Increasing Happiness with Positive Action: Mark Williamson | OYNB 082

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Mark Williamson says that he came from a privileged background – not in the sense that he came from wealth, but in the sense that he came from a loving family and enjoyed a happy, carefree childhood. Initially, Mark saw himself pursuing a scientific path. He studied engineering and became interested in understanding how to fix things and how the world works. This interest led him to finish a degree in electronics and pursue a Ph.D. He also worked on developing WiFi technology.

However, Mark realized that he fundamentally enjoyed making connections with other humans, and he just wasn’t getting the human contact that he wanted from science or academia. So he decided to pursue another path. He went into management consulting but found that this career didn’t make him happy either. He liked the people he worked with but didn’t enjoy the job itself.

“What I realized on that journey is that it’s not just the planet that’s broken, our culture is broken.”

It was during this period of his life that Mark began to develop debilitating back pain. He would wake up in the morning unable to get out of bed. He stopped running and participating in sports activities. He was told that he had a degenerative spine disease and that he might be in a wheelchair by the time he reached his forties. During this time, his wife, who was training to be an osteopath, gave him a book introducing him to the idea that emotional stress might contribute to physical pain. This led Mark to quit the job and pursue a new path.

Although Mark was on the path that would lead to him becoming the co-founder and director of Action for Happiness, that didn’t happen right away. Mark went back to school and got an MBA, but he wanted to use his skills and knowledge to do something with a social purpose. So, he spent five years working on the problem of climate change with Carbon Trust first.

It was this work that made him realize that the problem wasn’t just the environment that was in trouble, it was the culture. So Mark set out to find a way to improve the culture, which was what led him to found Action for Happiness. In today’s interview, Mark talks about thinking of success in terms of happiness, not income, discovering the things that really matter in life, and helping others do the same. He also discusses his status as a recovering people pleaser and his decision to take a break from alcohol. Listen in to hear more about Mark and his work, as well as how you can get involved with Action for Happiness.

OYNB LINKS

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MARK WILLIAMSON’S LINKS:

Mark Williamson - Director of Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/

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