Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Last Class – Course Reflection and Discussion on Happiness

Each class at the GSB concludes with the obligatory thank you from the professor, the extended applause as the professor exits the stage, and finally the awkward moment of silence as students pack their belongings. While the components of this three-step process rarely vary, the emotions invoked throughout the process are often the distinguishing characteristic of the class’s value. When I looked around the room during this process today, the value of the first-ever PoST class was validated by not only the wide range of emotions invoked, but also by the lack of one reaction in particular: apathy.

The passion that the PoST course instilled in our class was apparent in the last class session as we started by sharing our most valuable personal insights from the course. This collaborative reflection served as further proof that individuals exposed to the same message can have vastly different takeaways. Classmates touched on a variety of subjects (samples below) ranging from highly emotional to straightforward and tactical. We then transitioned to a discussion on happiness (highlights below) that served equal parts 1) tying together class frameworks and 2) tying together life frameworks.

Classmates’ Stickiest Insights:

-Grassroots movements are most effective when initiated by an “insider”

-Relinquishing control of your message can be a scary, but necessary, step in allowing it to spread

-Even experts cannot predict what will go viral and what will not

-Bias for action. Test, refine. Test, refine. Test, refine.

-People want to share, so give them something worth sharing

-The power of storytelling and multiple subplots

-Thank people so they feel like a rock star

-Don’t underestimate your audience. Tell your story and be brief.

Jennifer’s Insights:

-Grab Attention

-Own a color

-Fall in love

-different than being in love

-Choose words carefully

5:1 ratio, positive:negative


-Photo of African woman at market


-Think small

-Be brief

-Call to action

-Butterfly framework from sameer and vinay


-Happiness is poorly understood

-We’re not all talking about the same thing

-Happiness “setpoint” are hard to break

-State of happiness is often normalized within six months after winning the lottery, fighting cancer, etc.

-People are not good at recognizing what makes them happy

Disneyland – people remember it fondly even though it was not that great

-Difficult to predict what make you happy

-Stop chasing happiness, start chasing meaningfulness

-Work on projects you love

-Carve out areas of incompetence

Two small notes:

-Email Jen if you want to continue your project but need resources.

-Email Jen if you have suggestions on how to form groups effectively.

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