Apr 4, 2017
The digital world is growing faster than ever, but how it is
really helping us to create better wellness, loving relationships,
and true happiness in our modern world?
On this episode of Wellness Force Radio, sociologist,
entrepreneur, innovation consultant, and the author of
Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to
Happiness, Dr. Anna Akbari shares how we can and find both
happiness and wellness in a
Listen and learn how to bring more wellness into your life as we
dive deep into a discussion about career and life choices,
relationships, and money in today's modern
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Think Like A Startup
To change her life, Dr. Akbari had to start analyzing
each of her
decisions like a startup company would approach
Even though Dr. Anna
Akbari had a wonderful career in New York City and academia at
New York University and Parsons New School for
Design, she eventually realized that it was not enough to
sustain her happiness and wellness forever.
Following just one career path was not all that Dr.
Akbari wanted to succeed at during her lifetime. She knew deep down
inside that there had to be something more.
One day, she woke up and finally decided it was time to
pivot her life. Craving nature, new work projects, expanding her
career and life possibilities, Dr. Akbari made the plan to move to
California. Academia was her comfort zone but she knew she could be
happier if she added more practical passions to the mix.
Pausing our lives, pivoting, and making a major change isn't the
easiest choice, but it could be what changes the direction of
our journey forever.
How we can design our lives so that we can create the
life that we want.
Mental models hold us hostage in thinking that there's only one
singular path that we have to follow to be happy and successful.
startup trying new tactics and finding better solutions, we can
invert the truth about how a life should be lived and begin
We can afford to take chances, unlearn something, and innovate.
We don't need to make a geographical change like Dr. Akbari did by
moving from New York City to California, but we can find new ways
reinvent ourselves and be more open take chances.
When we get outside of our comfort zone, we can make it
easier for ourselves to pivot our lives in order to increase our
wellness and happiness.
The 3 Part Formula for Happiness & Success
If we get to a point in life where we know we can no longer stay
with the same unrewarding job, a lot of us need to pivot our
or find a new place to live like Dr. Akbari did to rediscover her
wellness and happiness. While moving to a completely different
location or leaving our work field for another career may not be
entirely feasible, there is a formula we can use to evaluate and
choose our next move.
During our interview, Dr. Akbari shares her 3 Part
Formula for Happiness and Success and how we can apply it
to our lives.
Simply ask yourself the following questions:
Passion: What is something that you are
- Practicality: What are you skilled at or could
be good at?
- Audience: What does your audience demand?
If all of these three areas successfully intersect, then
you've created your own secret sauce for happiness and success.
Listen to Episode 106 as Dr. Akbari Uncovers
- Why Dr. Akbari decided to title her book, "Startup Your
Life" and how it relates to her personal life.
- What her experience was like during the 2008 recession as a
- How "pivoting" can help us improve our careers, relationships,
wellness, and more.
- The biggest pivot that Dr. Akbari has made in her life when she
decided to leave New York City.
- Happiness Architecture: Digital Happiness in our modern
- How Dr. Akbari is able to handle decision fatigue throughout
- What digital happiness can look like in 2017.
- How we can design our lives so that we can create the life that
we want to create.
- What Dr. Akbari did to invert all of her assumptions about
what would happen if she left NYC and took a chance to move to
- How do we know if we should drastically change our environments
or stay where we are?
- What can we do to get rid of some of the facts that we used to
believe about ourselves? How can we get rid of old software to
- Why Dr. Akbari decided to include the following quote in her
book from Paramahana Yoganana: "Since you alone are
responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.”
- The 3 Part Formula for Happiness according to Dr. Akbari.
- How we can strategically spend money to help our feelings of
well-being and security.
- Can love and relationships really thrive in this digital age?
How does each gender play a part?
- How do men and women feel empowered in the world of technology?
How do we socialize without technology?
- Why ghosting is one of the most selfish things a person can do
in both their personal and professional lives.
Top 3 Takeaways From The Show
- Pivoting can help us improve anything we want to actively
change in our lives. Our careers, relationships, or wellness can
all benefit from pivoting. We can become better "pivoters" when we
don't invest in the idea of what our singular outcome will be. If
we keep an open mind and if we're
experimenting with how we'll get to where we want to be, then
the constant feedback will help us readjust our input. It's always
good to remember to not be too over-attached to something that
wasn't even feasible in the first place.
- Relationships, both
personal and professional, have changed because of all of the new
digital technology. We're so used to online dating that for someone
to actually come up to us and ask us out in person can seem strange
and even intimidating. The digital age has really affected the
roles that both men and women play in relationships. Now there are
all of these new terms like catfishing and ghosting that are really
affecting our relationships with each other. We've gotten so used
to moving from one relationship to the next through dating apps,
they we don't take the time to really dig deep into one
- Conventional pieces of wisdom such as "money cannot buy happiness"
is affecting the way we see money today. What a lot of people
don't realize is that without money, we don't have the ability to
create, thrive, nor relax. How we spend our money can affect our
wellness and happiness. If we spend our money more strategically by
investing in experiences, it can help build long-term happiness
compared to buying objects. If we're worried that a life decision
will set us back financially, we have to be honest with ourselves.
Will it just slightly lower some of the luxuries that aren't
bringing us happiness or will it threaten our well-being and
Power Quotes From Dr. Anna Akbari
[tweetthis]"If you follow your
heart and you keep the 3 Part Formula in mind, then you will be
happy." - @annaakbari[/tweetthis]
- "Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you
can change them.” - Paramahana Yoganana
- "The actions I did weren't necessarily glamorous decisions, but
they were actions that many people think are out of reach for them.
