Slow Down

Positive psychology, slowing down, and reflecting on rituals, relationships, and restrictions.

Victor Saad


Welcome to issue No. 13 of Work Different — a weekly summary of the top articles focused on workplace culture and career development.

On Positive Psychology

It’s no secret that this year has been hard for many people around the world. The challenges can be all-encompassing — which is unproductive to our mental health and ability to maintain a positive mindset. In this TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” psychologist Shawn Achor shares the belief that the ingredient to better work and overall happiness is positive thinking. Achor challenges the myth that doing more work and seeking greater success is the pathway to happiness. Rather, he proposes that happiness is a mindset that we can cultivate. He recommends a few ways of creating a lasting positive attitude in our daily lives: 3 Daily Gratitudes, Journaling, Exercise, Meditation, and Random Acts of Kindness. Success does not always lead to happiness. But happiness will lead to success. TED

On Slowing Down

Much of our recent progress as a society is based on creating products and systems that reduce friction and improve efficiency. In this piece, Barry Schwarts argues that sometimes too much efficiency can become detrimental. For instance, the invention of credit cards allows for purchases on credit, which means people are often willing to pay more for an item with a credit card than with cash. The effort to make transactions more efficient has created the potential for irresponsible purchasing and debt accumulation. Similarly, the international supply chain of goods has been seen as “efficient,” until the pandemic brought that to a halt and we were faced with a shortage of PPE to protect our healthcare workers when the pandemic first took hold. Schwarts concludes that we may not need to be moving at full-speed all the time. In fact, “A little something to slow us down in the uncertain world we inhabit could be a life-saver. Building friction into our lives, as individuals and as a society, is building resilience into the system.” Psyche.

Credit:  Ludovic Nkoth

On Rituals, Relationships, and Restrictions

Regularly, we ask or are asked the question, “Where are you from?” For some, this question is easy to answer and doesn’t elicit any followup questions. But for others, the question can often be followed by statements such as, “Oh, I meant where are you really from?” or “Really? But you speak English so well!” For people of color, people with immigrant families, and people who are adopted, their birthplace may not accurately represent their lived experiences. In her Ted Talk, writer Taiye Selasi suggests that we should learn to replace the question “Where are you from?” with “Where are you a local?”  Our experiences, more than our birthplace, make up our identity. Selasi says, “We’re local where we carry out our rituals and relationships, but how we experience our locality depends in part on our restrictions.” Give this talk a watch and think about how your rituals, relationships, and restrictions shape who you are and how your co-workers experience life in America.  Facebook link here. Full Ted Talk here.


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Victor Saad


I’m an author, educator, and community builder living in Chicago. I started Experience Institute, an organization helping college students and career professionals learn and grow through short-term, real-world experiences.

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