Mike Zeidler is running a workshop at the Happier World Conference in London on Saturday 5th November. The title is ‘Make Happiness the most powerful tool in your change-makers kitbag’ – and in advance of his appearance, Mike was asked a few questions by the event organisers. Here’s what he said. If you’d like to comment, you’ll find the same article on our Facebook page here.
- What is your one tip for cultivating individual happiness?Hold things lightly – it’s my mantra. Its virtually impossible to live meaningfully without forming attachments (to people, places, ideas, activites or whatever), and at the same time life is an endlessly changing process for every body, and every thing. Holding things lightly brings me great happiness because I have the flexibility to move with life, rather than struggling with an over-tight grip. You’ve made me all philosophical!
- Do you have a daily practice for wellbeing e.g. meditation, yoga, jogging, writing, reflection etc.? If so, can you please share what you do exactly?Kind of yes and no. I’ve done a great deal of personal reflection over the years and know I was born a compulsively curious serial optimist with a talent for connection (ask me about ‘natural talents’ some day). I do quite a lot of things for my wellbeing, but more as a pick n’ mix depending on how I’m feeling. If you really press me, I’d say I practice Appreciative Inquiry every day.
- What’s your biggest challenge in following through with your cause and how have you overcome it?Our biggest challenge is that old chestnut ‘you can’t solve problems with the mindset that created them’. Happy City is designed from a systems perspective – so we’re constantly hurdling the assumptions surrounding us all in today’s conventional mindsets. I’d love to say we’d overcome it, but it’s more realistic to say change is a-comin’. We’re playing our part by doing all we can to make the unconventional conventional, through simple, playful, engaging, practical, local sharing. We tend to find what we’re looking for right? So the more curious people become, the better the conditions for transfomational change.
- What makes a happier organisation, such as a business, charity, school and governmental body etc?Freedoms make people happier. People are very good at ‘demanding their rights’, which is an idea strongly associated with sets of rules. Unfortunately, this mindset can easily lead people into judgement of others and away from their own responsibilities. If instead, we say that to enjoy a freedom for ourselves (eg. to be heard, to have a clean space or whatever), we have to give that same freedom to others – then the conversation has been changed significantly. Conflicts will still arise, but in an appreciative space of shared responsibility where escalation into antagonism and bitterness is much less likely. In our shared office space, we specify an expectation for everybody to be appreciative, open, reliable, forgiving, and solutions focussed, among other things. it works!
- What do you think we can all do to create a happier world?Challenge ideas that suggest money is king, that over-consumption is good, or that fear and competition are sensible ways to address the problems we see in the world.