A lovely episode of The Happiness Lab podcast I was recently listening to discussed the sad-bad-glad triad.
This was a comment by the guest on the show, Brené Brown. Per Wikipedia, Brené is an American research professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. Brown is known in particular for her research on shame, vulnerability, and leadership.
She’s written a book called Atlas of the Heart, which deconstructs and maps out human emotions.
At first, I thought, what the heck, is it really a big deal? But as I heard more, I realized this is stuff people do not talk about much, and perhaps ought to.
She first quotes Ludwig Wittgenstein, a philosopher from the early 90s as saying ““The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
What does this mean? Imagine you put your heart and soul into a project, but did not get the desired result. If your vocabulary is constrained, you would say you were sad. If you also got a free scratch-and-win lottery ticket and saw what I always see – “Better luck next time”, you would again be nothing but sad. And if your favorite team lost the match? You’d be sad again. Sad sad sad. That’s because vocabulary aka language as the ‘constraining factor’ is offering a limited window to the world.
Why does this matter? Continued tomorrow…