Charles Starrett


Blog, links, and…

Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.


Well-being as a skill

It must have been at least five years ago when I was exposed to Dr. Richard Davidson’s work and how it supports shifting the way we think about well-being. His research points to a fundamental misunderstanding about “well-being” which I have also suffered from.

The common way to think about well-being is that it’s, well, a static state of being. Something that we “have.” A feeling of being well that is just stuck to us and travels around with us. Or that it’s something we don’t have enough of and we have to go out and get more of.

This is one reason the wellness industry is booming. There’s no lack of people willing to sell us things that promise to get us more well-being. But because none of these products give us what we really need, we buy more, spend more, consume more, and the cycle continues.

Dr. Davidson’s work suggests that there’s a good reason why none of these “solutions” work: well-being isn’t something we can get more of. It’s an experience that we cultivate and maintain ourselves through practicing well-being habits, the same way we practice dental hygiene habits. Well-being is a skill that we practice so we can fell more well.

Any of his articles or videos (have you tried searching with will explain it better to you than I can, but what I’d like to share is that it may take time to really understand what he’s saying.

It took me at least five years before I could really understand the truth of well-being as a skill, after all.

But that’s not to say that it will take five years before you start to experience more well-being. I encourage you to give his suggestions a try.

My experience was that by learning and practicing, I was able to experience more-and-more well-being. Like any skill, the learning curve isn’t linear. It’s more two steps forward, one step back.

My point is, keep going. If you feel the need for more well-being in your life, it is possible, and it’s something you can cultivate, practice, and experience.

And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. I’ve been there! (And some days, I’m still there…)

24 September 2022

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