Episode 36

The Art of Happiness

With Arthur Brooks
Episode 36

The Art of Happiness

With Arthur Brooks

Harvard Professor. Bestselling Author. Happiness Expert. Social Scientist. Musician.

Arthur C. Brooks is 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. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington DC-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.

  • A treasure to listen to you. What a powerful session. Joe Antony
  • Such an enlightening conversation to explore ways to help us find our purpose. Srijit Basu
  • Filled with a feeling of gratitude. Amazing session! Bhawana Sinha

Arthur Brooks is the author of 11 books, including the national bestsellersLove Your Enemies” (2019), The Conservative Heart” (2015), andThe Road to Freedom” (2012). He is also a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast The Art of Happiness with Arthur Brooks,” and the subject of the 2019 documentary film The Pursuit,” which Variety named as one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019. He is invited to delivers more than 100 talks per year around the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In this episode of Intersections, we are joined by Arthur to try answering the question: “What is the secret to a life of sustained, ever-growing happiness?” At the very core of all human drives, ambitions and desires — in all eras and all communities — is the quest to find happiness. And yet, we often miscalculate what it takes to be happy, making life choices that compromise our happiness. What are the secrets to a happy life, and a happy career? Could the pandemic — even in the midst of loss and struggle — be a catalyst to boosting our happiness?

“Happiness isn’t found in some finite checklist of goals that we can diligently complete and then coast. It’s how we live our lives in the process.”
Arthur Brooks

The episode “The Art of Happiness” offers key insights on:

  • The building blocks of happiness, and how to balance and nurture your happiness portfolio
  • The role of our present circumstances, and how to transcend its limitations
  • The secret to satisfaction derived from thousands of academic studies and ancient wisdom

00:00:27

Hitendra Wadhwa:
Warm greetings to all of you and welcome back to Intersections. Our aspiration is to get to fuse what people might consider opposing ideas and forces in the world, the inner and the outer, the material and the spiritual purpose and prophets, the East and the West and beyond, with the aspiration of having us through that lens, of dissolving those boundaries, be able to experience more of what there is in terms of the potentialities in us, in our organizations and in the world today. 

It is a great pleasure for me to have in our midst someone who I have such deep admiration for, not just for what he does, but also for how he does it and how he lives. Arthur Brooks. Let me introduce Arthur in the next minute or so and then we will invite him. So Arthur is a professor at Harvard, best-selling author and a happiness expert. He teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy, as well as at the business school. He has written over the course of the last several months a column in The Atlantic, which is a very prolific expression of his research and work on happiness, called How to Build a Life. 

He offers practical wisdom on applying science to happiness in all situations in life and work. He's the best-selling author of 11 books on a wide range of topics, from Economic Opportunity to the Search for Happiness. He also has a new book that is scheduled for release in January where his focus is on helping those of us who are entering into the second half of our life to create a roadmap for finding meaning, success and purpose. 

He's also got a podcast called The Art of Happiness and was making a documentary on something called The Pursuit, which Variety called one of the best documentaries on Netflix in August 2019. Another very worthy pursuit for us in our free time to go and watch. He's given hundreds and hundreds of speeches in the last decade across a wide range of cities and countries. He's featured in a lot of the leading media. And here's a quote from him just to start us off: 

“Happiness isn't found in some finite checklist of goals that we can diligently complete. And then coast along it's how we live our lives in the process."

So, on that note, let me invite Arthur.

00:03:02

Arthur Brooks: Thank you. What a wonderful opportunity to be with you. And welcome to our live audience. It's an honor to be with you and a blessing.

00:03:10

Hitendra Wadhwa: Thank you. And so, for our audience as well. Yeah. Feel free to use the chat as a way to get to connect and get to say hello. Get to share with us where you're from every now and then. 

As you know, we will draw upon you and bring you into the conversation as well. Feel free to share your thoughts and observations on the author's work or questions you may have for him as well. I was thinking maybe the right place to start is the very beginning. So, there was a day when you weren't here and then the next day you were on this planet with us. You were born. You know, we go back to those very early moments of your life. I'm just fascinated with the arc that you have taken. 

We have come to some of the more youthful and adult moments very soon. But what was it like growing up in your family?

00:04:03

Arthur Brooks: So, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I'm a native. I was born in a city called Spokane in the state of Washington. But I grew up in Seattle, Washington, which is kind of a famous place now. It was not so famous and not so fancy when I was a kid. It was a place known because the Boeing Aircraft Corporation was located there, and it was kind of a company town in those days. 

And my family, we moved there in the late 1960s because my father had a college teaching job. He was a mathematician. I come from a long line of artists and academics. So virtually everybody on both sides of my family is a musician or an artist or a scholar of some sort. My father was a mathematician. My grandfather taught philosophy and theology and it went on from there. And so, growing up in Seattle, Washington, it was a wonderful environment. I was very lucky to be from a family that valued ideas.

That was a very deeply spiritual or religious family and one that valued education an awful lot. And the result is I was able to grow up in an environment in which I kind of always saw my life as a startup, as I don't mean to use entrepreneurial language, or I don't want people to think that. I think of my life as a business, but as an enterprise where I've been. I was able to cultivate ideas to get sort of explosive rewards. And I felt very supported from the very beginning. 

My parents, if you look at it in today's language, they saw me kind of as an entrepreneur and they were sort of venture capital. You know, they wanted to know what my plans were. They wanted to know if I had a good idea and they wanted to make sure that it was a real flight of fancy in my life. And so, the result is I've always pursued my life as a startup enterprise. But it started with my parents, my wonderful parents now long of blessed memories. Both died quite young.

00:05:55

Hitendra Wadhwa: I mean, I see thank you for sharing that one of the things that intrigues me about you and Jenny is that you tend to dissolve boundaries a lot. And it's the very core ethos of our webcast here. And one of the ways I see that is how you have led so many different, if you want to call it lives professionally, and B, that you draw from multiple streams of human wisdom and inspiration. You're not limiting yourself to any one domain. Where did that kind of sensibility arise from in you?

00:06:34

Arthur Brooks: Well, I started off my career relatively abruptly when I was 19 years old in the classical music business. And from the time I was 8 or 9 years old, I knew I wanted to be a classical musician. I started on violin when I was five and then four, four years old, five years old. I started the piano and by the time I was 8 years old, I was playing the French horn. 

And that's what really stuck because I was most talented at that. And give me a sense of identity. It gave me a sense of what was of great beauty, a sense of accomplishment. I just loved it. And that's all I wanted to do. This is a very American thing. Of course, I thought I wanted to be the greatest French horn player in the world.  Later, I married a girl from Spain, and she said you wanted what? That is the weirdest goal I've ever heard. 

But in the United States, we all have these strange goals. It's a wonderful country that way, I guess. And when I went to college at 18, like most people do after high school, it was not successful. And part of the reason is because my heart was not in it. I wanted to study music. I wanted to express myself in it and these pretty nontraditional ways. And so, I dropped my required classes. 

At the end, I was taking all chamber music and musical expressive classes. And on the side, I was taking classes in tabla. So, I was studying Hindustani classical music and North Indian classical drumming in a pretty serious way. And if there are any college students watching us today, let me say that as kind of bohemian and interesting as that sounds, that's not the path to college success. So, the college asked me to pursue my success elsewhere. And at 19, I found myself with the opportunity to go professional as a French horn player. So, I did that all the way through my twenties without having gone to college. 

My parents affectionately called that my gap decade. And I saw and played in twenty-five countries. I played in all 50 states playing chamber music, and I wound up at the end of the Barcelona Symphony in Spain and I went there without meeting anyone. My wife was from Barcelona there. I went there in pursuit because I was in love with her. I had met her on a concert tour in France. 

We didn't speak a word of the same language. I spoke English and she spoke Spanish or Catalan, which is the language in Barcelona. And I went there on this idea that I thought I could close the deal. And so, I literally quit my job and moved to Barcelona and took a job in Barcelona Symphony on this idea of explosive rewards, of the generated impact of true passionate and companionate love. I was a believer in love. And during that period, she truly helped me to come alive and understand that what I was doing as a musician was not about music. 

What I was doing in music was about beauty, happiness and love. And there are many, many ways to express that. So, I went back to college, and I wound up pursuing my doctorate, becoming a social scientist with the ethos that what I was going to try to do with my life going forward was to study the principles and teach the principles of what it means to be fully alive around the context of beauty, love and happiness. 

And that was not going to have borders around it from psychological perspectives or psychoanalysis. But to be fully alive, even happiness was not going to limit us because in truth, the truth, there's so much sacredness and suffering. You know, the idea of being fully alive means that you must be unhappy if you want to be truly happy in a full sense. And you learn that in the world of art. 

And then I complimented that by studying a lot of mathematics, a lot of neuroscience, and a lot of languages. I finished my PhD and became an academic, and I've dedicated myself to lifting people up and bringing them together, using all the influences of intellect and art and beauty and the world and spirituality, and bringing my own religious thoughts into the whole idea. And the truth is, life is just this smorgasbord of influences and things, and they're all complementary. I mean, as a social scientist, I read academic writings and social science and psychology and behavioral economics and neuroscience. 

All are saying the same things that you and I have studied as people of serious religious views, they're all going back to the Vedas, the Upanishads, the biblical teachings, the ancient Greeks. They've all been saying these things for thousands of years. But we're just better and better at looking for the data and natural experiments to show how this works. And so, it all comes together in my work today. And I'm so lucky. I'm so blessed.

00:11:17

Hitendra Wadhwa: Oh, that's so uplifting. I'm going to go back to your dad's profession for a minute. Mathematics, as you said, you've just shared with us a quote from Ramanujan. He was a genius mathematician of the 20th century whose work was tremendously backbreaking and creative from the outside. But it was coming from not a very tutored place in mathematics in that he didn't really go to any advanced mathematics college and post-graduate degree programs, etc. 

It was all coming from within him. It was all coming as intuitive revelations to him from time to time. And then at some point, he also said that he said that to him, the number one represents the essential unity of spirit and the number infinity represents its infinite outer manifestations in nature. You know, I'm hearing a little bit of that in your journey where, you know, with your mind, like having that point of discovery that it's not music for the sake of music. 

Music is one of these outward expressions of something that is core. And you express that core in terms of your love and beauty and joy.

00:12:31

Arthur Brooks: Yeah. For sure. The key is that it's interesting that we have a tendency to answer the wrong questions in life. We answer what questions and when people will ask you or me. I mean, we have these and I am very lucky. You and I have kind of the same job we both teach about. We teach about leadership and happiness at these fancy business schools. 

You are Columbia Business School and I’m Harvard Business School. We have very, very similar outlooks. We have very similar classes. And people ask us all the time, ask you and me and everybody watching us, what do you do? And by that they mean, what do you do for a living? But that's the wrong question. You know, if somebody asked and I know you would have an answer, why do you do what you do?

What would your answer be? Every single person watching us needs to be able to answer. And the challenges I mean, I'll give you 12 words or 20 words to come up with a Y statement, the mission statement for why you do what you do. And it should revolve around service to others. It should revolve around the idea of earning your success for your skills. Meet your passions where you're generative, where you're made in God's image to build something that's good and true and beautiful that generates life. And the best example of that for me as a classical musician is the words of what I think is the greatest composer who ever lived, Johann Sebastian Bach in the West. 

And it's interesting because in the Western tradition, and we can talk about this, you know, the eastern versus Western traditions of art, because I've also studied Raga and I have actually studied Hindustani and also Carnatic music a little bit. It's a very different approach. But the spiritual approach is the same. Bach, who is a deeply, deeply Christian man. I mean, he's awfully often called the fifth evangelist in the Christian tradition. There are four evangelists in the Bible. 

He's called the fifth of angels because music brought so many people closer to God. And he was asked near the end of his life, why do you write music? That's the reason why question not he didn't have twenty kids, for example, how do you feed all those kids with your music career? Those are boring questions. I mean if you have a lot of kids, you'd be interested in that. But when he was asked why do you write music, his answer was very clear, very simple. 

He said the aim and end of all music is nothing less than the glorification of God and the refreshment of the soul. In other words, serve God and serve your sisters and brothers in the world with your work. That's the reason for your work. The why of your work is divine love and brotherly love. That's the divine purpose of your work. And that had such a big impact on me. And it helped me to understand that I can come at that from a hundred different dimensions. 

The permutations are absolutely endless because the world is so vast and so beautiful and so limitless. But it also made it so that I was asking the right question relatively early on, and that's what made the creativity really come alive for me.

00:15:28

Hitendra Wadhwa: I'm so glad you said that because I've had this kind of very ambivalent relationship with art over the years, as you know, from an appreciation standpoint, not a practitioner standpoint like you, I was never that talented in art myself. But from the outside, I enjoyed the visual and the aura, a beautiful sound and beautiful visual arts, and what have you. 

But then well, at times also not felt very comfortable with some artistic expressions, even though they have been recognized and celebrated and respected in the world and an apartment is asking myself, why is it that while this is getting so much respect out there in the museum or in this performing arts theater, it's I don't know that you are not feeling that something or the other. 

And at some point, I read something from Gandhi and he just connected with me so immediately and he said something that he said to me, like, the only purpose of art is that is the upliftment in a sense of human consciousness. That was this my heavens, that has been my theater. Do intuitively, not analytically, but intuitively. And now you're saying that Bach actually kind of said that that was his primary motive.

00:16:41

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, for sure. And the great 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer talked about this an awful lot, too. So, he and like a lot of the late 19th century philosophers saw the world phenomenologically, which is to say he understood that there is, and he believed there was an objective reality. 

But we can't see it. I mean, Plato even talked about how the shadows on the cave wall are the closest that we can get to objective reality. And then there were some philosophers who literally said there was no objective reality. There was only subjective reality. Reality is created by your own senses of the world. Schopenhauer rejected that, and I reject that. I think there is an objective reality. 

But I do think that we look through the glass darkly. Schopenhauer believes that one of the ways that people can get a little bit of clarity on true objective, on objective truth is with art, especially music, he says it uplifts the soul and it pulls back the veil. There are these moments, and it's funny, you know, people will wonder why people cry when they hear very beautiful music? And Schopenhauer believes and I think he's quite right that there's this that you get beyond the phenomenological curtains, you get beyond your senses, and you see something that's true and it's so piercing. 

It's so intense that it's hard to bear. It's hard to understand. It's the same reason that people will cry because of love, you know, the cry of happiness or just out of the intense emotion that comes from experiencing. A lot of people talk about their children, they'll start crying, people will talk about their religious faith, and they'll start crying. 

People listen to music, and they'll start crying because they can't bear the intense emotion that comes from a little glimpse into objective reality. So that just puts an even finer philosophical point on the same idea. And that's the reason I think all of us must expose ourselves to beauty. We must expose ourselves to art and by the way, also to ugliness into art, because that's part of being fully alive as well.

00:18:56

Hitendra Wadhwa: Thanks, out the food for thought, then food for thought, that last comment you made, you said ugliness as well, because that's part of art. Maybe you can Double-Click on that a little bit. It's leaving me in a reflective state. I kind of fully fathom what that means in terms of how one responds to various kinds of odd inspirations.

00:19:15

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, well, you know, there's a lot of theology and philosophy that goes behind this concept that we're suffering, that pain and trauma are the source of meaning. But fundamentally, it's interesting. There are a lot of people these days in the space that you and I occupy as educators, which is to talk about a better life and the science of happiness. 

Most of the practitioners in this, they come from the psychoanalytic tradition, from the tradition of Freud and Jung. And fundamentally, the philosophy that the science of happiness is geared toward eradicating suffering, to make suffering go away, to take suffering out of our life is kind of the opposite of the hippie generation's mantra. If it feels good, do it the opposite, as if it feels bad, get rid of it. 

But that's not how you and I come to this science. That's not how you and I come to our work as scholars. The truth is, I think it's very important for happiness to be fully alive. There's a great fourth-century Catholic Saint erroneous. And his most famous saying is that the glory of God is a man fully alive. Now it's a gender-exclusive way of putting it. So, a person fully alive is the glory of God and the glory of God is happiness. It doesn't matter what you're feeling, because happiness is not a feeling. 

Happiness is a phenomenon that will have, as part of its characteristics, often will have feelings attached to it. So, when I teach this, all the things that are coming together, the spirituality, the neuroscience, the art, the beauty, the theology, the psychology, the behavioral sciences, they all come together. But it's worth pointing out that there's also a set of macronutrients to the experience of well-being, of life satisfaction, that they are enjoyment. 

And that's mostly good feelings. But there is satisfaction, which is a reward for what you're trying to do in accomplishment. Unfortunately, it doesn't last generally, but then there's meaning and there's purpose and purpose and meaning require a lot of suffering. They require that we look at the ugliness in life. They require that we experience the things that are difficult, because if we don't, we won't really understand life itself. We won't even understand our own lives. 

And this is the great paradox of happiness that we get. The macronutrient of meaning requires that we experience, and we think about, and we discern the nature of unhappiness as well. We must face that because we won't be fully alive if we don't.

00:21:59

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah, I'm getting it more now the way you are thinking about it. And it connects the dots for me. There's something written about it just today. And that was cool because I got just the first thing. I woke up this morning and I was someone lumbering out of bed and getting to do things and getting to my computer and checking my email. 

And there is this beautiful note from you on your new other piece on the pursuit of happiness. I want to show people your website in case some of us have not yet been exposed to it, just so that you guys can see what a wealth of insight there is if you want to continue to learn from Arthur in the months ahead. And this is the Atlantic. And I think you're right about once every week, isn't it?

00:22:49

Arthur Brooks: Yeah. Every Thursday morning at the Atlantic. Exactly. And it's always about happiness, human happiness, life satisfaction topics, but it gives me an opportunity to look at them from different angles. So ordinarily in my column, I'll take a particular subject, whether it's unhappiness or whether it's coming back from covid profitably or whether it's some theory of happiness. 

Then I'll look at it from different angles. So, I'll take the problem that people are talking about or the issue or the challenge or the opportunity. And then I'll look at the science. And when I say science, I mean social science and neuroscience, but also, I mean the philosophy and the theology and the spirituality that are into the art that undergirds these truths. And they don't talk about how people can use them. And so, this is one of the most important things that people need to understand, that the pursuit of knowledge and the use of knowledge requires the sharing of knowledge. 

One of the great insights about the science of happiness is that by understanding happiness and applying it to our lives and then sharing it with others, we can get happier. The reason? That is because if we treat happiness like a feeling that resides in the limbic portions of the brain, the parts of the brain that revolve more than a million years ago, that it's just and then happiness happens to us and then it leaves like a butterfly. 

But if we try to understand it, try to understand ourselves, study ourselves seriously, that we apply ideas to our lives by practicing our lives differently. And then most importantly, if we share good ideas with the people, we will make these feelings metacognitive, which is to say we will become aware of them and they'll be residing in the prefrontal cortex, the executive centers of the brain. And then here's the miracle. Then we can manage our own happiness, but it requires understanding, applying and most importantly, sharing these ideas. 

That's what I'm trying to do every Thursday morning in my column.

00:24:45

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah, it's beautiful. I thought this was maybe a special gift for me because among other things, in what was a very insightful topic on having people really think about the guilt and the burden of what they're burying for themselves and for others today. 

You did this, you shared this quote from Brahmins Yogananda, who, you know, I have a deep fondness for. And, you know, one of the things that strikes me there is just how you know, you how you practice what I heard from Mother Teresa one so, so beautifully. You know, she said she said, I love all faiths and I am in love with my faith. And that's what I see in you. And it's so refreshing.

00:25:29

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, that's right. One of the problems with general universalism is that there's a tendency to have admiration for all faiths, but no adherence or practice of any of them. And that's often one of the problems with people who talk about casting aspersions. But I just discern this by looking at the data on religious practice, people who say I'm spiritual but not religious, that's a little bit often winds up making you kind of a dabbler. And spirituality is a serious business. 

I mean, religion is a serious business. It's every bit as serious as mathematics. It's every bit as complex. And everybody who's listening to us, who considers her or himself a serious Hindu or Buddhist or in my case, a Roman Catholic, I mean, I can get to the end of my life and have barely scratched the surface of the theology of the Roman Catholic Church and the and the wisdom that comes from the Saints. But that's cross pollinated with what the great thinking that's happened in Judaism and Islam and Hinduism and Buddhism, all the great insights that have come. 

And so, what I'm charged to do, I believe, is as certain Kierkegaard always talked about, make a choice. You know, where are you going to dig in? What is your vehicle? What is your religion? But at the same time, not excluding the beautiful things that come from all these other religions. So, when I'm in, I want I'm in India. I have the I have teachers that I've studied with, people that I've met and including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom I've worked very closely over the past seven years and who lives in Dharamshala and the northern in the Himalayan foothills, but also in southern India. 

When I'm in Kerala, for example, there are people that I will meet with who and what do they do? They help me become a better Catholic. Some of the best teachings I've got from Hinduism have made me a better Catholic. My technique for meditation is better. As a Catholic, I'm better able to recite my rosary in a way that gives greater adoration and veneration to God. 

I didn't necessarily get that from the great saints or the priests and leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. I got that from some of the people that I have meditated with and learned from in India, which, by the way, is such a wonderful, spiritual, adept country. Every American who considers her himself to be religious or spiritual needs, frankly, needs to be spending time in India.

00:28:03

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah, boy, there's so much to unpack there that is so beautiful, it was making me reflect on some of my own moments of growth. And in the same way, as you're saying, sometimes borrowing from the insights and practices and the lived examples of the, you know, the beautiful sayings and others from in my case it is the yoga path. When you're going down this path from some of the exalted sayings in Christianity and beyond. 

I mean, it's just beautiful. I can share a story with you. I was with my family while you were in Israel a few years ago. And even having one of those moments where we got into this kind of heavy state of burden around all the things that are wrong in the world that need fixing. My wife, daughter, and I were having that conversation over dinner at a restaurant. My mother had retired for the evening I was in Israel with like these three most important women in my life at that time. 

And then I realized that little thing came to me that at least be conscious, you know, don't get too caught up in this downward spiral of what's wrong with the world. I mean, lift up a little bit, you know, the mood, the spirit, the candidness of what we can do here. And I did that for a moment, but then we got caught in that spiral again in that human moment there. Then you come out and we are in Tel Aviv and we are walking on Rothschild Boulevard. 

And there is this Orthodox Jew quite clearly from his guard. Right, who just comes over to us. And this is very rare. And all those days in Israel, this is the one time that somebody was a stranger, you know, just came over and just spoke to us and said and those you had never had that before and just came out and spoke to us. And he said, be like the bee, like the fly. I was intrigued and I thought maybe he's evangelizing. 

Maybe they'll know something that you have in his hand, and you want to put my hands at some point and ask them, you know, can you tell me more like, what do you mean? It keeps kind of looking around like making honey, you know, looking on for the flowers. What does the fly do even during prettiness and is looking for the dirt, you know, it's going to the dirt. So be like them because they'll always be messy in the world, but there'll always be beauty in the world. And you should be looking for the beauty in the world. 

And I was like, wow, this is the exact message that was coming to me that moment just 20 minutes ago when I was at dinner. And I couldn't really direct my consciousness then. Now he's coming and he's teaching me that, you know, and then later, by the way, the conversation gracefully ended there. And he had nothing. He had no agenda. He just wanted to share that message. 

And then he was gone. Then he's gone. And later I was looking through a book by Damos, who's one of the presidents of physician fellowship, the organization Yogananda created. And in that he has a story about Yogananda, where he was saying the same thing. He was saying the same metaphor of bee and the fly. Still, in that moment, I felt like he was speaking through me through the agency of an Orthodox Jew.

00:31:07

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, absolutely. No, this is incredible how you know what consciousness will put in your path at the time when you actually need it. You know, that's happened to me several times in your wonderful country. I mean, as early on as an assistant professor, when I had just finished my PhD and I was looking for ways to synthesize various areas of spirituality, theology, philosophy. 

With my training as a social scientist and my background in the arts, I came across the most important book for introducing Hinduism to the West, which is The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda, your guru with whom you have profound oneness. And I read it not once but twice. And it had such a big impact on me, and it set me on this road. It's quite interesting that that has led to a lot of the work. I mean, you talk at the outset of this conversation about a new book that I have coming out called From Strength to Strength, which is about finding happiness and purpose in the second half of life, uniquely in the second half of life. So, the second half of life should be a source of regret. 

It should be a source of opportunity. The big idea in that book comes from Yogananda and that I learned much more deeply from a teacher that I had in Polychaete in southern India named Srinivas Venkatraman, who is a wonderful teacher. He's actually never been to the West, but he's a follower of Ramana Maharshi. He taught me about something that was really the center of what I'm doing in social science today, which is a Vedic idea called the ashram, as you know all about the Satyendra. 

And a lot of our audience does, too, but maybe some don't. The Ashram in the U.S. is an ancient Hindu concept of the quarters that that life, a perfectly balanced life, naturally falls into. Four quarters now, no matter how many years you're given, I mean, and often in the ancient texts, it'll talk about the perfectly balanced life is one hundred years and you get twenty-five years in each quarter, but you get what you get is the bottom line, because only one in six thousand people, the United States even lives to one hundred. 

So, the odds are slim. Anyway, the first is in the Sanskrit word is brahmacharya, which is the student phase and that's the first quarter of your life. The second is very hostile, which is the householder phase where you pursue your career in your knowledge and your success and you earn your money, and you raise your kids and it's the worldly life. 

But what I was looking for and what I needed as a social scientist and what I got uniquely originally from Yogananda, but later from for my teachers in southern India was this third phase called Van Hasta, which comes from these two Sanskrit words, Vun and Prastha, that to retire into the forest. 

