Written by : Transcript – Rediscover Your Sense of Wonder With Monica Parker 

Transcript – Rediscover Your Sense of Wonder With Monica Parker

Follow along with the transcript below for episode: Rediscover Your Sense of Wonder With Monica Parker

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[00:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 413 of Live Happy Now. We’re all born with a sense of wonder, so where does it go?

 

This week, our guest is going to tell us and help us rediscover it. I’m your host, Paula Felps, and this week, I’m sitting down with world-renowned speaker, writer, and authority on the future of work, Monica Parker.

 

Monica has spent decades helping people discover how to lead and live wonderfully. Now, she’s sharing what she has learned in her new book, The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live, Learn and Lead. Monica reminds us of the wonder we once felt, explains why it’s so important, and then gives us great tips on how to reclaim it. Let’s have a listen.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[00:00:51] PF: Monica, thank you so much for joining me on Live Happy Now.

 

[00:00:55] MP: Thank you, Paula, for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

 

[00:00:56] PF: You have written such a remarkable book, and I’m really excited to dig in and talk to our listeners about it. So, I make sure that we’re on the same page. Can you explain what you mean, when you say we’re talking about wonder?

 

[00:01:09] MP: Absolutely. So, wonder has a couple of different meanings. It’s sort of a shapeshifter as a term. We have wonder as a verb, to wonder, which is sort of curiosity. But then we also have wonder as a noun, which would be, a wonder, which might be something that would cause us to have awe. So, what I did is I wanted to link those two into an emotional experience. So, the way I describe wonder is it’s an emotional experience that starts with openness, moves into curiosity, then into absorption, and then into awe. It’s actually almost like a cycle. So, the more that we experience any of these different components, the more likely we are to experience them in the future.

 

[00:01:51] PF: It’s something that’s very overlooked, and it’s undervalued. One of the first things that struck me as I was getting into this book is wondering what made you decide that you wanted to study it. Can you take us back to why this topic? Because next we’re going to talk about why it’s so difficult to study. Why? Why did you want to do this?

 

[00:02:12] MP: Sure. So, my whole life, I have been helping people manage big change, existential change. My work as a homicide investigator, obviously, helping people deal with the fact that the state wanted to deprive them of their life. Working with parents who have children with disabilities, and that is a big change in their expectation of raising a child. And then even working in corporate environments where people are losing their job. That is an existential change. It’s a huge ego blow. So, I actually set about to research and to write a book about change management, which in retrospect, is pretty freaking boring. So, I’m glad I didn’t do that.

 

And then when I started doing the research, and also reflecting on my own life, I don’t think I had the language for it when I was observing it through time. But I realized that people who held their world in a sense of wonder, were more buoyant. They were more resilient and able to handle what life threw at them. So, that just sent me down wonder rabbit hole, and four years later, here we are.

 

[00:03:08] PF: Well, it was four years that was well spent, because this is a wealth of knowledge, and you touch on it in ways I had never even thought of. We’ll get into that later. But one of the things you do bring up is why it’s so difficult to study wonder. I found this really interesting. Can you talk about that? Because that might explain why no one else is – I’m not saying no one else is doing it. But there’s not a lot out there about it, and tell us why?

 

[00:03:35] MP: Well, for starters, because it’s a component emotion, right? It has a lot of different elements. Most people, if they wanted to study, say wonder, would just study awe. but I felt that that was too narrow. Because in fact, awe, it feels like something that is brief and fleeting. But more research shows now that we can have awe in everyday life. The other challenge is that just to study the catalyst of big wonder. So, awe, it’s very difficult to find something in a lab that will give somebody a sense of actual awe or wander. In these lab environments, either they’re putting somebody through an MRI machine, which is like the big doughnut where you have to stay totally still, or they put on this tentacle helmet for an EEG.

 

So, it’s all very stilted. It’s very difficult to study. What you end up studying is people’s perception. So, they report to you how they feel. Of course, that’s how a lot of psychology research is run, but it just becomes quite difficult to pin down the detail of why people are feeling these things, the intensity that they’re feeling, the consistency. So, it’s really difficult, in fact, a study any emotion and particularly difficult to study one that is meant to have such a grand reaction in our brains.

