Half a Year Update

This is my 100th post. I started this blog 6 months ago, even though I’ve been working on the Ultimate Answer idea for one year. The original idea was transformed along the way, but the core is still the same. In one year I learned so much and I am still learning every day.

First time I presented The Ultimate Answer publicly was in April 2011 at the Boston Ethical Society in Cambridge, MA.

I remember receiving friendly laughter from the ethical members when I mentioned that one of the goals of the project is to find the meaning of life… I wasn’t joking… It is work in progress and I have more answers today than six months ago. See my previous post.

My project is a hybrid of different disciplines and world views, as I developed it using Blue Ocean Innovation Strategy. It is definitely a mix of philosophy, quantified self approach, positive psychology and humanism. In August I went to Washington DC to attend the 119th Annual Convention of American Psychological Association and learned about its strengths, fear, struggles and hopes.

I heard Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive psychology, speak at that conference. I truly admire his courage to focus on what many don’t bother to do – try to leave more than just an empty patient, but alive patient with a zest for meaningful life. He was the one who in his book “Flourish” openly said that antidepressants do not provide good long-term solutions, only short-term. And the book “Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker has more facts to prove it. I read many more books on the topic of happiness and participated in a number of self-improvement and philosophical courses and forums to gain global realistic perspective on happiness.

Back in June I created the happiness formula and tested it with individual testers and in three live group sessions with about 50 people. Based on their feedback I revised the original formula.

I presented three more times in October 2011: at The Boston New Tech Meetup, Ultra Light Feedback event and Babson Rocket Pitch event. I also made a last minute video in the kitchen of my apartment in front of my project’s post-it notes for the Big Idea Competition, and the video made it to the 6th place out of top 10.

I received feedback from my October presentations. One comment was about collaboration, and I agree that in the future it will be important to create a community and partnerships with other organizations, and I already plan for that (peer support-groups, volunteer organizations, subject matter experts, etc.). Another comment was about “what famous psychologist stands behind it? Otherwise some will think it is a gimmick.” I don’t support this view: who said that psychologists know how to solve problems and cure depression or unhappiness? If they knew, people wouldn’t spend years in therapy unsuccessfully… or drugged by meds.

I want to hear from people who experienced exact same problems with both negative and positive results so that I will know what to do and what not to do. I’ll make my decisions. There is a formula, but no one is going to prescribe it to you, because you create your own happiness and the formula is not the same for everyone… you create your own , track it and modify it to make your life purposeful. It happens when you find common ground with others, read testimonials and act with wisdom… If I have to name one famous person who can support the Ultimate Answer idea, it is Dalai Lama. And I will prove it in the next several posts.

There were more comments on my presentation at the Rocket Pitch event:

“The “SparkPeople.com” of happiness. Needs cleaner revenue model. Should mention positive psychology as basis – happiness now becoming a science”. To be honest, I don’t care if this project never generates money. If it makes people happy – this is the most important ROI.

“Noble goal: is it a crowd-sourcing version of “ask a psychiatrist”?” Yes, there is an element of this for sure.

Next steps:

I will be submitting an application to present at the National Conference on Service and Volunteering in Chicago, IL on June, 2012. http://www.volunteeringandservice.org/

Two developers are working on creating an app for the happiness formula, basic resource library, forum and a couple of other tools that will help users to improve their happiness formula results. It should be done in December 2011. If you know of any resources on self-improvement and happiness topics, please send them my way so that I can include them in the upcoming library.

Next posts will be about the following books: The Art of happiness in the Troubled World, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Creating the world that works for all, The how of happiness, Alone Together, Good Faith Collaboration, The Map, Mastering Reality and others. I will also tell about my personal experience of being heavily depressed and wanting to go through clinical trials for a new drug.

My latest findings from Miniseries “Rich man, poor man”- good quotes:

“It is all right to be angry, but it is not as good as reaching out”.

“In every family there comes a time when the best thing to do is to let go”.

What you do or say “just doesn’t go with your look unguarded. Are you happy?”

Thank you for reading this blog and Happy Thanksgiving!

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