It’s the first day of August as I write this. In Costa Rica, where UPEACE is headquartered, it’s the rainiest month of the year. In New Delhi, where my parents are, it’s finally cooling off after a sweltering summer. In Florida, where I’m writing from today, the days have been long, warm, and humid. I’ve been waking up early to go for a swim before it gets too hot and this new routine gives me a little time to introspect each morning. August is also a new beginning for those of us who are in the field of education. My 6-year old daughter, Zelia, will be beginning 1st grade this month. She was born a few days after I developed and taught the course ‘Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector’ six years ago now – time flies when you’re having fun!
Are you having fun? That is a question I frequently ask myself. Till recently, I lacked a framework for answering that question in a meaningful way. But recently, I’ve been reading a lot about the science of ‘well-being’ and there’s an acronym that I want to share with you – it’s PERMA. The P is for ‘Positive Emotion’, the E for ‘Engagement’ the R for ‘Relationships’, M for ‘Meaning’ and A for ‘Achievement’. If this intrigues you, I highly encourage you to spend some time on Dr. Martin Seligman’s homepage, Authentic Happiness. The ‘VIA Survey of Character Strengths’, a 240 question multiple-choice survey which you can take from that site told me that my top two strengths are: ‘Curiosity and Interest in the World’ followed by ‘Love of Learning’ – how did it know? 🙂
So, how’s PERMA going for me? Thank you for asking! I realize just how critical the ‘R’ is for my well-being. If I don’t pay attention that daily, it’s not a good day. Cutting down on travel was a good start, but I’m also realizing that unless I set limits to my UPEACE life, no one else will. So I have a daily repeating message in my calendar that pops up at 5:30 p.m. every evening saying ‘Quality time with my girls’. The ‘A’ is also something that I’ve been thinking about lately as I inch closer and closer to 40 (yes, I know you would never have guessed). I’ve not yet completed a triathlon nor written a book (yet) but when I think about the thousand+ alumni who I have gotten to know via the UPEACE Centre, I can’t think of any other activity that could have been as meaningful and engaging to me.
And how’s PERMA going for you?