 

[00:04:56] PF: Right. I love how you put it in the book, because you say, wonder is part science, and part soul, and I absolutely love that. Can you help us understand how you came to that conclusion through your research? And then what does that mean to us?

 

[00:05:12] MP: Absolutely. So, there were a few questions through the research where the scientists would either demur and say, “That’s not something that’s really in my purview.” And some of them would just say that’s not an answer that a scientist can answer. That is for the philosophers. I talk about the big questions, so we can answer something like, “Why do I feel pain when I put my hand on a stove?” But we can’t answer using science at least, why does matter give rise to consciousness? Why, as humans, are we conscious? That’s when we start to get into philosophy, religion, that’s the soul part. And I was really conscious that I didn’t want this book to be woo. I grew up in a household. It was great. But I wanted there to be enough science that people understood that there was something real here. But there is a point at which the science just doesn’t explain everything that we experience, and that’s when we get into the soul.

 

[00:06:08] PF: Yes, and I think that’s something that’s so important about this book, because live happy as always science base, and there’s so much science in it, but it is such an enjoyable read. It’s very funny. I love your friend in the first chapter. He was amazing. So, it is. There’s a lot of levity to it. But it’s all backed up by science, and I really love that about the book, just as an aside. So, when we’re talking about wonder, are we all born with a sense of wonder? Because I think about – I really thought back to childhood when everything was new, or when I’m now with, like a friend’s children or grandchildren, and everything’s exciting. Is wonder something we all have when we come into this world?

 

[00:06:48] MP: Absolutely. Wonder is a universal emotion. The scientists have proven this. It is something we’ve all felt, and absolutely, when we’re born, babies are little wonder machines. I mean, you can see, their eyes are wide open. It looks like they’re tripping out all the time or just absorbing, and what’s really happening as they’re doing that, is they’re building what’s known as schema. So, schema are the building blocks of how our brains react to the world. It’s basically the lens through which we see the world.

 

As the schema build up, then our brains start to say, “Oh, I’ve seen that. I understand that.” And they try to put it into a box and explain it away. But when you’re children, everything is new, and so everything does create a sense of wonder. Everything does re-path your neural pathways and build the lens through which you see the world. But the problem is, is as we become older, we get a bit calcified. We feel that we don’t have as much to see that has wonder in it. And that’s one of the challenges is getting people to really be present enough to see through the eyes of a child, to see like a beginner. I love – [inaudible 00:07:52] says that, “Always be beginning.”

 

[00:07:56] PF: So, are there people who maintain that? Because some people seem to have a greater sense of, “Oh, my gosh, look at that.” Even though they’ve seen that sunset hundreds of times, and they’ve seen things, but everything sparks them. So, is it kind of like a character strength? Or what is it?

 

[00:08:11] MP: Within the wonder cycle, you’ve got openness, which is an openness to experience, which is a personality trait. Openness to experience, as a personality trait, one of the big five is going to be half set by your genetics, and half set by your experiences, by the time you turn 25. That latter set is really important. It’s why the way we teach our children, literally forms their brain, et cetera. But by the time we’re about 25, our personality is pretty set. Curiosity is both a state and a trait. So, what that means is that it can be dialed up based on what we’re experiencing in our environment, or it is also – it has some elements that are just who we are, as in our personality.

 

Absorption and awe appear to be just a state. So, it’s what happens in our environment. There are certainly people who are more prone. But one of the messages that I want to deliver is that wonder is not about a moment. It’s about a mindset. So, there are some people whose mindsets are going to be more naturally wonder prone. They’re going to be much higher in openness to experience. They’re going to be higher in trait. Curiosity will say, but certainly we can build a mindset that makes us more wonder prone.

 

[00:09:25] PF: Let’s talk about that. How do you create a wonder mindset? And how do you know if you have one?

 

[00:09:31] MP: Well, there’s actually an assessment that people can take on my website to see how wonder prone they are. It’s based on the science, but it is just for fun. So, it will give you an indication. I haven’t been able to test it and do all of that yet, but it is based on, and you’ll be able to see the different scales that it’s based on from different scientists.

 

How can we build a wonder mindset? One of the first ways and the ways that is really primary is through what I call slow thought. This is any way that we can slow down our minds to be more present, to be more observant, in our environment. Those are things like meditation, narrative journaling, gratitude, nostalgia, any of the things that get your mind out of the rumination and into the present moment. That is one key element. We can practice novelty and trying to grow our openness to experience.

 

Now, I say the openness to experience knowing that our personality is set, but the subset of openness to experience that actually is connected to wonder is openness to new ideas, to new thinking. So, if we can expose ourselves to new ideas, new thinking on a regular basis, that’s very helpful. Novelty, just going to new environments, meeting with new people, taking a new route. I love to talk about museums or wander factories. Those are great environments. Reading, so exposing yourself to new thinking that way. So really, novelty is another great way, and then priming ourselves.

 

So, priming is a very powerful mechanism, very easy. It’s sort of when people talk about like, the secret or manifestation, a lot of that from a scientific point of view is just that you’re telling your brain, I want to find this, and therefore it does. So, priming can be as simple as a one sentence. I’m going to find three things to make me feel wonder today. And now you’ve told your brain, there’s a reward for this. I want you to go find it. It’s just a little bit like, a bloodhound, go find it. Go, fetch. That’s what it does. It’s now been told that it’s something worth finding, and it will.

 

[00:11:34] PF: And then as you do that, well, most people hit a point where their brain automatically starts looking for that, because I know that’s how gratitude is so effective. When you start writing down, what you’re grateful for, your brain starts looking for gratitude moments throughout the day. Does the same thing happen with wonder?

 

[00:11:50] MP: Absolutely. There is an expression that says that when neurons fire together, they wire together. So, the reality is, is that any activity you do with enough practice will then become a neural pathway for good or for bad, right? This is how we have habits. So, it’s really about just building that habit, building that muscle, in order to have your brain react in that way. We know that, we can see that from master meditators, how their brain has actually changed. It literally changes the structure of their brain. So, we know that with slow thought, with novelty, these things when practiced enough, and with priming, then we can actually change our brain and it becomes a mental rut that we follow, and a positive one.

 

[00:12:36] PF: One of the challenges that, I think, people will have with slow thought is most of us feel like we don’t have five minutes of silence and getting away. I know one of your tips for experiencing wonder is to let yourself be bored. So, I love that tip. I want you to explain why that’s important, and then how do we hit that point? Because we’re so inundated with information, with noise with everything, right now.

 

[00:13:05] MP: It is a noisy world and our lives are noisy. It’s really interesting. I spoke to one scientist who was doing research on happiness, initially, and then she started doing research on awe. She says she doesn’t want to research happiness anymore, because she doesn’t believe it’s very attainable, because people don’t know what makes them happy. They miswant what makes them happy and so that’s a challenge.

 

But she went to a kite festival. It’s a beautiful day. Everybody was flying these kites and she asked them, on a scale of 1 to 10, how busy do you feel right now? People were like seven and eight, at a kite festival, on a weekend.

 

[00:13:38] PF: Really?

 

[00:13:39] MP: She’s like, “This is a problem.” She says, “Because in our brains, we just think we’re busy all the time.” Even though you know with technology and everything, we really don’t need to be as busy. So, some of this is that we fill our life with a lot of activity. One of the challenges is as well, we have that expression to twiddle our thumbs, right? The idea of being bored. Well, it’s almost anachronistic now. We don’t twiddle our thumbs. We use them quite carefully on our phone, right? Pick up our phone the second we feel bored.

 

I remember as a child sitting, and I’ll probably date myself, sitting in the doctor’s office and like flipping through the Highlights magazine to try to do the different puzzles. We don’t have that anymore. So, I think just feeling a sense of boredom and letting that uncomfortable sort of itch, creep up our spine, and then questioning how we react to it. Instead of reacting to it with the way many of us do, which is to pick up our phone, instead react to it in a way that is going to fill our brain with something that gets us closer to wonder, with something that makes us epistemically curious, or with something that helps us with slow thought. But I want to be clear, I’m not good at this. So, I know, physician, heal thyself. I’m not good at it. I know what I need to be doing. But I’m still also on the journey with every other wonder seeker.

 

[BREAK]

 

[00:15:00] PF: I’ll be right back with more my conversation with Monica Parker. But right now, it’s time to bring back Kate [inaudible 00:15:05], to talk about the adventures of Kittles. Kate, welcome back.

 

[00:15:09] K: Thank you, Paula.

 

[00:15:11] PF: So, how is Kittles loving his cat tree from Mau Pets?

 

[00:15:15] K: He absolutely loves it.

 

[00:15:17] PF: I wanted to talk to you about style because you have a really beautiful home, and sometimes it’s hard to work a cat tree into your home decor.

 

[00:15:26] K: I will just say, this cat tree, I cannot tell you enough how gorgeous it is. It just worked so well with our decor. We love neutrals and whites and it’s not obnoxious looking. It looks like a work of art you would never even guess, “Wait a second. That’s a cat tree.” It is so beautiful. But I also love that it gives back to animal welfare and environmental conservation.

 

[00:15:53] PF: Oh, that’s right. Yes. Mau Pets gives 5% back for every purchase, and it also uses sustainably sourced wood.

 

[00:15:59] K: That’s really important to me, Paula, and they also plant a tree which is incredible for every purchase. So, it’s such a good way to give back.

 

[00:16:07] PF: If you want to upgrade your kitty’s furniture, and save 5% off your order, visit maupets.com/livehappynow. That’s maupets.com/livehappynow. Now, let’s get back to my conversation with Monica Parker.

 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

 

[00:16:24] PF: Yeah, it’s such an incredible challenge. Because even if we go out and we say, “I’m going to seek wonder, and I’m going to look for three things that make me feel wonder.” For myself, I feel like still in my brain, it’s like, “Okay, get that list checked off, because you have stuff to do missy. Get back to the computer.” How do we kind of balance that, because we want this, but shutting off that busy timer in our head?

 

[00:16:51] MP: I think, carving out time for it. I mean, there’s a lot of evidence around the power of wonder walks. So, what makes a wonder walk, a wonder walk, you decide it is. I mean, it’s simple as that. There was research where they sent people, two groups of people on a walk. One group just said, “Go on a walk in nature that is beautiful.” The other group, they were primed with one sentence, find things that make you feel wonder during this walk. And the wonder walkers came back having not ruminated about their life.

 

So, they had carved out that time just to feel wonder, whereas the other walkers were ruminating about I’ve got a pack for a trip. I have this project. And the wonder walkers experienced benefits that the regular walkers didn’t. So, stress reduction that lasted for a week, lowers stress hormones, yeah, all of that. So, there are a lot of benefits. But how do we carve out the time? Well, there’s sort of an interesting irony or paradox to wonder, and that wonder actually makes us feel like time is stretched. It actually gives us a sense of time slowing down. So, we can make the time for it, it will actually make us feel like we have more time. It really becomes an additive process. If we allow ourselves that time, then it will give us that time back in our own brains.

 

[00:18:02] PF: That’s terrific. It’s kind of like when you make time for exercise, you actually have more energy, so you get more hours in your day. So, that’s same of kind of – I guess, maybe we’ve convinced ourselves like, “Hey, if you want your time to last better, then go experience wonder and we’ll come back and do that.” That’s great. One thing that you talked about that I’m really interested in, I don’t know if this is something you develop, because I’d never heard of it before, and that is wonder bringers.

 

[00:18:28] MP: That is my word. I definitely had to add to my dictionary when I was typing it.

 

[00:18:34] PF: I love it. I love this whole idea and it makes it so simple. So, explain to us what wonder bringers is, and then how we find them in our lives?

 

[00:18:45] MP: Absolutely. So, wonder bringers come in many shapes and sizes. What we know is the different elements that bring us a sense of our curiosity. They can come as nature. Nature is one of the chief areas where we feel a sense of wonder. They can also come socially. So, social wonder bringer would be like watching your child take their first steps. And then, we can have cognitive wonder bringers. And that’s the idea of like, maybe studying the folded universe or something like that. Or the question I said, why does matter give rise to consciousness? That can be a cognitive wonder brainer.

 

Then, under that, there’s so many different strains of the way that we can find wonder and they may overlap. You and I might go to the Grand Canyon, and for you, it’d be a natural wonder bringer. And for me, maybe it’d be cognitive, because I’d be thinking about the geology and the first people who saw it. These are necessarily discrete categories. But one of the things that I encourage people to do is just to consider what gives them wonder, and one of the ways to know that is what gives you goosebumps? Or what gives you those little tears that spring to your eyes? William Brown called them tears of wonder joy and I love that. These little tears that start to – and you think, “Well I’m a little bit clunked.”

 

So, that kind of idea and what are the things that do that to you, and then do more of them. I also want people to feel comfortable using the language of this brings me wonder, because I feel that so much of what brings us wonder, we may be put in the category of like a hobby, and I don’t think that that’s fair. It doesn’t give it enough gravitas. So, if you and your partner. We’ll use an example, I think it can almost be like a love language. If you’re a person who for you, your wonder bringer is going on long hikes in the woods, and your partner’s idea of a wonder bringer is going to the opera.

 

If the two of you say that, and you don’t share that, then you’re going to think, “Oh, that’s just a hobby. They like the opera. Oh, they just like to be outside.” Whereas understanding that it’s more than that is fundamental to who they are as a human. I think that that, understanding that, giving it the respect and the gravitas that it deserves to say, “No, this is a wonder bringer. This is actually what builds my mind and helps me see the world through the lens, through which I do.”

 

[00:21:02] PF: Is this something people should sit down and consciously examine and say, “What are my wonder bringers?” And really identify them?

 

[00:21:09] MP: Absolutely. Because I think the more that we identify it, then we can say, “Okay. I only have so many hours in a day. I have this much time. I have one night to go out. What am I going to do with it? Am I going to go out and have some margaritas? I love margaritas. Or if I know that music is my wonder bringer, am I going to try and go see a gig?” In that prioritizing, then you get the benefits of it. And it still can be obviously a pleasurable activity, most of the time. But recognizing that I think – and sharing it. Wonder shared is wonder multiplied. So, sharing it with your friends, even telling the story of something that brought you wonder with someone else will then amplify that experience. So, I think it’s really about using the language of wonder bringers, sharing that with other people and then prioritizing it in your own life.

 

[00:21:56] PF: Yeah, as you mentioned, if you share it with others, I think what a great weekend experience to have like a wonder weekend and you’re going to go out and you’re going to all do these things that bring you wonder, either individually or collectively.

 

[00:22:09] MP: And then sharing it. I think that would be amazing. I’m talking with a friend about even trying to put together some small like wonder weekend trips that help people find that, and tap into it, whatever that might be, maybe a cultural one, a natural one. Because I think that we get so busy. And sometimes we don’t honor those things that give us wonder. We think that they’re just nice to have as opposed to being fundamental to our spirit.

 

[00:22:36] PF: Yes. Or we think, well, you know what, I’m going to put that on the shelf for now and I’ll do it when I’m older. I’ll do it later. I’ll do it whenever it loses its magic.

 

[00:22:45] MP: Absolutely.

 

[00:22:46] PF: So, we talk a lot about like, how we find it, and what to do with it. But you have some amazing research on all the ways that benefits us. I mean, this book, if you sit down with this book, you can’t not want to explore wonder, because it changes everything. That’s what amazed me, like all the different areas of your life that it affects. I wanted to start by talking about health. And can you talk about what wonder does for our health?

 

[00:23:14] MP: It’s really incredible, physiologically, and I think this is probably one of the things that struck me the most in writing the book was the physiological impact. I think I understood cognitively that it would have an impact psychologically. But physiologically, it decreases our stress hormones. It decreases our pro inflammatory cytokines, which is fascinating. So, I’ll talk a little bit about that. So, when we’re sick, our body releases pro inflammatory cytokines to try to make us well. It’s a protein, and it releases this, and then our body counters with anti-inflammatory cytokines, and the two of them balance out, and that helps heal us.

 

But the problem is, is that when we’re not injured or sick, and our body releases pro inflammatory cytokines because of stress, or because of some condition in ourselves, then it actually creates problems for us. So, too high pro inflammatory cytokines have been linked to Alzheimer’s, to heart disease, to diabetes. This is a mechanism for balancing these pro inflammatory cytokines in your body, and it’s really – this is not junk science. This is really founded, fascinating work. There’s also evidence around the connection between wonder and biophilia and what biophilia does for pain management, for helping in recovery after surgery. So, a lot of healing that can occur from the wonder of nature as well.

