This week on The One You Feed we have Dan Harris.
Dan is best known for his work on ABC News, Nightline and Good Morning America, but we invited him on the show because of his latest book: 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story.
I was fascinated by this book. Dan was driven to meditation and self help out of a self imposed crisis after he had a panic attack on national TV. His journey through that landscape mirrored my own to some degree. He had a degree of skepticism from the beginning that he retains today. He also was perplexed by the paradox that most fascinates me: What is the degree that serenity can erode our ambition?
Going from the esoteric teachings of Eckhart Tolle to the down to earth practical modern buddhism of Mark Epstein (author of the classics Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart and Thoughts without a Thinker) he was able to find an approach that worked for him. The book is insightful, hilarious and very instructive.
In This Interview Dan and I Discuss…
- The One You Feed parable.
- That the mind can be trained for compassion and happiness.
- Exercising the brain just like the body.
- The science of meditation.
- The message for people who are skeptical of meditation.
- The voice in my head is an asshole.
- 10% happier not unicorns and rainbows.
- What meditation isn’t.
- Reading Eckhart Tolle.
- Our tendency to focus on the bad things and ignore the good.
- The difference between constructive anguish and useless rumination.
- The difference between pain and suffering.
- “the craving to be elsewhere, to be otherwise, permeated my life”
- The tendency to project into the future.
- “The background static of perpetual discontent”.
- How we are like colicky babies who are never quite satisfied.
- His conflicted view on the tendency to never be satisfied.
- How dissatisfaction can drive us forward.
- When it is useful to keep pushing and when is it better to back down?
- The happiness set point theory.
- Raising our emotional set point.
- Ambition versus satisfaction.
- Motivation coming from happiness versus pain.
- Not being attached to the results.
- Romanticizing melancholy.
- How a certain amount of stress is necessary.
- Being happy does not work at cross purposes to being successful.
- Dealing with failure.
- How when our minds wander we are less happy.
- Meditation in less than 140 characters.
- Remembering to feed the good wolf.
- How one of the meanings of mindfulness is remembering.
- Training to be less of an asshole.