The difference is that I was trying to figure out life hacks and
how to do things that might immediately seem inaccessible. That is
what startups do all the time. That's what they have to do all the
time to be relevant and to beat out the major competition. The more
I applied that thinking to my life, the more of an edge I got and
the happier I was." - Dr. Anna Akbari on how she was able
to startup her life.
- "It's easier to be happy in the sludge. Much of our life is
spent in the sludge. It's not all spent in those
top-of-your-game milestones. We think that achieving those
milestones will make us happy, but it's really all of those
in-between moments that we have to sort out along the way
that bring us joy." - Dr. Anna Akbari on how working
towards achievements is what brings us purpose and makes us
- "As devastating as it was, I think the 2008 recession was
actually really liberating for a lot of people. A lot of my friends
and peers had been relatively unhappy in their life and career
paths. Then everything that they had always taken for granted was
pulled out from underneath them. So they thought to themselves,
"Well, I should just go do what I want to do if this career that I
don't want to do isn't secure anymore." - Dr. Anna Akbari
on the effect of the 2008 USA recession and how people realized
that they could change their careers to something that they love to
- "Stop investing in so much of
what the initial idea of what your singular outcome can be. If
you're always thinking about what you're working toward and if it's
only towards one thing, then you're not going to be open to a
pivot. Any kind of shift in your focus or in the outcome is
going to feel like a failure and an unacceptable outcome."
- Dr. Anna Akbari on
what can hold us back from pivoting and therefore making a
successful change in our lives.
- "We've been taught over and over again that we should focus on
one thing and really excel at it so that we can climb the ranks.
But that's not the correct path for a lot of us; especially if we
have different interests or just want to diversify our income.
Following a singular path is not the only or right path for most
people." - Dr. Anna Akbari on why pivoting and changing our
paths can be the right thing for a lot of us.
- "When I started following my heart and not doing just what was
immediately professionally practical, all of these new professional
opportunities for success started flowing in." - Dr. Anna
Akbari on how her biggest pivot to move from New York City to
California helped her find happiness in her
- "We're at this interesting point in time when technology is
such a crucial element of our lives and it affords us so many
wonderful conveniences and yet, as we all know, it simultaneously
diminishes and deteriorates the quality of our lives." -
Dr. Anna Akbari on digital happiness.
- "Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and
also makes live easier bring us so little happiness?" -
Albert Einstein on how technology can bring us very little
- "Wherever you go, there you are." - Josh
- "The more that we can keep our minds ripe and ready for change,
the better we will be. Constantly pushing yourself out of your
comfort zone or introducing new variables into your life will keep
you fresh." - Dr Anna Akbari on how we can be open to
change and be rid of old software or false
- "Your opportunity for both success and happiness is at this
intersection of what you're passionate about, what you're actually
skilled at or could become skilled at, and what people are
demanding. If you can find an intersection of those three
things and use that to interrogate which passions are viable and
which aren't, you're going to have a much smoother and happier
path." - Dr. Anna Akbari on her advice to clients on how to
interrogate their passions for happiness and success.
- "When it comes to money and happiness, it's less about specific
numbers and more about the choices that surround those numbers.
Studies find that the amount of money you make matters less than
how you spend it. While money alone can't buy happiness, strategic
spending can significantly enhance your well-being." - Dr.
Anna Akbari in chapter 8 (Hustle and Grow) of her book,
Startup Your Life.
- "Finding happiness is not so much in trading to a new novelty,
but rather digging deeper. Really taking the time to put in the
work is the key component with relationships." - Dr.
- "To follow my heart and not just always be thinking about being
practical. If you follow your heart and you keep the 3 Part Formula
(passion, audience, and practicality) in mind, then you will be
happy." - Dr. Anna Akbari's advice on being
- "Everyone has their tipping point when they know that something
is a breaking point for them. We all have to decide what that
is for us and submit to it when that time comes. Embrace it
and reflect on it so that we can grow. We don't grow the most when
we're actually thriving. We grow the most when we've had some kind
of failure and are forced to reflect and make something of it."
- Dr. Anna Akbari on what we can learning from trying
- "We might not like everything that we see happening in the
world and we can't always change all of that, but we can decide how
we're going to design our lives and how we want to touch the
communities that we encounter on an every day basis. " -
Dr. Anna Akbari on what kind of legacy she wants to
- "Wellness is about creating balance. Whether it's sleep, diet,
exercise, or meditation while also never forgetting the value of
spontaneity." - Dr. Anna Akbari on what wellness means to
About Dr. Anna Akbari
Dr. Anna Akbari is a sociologist, entrepreneur,
innovation consultant, and writer. She is a former
professor in the department of Media, Culture, and Communication
and the department of Art and Art Professions at New York
University, as well as the Art and Design History and Theory
department at Parsons The New School for Design. Her research
focuses on visual and virtual self-presentation, technology and
human intersects, dating and interpersonal relationships, and
happiness and well-being.
Akbari is the founder of Sociology of Style, which takes an intelligent
approach to image and well-being and offers holistic image
consulting and life coaching services. She also created
the Sociology of TV, which offers videos and
white papers on the social significance of television media in
She is a partner in HVCK, an innovation consultancy, and the co-creator of
the Silicon Valley Insider's Edge video series for entrepreneurs and
Resources Mentioned by Dr. Akbari & Josh
[tweetthis]"Wellness is about creating balance while also never
forgetting the value of spontaneity." - @annaakbari[/tweetthis]
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106 Dr. Anna Akbari: Finding Wellness & Happiness In
A Digital World