 

[00:24:42] PF: That was so interesting to me, because first of all, I thought, “Oh, my gosh, if more people had had – if we had had this during the pandemic, people could have been exploring the world so much differently, because that was so difficult.” And also, as we’re looking always, we’re inundated with news about like, okay, Alzheimer’s, and how to prevent this, and have to present that. It’s so much simpler that without taking a pill, without having to do with these other things, like you have a very compelling argument for using wonder as a wonder drug, type of thing.

 

[00:25:15] MP: Yes. I think, obviously, I’m not saying that wonder is going to cure Alzheimer’s, but I think it opens a door into understanding. So, what we do is say, “Okay, there’s some disease, we just don’t really understand. We do everything. We can we know exercise is going to be good for us. It’s always good for us. We know that meditation really helps our brains.” And I think that wonder is another way that we can just say, “All right, this is calming the reactive systems in my body. And we know that it’s connected to the vagus nerve, which really manages that rest and digest, as opposed to the fight and flight.”

 

So, if we are able to activate the vagus nerve, and we’re able to calm our reactive systems, then that’s good for us, and that will certainly help stave off certain diseases. There’s no promises that this is going to cure anyone. And I say that. I say, “This is not going to fix everything. But what it does is, I believe, it opens a window for us to have a discussion about different methodologies and approaches to healing.”

 

[00:26:15] PF: Yeah. Overall, it’s a pretty easy arrow to put in your quiver, because it’s not like, you know, meditation is challenging for a lot of people. Exercise, people don’t necessarily want to be doing that as much as they should. Eating right, same thing. And wonder, is, you’re getting an incredible benefit and an incredible experience out of it.

 

[00:26:37] MP: Absolutely. I think it’s so accessible, and I know that your podcast is about happiness. But I do keep going back to it’s so accessible, even in dark times. This is one of the things that I found most heartening about it, is that happiness really is hard for a lot of people to find. There’s this thing called affective forecasting. It’s where we miswant what we think will make us happy. We’re not very good at knowing what makes us happy.

 

Frequently also, our goal, and our desire for happiness gets wrapped up in consumerism, and stuff and the idea of hedonic happiness. Whereas wonder, we can feel in the dark times and in the light. We can maybe look at the war in Ukraine and say, “That’s terrible, I can’t feel happy about that.” But you can be in a state of wonder. You can be in a state of wonder at the resiliency of people. You can be in a state of wonder at the people that are helping. You can even be at a state of wonder at the magnitude of what’s happening there. And that, I believe, holding – I know, the research shows that holding mixed emotions, the positive and the negative, the yin and yang together, at the same time, is incredibly helpful for our resilience, and it really helps us manage traumatic experiences.

 

So, holding wonder, I think, especially during difficult times, like COVID, and the war, and all of that is really helpful. It’s really ameliorative for us.

 

[00:28:02] PF: One of the points that you bring up is to stop chasing happiness. And I really love that, because the kind of happiness that we talk about at Live Happy is not the happy, happy, joy, Joy. It’s the long term. It’s our wellbeing. It’s how content are you, overall. So, talk about how the pursuit of happiness is not making us happy.

 

[00:28:23] MP: There’s a term that I learned happychondriacs and I think that’s a really –

 

[00:28:28] PF: I need a minute for that one.

 

[00:28:29] MP: Yes. I think that that was – I read that and I was like, “Oh, my goodness, I know these people. I probably grew up with some of these people.” Or they’re like, “No neggies and everything’s positive.” It’s like, no, everything isn’t always positive. The world sucks sometimes. It’s just the reality. When we engage in toxic positivity, we are losing out on the richness of our full emotional spectrum. So, we know that people who have greater emo diversity, which means they’re able to call up a number of different emotions, so it’s not just happy, sad, angry, you a really robust multivariate number of emotions that that’s very good for resiliency, we also know that mixed emotions. So mixed emotions, like wonder, like curiosity is a mixed emotion We’ve sometimes are driven to be curious about things that aren’t very positive. Nostalgia is another mixed emotion. Gratitude can be a mixed emotion. Sympathy.

