifically, being overly controlling stems from the perception that one doesn't have enough of another person's trust, or respect, or love. Or that one hasn't experienced enough desirable or good outcomes. And that is why one starts controlling other people or the outcomes. One feels that unless one imposes oneself on others, or on situations, the outcomes that one desires won't occur. And in that sense, this desire for control, too, stems from this perception of scarcity. Okay. So, in summary, the deadly sins of chasing superiority, being needy or avoidant, and being overly controlling all stem from a scarcity orientation. By contrast, if you look at the alternative routes to MBA, that I talked about, they stem from an abundance orientation. It is when you feel that your adequately taken care of that your more likely to pursue flow. That is pursue something purely for the enjoyment that your likely to derive from it, from that activity, rather than for the extrinsic reward like money or fame that it might bring. Likewise, it is when one feels abundant like a king or queen that one is more likely to be kind and generous. Finally, it is when one feels abundant in terms of ability to handle whatever life throws at you or throws at him. That he will feel comfortable letting go of external control and turning inwards to take internal control. So the 30,000 level. It appears that a major determinate of happiness is not just whether one is progressing towards these big three goals of M, B and A or also which route one is taking, how one is progressing towards them. Through the scarcity route, or through the abundance route. In many ways, as I mentioned at the end of the very first week, this course is mostly about weaning oneself away from the scarcity orientation and towards an abundance orientation. The practice of generosity, for example, is about feeling abundant. Likewise, the practice of dispassionate pursuit of passion is also about instilling this feeling that you're completely taken care of, and that your life is already abundant. So that in a nutshell is one way to summarize the course content. Now at first blush, when you look at the summary, it might seem that certain important elements in the course, like the first habit of the highly happy, which is prioritizing but not pursuing happiness, and the seventh habit, mindfulness, may seem to be missing from the two approaches to MBA framework. But they're actually implicit in the framework. As you may recall from the first happiness exercise, defining and incorporating happiness, I recommended defining happiness in terms of abundance. That's how the first habit fits into this two approaches to MBA framework. The relevance of the seventh habit, mindfulness, for this framework is a little more intricate actually, but I think it's worth discussing. If you think about the three things beyond basic necessities that we need in order to be happy, namely mastery, belongingness, and autonomy, has three legs of something that we can call the happiness stool. Then mindfulness can be thought of as the fourth leg of the stool. This fourth leg doesn't make the stool a four-legged stool, but rather it makes it a stool with a strong and sturdy supporting middle leg, in-between all those other three legs. This is the mindfulness leg from which supporting branches reinforce the other three legs. What I'm trying to say here is that the practice of mindfulness helps us progress towards mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. The way mindfulness helps progress towards mastery is really interesting. Several studies have shown that mindfulness fosters creativity and the generation of insights. Several people including, for example, Steve Jobs are said to have benefited from using mindfulness techniques to foster their creativity. That's one way in which mindfulness helps people progress towards mastery. Mindfulness also helps promote belongingness by making us more compassionate. As I mentioned earlier, the practice of mindfulness transcends the vagal tone and also activates the insular cortex. And both of these promote compassion. Finally, mindfulness promotes autonomy by enabling us to take greater internal control. As many studies have found, practicing mindfulness enables us to have greater control over how we react to situations, through this response flexibility that I talked about. And therefore, over how much control we have over the things that are happening in our life. There's actually a lot more that I could say about mindfulness and how it promotes progress toward mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. But in the interest of time, I'll stop right there. I do quickly wanna mention that the topics of trust, trusting others, and trusting life, and how they contribute to happiness, are also relevant in these two approaches to MBA framework. Specifically, both types of trust enhance our sense of belongingness to others and to the world in which we live. And also enhance our sense of internal autonomy and control. But again, in the interest of time, I won't elaborate on this topic. Okay, so with that, let me stop. I hope that you found the two approaches to MBA framework to be useful for remembering the main points that we covered in this course. And in the next video, I will turn, among other things, to a question that I'm often asked by the students who take my class. How do I continue with the happiness habits and exercises so that I can sustain my happiness, even after the course is over? That's a question to which I'll get to. See you soon. [MUSIC]



