Books: The Happiness Advantage, Part III

Nope, I'm still not done with this book (but I'm close). I'm not going to go into any real discussion or argument about how having too many choices is like having too much on your plate—it slows down your work and wears down your willpower. Distractions, too, are like choices: I can choose to work or I can choose to check Facebook. Which is easier? Which am I more likely to do? (Achor talks about how making it harder to distract yourself goes a long way . . . Once Facebook is no longer the path of least resistance, you're not as likely to keep looking for new status updates.) No arguments from me on any of this. I live it every day.

What I don't live every day are the social interactions Achor promotes as part of productivity and overall well-being. I work from home, in a solitary office, in a solitary business (writing). I am aware I need more friends. I am aware I need to get out more. Making that happen—making those connections—is the difficult bit.

I don't disagree with the science that suggests people with strong social support networks are happier, more productive, and even live longer. I don't doubt it. And I haven't finished the chapter yet, so maybe Achor will eventually give me tips on, well, how to make friends? In a world filled with online and superficial interactions, deep bonds can be hard to form.

Achor points out that interactions needn't be deep to be beneficial. And I know this is true, too, because I know the high I get when I have even a short, pleasant conversation with someone, and how good I feel when I help a tourist find his or her way. (I'll admit I'm selfish; I do nice things because it makes me feel good to do them.) Still, in times of crisis, you cannot expect your online friends to do much for you. Nor are the tourists or acquaintances going to be there to help.

I do have friends and family. But most of them are the kind that can barely be counted on to check their e-mails, much less come to the rescue when you need someone. In fact, I tend to be the rescuer in a lot of situations. Something goes wrong and suddenly I am remembered! My own efficiency and self-sufficiency has begun to work against me.

In order to achieve my goals, certainly, I must learn to forge these connections. I want to see my novella turned into a short, independent movie. How to do that? Well, first I need people. A producer willing to back it, a crew, actors . . . So I do understand the need for a network. I've tried online, but can't say I've seen much benefit. Yet. Either I'm doing it wrong, or sites like Stage 32 really do just consist of a lot of people yelling into a void with no one really listening.

I'll keep trying. And I'll keep reading and see if Achor has any more suggestions.

No comments: