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Transcript – IPPA Recap with Andrea Goeglein

Follow along with the transcript below for episode: IPPA Recap with Andrea Goeglein

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[00:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 430 of Live Happy Now. Every two years, the International Positive Psychology Association holds its World Congress. This week, we’re finding out what they were talking about.

 

I’m your host, Paula Felps. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to have some conversations about some of the takeaways from this year’s event which was held in July. First, I’m sitting down with Andrea Goeglein, who addresses some of the growing concerns about loneliness and the lack of social connections, as well as giving us a fresh perspective on the World Happiness Report. Let’s have a listen.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[00:00:38] PF: Andrea, thank you for coming back and talking to me today.

 

[00:00:42] AG: You know that it’s always my pleasure. So this is like my happy place, and thank you for having me again.

 

[00:00:48] PF: You just came back from the IPPA World Congress, which is an International Positive Psychology Association World Congress. It has been a minute since it was able to –was this the first one that was able to take place person to person?

 

[00:01:00] AG: Well, they actually had one in ’21, but it was virtual. This is the first in-person for four years.

 

[00:01:08] PF: Because it doesn’t happen every year. It’s every two years. First of all, going into it, did you have any certain sessions or certain ideas that you really wanted to explore? Or did you go there and say let’s follow what’s going on?

 

[00:01:21] AG: Historically, I never really even looked at anything other than knowing, okay, I am going, and I’m going to absorb because I always view myself as an interloper. I think I am exactly like all of our listeners. I’m the person who did not commit their life to doing the research, but I did commit my life to getting the message out. From day one, when I went to the conferences, it was like, “I’ll take whatever they’ve got.” This time, because there had been a lull, and so much seems to have happened, ‘09 was the first conference. There’s been 14 years just there of how it’s evolved.

 

So here’s what I want to give you the difference of where the science has been and where the conference has been. I did actually for the first time, unlike my extroverted personality, when I got the links to what the session programs were, I mapped out who I wanted to see and why, who I wanted to hear.

 

[00:02:32] PF: Who, that’s nice.

 

[00:02:33] AG: So to your question, yes, I didn’t wing at this time. I felt it was too precious. It had been a while. Think about how many times we’re all doing that now. I think we’re being a bit more thoughtful when we do come together.

 

[00:02:48] PF: That’s interesting. That’s something I haven’t really thought about, but I do believe you’re correct. We are more maybe judicious with how we use our time and how we spend that time together.

 

[00:03:00] AG: So you have just mentioned what the overarching theme of the conference and how the science itself is clearly moving. So the theme of the conference was connect to heart. From the time I was in positive psychology and went to the authentic happiness coaching pre-map, what it was about was the individual learning their strengths and how the individual applies these strengths. Like everything was very individually. Even with one of the founders, Chris Peterson, bringing out the other people matter message.

 

I know in my work, it was always that one-on-one. What are your strengths? How do you apply them? How do you get it better? Now, what the science has done is look at the overarching problems. Let’s just start with loneliness.

 

[00:04:03] PF: Interesting because the episode just before this that we ran last week is loneliness because it’s such an epidemic, so great. Yes, yes, jumping on that place.

 

[00:04:11] AG: Yes. I want you to know, Live Happy Now was very present in my spirit and in actual. I’ll talk a little bit about that, at it. But loneliness, what – they open the conference by basically saying loneliness is at epidemic proportions. I will paraphrase and say and we know what cures it. Okay.

 

[00:04:38] PF: Yes.

 

[00:04:38] AG: So, yes, the science is showing us is that epidemic proportion, and the same science is showing us how to – like I took away the word up-level. The science from me of positive psychology has been up-leveled from the strengths. It is how do I use my strengths and you use your strength so that together everything is stronger. I don’t care if it’s your community, the workplace, your family. It is that connect to the heart. Well, it’s connecting to the heart. Loneliness is resolved. When I connect to the heart of you at a different level than me just having an agenda that, boy, I’m lonely. I want to be with you, you know, the thing.

 

[00:05:34] PF: Right. So what did they kind of recommend as the approach for that?

 

[00:05:39] AG: Oh, well. So, first, let me say there were 130 sessions. I probably went to 15, and I’m like every other carpenter, I pick my nails. [inaudible 00:05:51].

 

[00:05:52] PF: Right.

 

[00:05:55] AG: So above all, active participation. You must self-initiate to get back out, whether it’s at the virtual level, the family level, the community level, the work level. You must know that loneliness is solved and well-being enhanced when you take an action to come together and then the techniques that we were taught a zillion years ago about empathetic listening. I’ll use you and I as an example. You and I met years ago at a taping for a show on happiness. We all had our own little bucket. But then you and I spent some time at the airport.

 

[00:06:42] PF: That’s right.

 

[00:06:43] AG: Okay. We connected through the person who – Mary Agnes made us both know about that show. What they are finding is that your ability to engage empathetically and listen for the commonality is going to help with all of the various rifts and all of the various communities. So active and active in a slightly up-leveled way where I am listening, first and foremost, for the commonality. But I’m not sharing it. Put, no one needs this more than me, masking tape on your mouth and truly just listen. Don’t listen to jump in, that type of thing. Doing those small steps actually helps increase what the relationship is, even if it’s in a shorter time period because we’re going to be meeting for shorter time periods face to face. There are certain changes that 2020 gave us that we are going to be using techniques better because we have to use them faster.

 

[00:08:11] PF: Oh, that’s interesting. Let me ask you one more thing related to that, though. In a world where most of us are on social media, people have gotten so used to sharing their message, promoting their brand. People consider themselves a brand now, not just a person, and they’re so busy sharing their message that we’re forgetting how to listen. So how does someone reacquire those listening skills? How do we start doing that empathetic listening and learn to step back and not interject?

 

[00:08:44] AG: The one thing about science knowing the answer is we still have to do the activity. It’s so interesting. We actually have everything we need to have better levels of life satisfaction. What we miss or what we don’t commit to as strongly is applying it, doing the steps such as coming together. One of the suggestions, this came up a lot in work, texting, emailing, not the best way to build the relationships. Go back to more phone calls. This medium works. Whatever time you’re taking, so many times what you put in an email doesn’t need to be an email. It’s not fact points or a report. But we’re using email or texting. Pick up that call. Do re-initiate.

 

Just because social media has become more brand-oriented, we are giving up or sacrificing and forgetting we control everything. We have the choice. This science gives you the strength, no pun intended, to engage at that level. So it’s an action.

 

[00:10:20] PF: Yes, yes. I love the idea of picking up that phone once in a while and getting more accustomed to that. Because I was joking with a friend within the past week because she had texted me to say, “Can I call you?” It’s like remember when we actually like had to take a chance. You picked up the phone and hope it’s somebody you wanted to talk to. I think we’ve lost a lot by not having that ability to just pick up the phone and call someone. The fact that we do feel we’re intruding if we call them out of the blue. So I do love that of making it a practice to pick up a phone and call somebody. It’s amazing how much more enrichment, how much more information you get out of that.

 

[00:11:01] AG: Yes. Well, and I’ll give you two points on that. One, it’s actually a sign of what I call evolved respect. Do you have the time? Because I do that with my friends because we know how crazy we allow our schedules to become and we – what you’re really asking is do you have time to pay attention to me if I call.

 

[00:11:22] PF: Oh, I love that. I love that framing.

 

[00:11:23] AG: Okay. So as a habit to actively engage more, I use that technique because then I can say no this time or schedule. But I’ll tell you a funny thing that just happened to me yesterday. I have a very diverse background. I’ve lived in all sorts of parts of the country and done all sorts of things. I have a media platform, yada, yada, so a lot of people in my life. One person from 40 years ago kept coming to mind, and I’m in contact with them maybe twice a year. We had a 12-year period where we were really together.

 

I originally was going to text them but decided – when I knew I had some time, I picked up the phone. Funny thing, I couldn’t leave a message because his voicemail was full, which is something that happens a lot. So I text him instead and just said, “Hey, I’m just thinking about you,” this, this, and this. Next thing I know, he calls. Well, I ragged on him about the voice message. He said, “What is it? You want to make sure that like please don’t call me?” So I would urge your listeners to check that habit because I know that I encounter that a lot, full voice messages.

 

I will also tell you, I’ve done a very funny thing on my own voicemail, which I like to use to make people smile. So my voicemail currently says some version of please leave your number. Then, “I’m making a lot of changes in my life. If I don’t get back to you within 24 hours, you happen to be one of them.” Now, I got that from Joe Dispenza, but I love it. Then I say, “I hope I made you laugh,” because that’s always been a goal for me that my ability to respond is going to increase.

 

This goes across the board for all of us. So this is actually we will respond to people who made us feel lighter, who made us feel like more vulnerable, more receptive. So I make that statement in a way to say, okay, lighten up because don’t think I won’t get a text about like, “Did you not return my call because I no longer matter,” kind of thing. It’s great.

 

[00:13:39] PF: Exactly. I love that. I love that. So you talked a lot it seems like about loneliness and connection. What would you say was another thing that really made a big impression on you at that IPPA?