 

So, any of these mixed emotions where there is bitter sweetness. What’s known as existential longing. Susan Cain wrote a book about that. Anything that combines the happy and the sad together, the positive and the negative, that dual experience we know is very, very good for us and it’s much more attainable. So, I found it fascinating that this researcher, Melanie Rudd, who I talked about at the kite festival, she said I just don’t study happiness anymore. I study awe, because I think that it just makes more sense to study that. It’s more achievable. So, I thought that was really fascinating and the benefits are significant when you look at it.

 

The quantum of benefits for people who experienced wonder are much higher. In fact, sometimes the scientists will compare happiness to wonder when they’re testing it. They’ll compare happiness to awe. And awe has a quantum of benefits that’s greater than happiness.

 

[00:30:13] PF: I think that’s great for people to hear, because we put pressure on ourselves, the whole, I should be happy. I have this wonderful home. I have this life.

 

[00:30:21] MP: Ad then, you feel guilty. When you put guilt on top of it, it’s not helpful.

 

[00:30:27] PF: Yes. Exactly. I would love to talk about, as well, how wonder affects our relationships, because that’s the biggie for everybody. When we start practicing wonder, we experience wonder, how is it going to change our relationships, both romantic relationships, relationships within our families, and our relationships at work?

 

[00:30:48] MP: So, that was one of the things I started to study as well. And I think of wonder, almost like a love language. I think that it’s something that we should be talking about with our friends, with our partners, to say, this brings me wonder, so that that is something that then we value, and that we protect, and nurture within our relationships. I think that having wonder in the workplace can be really powerful. It makes our teams more bond in a different way. It makes them more inclusive. So, we know people that experience wonder are more welcoming to outsiders. Inclusion becomes easier. Leaders who are more wonder prone or who lead in a wonder way, are more communicative. They’re more empathetic. They’re more humble. They’re more ethical. They’re more authentic.

 

So, all of these elements that we know we seek in the workplace, and frankly, in friendships as well, there is a fascinating piece of research that showed that people when they experienced wonder, not only did they feel more humble, but their friends thought they were more humble. So, it actually changes are an affect. I thought that was fascinating. Or people who are genuinely curious. So, if you show genuine curiosity about another person, which really is the basis of empathy, right? Empathy is being genuinely curious about the human condition about someone else. People who are genuinely curious and ask questions in that curiosity, the person that they’re asking questions of will find that person more friendly, and also more attractive.

 

So, anybody out there who’s dating on the dating scene, ask genuine questions to someone with authenticity, and they will find you more attractive.

 

[00:32:25] PF: I love it. So, we’re going to give our listeners a free chapter of your book, and we’re also going to, on the website, we’re going to direct them directly to the Wonder Quiz. But where else can they start? If someone’s listening to this and decide, “I need more wonder in my life.” What are a couple of things I can start doing right now, to make that change?

 

[00:32:46] MP: Number one, you can take a wonder walk. Really, again, what’s the wonder walk? You decide it. You try things that help you find wonder. A new route, anything that gives you a sense of vastness. So, anything that makes you feel like a smaller component part of a bigger system. And then also, slow thought that’s just even taking five minutes to allow yourself to be bored, and just question what’s happening in your brain. That’s another great way. And then, I love nostalgia or gratitude or prayer. Any of those, just five minutes to reflect back on a happy time, to think about that, to journal about it, also helpful, narrative journaling. So, any of those. Just start with five minutes and see what it does and how it makes you feel.

 

[00:33:32] PF: Hat’s excellent. Monica, thank you so much, first, for writing this book. It’s a book that we need. We needed it sooner. But that’s all right. But it is remarkable.

 

[00:33:41] MP: It’s here now.

 

[00:33:41] PF: You are here now, and it is remarkable. I really hope people check it out. And thank you again. Thank you for coming on the show and talking about it.

 

[00:33:50] MP: Thank you so much, Paula. I really appreciate the kind words and it’s been delightful chatting with you.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[00:33:59] PF: That was Monica Parker talking about wonder. We invite you to check out her new book, The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live, Learn and Lead. When you visit our website at livehappy.com, we’ll tell you how to download a free preview of the book, as well as a free wonder walk poster. You can also take her Wonder Quiz or sign up for Wonder Bringer newsletter. We’ll also tell you how to find her on social media. To add more wonder to your daily feet. Just visit our website at livehappy.com and click on the podcast tap.

 

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

 

[END]

(Visited 63 times, 1 visits today)