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Dr. Arthur Brooks On Success, Happiness & Deep Purpose | Rich Roll Podcast

Harvard Professor Dr. Arthur Brooks often shares his experience of being on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, when in the darkness, he overheard an elderly man sitting behind him quietly tell his wife that he might as well be dead, that nobody respects or thinks about him. For the remainder of the flight, the man's wife did all she could to console him, insisting that none of his contentions were true.

Dr. Brooks assumed that the gentleman was nearing the end of his life and was feeling down over not having met his own expectations. When the plane landed and the lights flicked on, being the curious-minded social scientist that he is, Dr. Brooks inconspicuously turned to look and was stunned to realize that the elderly man was one of the most famous people in the world, someone whose early accomplishments in life made him rich, famous, and even widely viewed as a hero, and not at all a controversial figure.

That moment made Dr. Brooks question if his long held views on how to have a happy and successful life were rooted in some fallacies - it was the spark that ignited much study and introspection which led to the publication of From Strength to Strength, a book about how to find success, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose as we navigate our way through later seasons of our lives.

At the heart of Dr. Brooks' message is the idea that much of the world promotes the pursuit of wealth, fame, pleasure, and power, but the attainment of any of these states typically leads to disappointment when we realize that they do not give us the lasting fulfillment and happiness that we seek.

Dr. Brooks contends that true success and happiness come from devoting regular time to the following four areas of our lives:

Meaningful Work

Dr. Brooks is widely featured across popular podcasts, and the one that I enjoyed most is embedded above.

From Strength to Strength by Dr. Arthur Brooks can be found here:

In Canada:

I hope you find Dr. Arthur Brooks' work to be as helpful and inspiring as I do.


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