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The video below is a TED Talk by Barry Schwartz.  Schwartz makes these points early in his talk: (that) "a wise person:

 knows when and how to make 'the exception to every rule'…

when to improvise…

how to use these moral skills in the pursuit of the right aims (to serve other people, not to manipulate other people)…

is made, not born.

I found this video to be very insightful with many ideas worth exploring, especially within the context of the Empowered Wealth Mindset.  Of particular interest to me are Schwartz's stories (about midway through his talk) that demonstrate how incentives override people's natural tendency to take civic responsibility, undermining morale and morality.

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Our loss of wisdom – Barry Schwartz
View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/our-loss-of-wisdom-barry-schwartz Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” as an antidote to…

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April 18th, 2014 by Ron Nakamoto

Why Wisdom Matters

"…an important sign of wisdom was “generativity,” a term used by the psychologist Erik Erikson… Generativity means giving back without needing anything in return.  The form of giving back could be creative, social, personal or financial, and the wisest people do that in a way that doesn’t see their lifetime as limiting when this might happen" – Daniel Goleman

The New York Times article below goes into some depth on the topic of wisdom, particularly as it relates to coping with aging.  As our population inevitably becomes older and the number of elderly increases, it stands to reason that elevating "wisdom" in our societal sense of values makes sense. In turn, this idea supports our work with "Narrative Wisdom" and suggests that our exploration should delve deeper and broader.

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The Science of Older and Wiser
The definition of wisdom may be hard to pin down precisely, but for those who have it, aging will be a pleasure.

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April 16th, 2014 by Ron Nakamoto

A Life Well-Lived is a Meaningful Life

The article below reviews the research on happiness and meaning.  Why does this matter?  It's important because "the pursuit of happiness" seems so ingrained in modern culture.  The research cited indicates that a life of meaning has significant benefits over a life of pure pleasure-seeking.

"…when aspiring to a well-lived life, it might make more sense to look for things you find meaningful—deep relationships, altruism, and purposeful self-expression, for example—than to look for pleasure alone… even if pleasure augments one’s sense of meaning" – Laura King, University of Missouri

The things that lead to a meaningful life are important aspects of Empowered Wealth.  Gratitude, Core Assets, Contribution…these elements are integral to the sense of meaning described in current research and are essential to the Empowered Wealth Mindset.

On a slightly different note, research done by a team led by Roy Baumeister, Florida State University concluded that "happiness involves being focused on the present, whereas meaningfulness involves thinking more about the past, present, and future—and the relationship between them."  This is interesting because much of our work with entrepreneurs and families involves deep reflection about the past and the future before focusing on thinking and decision-making in the present.

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The Difference Between Meaning & Happiness, by Jill Suttie, Jason Marsh
Philosophers, researchers, spiritual leaders — they’ve all debated what makes life worth living. Is it a life filled with happiness or a life filled with purpose and meaning? Is there even a difference between the two? Recently some researchers have explored these questions in depth, trying to tease apart the differences between a meaningful life and a happy one. Their research suggests there’s more to life than happiness — and even calls into …

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"We're driven by our desires and especially by our narratives – our personal story about who we think we are, where we think we're going.  If you can tap into that…who are these people?  What do they want?  Who do they think they are?  How do we help them feel even better about who they are?…that's where the messaging should be focused…because that will help them improve their narrative, their self-image, their identity" – Tom Asacker

In developing Empowered Wealth's TimeMap experience, I've observed that most people aren't very aware of their narratives, the stories they tell themselves, and especially of the deeper stories of their lives – the one's that really matter.  I've come to realize that one of the really valuable things that we do is help people begin the process of thinking about and organizing their thoughts about their past. It's about the stories and the learning from a lifetime.

The 36 minute video below featuring author and consultant Tom Asacker also contains some interesting ideas about beliefs and how "Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing."

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The Human Side TV with Tom Asacker
Author, “The Business of Belief”

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