And what it doesn't mean is literally retiring into the forest. It means stepping back to absorb the cosmic truths, to step back from the hubbub of the greenhouse to the big problem that people have. The big impediment to happiness that people have in their lives is they get addicted to worldly success, to the wheel of worldly success, the treadmill of never quite getting satisfaction, but always looking for these rewards of money, power, pleasure, honor, sex, satisfaction, whatever happens, to be. And this Vuna explicitly says, this is your second adolescence, man. 

Step back, reassess, redefine not just your happiness, but your success in more spiritual terms such that you can get to this last quarter, which is Sanyasi, which is actual enlightenment, and you can't get enlightenment in the last quarter of your life unless you do the elite training of spirituality in this period and that actually opened up a whole world of neuroscience and social science to me that I simply would not have gotten had I had my blinders on, had I had my eyes closed to the profound spiritual truths from a completely different part of the world.

00:35:14

Hitendra Wadhwa: Wow, that is such a powerful explanation of that institution, of those four points of light. Thank you. Thank you for showing that out there and looking forward to your book on this. I remember when your article came out in the Atlantic Monthly on that team. You talked about how your professional decline is coming closer than you think. Can you share that story that you had at the beginning of the article that kind of sparked, you know, a little bit of this kind of motivation in you to also relook a little bit of the equation of life?

00:35:57

Arthur Brooks: Yeah. What it was it is a story that I talk about in that Atlantic Monthly article that it's converting into a book because this is ordinarily the way that for those who are watching the way that Hitendra and I, write books is you surface an idea and see if it's resonant and then if it is, you develop it. 

Otherwise, who knows. And so, I wrote this article that started with a story that was somewhat autobiographical insofar as when I was fifty-one years old, I was thinking an awful lot about what the second half of my life was going to look like. And I kind of thought, you know, I was working really hard, 70-80 hours a week, which I like working hard. And my work is an application for me. And it's a very beautiful thing. 

I'm glad to have it. But I thought, you know, I'm going to work and work and work and work and earn and earn and earn and where does it lead? And I kind of felt at age fifty-one that maybe at the time that I was maybe starting to miss a step here and there, I didn't know why. And so, I had this experience. I was on an airplane, and it was nighttime. It was 11 o'clock at night or something. 

I was coming from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast, and I could hear it was dark so I could hear a couple, an older couple behind me talking, but I couldn't see them. It was dark on the plane and the husband was telling the wife that he wished he were dead. 

His wife was saying, oh, don't say that it's not true that nobody loves you anymore. And he was saying, nobody returns my calls. I'm nobody. And it was just awful for 20 minutes. And then we got to the we landed in Washington, D.C. and the lights went on. And I'm a social scientist. I'm sort of curious, what am I listening to? 

I kind of had this biography in my head of this guy who maybe he has never appreciated, really. You know, maybe he was forced to retire, and he never built the business. He couldn't get the education that he wanted. Maybe he was just disappointed with his life. And everybody stood up and the lights went on and he turned around, he’s one of the most famous men in the world. 

This is a guy not controversial, not a politician, nothing like that, who'd achieved more in his life than a hundred other people together had done in their lives. This is somebody who should be enjoying life, is somebody who should have been enjoying his life in a big way. But he was suffering, and he was suffering because he did not. And that came to no later. And this is what I pointed out, he was stuck in grief, that he was stuck in the worldly rewards phase of his life. 

He'd never been able to make this retirement into the forest. He'd never been able to go into the second adolescence of understanding what true enlightenment can bring. If you do the blessed and wonderful work of contemplation, of discernment, of spiritual and philosophical introspection. He'd never done that. And that was hugely interesting and useful for me. And that's what led me really on a path to write about it for mostly Western audiences. But I also have a publisher that will publish this book in India as well.

00:39:04

Hitendra Wadhwa: What a powerful story. What about the story? I mean, when we hear you speak in your words and your ideas, in your energy, is this a preacher in you? There's a priest in you and there's a mystic in you. 

There's a monk in you, you know, in so many ways. And I'm just curious because this is something that I also held so close to my heart, which is to bridge these two worlds that are deeply spiritual and on the other hand, deeply sort of engaged in the affairs of the world. And you have done that in such a successful way. I mean, that was music first, then academic career. 

Then you go and be the president of this storied institution in Washington, D.C. And then from not from there, you come now to one of the big pillars of Western higher education and one of the bastions of capitalism and of leadership thought on public policy, what have you, but it's the Kennedy School of Business School in Harvard, right. 

And so when you bring this energy, when you bring these ideas, this free from kind of expressions of your core into an environment that traditionally I would offer, perhaps even in D.C. as well as here at Harvard, you know, in that kind liberal forefront of culture and thoughtful foment, you know, hasn't necessarily always been a natural incubation place for the more deeply contemplative and spiritual traditions, except in certain buckets like the divinity school and what have you.

00:40:52

Arthur Brooks: Right. And arguably not the divinity school. I mean, the divinity school has really moved away from in many people's estimation, most I don't mean Harvard. I mean most of the divinity schools in the United States of the major universities have moved away from this serious love for faith. 

I mean, it's become this more secular, humanistic set of institutions. And part of this has to do with the sort of the dark side of the Enlightenment. I think, you know, of course, we all appreciate the Enlightenment has led us to be able to make a living the way that we do that to raise our children and knock-on effects or the avoidance of diseases that we would have died from. 

Certainly, of all the good things, so many good things, material, good things in life. The Industrial Revolution, which had a dark side, too. But on balance, I mean, we should make our world so much better. But let's not forget that it also led to a pervasive kind of secular humanism that says that what we're talking about in this program is kind of off-limits intellectually, that there's a wall between these two ideas. 

And that's not right. I think that's an error. That's not just a moral error. I think that that's an intellectual error. I mean, it's almost as if you would say to me, it's almost as if you would look at the Picasso painting and say, look, if I can't find evidence of Picasso himself, the painter in the painting, Picasso doesn't exist. 

And so therefore, we must disregard him. And all we can do is study the painting itself. That idea of secular humanism that has this at its root, the religion is scientism per say kind of does that. And the truth, the truth of the matter, there is a painting and there is a painter. And you're not going to find the painter in the painting. You're not going to do that. 

You need to understand that, that they complement each other, and they exist in parallel and there is no conflict between them. And a properly integrated intellectual and spiritual life sees no tension between these things. Now, the real question, Hitendra, is how do you and I maintain that balance? You know, it's very easy in a hyper-intellectual enlightenment environment to either deny it or make it secret your spiritual predilections or to actually become kind of a professional spiritual person. 

