Happiness from…goodness

Happiness from…goodness

I recently received this article/review from Ken Pope and couldn't not but share it with you. Goodness is such a powerful force and it's something we can all practice daily. If we did, we would have, I believe, a different world…

Subject: 10-Minute "Goodness" Intervention Changes Famous Psychologist & Alters the Direction of His Life (Ken Pope)

Earlier this year I recommended *Search Inside Yourself* (Harper Collins, 2012), which presents the innovative course that Google provides free to its employees.

It is one of my favorites among the books I've read this year.

I thought some of you might find interesting the following excerpt presenting psychologist Paul Ekman's account of how a 10-minute intervention profoundly changed the direction of his life and helped him deal with his


Paul has talked often of how the Dalai Lama, while talking with Paul's teenage daughter Eve, casually took and held his hand, reminding him of two kindergardeners holding hands, simply because it was a nice thing to be


Here's the excerpt from *Search Inside Yourself*:

[begin excerpt]

One touching example of how goodness can change a man's life was a personal story told to me by famous psychologist Paul Ekman.

Paul has had a very successful career as a psychologist.

In fact, he was named by the American Psychological Association  as one of the 100 Most minent Psychologists of the 20th Century.

Paul, however, suffered a very difficult childhood, so he grew up to be a very angry adult.

He told me that every single week of his life, he experienced at least two episodes of explosive anger that led him to do or say something he would later regret.

In 2000, Paul was invited to speak at a Mind and Life Conference held in India in the presence of the Dalai Lama.

Paul was reluctant to go because he did not take Buddhist monks seriously; he thought of them as a bunch of funny bald men in robes.

His daughter, Eve, had to convince him to attend.

On the third day of the five-day conference, something very important happened to Paul.

During a break between meetings, Eve and Paul went to sit with the Dalai Lama and spoke with him for about ten minutes.

For the duration of the conversation, the Dalai Lama held Paul's hand.

Those ten minutes had a profound impact on Paul.

He said he experienced an abundance of "goodness" within his entire being.

He was transformed

By the end of those ten minutes, he found his anger completely fading away.

For many weeks after that, he did not experience any trace of anger at all, which for him, was a huge life change.

Perhaps more importantly, it changed the direction of his life.

Paul was planning to retire, but after those ten minutes of holding the Dalai Lam's hand, he rediscovered his deep aspiration to bring benefit to the world, which was the reason he entered psychology in the first place.

After some slight prodding from the Dalai Lama, Paul canceled his retirement plans and has since been giving his experience and wisdom to scientific research that may help people improve emotional balance, compassion, and


Goodness is so powerful that even experiencing it for just ten minutes can change a man's life.

It does not even matter that the experience may be entirely subjective.

In Paul's case, for example, the Dalai Lama claimed he did not do anything special, suggesting that the goodness Paul experienced came more from what Paul himself brought to the situation, with the Dalai Lama being merely a facilitator.

Either way, the lesson is unmistakable: if you want to influence people, there is no greater power than goodness.

(Confession: I am comfortable using the word "goodness" only because Paul uses the word himself.  If the word "goodness" is good enough for Paul Ekman, it is good enough for me..)

[end excerpt]

Ken Pope