Stanford Graduate School of Business

The official Tumblr for Stanford GSB about our students, alumni, and faculty.
Recent Tweets @stanfordbiz


Stanford GSB Lecturer Carole Robin gave a presentation on Happiness, Meaning, and Engagement to a packed audience of GSB alumni during Fall Reunion Weekend. Here are key insights from the talk: 

What is happiness determined by?

  • 50% of our happiness is determined by genetics
  • 10% of our happiness is determined by circumstance (Example: getting married, rich or having kids)
  •  We “hedonically” adapt to circumstances that make us happy. Our circumstances do not permanently make us happy; it becomes the status quo.
  • 40% of happiness is determined by intentional activity or what you do. Luckily, this 40% is in our direct control. 

How can you increase happiness? Carole Robin provided a happiness framework consisting of 3 aspects of life: enjoyment, engagement and purpose. She also recommended specific activities for each aspect of life and strongly encouraged to practice these activities for at least a couple weeks (in order to feel a difference):  

1. Increase enjoyment.

  • Practice appreciation to anybody about anything.
  • Savor one thing or moment a day. Example: Savor your cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of the day, write 3-5 things you’re grateful for that day – small or big. Over time, you’ll start to notice and see things you’re grateful for throughout the course of the day.

 2. Engagement: find your flow.

  • Flow is achieved when you’re fully engaged, immersed and absorbed in an activity.
  • Flow is associated with signature strengths. The activity needs to be a good match between your skill level and challenge level, meaning it can’t be too challenging or else you’ll end up feeling frustrated, not happy.
  • There’s a strong correlation between experiencing flow and enduring levels of happiness.
  • Find activities and experiences that get you in a state of flow. 

3. Expand your zone of learning.

  • You have your own zone of safety of what you normally do and think.
  • Outside your zone of safety is the zone of ambiguity. Outside the zone of ambiguity is the zone of danger.
  • Try to stretch beyond your comfort zone and expand your zone of safety.

Below are two activities we did that you can try to do with your friends and family:

1. Pair up: Share a time when you were in a state of flow

  • Reflect on a time you were in a state of flow.
  • Pair up with someone you don’t know.
  • Tell your partner a bit about your flow and experience.
  •  What might this experience suggest about what’s really important to you?

2. Team up with another pair: Brainstorm how you can be more intentional

  • Briefly share your conclusion from the pair activity of what’s really important to you
  • Have the other 3 people in your group brainstorm how you can intentionally get more of what’s important to you.
  1. smallwoodroad reblogged this from karenpoilee
  2. gobemore reblogged this from stanfordbusiness
  3. byto reblogged this from tomkur26
  4. tomkur26 reblogged this from luqmansyauqi
  5. luqmansyauqi reblogged this from karenpoilee
  6. tumfoolery reblogged this from stanfordbusiness
  7. boudu reblogged this from stanfordbusiness
  8. stanfordbusiness reblogged this from karenpoilee
  9. karenpoilee posted this