 

[00:13:51] AG: Okay. So know that we started with the World Happiness Report, and one of them –

 

[00:13:55] PF: Oh, yes, yes, which we talked about here a while back.

 

[00:13:59] AG: Right. Okay. So one of the great things, now, if you take the theme of up-leveling the science, going from strengths of the individual to strengths of the group. Then one of the respectful things we were asked as the audience. For those like that are listening to us that are practitioners and disseminators of the information in your audience, what they said is one of the greatest problems, the theme was how do we get this message out to the mass audience in an accurate way. Because as you probably know, when the World Happiness Report comes out, what’s the thing the world knows about? What’s the –

 

[00:14:39] PF: All they know is the happiest countries in the world. Some of them will know that US isn’t doing that great. We cannot crack the top 10 to save our lives. They know that the Scandinavian countries are crushing it. That’s what we know.

 

[00:14:52] AG: Bingo. I know that I don’t even look at the list because Norway, Finland, Sweden can be the happiest places in the world.

 

[00:15:00] PF: Denmark. Yes.

 

[00:15:01] AG: But they’re also the coldest ones in the world. I’m not going there. That’s all there is to it. I’ll visit. But, no, no, I’m not to stay. So we – taking in information, it’s an example of how the media uses us and how we have to take back control. I’d love to read the part of the World Happiness Report. True to my statement, if you don’t do the free stuff, my fee is not the problem. The World Happiness Report is free. Type in World Happiness Report. Download the sucker.

 

Although the media talks to us about country rankings, and then we get unhappy because we aren’t able to crack the code, here is an interesting finding that they have, under happiness, the very first agenda item. Once happiness is accepted as the goal of the government, this has other profound effects on institutional practices. Health, especially mental health, assumes even more priority, as does the quality of work, family, life, and community.

 

Now, you talk in our language. Well, we have problems in those areas. So if our government would make it a focus, not make the focus mental health only. But how do we up-level the components of not happiness the emotion, which is different from me and you, but that overarching well-being, life satisfaction, all of the components that are truly governmental and community issues?

 

What the conference did was take a report that a lot of us know the top line of but say, “Wait a minute. What action can I take?” The action is start working towards your community, looking at mental health not as a social dilemma and a social disease but as a component that needs to be solved in a connection way so that overarching our community and our policies work better.

 

[00:17:20] PF: That’s interesting because how then does an individual that’s such a huge problem to solve, and that shift is not going to turn around quickly. So how does the individual who’s listening say, okay, I can be a small part of this, and how do they do that? What action was it determined that they can take?

 

[00:17:39] AG: I’m going to use an analogy that my dad used to use with me, and it had to do with I may not be able to clean up the junkyard. But I’ve got a broom, and I can clean my stoop.

 

[00:17:52] PF: I like it.

 

[00:17:52] AG: The problem media does to us and we’ve done to ourselves by accepting it. Don’t try to solve the world happiness problem. I don’t even give a flip about the world happiness scale. I do care about my square block. I do care about the policies that impact how safely I can cross the bleeping street. I do care that if I get safe crosswalks that other neighborhoods that may not be as affluent have equally safe crosswalks. That’s how you do it. You look at what does my square block need and how can I do that. Then build on it from there. Don’t fall into the trap of globalizing because catastrophizing and globalizing are two of the things that take away our optimism. It works at every level.

 

[00:18:48] PF: So it really comes down to looking at your immediate tribe and saying, “All right, what are my strengths? What are theirs? How do we do make this small difference together?” I love that.

 

[00:18:58] AG: Okay, and I’ll give you another one. So meaning and mattering. The up-level station was, historically, we talked about meaning meaning. Again, that’s a very individualized how do I find meaning. Well, what we found the mattering part, the new up-level is the mattering part because I find meaning when what I do at every level of work, life, family, when actually I can sense the impact on you. That went across the board. That became the nuance. That’s just one of those aspects that it seems like we’re talking about the same thing, meaning and mattering. But it’s the difference between individual and then realizing that the satisfaction you get is from how others are impacted.

 

[00:20:02] PF: Interesting. Boy, we could do a whole episode on that. That is really, really –

 

[00:20:05] AG: Oh, and do I have books for you.

 

[00:20:07] PF: Yes.

 

[00:20:10] AG: Do I have books for you.

 

[00:20:11] PF: Yes, you do.

 

[00:20:13] AG: Yes, yes. I walked away – having this conversation, as I said, 130 different things about schools and well-being and the isolation, the use of psychedelic drugs. I mean, the topics were deep. If I was to leave anyone with anything, the things that I cared about the most was the shift from the meaning to the mattering and strengths, the importance of strengths at a different level.

