Research by Professor David Rand at Harvard University suggests that children and adults have an innate desire to strengthen the community. Children are quick to react to the impulse, but adults are more likely to pause, consider how the community will judge their behavior, and refrain from helping.
Dale Miller, Director of the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Center for Social Innovation, reasons that people fear being seen as opportunistic or self-interested, and so they refrain from publicly helping others. Moreover, people fear that seemingly selfless actions will inspire cynicism and suspicion from peers.
Luckily, Professor Miller is working to overturn the Darwinian theory of self-interest, and arguing that compassion motivates people to help others (not self-interest!). He contends that people who overcame hardship practice altruism to return the favor and help the people around them. Altruistic individuals understand suffering and have a sincere desire to alleviate it.
What do you think? Are you quick to help others? Do you worry that people will think you have selfish motives?
PS- The awesome hoop art was made by StitchCulture. Check out her Etsy shop and say hello!
my RAH RAH RAH (random acts of happiness) series continued today with a popup photobooth. the idea for this project was simple – i would create a happy sign with arrows, and then ask people to ‘show me their happy.’ pretty efficient way to make people happier, right? sort of the whole ‘if you want to be happy, be’ mantra. i began by making the most obnoxious neon sign possible:i hung the sign in an alley off the popular Lake Street and BAM — popup photobooth is ready to go. the more interesting part of this experiment came when i asked people if they would like to step into my photobooth. i felt a bit creepy (wouldn’t you?). despite the creepiness, the majority of people stepped inside and asked me to take a couple of different photos for them. and, you know what? they looked pretty happy about it. mission accomplished:the popup phototbooth got me thinking about how nice it is to be happy on a monday. it seems like people spend so much of monday, tuesday, wednesday, and thursday waiting for the weekend. so much of the year waiting for vacations and holidays. the thing is, all the waiting just takes away from the happiness of now. that said, step into my photobooth and show me your happy (these two sure did):