Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

what makes us happiest?

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”


Whether the past many days have had you hunting for eggs, asking the questions of Passover, celebrating re-birth, meditating on the budding leaves, still scrubbing off the colors of Holi, or preparing for Ramadan—most of us see this time of year as a fresh, new beginning. Nature is revitalized after winter, and so are we.

It is a great time for reflecting and looking ahead. I love the recent study that was covered by CNN that showed that experiences make us happier than possessions.

“That’s in part because the initial joy of acquiring a new object, such as a new car, fades over time as people become accustomed to seeing it every day, experts said. Experiences, on the other hand, continue to provide happiness through memories long after the event occurred,” the study says.

Another reason for increased happiness in experiences, the researchers found, was that people felt a greater sense of vitality or “being alive” during the experience and in reflection, Ryan Howell, Assistant Psychology Professor at San Francisco State University, said.

“As nice as your new computer is, it’s not going to make you feel alive,” he said.

So think about the spring, beginnings, time off that may be coming your way this year—and how to invest your energies and your money. You will, one day, tell the grandkids about the volunteer vacation you take…probably not so much discussion around the dinner table decades from now about your flatscreen TV.

Twitter Nets

I have to say, I’m kind of driven up a wall by Twitter. As soon as I say that I’m sure I’ll be a Twittering fool in the blink of an eye, but thus far it has seemed to me like all the parts of Facebook that I don’t like. I truly don’t care what my friends or followers or followees had for breakfast or thought of the outfit Lady Gaga wore on the red carpet.

There are, however, some amazing things that have come of the Twitter Revolution. Last year, for World Malaria Day, Ashton Kutcher and CNN were in a furious race to see who could first get a million followers on the social networking site. Ashton won, and to celebrate his victory over the media giant network, he vowed to send 10,000 mosquito nets, via Malaria No More, to Africa to fight the disease. Those nets were sent and have now all been distributed, with plenty of others. Ashton’s Twitter posting became the world’s most re-tweeted message on World Malaria Day, and resulted in many others making direct donations, so that the total number of “Twitter Nets” was 89,724! Other high-profile Tweeters got involved: Oprah, Anderson Cooper, Sean Diddy Combs, and Ryan Seacrest, among others.

Who, in your network of friends, is willing to join you in making a difference in the world?

The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind

1kamkwambaIt was 2002 and Malawi was suffering one of the worst droughts in recent memory. William Kamkwamba had been shut out of the village school because his family could not pay the fees (about $80 US) so there was little distraction from watching the people around him suffer. Crops wilted, thousands died, those that survived did so on very little so hunger was constant. William had seen pictures of windmills in library books, and knew they could be used to generate power—something his village desperately needed. He pretty much had nothing to lose.

From scrap bicycle parts, car batteries, wood, and odds and ends, William built a windmill. It was one of those TV Movie scenarios with the community laughing at the 14-year-old boy who clearly had lost his mind. Even more of a cinematic moment occurred when the completed contraption began to turn and the lightbulb he had wired to it flickered to life. Now there are five windmills in William’s village, each more refined than the last, and the neighbors come to the home to listen to the electric radio. This boy’s determination and courage in the face of opposition is the subject of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a recently released book by William and Brian Mealer.

It’s kinda hard to find any significance in the words “can’t” or “no” or “impossible.”

Read a CNN story here, and watch William’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart by following this link to the Comedy Central website (LINK).