Changsha is a city in south-central China known for its entertainment sector, international universities and beautiful Yuelu mountain. The sun had been down for a couple of hours already, but in Canada the sun still had a couple of hours before it came up.
I think that’s why the guys on the other side of the Skype call were so bleary eyed as we discussed the nature of social skills training, social circle mastery, and whether there was enough coffee in the world.
I’m not sure if this was the birth place of Eunoia. It might have been in the beautifully lit living room of the third story apartment in a low-rise in Ottawa, going over some material with one of our small three-person classes, my partners and I fielding questions and getting pumped up by every small win our students worked so hard for.My goal for Eunoia Social Shift is to gather experts in every related field and build up a grading structure and resources for anyone who wants to improve themselves in this area.
For me, I think it started years before when I was sitting on a bench next to the Surrey Canal in London, listening to the water lapping at the docks and watching the ducks puddling around on a warm summer day. A friend and mentor had just asked me some pointed questions, trying to help me understand my motivations. What did I want to accomplish with my life? I remember the thought more than the words, but we sat there quietly discussing the fledgling idea as it grew for the next hour or so. It has been growing and flourishing ever since.
Health, Wealth and Relationships
The Buddhists believe that happiness comes from a perception of control over your health, wealth and relationships. Someone who is suffering from diabetes due to obesity can be happy if they feel as if actions that they can take will have a positive impact on their health. Even better, someone who has gotten into shape once or twice is almost certain that they can do it again. This gives them a perception of control over their health.
Society does a good job of making health information available. While schools do a respectable job of giving us specific skills, they don’t do a great job of advising us of our options in the workplace. I hope someone addresses that flaw.
Health is well represented, Wealth needs some help, but there are almost no widely accepted, trust-worthy resources to improve Relationships. How do I make friends? How can I be a good friend? How do I tell a joke, or a story, or share my deepest secrets without sounding whiny or bothering someone else? How do I make people enjoy our conversations? How do I improve my relationship with my family and let them know that I’m there for them if they need help, or just someone to talk to? How do I make sure that I’ve always got a safety net for myself? How do I fall in love, and deal with all of the problems that come up during that experience? How do I end it, and when?
The longest longitudinal study ever conducted, the Grant Study, found that it wasn’t IQ, body type, income or education level that correlated to happiness. It was the close friends in their life, positive contact with their families, and their social activeness.
What a tragic waste that giving people the tools they need to achieve happiness, a perception of control over their relationships, wasn’t a field with tremendous focus and human effort. Granted, we study depression and offer public speaking classes. But what trust-worthy tools do we have to address the rest of it?
Where do we go from here?
My goal for Eunoia Social Shift is to gather experts in every related field and build up a grading structure and resources for anyone who wants to improve themselves in this area. I’d like to make these resources as high quality and as widely available as I can possibly make them. By the time I’m sitting in an over-stuffed rocking chair chumming it up with other old folks, I’d like to have the most effective and helpful aspects of this training structure available in schools, as part of the standard curriculum.
I hope that, along the way, the community that we gather around this cause takes up this same goal and reaches those who we can’t. I hope that we motivate people, get involved in a greater movement, and that there will be a generation of kids who grow up confident that they’re fantastic friends and socialites with all of the benefits that go along with that confidence.