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January 29, 2013

8 Great Talks About the Science & Art of Happiness

Our month of motivation continues today with eight great talks on happiness! What is happiness? Can someone sustain it, or must it always be fleeting? Learn more about finding happiness with this list of free videos from the happiness experts. Collected here you'll hear from Matthiew Ricard on the habits that lead to happiness, Nancy Etcoff on the surprising science of happiness, and many more. Learn how to find happiness in even the most troubled times, how to minimize worry despite outer stress, and how to achieve lasting fulfillment in life by clicking any of the links below:

1. The Art of Happiness in Troubled Times by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In this hour long talk, His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds the audience that it has always been troubled times, and that while the kinds of suffering changes throughout history, the suffering still remains. He discusses training oneself in compassion in order to overcome self-centeredness, fear, anger, and hatred towards others. His prescription for happiness is keeping oneself open for love and compassion no matter what problems may arise. Watch this talk on streaming video.

2. Don't Worry, Be Happy Now: The Science and Philosophy of the Happiness Movement

In this talk from UCTV, James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic, interviews The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin. Her book is subtitled "Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun", and in this talk Gretchen Rubin talks about all the things she attempted in her year-long pursuit of happiness, and all the ways towards happiness she has learned from others since her book was published. Acknowledging that different things make different people happy, she does have one piece of sage advice to make everyone happier: "Make your bed in the morning." :)

3. Understanding Happiness

In this dialogue from bloggingheads.tv, American psychologist Martin Seligman and British economist Richard Layard take a macro view of happiness and how societies can attempt to measure happiness and achieve greater levels of happiness as a whole. Layard has pushed for governments to start analyzing GWB (General Well-Being) along with GDP and other indicators for how well a country is performing. Seligman questions him about how this is measured and advocates measuring according to his own acronym PERMA (which Seligman laid out his in latest book Flourish). PERMA stands for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment/Achievement, and Seligman expounds on these points. Seligman and Layard then both take a look at the role public policy can play in leaning toward the greatest happiness for the greatest number. This dialogue can be watched on video or downloaded on MP3 audio.

Here are some more talks on happiness that we've featured in the past. A number of them are from the TED conference:

4. Nancy Etcoff on the Surprising Science of Happiness

In this fast-paced talk from cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff she looks the science of happiness and the many ways in which it is achieved along with the ways that it eludes us. She describes in basic terms the neuroscience of happiness including the importance of neurotransmitter dopamine and the hormone oxytocin. She also talks about the rise of stress, depression, and anxiety in the modern world. It's an interesting overall view of some of the recent findings in the science of happiness.

5. Dan Gilbert: Why Are We Happy? Why Aren't We Happy?

Check out this TED talk from Harvard psychologist and the author of Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert provides info from studies that reveal that what we often think will make us happy is the opposite of the case. He shows that because we have the ability to consider the future, we are much better prepared for the results and can usually be happy regardless. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.

6. Matthieu Ricard: Habits of Happiness

Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard examines happiness and well-being in this TED talk. He differentiates between pleasure and happiness as pleasure is fleeting and reliant upon circumstance. He feels that true happiness is found by training the mind to be happy regardless of the situation we find ourselves in and by tapping into the deeper happiness of the awareness that we are more than our fleeting emotional states. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.

7. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on Flow

Check out this TED talk from psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who authored the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Csikszentmihalyi talks about how he became interested in psychology after World War II when he heard a lecture by Carl Jung. Csikszentmihalyi eventually began his psychological study of how average people become extraordinary which he attributes to the idea of "flow" when one become completely involved in an activity for its own sake. Csikszentmihalyi provides many examples of individuals who have tapped into this "flow" state.

8. Hardwiring Happiness: The 7 Essential Strengths

Starting September 23rd, 2013, Entheos.com is offering a free virtual conference called "Hardwiring Happiness: The 7 Essential Strengths", hosted by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson. In this online conference, Dr. Hanson will be interviewing 7 experts on different strengths that can help you find happiness. The interviews feature Joseph Goldstein on "Mindfulness", Stephen Porges on "Resilience", Todd Kashdan on "Imagination", Marci Shimoff on "Courage", Sharon Salzberg on "Love", Kristin Neff on "Confidence", and James R. Doty on "Contentment". You can stream the videos, and video and audio downloads will be available following the launch of each video interview. Sign up with your email address to get access to the conference and get updates as new interviews become available.

Enjoy these talks on happiness and learn how to be happier today!


January 22, 2013

Obama's Second Inaugural Address & Other Presidential Inaugural Addresses

Barack Obama: Second Inaugural Address

Yesterday President Barack Obama took the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States and delivered his second inaugural address. He spoke of many of the ongoing issues he has faced during his presidency including ending a decade of war, and the ongoing economic recovery. He made many references to American history, and our collective effort to carry out the ideals of our founding fathers. This speech is available on streaming video from YouTube and on MP3 audio download from American Rhetoric.