I don't think that there's a middle path for that which basically says, be natural, be yourself, don't be afraid, be a spy for spiritual ideas in plain sight, you know, so we don't have to be priests and yogis because that's not what God wanted. For Hitendra and Arthur, that wasn't the path. You're not going to be a professional guru. I'm not going to be a Roman Catholic priest. 

But at the same time, the naturalness of integrating these ideas, I think it's what people hunger for. I think it's what people want, telling people that if they're going to be good intellectuals, they need to cut this part off from themselves to slice their heart in half in this way. Sorry, you must not regard Picasso the man. If you were going to study Picasso, the painting, that's I think it's a poverty of the way that we understand this and we can do better. And I think that we have a mission, you and I and the people watching us. We have a mission to integrate all of it.

00:44:32

Hitendra Wadhwa: Folks, what do you think about what Arthur just said, I think, you know, what you're saying has in it the seeds of something that could be like a really profoundly positive revolution in the years ahead in the way we develop our societies and the way we build our institutions in the way we envision the future of education and the perhaps coming together of science and spirituality into one integrated platform. 

That quest for truth, the quest for truth, even that goes beyond what I can see. So, I'll be curious to get thoughts and ideas from all of you right on chat. So please weigh in on this just to continue this path, which is so beautiful. And you're a very inspired place right now. I just want to hear more from you on this. 

One of the things that has been striking me in recent times is how actually the opportunity for doing more of this is emerging from even just from the science itself, which is that even though science to your point had kind of dispensed with this other kind of language and pathways to truth, that spirituality might represent that in their own findings, they are starting to and more and more come to this place where, you know, they're getting glimpses of something bigger and deeper, et cetera, then might have been known otherwise. 

So, it's so fascinating to see, you know, our friends who are doing them from the deepest sciences, from psychology and psychotherapy, neuroscience and other disciplines. It's got to stumble into these truths which are validating in some ways what ancient traditions have really fostered for millennia.

00:46:14

Arthur Brooks: Oh, absolutely. We see this again and again. And you know what? Even if you are a secular humanist, but you study the works of Plato and Aristotle, Socrates, you find that they were talking about things that that we're now understanding at elucidating with natural experiments, using human subjects in the world of behavioral social science today, for sure. But there's a slightly more cosmic level of what you're saying. 

And I remember this from my father, who was a mathematician, and his PhD was actually in biostatistics. And he one time said something interesting to me because he was a deeply Christian man. It was the center of his life. And he said, you know, the greatest miracle that God ever gave us. I said, that's going to be a real competition. What's that? He said that God created randomness, but most importantly, he put tails on the distributions of events, thanking God for the tails of the distribution of events. He believed that miracles existed, but they were events that happened in a random distribution at two in three standard deviations from the mean. What did he say? 

God chose to use what we would discern as statistical truth, mathematical truth as part of his creation. That's how he understood cosmic reality. And so, he would, you know, as somebody who was at the forefront of science, he said, look, there are scientists quite appropriately. They try to expand what's known to understand what is known. But there's always more that's unknown and even more than that is unknowable. 

And when you're at the forefront of what is known and trying to expand it, it's like you're standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and you're looking into the gorge at the vast, unknown and unknowable. And it makes you get a little glimpse into the divine. You know, it's not the unknowable that is not evidence of a lack of the divine. He believed that it was evidence that the divine was the fact that we can apprehend that there is an unknowable, yet it is unknowable. I know I'm kind of abstract at this point, but it's worth reflecting on the unknowability of something that we know actually exists. And in so doing, we have a relationship with this cosmic consciousness that can oversee it, that can introduce it into our lives, and that can put us on a journey to see what we can know and what we can't still appreciate.

00:48:47

Hitendra Wadhwa: You know, that reminds me of this teaching from Yogananda, where what the spiritual teacher was sharing is that there's a reason why, you know, it is hard to prove the existence of God. 

And he said because if that roof was something that through the senses or through logic, could be just a right, that just from the outside, then, you know, God's plan for the universe, which in part requires him to offer to us free will so that we of our own choosing to go through the choices we have to make and the discoveries we have to make and the direction we want to set and you know, the decisions you want to sort of pursue a certain third stage and that four stages of your going from strength to strength, et cetera, that that that choice wouldn't be there anymore. 

Because if it was so sincerely, you know, that in front of us, the tremendous omnipotence and omissions and everything that we think of and see of the creative force that was just so vividly there, then there's no choice left anymore. So, to give us a choice, he must play this role of just being a little bit hidden from you being the painter. He just keeps putting beautiful paintings out there but doesn't necessarily reveal himself directly to the eye.

00:50:10

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, for sure. And there's also a very real beauty. I mean, Papa always talked about the science that requires falsifiable hypotheses. But what we call in the Catholic faith, the mystery of faith is like little children believing in something that's not falsifiable because it's a set of non-testable hypotheses that nonetheless the presence of which the reality of which nest in our hearts, it's that little bit of knowing, the little bit of knowing about the divine. 

It's a clue, but at the same time, we can't apprehend it with our scientific techniques. That's the beauty of it. That's the mystery of faith. That's what creates the relationship in the same way. By the way, I have no physical evidence of the undying lifelong love I have for my wife, but I know it exists because I can feel it. I know it exists. And on my best day, she knows it exists, too. 

And so, this is an important thing. One more point on this. You know that the corruption of the whole idea came from the Soviet Union, which was an atheistic society, as most formerly communist societies are. And one of the stupidest, most ham-handed moves from the Soviet regime was to try to shake the faith of Westerners. 

And in the 1960s, there was a pronouncement, there was a news release from the Soviet Union, and they said that the cosmonauts had headed up into orbit and looked straight out into space and had not seen any evidence of God, which is, of course, crazy, because once again, that's staring at a Picasso and saying, I can't see Pablo Picasso inside this painting. 

That's evidence that there is no such thing as Pablo Picasso. The painter in the painting can't create evidence of each other. It's just not the way it works. And we need an integrated spirituality and scientific set of sensibilities that can allow us to appreciate both to be a full human person, which is a physical being existing in a spiritual world and a spiritual being existing in a physical world simultaneously.

00:52:21

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah. It's making you reflect on some of these developments that have been happening in science as well over the last about hundred years, these impossibility theorems like from Goedl and the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. 

And, you know, I think perhaps more recently, just in broader society, on the one hand, a hunger for more transparency and clarity about what are the facts and what is true and making news not fake, but on the other hand, also stumbling into the impossibility of having that quest to be fully materialized purely based on institutions and experts. 

You know that out there, you know our capacity to lean on any of these outer resources. You know, every now and then we get behind to discover some fallibility in science, some replication crisis that is making us go back and relook at a study from twenty years ago, which was very storied for twenty years and embraced by the whole world. But then it's been replaced by something else now. 

