Meet Chade-Meng Tan, whose friends call him Meng — and everyone is his friend.
Meng is an early Google employee, the engineer that helped build Google’s first mobile search service, and headed the team that managed Google’s search quality.
But today he’s Google’s personal and spiritual development guru. His official title is “Jolly Good Fellow (Which nobody can deny).” It’s on his business card.
That’s a joke and a serious title.
The joke part: “fellow” is a technical title bestowed upon a company’s most talented, most valued engineers. “Jolly Good” is how he makes people feel.
“The secret of happiness is be on the giving end of a kind thought,” he says. And if you practice kinds thoughts, you create kindness as a habit and you become a kind — and happy — person.
He and a team that originated at Google are working on solving unhappiness and it’s ultimate destination: war.
Or as he likes to put it, he’s engineered a way to create to create the “conditions for world peace in my lifetime.”
The way to do that, he says, is to teach people how to be happier themselves and to then “scale inner peace worldwide.”
He created a class at Google to do that, one that teaches “mindfulness training” also known by its scientific name, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
That’s the skill of being able to have a calm, clear mind on demand, not being swept up in feelings like stress, anger, frustration, depression.
The class became a huge hit at Google, which led Meng to write a best-selling book called “Search Inside Yourself.”
This led him to hang up his hat as a search engineer and launch a non-profit called “Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute” (SIYLY, pronounced “silly”) that brings that same popular Google class to others.
He also took on a new job title at Google, Jolly Good Fellow.
If you crave a taste of Meng’s class, on Friday he spoke at Salesforce’s huge conference, Dreamforce and he gave the crowd this homework:
While you are at work, once an hour, look around the room. Pick someone and for 10 seconds think about that person, and wish that person happiness. Don’t say anything or do anything, just think your wish for the person.
The next hour, pick another person and do the same.
Watch what happens to your own attitude, your own inner happiness.
“The secret of happiness is be on the giving end of a kind thought,” he says. And if you practice kinds thoughts, you create kindness as a habit and you become a kind — and happier — person.
Here’s another taste of Meng’s class, his popular Ted Talk from 2010.
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