What do Prokofiev and Shawn Achor have in common? Upon first notice, one might think nothing. Prokofiev is a musician and composer, and Shawn Achor is a social scientist and happiness researcher. But when you listen to the music of Prokofiev you feel joy and warmth. According to Michael Langham, Harpist with the Oakland, CA Civic Orchestra (https://sites.google.com/site/oaklandcivicorchestra/), Prokofiev “conceived Symphony No. 5 in Bb Major, Op. 100 as a hymn to optimism and positive thinking; happy to be a human being and close to our roots and close to nature. The joy of life bursts forth…”
Shawn Achor, social scientist and happiness researcher (http://www.shawnachor.com/), as well as author of The Happiness Advantage and several other books, also has focused his life work on optimism and positive thinking, teaching that we can become the masters of our own emotional destiny. Achor teaches that if we simply think about three different things to be grateful for each day, we can re-program our brains to be more optimistic, within a few weeks.
Recently I had the good fortune of finding myself at a community performance of the aforementioned Oakland Civic Orchestra. As soon as the Prokofiev piece began, I closed my eyes and began to feel the joy permeating my body, mind, and soul from the music. [Read more…]