 

One of the many researchers that I love a lot is Ryan Niemiec.

 

[00:20:47] PF: I love Ryan since [inaudible 00:20:48].

 

[00:20:48] AG: Okay. How can you not love Ryan? A man who has devoted his life to values in action, and he lives it. From his Positive Psychology Goes to the Movies books, what Ryan and his teams have been finding out is that when you add the strengths, the difference between adding strength to the mindfulness. Your particular strengths apply to the mindfulness in all the various things that you do in life is what then increases the life satisfaction aspects.

 

Again, seems like we’re saying the same exact things, but we’re not. They’ve up-leveled it. They have found the deeper way for the things such as mindfulness and enhancing your spiritual connection because spirituality is that attribute where there is a oneness mindset. That oneness mindset builds on the same theme. That whole we’re in this together. They took that theme, the wearing this together theme of 2020, and have looked deeply at what does that really mean when it’s in action.

 

[00:22:09] PF: That’s what really needed to come out of the pandemic because there were a lot of lessons learned about ourselves and our relationships and both good and bad. To have that new application, I think, is really important for us to be able to take away. It’s like we have to have learned something from that. We have to have changed something because of that.

 

[00:22:33] AG: For me, that is the greatest. I think it opened up some of the greatest potential for the future, starting with the most obvious of how we valued certain jobs in our society and what it will mean for us going forward to keep valuing. The US is a service economy. We know that those jobs and satisfaction in those jobs helps build the economy because I know I’m to the point. You do too with the tipping. There’s lots of articles right now on tipping and the backlash. I’m going to say I’m a very generous tipper, and I’m getting cranky.

 

[00:23:16] PF: Yes, I know. I don’t want to start at 18%.

 

[00:23:19] AG: In ’20 and ’21, I was wanting to make sure you could pay your rent. Now, it’s like, “Could you at least be accurate on the stuff when we’re interacting?”

 

[00:23:28] PF: I know.

 

[00:23:29] AG: It is there but they’re in lies, what we are learning. We go through. There was a great line by the man who heads the Center for Good Science in Berkeley. His last name is Hanson. I think it’s Rick Hanson.

 

[00:23:46] PF: Oh, yes.

 

[00:23:48] AG: Yes. One of the greatest challenges that we have is our brains on bad things is like Velcro. On good things, it’s like Teflon.

 

[00:23:57] PF: Exactly.

 

[00:23:58] AG: Okay.

 

[00:24:00] PF: I would say relative to the lessons that 2020 gave us the opportunities is we have the choice of holding on to the good stuff and continuing to up-level the stuff that was a problem because we’ll be refining our economy and our ability to interact in it in a more positive way than when we were making widgets.

 

[00:24:27] PF: I love it. Andrea, that is so insightful. I do want to ask you before I let you go.

 

[00:24:33] AG: Okay.

 

[00:24:34] PF: Positive psychologists, we’ve talked about it’s a relatively new discipline, and it’s maturing, and it’s changing. How have you – since you’ve been in it a long time, you’ve been there.

 

[00:24:45] AG: Long time.

 

[00:24:46] PF: How have you seen it mature, and where do you see it being different right now? Not just the conference but positive psychology as a discipline.

 

[00:24:55] AG: Yes. So this is really interesting. The scientific model forces an artificial. We’ve got to have a sample that has a known outcome that we can say this about this group. What I heard, particularly from the president of IPPA, because her background is in genetics, our ability to individualize the findings, whether it be on life satisfaction, what causes happiness, how to overcome the loneliness, our ability, what well-being is to me, I mean, they have a zillion definitions. That’s a problem for science, except it’s not. They’re working towards not making that the hurdle. That you can continue to create work that, in fact, helps impact people and also do good science. They’re now staying in what I see is a more both lane. They’re not going to give up the good model of what how you study science, but they are also looking to and respecting the individualized differences along the sphere. That matters a lot.

 

[00:26:16] PF: Yes, it does. It does. That’s terrific. Andrea, you know we’ll come back and talk about more of this later.

 

[00:26:22] AG: We will.

 

[00:26:23] PF: Later. But I appreciate this. I did. I wanted to do a follow-up. I knew you’d be a great person to talk to about it, so I appreciate you spending this time with me and telling us about it.

 

[00:26:33] AG: Thank you.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[00:26:38] PF: That was Andrea Geoglein, talking about her takeaways from the International Positive Psychology Association’s World Congress. If you’d like to learn more, just visit us at livehappy.com and click on the podcast tab.

 

That is all we have time for today. We’ll meet you back here again next week for an all-new episode. Until then, this is Paula Felps, reminding you to make every day a happy one.

 

[END]

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