Thursday, April 19, 2012

40 Pieces of the Happiness Puzzle - Part 4

The Happiness Puzzle

Feeling happy is a state of being most everyone wants to experience. There are many ways to experience feelings of happiness, with certain methods working better for some than others. 

This post is the 4th installment in a series on happiness, which began with Sensory Hedonism, followed by Achievable Challenges, and Serving Others

#4: Expertise

Authoritative pattern-matching aligns us with a top ranking position in an area that interests us. While some people become experts in many areas, it is often times easier to choose a subject that interests you and then take the time to delve deeply into it until you understand all relevant aspects surrounding the subject and are in a position to contribute or offer valuable insight of your own. 

Sustaining expertise in any given field requires an ongoing commitment. However, by the time most people have expertise in a field, they have simultaneously developed a network of people to help them stay there. Take for instance - office skateboarding...

Office Skateboarding is a Six Sigma Middle Management Sport that involves riding and performing office tricks using a skateboard. 

While Office Skateboarding could be considered a recreational activity, it is a process that results in more memos geting hand delivered and most all office personnel showing up to meetings "on time," with more than 85% of all Office Skateboarders reporting that they cut their "return to my desk when the boss pulls up" time by approximately half. 

While not everyone is agile enough for Office Skateboarding, there are an endless amount of subjects from which one could choose to develop expertise. 

Playing football or singing, underwater basket weaving or welding, watermelon swinging or humor studies, wherever your interest lies, staying current in your field of knowledge is critical. 

Conferences offer an ideal environment whereby (if you don't die of boredom sitting day-after-day in stuffy conference rooms drinking stale water and imagining yourself Office Skateboarding rather than listening to the presentation) you can meet other experts. 

Robotic Engineering, Medicine, and Rocket Science are really cool areas in which to hold expertise. Short of these three fields, everything else is about the same. 

Irrespective of this opinionated fact, experts are socially valued, especially when their knowledge or skill is useful or of interest to others. Humor experts are particularly respected given that most people enjoy laughing. 

This recognition and social position can boost your sense of identity and increase your overall level of happiness, resulting in the feeling of pride. 

Experts are pattern-matchers, seeing complex connections and relationships within and across their areas of ability. Imagine, for example, that you have been recruited to Fight Club: the 8th rule is that you gotta fight. 

Follow the connections to see who you could beat up 
based on the expertly designed chart below: 

According to the chart, I could take down a football player. Expertise in one field often flows over into other fields. Presumably, my knowledge in the area of critical environments, my respect for athletics, sports, achievement, and human dignity, and my complete disregard for Vin Diesel after that made-for-television "(The) Pacifier" movie, positions me at the top echelon in non-related areas. 

Since the insight associated with having expertise is a key evolutionary ability, it's understandable that this expertise can lead to higher income... and there are a number of studies that indicate higher income is a contributor to happiness. 

Happiness associated with expertise can also result in the improvement and advancement of your favorite childhood games like 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' resulting in Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard Spock...

Brought to you by
The Skateboarders Society

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