And, you know, one of the things that I've been working on in my teaching and work out there, I think very much aligned with the ideas you're offering here is the notion of, like Outer, the search for truth and then the search for truth. And ultimately, each of us needs to cultivate some inner channel through which we can feel and sensitivity to what is true, because how much can we really trust, you know, the long-term viability of any idea or thought that is emerging from the outside, given the history of what we've seen?

00:54:00

Arthur Brooks: Absolutely. People have a very low level of trust in themselves. And one of the things that I see, I'm sure you. With your business students at Columbia, so I see with my students at Harvard, they know everything in the world, they know all the facts in the world. 

But the one thing they don't understand very well is the nature of their own desire. So, it's the most amazing thing. So, the students will know they'll grow up and they'll go to high school. And what do you want? I don't know. I'll go to college and that will show me what I want. They're so used to being presented with facts and knowledge that they're pretty sure that the world will show them what they want. 

What is the nature of their own desire? You can't find it that way. You can only discern the nature of your desire through individual contemplation, through actual introspection. In my view, through prayer, it's the only way to do it. And so, then they'll graduate from college and they're at loose ends. I have every number of conversations with people from very, very good colleges who don't know what they want to do. They have no concept; they have no compass. 

And the reason is that they haven’t done the work that's required introspectively and requires real work. By the way, what I always recommend is that they take a three-to-four-month period and that they take 15 minutes a day every day. And that's not quite enough, by the way, as you as you know, and adjust with a notebook, start writing lists of things you like, lists of things that you want to do, such that you can become more aware of the nature of your own desire, the things that are written on your own heart. You need more expertise in you. 

You need to write the book on you. And then for those that are spiritually adept enough or ready for it, that they need another couple of months of praying for we as Catholics, we pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament where we believe that that Christ really resides, and to take 15 minutes a day and praying for the Blessed Sacrament and say, Lord, show me my path, revealed to me the nature of my own desire. That is, there is no replacement for that. 

We need to study ourselves in that way. If we don't, we'll always just be looking for the next book that tells us what we want, what we should do, looking for the next paper or looking for the next expert, the next guru, the next self-improvement person, the next YouTube video. That's not where you find it.

00:56:22

Hitendra Wadhwa: That is such a practical and powerful practice to offer, and it speaks a little bit to Lavinia's question here about how we can really trust and follow our own intuition more? And I think you're saying, Arthur, will you make a little bit of time for solitude, for journaling every day and making a daily commitment, even just 15 minutes, and ask these questions deeply from within yourself?

00:56:42

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, do the work. I mean, it's one of the things where if you asked if somebody asked you or me, how do I learn to play the violin, I said, well, practice the violin. How do I learn how to trust my own to intuitions? Practice your own intuitions. They will get better. You'll get better at it. We tend to think that our ideas and our desires will come to us immaculately conceived from somebody else or just in some sort of flash of recognition. 

Not at all. This, like everything else, you must get good at it. And the only way to do that is through reps and repetition and by acquiring a level of comfort with sort of the nature of your own desire. And it's amazing what you can do. Looks like we locked up a little bit there on our Internet connection. I think he should be back in a minute. All right. Just coming back in a second. It's such a beautiful conversation. We're almost at the end too.

00:57:53

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah, love it, love it, and listen, we have some really beautiful comments coming up here.

00:58:00

Arthur Brooks: Oh, yeah. Look forward to it.

00:58:07

Hitendra Wadhwa: Thanks for jumping in. And sorry about that snafu. Yeah. I mean, something beautiful that I sometimes like to you know, for those of us who are very analytical, who are like, let's solve this problem, let's fix this problem kind, would I like to invite them to think about it as though why don't you define this as the problem as opposed to think of this like outside the frame of the problem? This is the problem that you want to solve, which is like if you don't have a purpose, your purpose is to find your purpose.

00:58:36

Arthur Brooks: Right. And that's, by the way, like everything else, it's an adventure. It's an opportunity. I mean, how exciting it is to say I'm going to discern the nature of my own desire and then look for a way to meet that desire with the world that I'm trying to draw to myself. This is like Lewis and Clark looking for the Pacific Ocean, it is the most exciting thing ever. And why would we avoid the adventure of discernment of understanding the nature of ourselves? I mean, I just can't wait to get to work every day. And these days that means going from upstairs to downstairs in my house where I am right now. 

I just can't wait every day because it's so exciting. I know I'm going to find something new out about myself. I'm going to come up with some new ideas. I'm sure that you feel the same way. And every single person watching us has that journey of discovery that lays in front of them. And that can be an adventure for the rest of their lives.

00:59:34

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah, so beautiful. So, folks, I have been so swept up in this conversation, I haven't really given you a chance to ask some of your questions. We're going to maybe stay on for another five minutes or so. So, I'm happy to take one or two questions from you all as well. I know there's been a dynamic exchange going on with all of you as well and chat anyway. 

But this is the moment. If you want to ask something, Martha, that's kind of put that in front of you. Other than that, I'm going to be inviting you in the next minute or so as we start to bring this, you know, regrettably, painfully so the speedy passage of time to closure. I'd love to invite you to stop like any way you started from, which is you were sharing a few very beautiful things about your parents. And you also shared how you lost them quite young. 

And I wonder how that journey has been for you. I remember my father, you know, he even knows he passed away when he was eighty-five. He would almost have tears in his eyes when he was reflecting on him, talking about his parents. There was such a deep fondness for them, you know, and they were almost like very alive for him all through his life, although it had been decades since they had passed on. And you brought them up a couple of times in the conversation. And I wonder if you can give us a little bit more of this spirit, something like a story of something that makes us appreciate and understand these two forces who clearly have been very, very formative for you.

01:01:10

Arthur Brooks: Yeah, it's interesting because like a lot of American families, I left when I was 18 years old and I've spent very little time with them after adulthood, not on purpose, not for any reason, but because a lot of families in the United States are extremely attenuated. You find that in India, for example, there's a much closer family bond than we typically have in the United States. 

We move around a lot. I've moved 17 times since I was married. And the result is that I didn't have the closeness that I wanted to have. But after my parents died young, regrettably, I mean, my father died. I mean, not like a kid, but my father was sixty-six and my mother was seventy-three and my mother was ill for twenty years before she passed away. And at the end, I was reflecting on that, and I was with a little bit of regret that I didn't know they had had such a big influence on me artistically and spiritually and scientifically, intellectually. 

