Jay Cross helps people work and live smarter. Jay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.
My calling is to help people improve their performance on the job and satisfaction in life.
For the better part of forty years, my work has focused on adult learning. I’ve strived to make learning at work more effective, relevant, enjoyable, and cost-effective.
Today I am shifting direction. My new muse is well-being.
Well-Being is the umbrella term for leading a satisfying, healthy, productive happy existence. It’s the magic that makes life worth living. Well-being encompasses happiness, but also meaningful relationships with others, progress toward a purpose greater than one’s self, engagement in work, and continuous improvement.
Needless to say, learning is required for progress, engagement, and continuous improvement, so I’m not giving up on learning. By framing what I pursue as well-being, I’m simply playing in a larger sandbox.
Why the shift?
1. I’m selfish. I want happiness and satisfaction in my own life. I figure it pays to understand it. It’s not all common sense. Take two equally happy people. One wins $85 million in the lottery; the other is paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. A year later, who’s happier? Neither. They’re both equally happy. Over the long haul, events don’t make us happy; the way we look at events makes us happy.
2. This is my purpose greater than myself. How rewarding it would be if I could improve the well-being of a dozen people! Or a hundred people! Or ten thousand! I would absolutely love that. That accomplishment would certainly feed my personal sense of well-being.
3. Well-Being is good for business. Happy employees produce more, sell more, and come up with more new ideas. Emotions do matter. We are emotional beings. Yet “This is business” means leave emotion out of it. The undeniable goodness of Well-Being is a wedge in the cause of business treating people like people.
4. Novelty. For me, learning & development is like the prison where they’ve told the same jokes so many times they numbered them. “43!” Ha, ha, ha, ha. In L&D, we use shorthand instead of numbers: “Learning styles!” “LMS.” “Where’s the ROI?” “But how do you control it?” “It’s just a fad.” “We don’t do it that way.” “Formalize it.” After a few dozen times, you can answer these on auto-pilot. I want to explore a new area that forces me to think new thoughts. I look forward to meeting new people, reading new books, and doing new experiments.
I’m a novice in well-being. Any advice?
Permit me to begin with a question.
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Thanks. I’ll be back with a summary number of where we’re starting from.