Happiness interview: Scott Belsky.
I’ve “known” Scott Belsky on the internet for years, because we’re both part of the fabulous LifeRemix network—“great writing about great lives.” But even though we both live in New York City, we’d never met in person until this year at the SXSW Interactive conference. It was so much fun actually to speak face to face.
Scott is the founder and CEO of Behance, a company on a mission to empower and organize the creative world. He has a new book, Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, which chronicles the methods of exceptionally productive leaders and teams — companies like Google, IDEO, and Disney, and individuals like author Chris Anderson and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh — that make their ideas happen, time and time again.
The relationship between creativity, productivity, and happiness is, to me, one of the most interesting areas in the larger subject of happiness — and an issue that Scott has spent a lot of time studying.
What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Brunch on a weekend.
Seeing old college friends that live across the country.
Making the perfect late night meal for myself, after a very long day.
All deeply satisfying activities.
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
Happiness takes effort. Amidst our busy lives that could easily become crammed with concerns and obligations, you must make an effort to carve out occasions – and conditions – for happiness to transpire. At 18, I thought that happiness was completely organic. Now I recognize that intention plays a great role in happiness.
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Rushing. I’ve had a problem lately with wanting to rush through process. I see a point in the future that I want to race to and I stop appreciating the present. I get all worked up and then I stop and realize, “what the heck am I doing racing through part of my life?” The processes we endure are, in fact, life. Rushing life makes no sense.
Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
Yes. I try to take inventory every now and then – especially when I feel encumbered by the unknowns. There are certain things in my life that bring me to a happy state. Family is one of them. Certain projects and memories also remind me how lucky I am. When I feel anxious I try to take the broader perspective and reconnect with the “constants” in my life that are, in essence, the roots of my happiness.
Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”)
There are a few mantras that I have said to myself over the years.
1. People who change the world are people who master what they love.
2. Don’t be ambitious to be successful, be ambitious to be happy.
3. The point of life is to have fun and deserve it.
As you can see, I’m always trying to reconcile responsibility with joy. I enjoy doing so.
* Behance has an associated blog, 99%, that has a lot of interesting material. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”
* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at gretchenrubin1 [at] gmail [.com] — and don’t forget the “1″. (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.