Neil Pasricha Provides Western Students with the “Equation to Happiness”

The award winning author and renowned motivational speaker, Neil Pasricha, came to Western for an event hosted by the Wellness Education Centre in collaboration with the Society of Graduate Students, University Students’ Council and The Book Store.

Photo provided by The Globe and Mail

Approximately 100-150 attendees were present at the event.

The motive of the presentation was to raise awareness about gaining control over your own happiness.

Pasricha believes that there is an increase of abundance in every aspect of school life except happiness. “I really think the university experience… has become stressful and it has become anxiety-ridden and mark-oriented,” Pasricha says.

Pasricha began the talk addressing his personal journey through his hardships, and moved on to explain how he overcame them using the happiness equation, “Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything.” The first piece in the equation is being grateful of the things you already have in life and forming a mindset that wants nothing more. The second piece in the equation is working hard towards your goal and doing anything to achieve it.

In the lecture, Pasricha mentioned how, after reading over 300 psychology research papers, he concluded that every individual is always responsible for 50% of how they feel. “There will always be people that are glass half-full and people that are glass half-empty, but what everyone forgets is that the glass is still “fillable” with whatever you want to fill it with,” he says. In other words, half of their happiness can be controlled and maintained.

During the last segment of the event, Pasricha held a Q&A for audience members. Questions that were asked included how to get over a heartbreak, the negative effect cell phones have, and how to balance your happiness and also make your parents happy. For all three questions, Pasricha focused on self-care and taking control of your own happiness through various methods, such as taking walks or journalling. All these methods are explained in his novel.

Pasricha completed his undergraduate degree in commerce at Queen’s University and received his MBA at the Harvard Business School in Boston. Pasricha worked for Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons but these jobs became robotic and unfulfilling for him. He moved on to run the Leadership Development Program at Walmart Canada, and then founded the Institute for Global Happiness, an initiative which strives to increase happiness in the workplace.

From moving past a separation from a loved one to losing a close friend, Pasricha has faced many mental challenges.

“If you take care of yourself first, then everything will follow. Think about in an airplane when the oxygen mask falls out - they always say ‘hey, put on your mask first before you put it on your kid.’ If you don’t care of yourself, you’re no good to anybody else. So you need to take care of yourself first and let the constant swirl of anxiety exist outside your window and not inside your heart,” said Pasricha.

Pasricha noticed true change in his lifestyle when he took action and started his blog, 1000 Awesome Things.

“We all think that the action comes after the motivation, and that comes after the capability… but it is easier to act yourself in a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting,” said Pasricha when asked about what he believes university students should know when coming out of a stressful period.

Pasricha started his blog on June 20th 2008, which eventually went on to receive millions of hits and win a Webby award for Best Blog of the year in 2009. The blog was made into his first novel, The Book of Awesome, selling millions of copies.

Check out Neil Pasricha’s blog and let us know your opinion in the comments below!

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