#431. The Joys of Insignificance | Ron Siegel
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Many, if not all, of us have a nonstop, ambient thought-track running through our minds of: how am I doing? How do I look? Why did I say that? Am I running behind? What do other people think of me?
How did we get this way? And what do we do about it? Ron Siegel has thought a lot about this, and has plenty of practical answers, including the notion that we should lean into our insignificance. Many of us grew up being told how we were special. But Ron argues that the words, “you’re not special,” constitute extremely good news.
Dr. Ron Siegel is a part-time assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and a board member at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. In his private clinical practice, he provides mindfulness-oriented psychotherapy. He is also the author of the new book, The The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary: Finding Happiness Right Where You Are.
The episode explores:
- The notion that we didn’t evolve to be happy.
- Why we self-evaluate
- The downsides and upsides of self-assessment.
- Strategies for dealing with this often irrational self-grading criteria, which include mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude.
- What it means to “lean our ladder against the right wall.”
Content Warning: This conversation includes brief references to mature topics, including sex and addiction.
Where to find Ron Siegel online:
- The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary: Finding Happiness Right Where You Are
- The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems
Other Resources Mentioned:
- Joseph Goldstein
- Insight Meditation Society
- Charles Horton Cooley | American sociologist | Britannica
- Mark Epstein, The Zen of Therapy
- #412. The Zen of Therapy | Mark Epstein — Ten Percent Happier
- Masters and Johnson | American research team | Britannica
- Dr. Michael C. Miller, MD | Newton Center, MA | Psychiatrist
- Joseph Campbell | Biography, Books, & Facts | Britannica
- Roy Baumeister