Posts Tagged Prosperity and Well Being

Are we raising our children to be prosperous?

For fun, I just did an image search for the term prosperity.  80% of the pictures that were returned depicted cash, gold or other symbols of wealth.  But, as I noted before, wealth is only one dimension of overall well-being.

There is a ton of advice out there for teaching children the value of money.  How do we teach our children how to value the importance of being happy and productive?

It starts by fostering creativity. And I fear that in many cases we may be short-changing our youth in in that regard through the quest for competitive advantage in academia.

An education system that focuses on results rather than process, as might develop in an environment where standardised testing is the primary measure of success, for example, can overlook the fundamental skills of critical thinking and analysis in favor of repetition and memorisation.  While the short term effect might be adequate scores for the institution, long term we may unintentionally teach the children to focus on arbitrary goals at the expense of original thought.

Aileen Journey muses about this in a recent guest article on the Slow Leadership site.

In content-based, traditional education, the use to be made of the information is not as important as the fact that it gets into the child’s head and stays in long enough to take a test or write a paper. Process is learning how to think, how to approach an issue, how to analyze a problem and come up with a solution. Given the way the world works today, the process of being able to find information is likely to be more important than having that information already sitting in your head. That’s as true of management learning as it is of grade-school classes.

That’s certainly relevant, but I don’t think it goes deep enough.  Traditional content-based education doesn’t stimulate enough introspection either.  Children are taught by syllabus, by outline, by deadline and test.  In the rush to get to the result, a passing grade, they aren’t given enough time to evaluate the context of the quest.

Don’t get me wrong; there is a definite need to teach basic skills.  But successful education should go beyond that to teach reasoning, contextual awareness and, increasingly, collaborative methodology.

Leading a productive and satisfying life requires maintaining a delicate balance between insistent forces.  If you are taught, however unintentionally, that success means the tireless pursuit of an unquestioned goal, or individual performance, then the critical skills necessary to maintain that balance in life might never properly develop.

Educators have a difficult challenge.  Developing curriculum that encourages not only process development but introspection and creativity is only part of the problem.  Coming up with ways to validate the process and demonstrate its value in a way that satisfies the government, taxpayers and parents is even more challenging.

Roger Farnsworth

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Another vote for global prosperity

In line with an earlier observation here, Stewart Wallis of the New Economics Foundation got the attention of the financiers and government officials gathered in Davos for the World Economic Forum when he talked about the need to shift our priorities away from traditional measures of economic well being.  According to an article by Reuters, Wallis believes “the macro-economic text-books are works of fiction”.

(Wallis) addressed the assembled money-makers on the importance of “gross domestic happiness”, as opposed to gross domestic product.  His new economics aspire to demonstrate “real economic well-being” through sustainable living, a focus on the local, not the global, and a more equal distribution of wealth.

The explosive growth of global personal communication fosters a new, more holistic, perspective on life’s ultimate potential and allows people unprecedented visibility and access to the information necessary to integrate personal, social and business desires.

While this may initially be perceived by some as a rant against greed, in reality it is a measured argument for the world to aspire to the promise of universal achievement.

Bravo, sir.

Roger Farnsworth

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Live Long and Prosper

When I was a youngster I tried for weeks to make the cool hand gesture that Spock flashes with this iconic blessing, but I never paused to contemplate the depth of its meaning.

I was musing about the true meaning of prosperity recently. What does prosperity mean to you? Is it about money? Possessions? Power? I think that for too long prosperity’s meaning has been eclipsed by cultural bias towards wealth and profitability. True prosperity includes other issues related to quality of life.

The Legatum Institute offers a Personal Prosperiscope tool that uses a brief survey and draws on years of academic research to help you quantify your personal prosperity and compare it with others. Using this tool might help you expand your perceptions and adjust your personal goals in the pursuit of happiness.

Our personal satisfaction is linked to our relationships and priorities at home, at work and with society. One of the great things about social networking technology is its ability to weave the threads of these relationships into a more beautiful fabric.

Nurse Barb Dehn talks about life balance in her recent blog and wonders if it is just an illusion.  Interesting question, and I think it all depends on your perspective.

Roger Farnsworth

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Why Easy Street isn’t

I love the elegance and impact of simple informational graphics.

I was looking for a way to illustrate that seeking prosperity will require not just desire but effort when Jessica Hagy nailed it for me.  Props!

Jessica Hagy, Indexed

Roger Farnsworth

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