Tal Ben-Shahar obtained his PhD in Organizational Behavior and BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Harvard. He taught two of the largest classes in Harvard University’s history, Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership. Today, he consults and lectures to executives in multi-national corporations, the general public, and at-risk populations. His topics are leadership, happiness, education, innovation, ethics, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness. His books have appeared on best-sellers lists around the world. Tal Ben-Shahar is a serial entrepreneur, and the co-founder and chief learning officer of Happiness Studies Academy, Potentialife, Maytiv, and Happier.TV.
What can one do to sustain optimism? Tal Ben-Shahar divides the answer into 3 main elements. First of all, it is ok the be human. It is important not to reject negative emotions, but rather accept them, let them flow through you, and move on. Social media especially creates an illusion of happiness everywhere and leads to repression of fear, concern, envy and so on. The paradox in this is that repression intensifies these negative emotions. Secondly, stress isn’t the problem. We are good with dealing with stress, and stress is even good for us to a certain extent. The problem is with the lack of recovery. Tal Ben-Shahar iterates the calming effect of consistent breathing exercises, getting a good night’s sleep and vacation. Finally, it’s important not to avoid pain and hardship, but to embrace it and find what is learn from it. The optimists code is not to think that everything happens for the best, but rather to find the best in whatever may happen.