But I didn't have a relationship with them as people, as I wish I had had. And I heard my father's voice at that moment. I remember this moment of regret I was thinking about was praying about it. And my father said to me, it doesn't matter because you build the relationship that you want with your own children. And it's true, the result is that I have a different relationship with my adult children than I had with my parents, a closer relationship with my children. 

The point is there's nothing that's permanent. There is no damage that's permanently done. There's no opportunity that was missed. There's a lesson that can be learned and then an opportunity that can be taken on that basis. So I'm really close to one of my children. He's a combat Marine and he's in Japan right now. He's in Okinawa right now and he's on deployment. 

But I talk to him every day. It's amazing. And my oldest son, who teaches mathematics, graduated from college a year ago, and he's a high school math teacher and he's staying with us. And it's a blessing for my little girl who's going off to college. I mean, we're really close. And what I'm doing is I have not just the memory and the legacy spiritually, intellectually, and artistically for my parents. I now have a relationship with my parents that I'm living with my children. And that was the last gift that I got from my father. 

01:03:49

Hitendra Wadhwa: Thank you. Thank you for sharing that so, so beautiful. I love the way that not just as a reflection of the past, but really the shaping of the future and your dynamic with your own children, you're paying it forward like that. So beautiful. OK, so Barbara has a question about, you know, think about these movements across these stages that you're going to talk about in your book, From Strength to Strength, what are those things, external or internal, that gets you to really decide that this is the moment I need to kind of transition?

01:04:23

Arthur Brooks: They become relatively self-evident. And so, you see the opportunity for growth, usually with a stimulus of what we would interpret as misfortune or pain or even trauma. So, here's the thing to keep in mind. 

When you experience a loss or a defeat, that is and that is a signal to you that there's an opportunity in your life now. Now, why do I say that? I'm not trying to make lemonade out of lemons here. This is just a fact. Entrepreneurs in any walk of life where other people see misfortune and regret, they see opportunity. They say, you know, everybody says, I hate this place. There's no good bars and restaurants in this part of town. The entrepreneur says that's an opportunity to put a bar or a restaurant in this part of town. That's the same attitude that we need to have about our lives. 

The signal to you that it's time to grow is pain. That's one of the reasons that pain is always associated with meaning. People don't say, oh, the funnest day of my life. That's who I realized who I was. That was my sense of purpose and meaning that it was like when I got fired from my job, when my relationship ended, when I failed out of college, that's when I really understood who I was. 

That's when I was able to see that it was time for me to grow. And with these borders between the ashram, us between half and born across the sometime around age 50, your results may vary like they like to say in the drug industries, but the point is you're going to start to feel some pain, some discomfort, some disorientation that you've become a stranger in places where you were once not a stranger. That's a signal to you that it's time to grow, that it's time to explore. It's time to move.

01:06:17

Hitendra Wadhwa: Yeah wow, that's powerful. I mean, you left us with so much insight, much of which I encourage your audience to really come back and listen to, because, you know, it takes a while to process it all, which is why you see me at times being in a state of silence. You know, as I've just been observing the essence of what it is that I'm hearing from you. You know, I want to be close out then with the final invite for you, because you share with us your big dream for the next decade of your life. What is it that you're seeking to manifest for yourself, your family and for the world?

01:06:56

Arthur Brooks: You know, I'm a simple man. My goal in life is to get to heaven and take as many people with me as I can. And the way that manifests in a secular sense is I want to lift people up and bring them together. I thought an awful lot about that when I retired from my last position, I was the chief executive of a think tank in Washington, D.C. It was a very high-pressure job, a very public job. And I retired from that. I mean, retirement is how we talk. I wasn't going to stop working, but so what do I want to do with the rest of my life? And the answer was, I want to create a movement, a self-generating movement that will outlast me, where we lift each other up and we come together as people, which is to say, I want to create a movement that is the spirituality and science behind the art of happiness. And that's what I'm trying to build. I'm trying to build that for general audiences. 

I'm trying to teach a class called Leadership and Happiness for people at the Harvard Business School and for executives around the world. I do a lot of guest teaching and what a joy it is because I'm able to write and think and speak and share ideas. But fundamentally, that's the idea behind it, is to share uplift with other people, to share love with other people, to share happiness. 

That comes from the idea that we are all sisters and brothers. That's the legacy that I want to bring, because it all comes down to the who I am that gets that's get back to what I learned from Johann Sebastian Bach, the who I am, the why I'm trying to do this, what I'm dedicating myself to the next 10 and 20 years or how many years I have left on the planet is to glorify God and to refresh the soul. And if I can do that with my work as a social scientist, as a Christian social scientist, I'm just the luckiest man on the planet.

01:08:42

Hitendra Wadhwa: You know, I really bow to that spirit in, you know, I'm there. This has been a tremendously powerful and a wonderful purpose for you to articulate. You know, I want to get to heaven, and I want to take as many people with me, you know, such a such a beautiful thoughts to leave us with and wish you Godspeed in your journey, both for yourself and those that you will continue to impact growing these in the months and years ahead. 

We're all looking forward to your book. I've seen so much conversation about it here and chats as well. And yeah, have a wonderful summer. I look forward to having you back here in our midst on the show when perhaps when you release your book next as well.

01:09:20

Arthur Brooks: Thank you. God bless you for your important and inspirational work. I love everything that you write. I'm a fan of what you're doing, and I feel like we're fellow travelers in this movement. 

And we have a lot of people who are watching us today and who are going to watch us virtually later, who can be part of this movement as well, to bless others, to lift them up and to bring them together and for all of you for being part of that. And to you, especially Hitendra. Thank you very much. And I'll say yeah. Thank you.

01:09:49

Hitendra Wadhwa: So, folks, I really don't want to add a whole lot more to what has been such a profound discourse, isn't it, with the author so much to reflect on, so much power and punch to those words and those ideas and then to authors on energy. 

And I want to honor that space that we have created between you and him and now through that within you to be perhaps at your reflective best, those ideas that you most resonated with from what he's saying and materialize them into something tangible for yourself and those that you are serving. So, we will come back to you through email to help introduce you to our next guest speaker in a couple of weeks. I look forward to having you back in that moment. 

You have a wonderful next couple of weeks yourselves. And I encourage you to do deeper reflection and perhaps some sharing of the ideas and thoughts that you most connected with from Arthur today. All right. Thank you for joining us. All the best. Take care and Godspeed to you as well.



Coming Soon!

Building Empathy in a Fractured World
With Jamil Zaki, Renowned Stanford Professor and Empathy Researcher
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Making a Dent in the Universe
With Nilofer Merchant, Innovation Expert and Visionary Leader
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