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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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Compassion is a Strength

June 16, 2014, 12:00 AM
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The average American with a full-time job works 1,700 hours a year. That’s a lot of hours. Given how much time we spend with our co-workers, shouldn't we want to build happier relationships with them? If you value your time then learn to become happier at work by learning to value more those around you. Start by showing them greater compassion.

Unfortunately, compassion gets a bad rap, especially in the business world where the "rules" often seem to follow the law of the jungle. Sharon Salzberg, a Buddhist meditation expert and the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, wants to change that.  The author of Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, Salzberg talked to Big Think about redefining happiness. It’s not a big house, a sports car, and a high-powered job that makes people happy. Again and again, research has shown that our true happiness stems from the quality of our relationships, how connected we feel with others.

“We can redefine happiness so that it’s not just pleasure and endless pleasure seeking and being superficial and being like happy go lucky,” says Salzberg. “To having a deep, deep sense of resiliency and connection to a bigger picture. We would be a lot happier and success – our sense of what success is – would follow that.”

Part of deepening the bonds in our life and feeling connected to a greater purpose means living a life of compassion. If you feel as though your life has fallen short in the relationship department, try practicing greater compassion towards yourself and others. It’s a balancing act, says Salzberg. You don’t want to be too giving and then deplete the energy you need to make your own life thrive.

For more on how to strike this balance and why compassion is a strength that can lead you to greater happiness, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview with Salzberg:

More from the Big Idea for Monday, June 16 2014

Redefining Happiness

What makes you happy? Studies have shown that it's not the kind of car you drive or anything else having to do with your possessions, which often gather dust. It's the quality of your relationship... Read More…

 

Compassion is a Strength

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