Happiness is the Truth

Laurie Santos, a Psychology Professor at Yale University, has recently initiated a course entitled ‘Psychology and the Good Life’. The aim is to teach students to lead happy lives. What a great idea! The students certainly thought so. It became the most popular course in Yale’s 300 year history.

In the mad world in which we live, we often lose sight of what might bring us happiness and fulfilment. This should form an important part of all levels of education, not just university.

The following key elements have been identified as underpinning happiness:

  • Make more time for social connection even if it’s with a stranger
  • Do nice things for others, even small things like making someone a coffee will improve your happiness
  • Count your blessings – think about what you are grateful for
  • Get enough sleep
  • Stay in the moment – when our mind wanders we are less happy
  • Meditate – people who meditate tend to be happier
  • Stop criticising yourself – it makes you feel worse and you will achieve less
  • Don’t keep chasing more money – after you reach £57,000, studies show earning more won’t make you any happier

Bickley Park boys experienced an early introduction to something that will play an important part in whether they are happy and fulfilled in their future lives…or not: jobs. Pupils from Reception – Year 8 attended a massive BPS organised careers fair to help make a connection between their present and future lives. Research suggests the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ rings particularly loudly in a boy’s head and so to establish an early link between learning at school and the world of work is a very useful exercise.

The fair started with a talk by tech entrepreneur, Ambrose Cooke, who co-founded ‘Fanbytes’ in 2014 and has since built a multi-million pound business, in spite of only being in his mid-20s. He exhorted the boys to focus on building their skills set to a high level whilst exercising ‘delayed gratification’ in not expecting success to be instant, but built on hard work and ‘being so good, they can’t ignore you!’ He also said an entrepreneur needs to ‘be brave’ and prepared to deal with many knocks and setbacks.

The fair itself was incredible. Boys were able to visit over 40 stands representing a wide range of career choices. Stands were run by parents and external providers. All participants had gone to a huge amount of trouble to present their jobs in a hands-on, practical manner that was accessible to 5-13 year olds. BPS boys and children from St George’s Primary School were able to engage with a wide range of experts including: market traders, doctors, architects, dentists, hoteliers, solicitors, graphic designers and engineers; technology experts, including virtual computing; professional sportsmen, including a rugby international and the Logistics Manager of the England football team; representatives from the emergency services, the police, Parachute Regiment and Marines; documentary makers and people working in television; 14 year old ex-pupil, Morgan, who presents a children’s news programme on Sky and is shortly to star in C.B.B.C. programme ‘Jamie Johnson’.

The buzz evident around the careers fair hopefully gave all concerned a positive view of different career parts and a sense of excitement about a world of future possibilities that is there for those with get up and go and the right mind set.