Positive psychology expert Daniel Lerner teaches NYU’s most popular elective, “The Science of Happiness”—a whirlwind of emboldening stories and actionable takeaways for improving mental health, well-being, and performance in all aspects of life. To Lerner, when we’re “harmoniously passionate” about something—when we do it because we love it, not because it’ll bring us fame or fortune—fulfillment and success are sure to follow. And in these new videos, Lerner reminds us that following our passion isn’t just beneficial, but essential for living a full life.
In our first clip, Lerner introduces us to his best friend, hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion. When Mannion and Lerner graduated from college, they moved to New York, taking minimal-pay jobs and working 100-hour weeks. But by sticking with what he truly loved, Mannion was able to rise to the top of his field. Now he’s one of the biggest names in the business, having shot album covers for Jay Z, DMX, Eminem, Nas, and Outkast.
From Teddy Roosevelt to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, P.T. Barnum to Michael Bloomberg, New York City has produced a stunning variety of success stories—each of them unique in their own way. But what do they have in common? To Lerner, it’s that they “transcended the common labels that we so often put on ourselves.” Roosevelt wasn’t just a President; he was a groundbreaking environmentalist and champion of national parks. So why should you be just a lawyer, just a photographer, just a marketer? Find your voice.
In this video, Lerner’s lesson comes from Homer’s epic The Odyssey and its character Mentor. Given a dose of inspiration by the goddess Athena, Mentor rediscovered wisdom and courage buried within him, and became the leader that Odysseus knew he could be. And to this day, his namesake lives on.
In our final clip, Lerner defines two kinds of passion: harmonious and obsessive. While obsessive passion often leads to guilt, shame, and burnout, harmonious passion is a catalyst for happiness, success, and overall personal fulfillment. And to Lerner, knowing the difference is key. Watch the full clip to learn how to foster healthy, harmonious passion in your own life.
To book positive psychology expert Daniel Lerner to speak at your next event or conference, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.