Barack Obama: Second Inaugural Address

Go back and hear Obama's First Inaugural Address delivered four years ago:

Barack Obama: First Inaugural Address

And you might also want to go way back in time to 1995 when a younger, more relaxed Barack Obama (who was not yet a Illinois State Senator) talked about his first book Dreams from My Father:

Barack Obama Talks About Dreams from My Father

And here are some more Presidential Inaugural Addresses:

Dwight D. Eisenhower: First Inaugural Address

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: First Inaugural Address

George W. Bush: Second Inaugural Address

Harry S. Truman: Inaugural Address

John F. Kennedy: Inaugural Address

Lyndon Baines Johnson: Inaugural Address

Richard M. Nixon: First Inaugural Address

Ronald Reagan: First Inaugural Address


January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King, Jr. Speeches on Audio

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States, and we have a great many audio & video resources to help you learn about Dr. King and to hear his voice from his many recorded speeches. Our big resource page is our MLK Out Loud page which you can access here:

MLK Out Loud Resource Page

Also we have added our Martin Luther King, Jr. audio & video author page which features all of the audio & video titles we have that are directly by Martin Luther King including audio of his speeches and writings:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Audio & Video Resources Page

The best free resource for listening to Dr. King's speeches comes from Stanford University's King Research and Education Institute, which freely provides streaming audio of over 20 of Dr. King's most famous speeches and sermons:

Martin Luther King Speeches and Sermons from the King Institute

Here are the speeches you can listen to there:

28 February 1954 - Rediscovering Lost Values
5 December 1955 - Address to the first Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting
4 November 1956 - "Paul's Letter to American Christians"
7 April 1957 - The Birth of a New Nation, Sermon delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
17 May 1957 - "Give Us the Ballot," Address at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom
17 November 1957 - "Loving Your Enemies," Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
16 April 1963 - "Letter From Birmingham Jail"
23 June 1963 - Speech at the Great March on Detroit
28 August 1963 - I Have a Dream, Address at March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
18 September 1963 - Eulogy for the Martyred Children
10 December 1964 - Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony
25 March 1965 - Address at the Conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March
4 July 1965 - "The American Dream"
5 June 1966 - "Guidelines for a Constructive Church"
4 April 1967 - Beyond Vietnam
9 April 1967 - "The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life"
11 June 1967 - "A Knock at Midnight"
16 August 1967 - "Where Do We Go From Here?," Delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention
27 August 1967 - "Why Jesus Called A Man A Fool"
4 February 1968 - "The Drum Major Instinct"
3 March 1968 - "Unfulfilled Dreams"
31 March 1968 - "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution"
3 April 1968 - I've Been to the Mountaintop

And of those speeches, here are some speeches by Martin Luther King that we've featured in the past (for many of these below we link to other sources where you can listen to and even download the audio of the speech):

Eulogy for the Martyred Children (Available from the King Institute)

Listen to this eulogy from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after the killing of four children during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on Sunday, September 15, 1963 killed four girls, and marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King's words are particularly poignant today in light of the recent violent tragedies in the United States.

I Have a Dream Speech

Delivered on August 28th, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., King's passionate call for justice and equality was the battle cry for the Civil Rights Movement in America. The 17-minute speech called for an end to racism in the United States during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was a defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement.

I've Been to the Mountaintop Speech

On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The night before he was assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his prophetic "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. In this stirring speech Dr. King looks back on his life and is thankful for all the positive changes in civil rights that occurred in his lifetime, and he is grateful to have lived in the second half of the 20th century when masses of people all over the world were standing up for freedom and human rights.

"The Drum Major Instinct" Sermon

Listen to this inspiring sermon from Martin Luther King, Jr. In this speech, delivered in the year he was assassinated, Dr. King looks back on his life and hopes he will be remembered as a "Drum Major for Justice". King sees the importance in the "drum major instinct" that drives us to lead and be recognized, but points out through Christ's teachings that the greatest leaders are those who serve others and put justice before their own gain.

Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Listen to this brief yet powerful speech that Dr. King delivered upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. In the speech Dr. King talks of the ongoing "creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice" in the United States which by that time had led to the passage of the Civil Rights Bill. And King speaks of his hope that "mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed and join together in brotherhood."

Martin Luther King: Live Speech on Racial Discrimination

Listen to this rare recording of a 1 hour speech that Dr. King gave on March 24, 1963, the same year of his "I Have a Dream" Speech which he delivered on August 28, 1963. This speech takes a more comprehensive look at the history of African Americans and their journey from slavery to segregation to the civil rights movement. Delivered in the midst of this movement, Dr. King calls for urgency in fighting racial injustice and for nonviolent action in dealing with the moral issues of racism. He surveys the many aspects of the civil rights movement at the time and provides his wisdom on all these aspects. Listen to this excellent speech from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. available from the Forum Network on streaming audio.

Plenty of great resources to help you celebrate the holiday!