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Arthur C. Brooks on Finding Success, Happiness, and Purpose

I am joined by Arthur C. Brooks, an American social scientist who holds the positions of the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. We discuss his #1 NY Times bestselling book titled “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life.”

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To be metacognitive is to actually be conscious of what’s actually going on with you emotionally and how you want to react to the process of experiencing your emotions in your prefrontal cortex. And then manage them as seriously as you would your business or your checkbook.

Arthur C. Brooks

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In This Episode, Arthur C. Brooks. And I Discuss His Book: “From Strength to Strength”

Despite the myriad of opportunities available in modern society, many individuals still struggle with a sense of purposelessness, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction. Reports have even surfaced that American unhappiness reached a record low earlier this year. A quick glance at the people in our lives and social media feeds may reveal that a pervasive feeling of discontent lingers behind the smiling faces.

Arthur C. Brooks, the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, delves into why he felt compelled to explore and study the human experience and the factors that genuinely contribute to happiness.

If money, fame, power, and pleasure do not guarantee permanent happiness, then what does? How can we navigate life’s path toward sustained fulfillment and happiness?

Listen and learn as Arthur C. Brooks and I cover the following subjects:

  • In high-skilled professions, a decline in skills typically begins during one’s late thirties or forties, which is earlier than most people realize.
  • The “striver’s curse” refers to the phenomenon where individuals who strive for excellence in their work often become increasingly dissatisfied with their successes, find their inevitable decline terrifying, and experience difficulties in their relationships.
  • People usually assume that professional decline starts later in life than it actually does, and it happens to most individuals in high-skilled professions during their late thirties or forties.
  • When people push themselves to be exceptional in their work, they can become overwhelmed by the fear of their inevitable decline and start to feel unsatisfied with their accomplishments. Additionally, their relationships may suffer due to their singular focus on their career.
  • Strivers often become addicted to success, constantly striving to achieve more significant goals in search of fleeting satisfaction. However, this approach can lead to addictive behaviors that ultimately result in unhappiness and negatively impact relationships.
  • The fear of decline is closely related to the fear of death, but confronting this fear head-on can help overcome it. In addition, building a supportive network of healthy relationships can also alleviate the fear of decline.
  • And much, much more!
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
272 | Finding Success, happiness, and Purpose Later in Life | Arthur C. Brooks

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Quote by Arthur C. Brooks on the Passion Struck podcast on why happiness predicts success

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More From My Conversation with Arthur C. Brooks

During our conversation, I asked Arthur why he lives by the following seven words, Use things. Love people. Worship the divine.

From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks for the Passion  Struck recommended books

Arthur C. Brooks explains, “Here’s the perfect formula for being unhappy. Love things, use people, and worship yourself. That’s the formula for unhappiness, as everything you’re doing is wrong. You don’t love things because they won’t love you back. You’ll have an asymmetric relationship. Don’t use people because then they won’t love you back, and they can, but they won’t. And don’t worship yourself because it’s the worst cult in the world is where you are the Messiah. Don’t do it.

I mean, it’s like I don’t even have to explain to anybody that worshiping yourself is boring, it’s misguided. It’s a mistake. So that actually leads to the best practices which is just to invert the verbs and nouns. Use things with joy, man. I mean, I’m a capitalist of doing it, enjoy it, but don’t love it. Because if you try to love it, you’ll get on the hedonic treadmill, and your life will be unbelievably unsatisfactory.

Reserve all of your love for humans, for people. Love what deserves to be loved, which is flesh and blood and a beating heart. And then reserve all of your worship for the divine. R(Now I know what it means for me, I’m a Roman Catholic, like I said before, every day for other people, it means other things, but you need a sense of the Divine, and all of your worship should be designed and engaged in and focused on that.

This is it, man. Remember three things and three things only. And you’ll never go wrong. Use things. Love people. Worship the divine.”

Thanks, Arthur C. Brooks

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Resources From The Show With Arthur C. Brooks

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My solo episode on why you need to stop chasing perfection:

Want to catch my best interviews from 2022? Check out episode 233 on intentional greatness and episode 234 on intentional behavior change.

Watch my interview with Dr. Mark Hyman on how to defy aging:

Catch my interview with Dr. Amy Shah on how you can control your food cravings:

My solo episode on why micro choices matter:

About Today’s Guest, Arthur C. Brooks

Passion Struck podcast album cover episode 272 with Arthur C. Brooks

Arthur C. Brooks holds the William Henry Bloomberg Professorship of the Practice of Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School and is also a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. He joined the Harvard faculty in July 2019 after serving as president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a leading global think tank based in Washington, D.C., for a decade.

Brooks has authored 11 books, including national bestsellers such as “Love Your Enemies” (2019), “The Conservative Heart” (2015), and “The Road to Freedom” (2012). He is a regular columnist for The Atlantic, the host of the podcast “The Art of Happiness with Arthur Brooks,” and the subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit,” which was named by Variety as one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019. Brooks delivers over 100 speeches per year across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the top-ranked Passion Struck Podcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better, and impact.

Arthur C. Brooks, an American social scientist currently holding the esteemed positions of the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, joins me. Our discussion revolves around his bestselling book “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life,” which has secured the #1 spot on the NY Times bestseller list.

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