I was listening last night to an interview with Hugh Mackay (a well known Australia and respected psychologist, author and social researcher) about his new book A Good Life. This interview is well worth a listen as it challenges some of the fabric of Australian society and what it means to have a Good Life. Hugh suggests that perhaps happiness is not the end goal but the pursuit of being a whole human being is to treat others how we want to be treated (The Golden Rule) and to display traits like listening attentively, being able to apologise and and have a more charitable outlook towards others.
Using insight and empathy I believe will become more important as we become more educated because of the wealth of information access we have and this insight will assist you in making better marketing decisions. The Good Life has some valuable insights about the world we live in and that the seduction of materialism and an era of “brand me”. In the last 30 years we have been through tremendous change. Political, social, technological change. We haven’t had wars or natural disasters, but our consumption of anti-depressants tripled in the 1990s. Hugh suggests that Australia is in an anxious society because of these changes caused us to think about our lives in a new way. I agree. We have certainly have more open conversations in a open way now but any society when there is this sort of upheaval the human response is anxiety. The messages that “you can be happy all you have to do is want it bad enough,” is not able to be fulfilled. We have fallen for the ideas:
- that prosperity is our birth right
- we ought to be happy
- we ought to have the best
- pursuit of excellence
- our children must have their self esteem pumped up
Instead of saying ” we want our kids to be happy” Hugh suggests perhaps we should be saying; We want our children to evolve into whole human beings able to embrace the spectrum of emotions and not have unrealistic expectations about life so we don’t set them up for something that is not real and authentic. We want them to be resilient.
Consequences of building up our kids “gold star for breathing”, creates a situation where kids can have an unrealistic expections of the real world and land them in therapy. We are all pushing our kids to be things that genetically they might not have the potential to attain. Training our kids to be loving rather than to expect happiness, to have self respect rather than having self esteem might make a Good Life for them. Not always be marketing “brand me” all the time but understand ourselves as social creatures. To be taken seriously by your customers then practice:
- listen attentively
- Apologising sincerely
- Forgive generously