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[MUSIC] Hola everyone and welcome to the very last module of the course. In the next couple of videos I will go over what you can do to keep your happiness levels up after this course ends. And also take some time to thank a few people who were very instrumental in putting this whole course together. In this video I am going to try and do the impossible. I am going to try and summarize everything that we have covered over the past 80 odd lectures in about ten minutes. Clearly, I can't do this by going over all the sins and all the habits and all the exercises in detail, so I'm gonna use a slightly different approach. I'm gonna use a framework that I call two approaches to MBA to summarize the course material. This framework provides some answers to questions with which we started the course. What are the determinants of a happy and fulfilling life? If you were to take a bird's eye picture of everything that we have talked about, say from the 15,000 foot level, which is the height at which the condor flies, by the way, you would walk away with the conclusion that once our basic necessities are met, we need three things in order to be happy. Now, we didn't spend a lot of time talking about the importance of basic necessities for happiness, of course. But that's because it is such an obvious requirement that it doesn't really merit an elaborate discussion. We clearly can't be happy unless we have access to food, clothing, shelter, water, etc. That just goes without saying. But once our basic necessities are met, three things become very critical of happiness. And the first thing we need is to feel that we are good at something. Dancing or painting, teaching, whatever. Let's call this the need for mastery. We have discussed this need in several contexts, including how one of the reasons we seek superiority is so that we can assess our progress towards mastery. We also discussed mastery in the context of flow. If you remember how flow enhances happiness by enabling our progress towards mastery. One other context in which we discuss mastery is taking personal responsibility for our happiness. A big reason why taking personal responsibility for happiness, or taking what I call internal control sometimes enhances happiness is because it fosters what might be called personal mastery. That is mastery over ones own mind or feelings. Okay. So mastery is one. The second thing that we need in order to be happy is to feel a sense of intimacy or connection with at least one other person. Let's call this belongingness. We discuss belongingness in many contexts as well, including when discussing the need to be loved, and also the need to love and give. It is this desire for belongingness that among those who didn't get sufficient or the right kind of love and nurtururance as infants makes some of us needy. It is also this same need that leads some of the others, some of us to become avoidant. It is the same need, again, that is at least partly responsible for why we feel good when we are kind and generous to others. And when we trust others and our trust is reciprocated. Okay. So mastery, belongingness, the third thing that we need to be happy is to have a sense that we are free. That we are the authors of our own judgments and decisions and that we are not under somebody else's control. Let's call this autonomy. We discuss autonomy in many contexts, as well, including how being superior to other people fulfills this need for autonomy. We also discussed it in the context of seeking external control. That is how the need for autonomy evokes this psychological reactance among those who feel controlled by us. Finally although I didn't explicitly bring it up when discussing the idea of internal control and how internal control enhances happiness, autonomy is actually one of the big reasons. Autonomy over our thoughts and feelings, over our internal environment, which enhances our happiness levels. When you have freedom over what you think, life becomes much easier. As En Vogue once sang, free your mind, and the rest will follow. So, from a 15,000 foot level, it seems we need three things to be happy once our basic necessities are met. Mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. That is, we need an M, a B, and an A. So, what we all need in order to be happy is to get an MBA. So, folks, the whole course has really been about convincing you to get an MBA from the Indian School of Business. Bye-bye and see you later. I'm just kidding, of course. It's just a coincidence that MBA happens to be an acronym for mastery, belongingness and autonomy and also for Masters in Business Administration. Okay so back to our summary, the conclusion that we need all three things, mastery, belongingness, and economy to be happy is actually not news. Those who are familiar with something called self determination theory will know that the importance of all these three needs has been documented in several studies. There is, however, something new in what we covered in this course. And this comes into view at a slightly higher level, at the 30,000 foot level, which is the height at which the common crane flies, by the way. Oops, sorry, wrong picture. Here's the right one. This is the height at which the fourth determinate of happiness after basic necessities have been met comes into view. And this determinant has to do with the approach or route that one takes to pursue mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. For the sake of simplicity I've labeled one route, the scarcity route. And I've labeled the other route the abundance route. It will soon become clear why I have chosen these terms, but the basic idea is that it's not just whether we are progressing toward the M and the B and the A that matters. It also matters a lot what approach we're taking towards them. As we have seen, there are two routes to Mastery, pursuing superiority and pursuing flow. Likewise, there are two roots to belongingness. The need to be loved, or the need to love and give. And in the case of autonomy, the two roots are the need for external control, control over other people or over outcomes, and the need for internal control. I use the word scarcity to label the first set of routes, because this term captures an important element common to all three. A person who seeks superiority over others is someone who believes that life is a zero-sum game. Or put differently this person thinks that things that she needs to be happy are scarce, which is why she ends up seeking superiority over others. If things weren't scarce, and were in face abundant, she wouldn't be as motivated to seek superiority over others. Likewise, a person who's desperate for the love of others believes that his cup of love is not full, or not full enough. So he feels incomplete and therefore needs somebody else to complete him. He also feels that he's not got much to offer, which is what makes him either needy or avoidant. And these types of self-perceptions, that I'm not worthy enough, I'm not complete enough, etc, have a strong scarcity related theme to them. Being overly controlling of others in outcomes, too, stems from a scarcity orientation. Specifically, being overly controlling stems from the perception that one doesn't have enough of another person's trust, or respect, or love. Or that one hasn't experienced enough desirable or good outcomes. And that is why one starts controlling other people or the outcomes. One feels that unless one imposes oneself on others, or on situations, the outcomes that one desires won't occur. And in that sense, this desire for control, too, stems from this perception of scarcity. Okay. So, in summary, the deadly sins of chasing superiority, being needy or avoidant, and being overly controlling all stem from a scarcity orientation. By contrast, if you look at the alternative routes to MBA, that I talked about, they stem from an abundance orientation. It is when you feel that your adequately taken care of that your more likely to pursue flow. That is pursue something purely for the enjoyment that your likely to derive from it, from that activity, rather than for the extrinsic reward like money or fame that it might bring. Likewise, it is when one feels abundant like a king or queen that one is more likely to be kind and generous. Finally, it is when one feels abundant in terms of ability to handle whatever life throws at you or throws at him. That he will feel comfortable letting go of external control and turning inwards to take internal control. So the 30,000 level. It appears that a major determinate of happiness is not just whether one is progressing towards these big three goals of M, B and A or also which route one is taking, how one is progressing towards them. Through the scarcity route, or through the abundance route. In many ways, as I mentioned at the end of the very first week, this course is mostly about weaning oneself away from the scarcity orientation and towards an abundance orientation. The practice of generosity, for example, is about feeling abundant. Likewise, the practice of dispassionate pursuit of passion is also about instilling this feeling that you're completely taken care of, and that your life is already abundant. So that in a nutshell is one way to summarize the course content. Now at first blush, when you look at the summary, it might seem that certain important elements in the course, like the first habit of the highly happy, which is prioritizing but not pursuing happiness, and the seventh habit, mindfulness, may seem to be missing from the two approaches to MBA framework. But they're actually implicit in the framework. As you may recall from the first happiness exercise, defining and incorporating happiness, I recommended defining happiness in terms of abundance. That's how the first habit fits into this two approaches to MBA framework. The relevance of the seventh habit, mindfulness, for this framework is a little more intricate actually, but I think it's worth discussing. If you think about the three things beyond basic necessities that we need in order to be happy, namely mastery, belongingness, and autonomy, has three legs of something that we can call the happiness stool. Then mindfulness can be thought of as the fourth leg of the stool. This fourth leg doesn't make the stool a four-legged stool, but rather it makes it a stool with a strong and sturdy supporting middle leg, in-between all those other three legs. This is the mindfulness leg from which supporting branches reinforce the other three legs. What I'm trying to say here is that the practice of mindfulness helps us progress towards mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. The way mindfulness helps progress towards mastery is really interesting. Several studies have shown that mindfulness fosters creativity and the generation of insights. Several people including, for example, Steve Jobs are said to have benefited from using mindfulness techniques to foster their creativity. That's one way in which mindfulness helps people progress towards mastery. Mindfulness also helps promote belongingness by making us more compassionate. As I mentioned earlier, the practice of mindfulness transcends the vagal tone and also activates the insular cortex. And both of these promote compassion. Finally, mindfulness promotes autonomy by enabling us to take greater internal control. As many studies have found, practicing mindfulness enables us to have greater control over how we react to situations, through this response flexibility that I talked about. And therefore, over how much control we have over the things that are happening in our life. There's actually a lot more that I could say about mindfulness and how it promotes progress toward mastery, belongingness, and autonomy. But in the interest of time, I'll stop right there. I do quickly wanna mention that the topics of trust, trusting others, and trusting life, and how they contribute to happiness, are also relevant in these two approaches to MBA framework. Specifically, both types of trust enhance our sense of belongingness to others and to the world in which we live. And also enhance our sense of internal autonomy and control. But again, in the interest of time, I won't elaborate on this topic. Okay, so with that, let me stop. I hope that you found the two approaches to MBA framework to be useful for remembering the main points that we covered in this course. And in the next video, I will turn, among other things, to a question that I'm often asked by the students who take my class. How do I continue with the happiness habits and exercises so that I can sustain my happiness, even after the course is over? That's a question to which I'll get to. See you soon. [MUSIC]


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