Ep.143 | Dr. Nick Holton & Dr. Jon Beale | What It Means to Flourish

What makes you different from others? 

Your answer to that question is one of the keys to living a great life.

Problem is, most people are too focused on keeping up with everyone else, leading to an exhausted life.

This is why I wanted to corner two of the most brilliant minds in the world when it comes to the science of human flourishing. 

Special Guests, Dr. Nick Holton and Dr. Jon Beale, join me on today’s episode of the Coming Up Clutch with J.R.™ show and teach you how to apply the science to live your BEST life.

In this latest episode, the three of us talk about…

  • What is human flourishing and how you can experience it
  • The two greatest predictors of general well-being, satisfaction of life, and fulfillment
  • What you can’t miss if you want to have more life-satisfaction and fulfillment in your daily life

…and so much more.

If you want to flourish in your life and career, then lock in to today’s episode.

[00:01 – 11:50] Introducing Dr. Nick and Dr. Jon to the show

  • Nick and Jon’s most embarrassing moment
  • Nick and Jon’’s background, story, and professional journey

[11:51 – 21:00] What is human flourishing and how you can experience it

  • Jon:
    • Methodology behind the research: Identify the things in life that you do for the pursuit of nothing else (i.e. you doing the thing is an end in itself). Do that thing with NO further goal in mind.
    • Flourishing research today looks for multiple areas of life that you do just for the sake of doing that thing (e.g. pursuing relationships, being happy, being satisfied, fulfilling your potential, experiencing flow, etc.) and figuring out ways that you can enhance those as much as possible in your life
      • Key areas:
        • Fulfillment of potential 
        • Flow
        • Close social relationships
        • Happiness & positive emotions
        • Character strengths or virtues
        • Mental/physical health
    • There’s no research that says you have to reach a baseline in each of those areas of life to flourish
    • Harvard definition = your individual well-being is high AND your well-being in relation to others and the context in where you are is high (i.e. defined interpersonally among a community of people). Harvard says you can have high well-being, but not be flourishing
    • Positive Psychology (University of Pennsylvania) definition = if you have high well-being, then you’re flourishing
  • Nick:
    • What’s not in Harvard’s definition of flourishing: achievement, success
    • The gap between fulfillment and success is often because we’re relying on the end goal of success (i.e something done for a very specific outcome)
    • Flourishing is well-being, generally feeling good (but not necessarily all the time), and performing optimally in areas of meaning
      • Areas of meaning is important because if you perform optimally in something you’re forced into, it won’t provide the same level of satisfaction as someone who’s performing optimally in areas of meaning

[21:01 – 24:45] The role your purpose plays in regards to flourishing in life

  • Research: Asking the question “Why?” is conceptually different than purpose
  • Purpose is a sub-component or a pathway to meaning (i.e. it’s about impact and contribution)…”it’s a bit of the me and a bit of the we”
  • The best of the best have both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, but they’re predominantly intrinsic (i.e. they know what their why is and what they’re doing each day, and orient their day around it via calendaring, recovery, etc.)
  • Success on the field of competition is not an automatic route to well-being, life satisfaction, meaning, and fulfillment

[24:46 – 34:15] The two greatest predictors of general well-being, satisfaction of life, and fulfillment

  • Meaning
  • Quality of relationships (social connection, community, intimacy, friendship, etc.)
    • 2018: In the UN’s annual happiness report regarding satisfaction in the workplace, #1 predictor of workplace satisfaction was interpersonal relationships (i.e. we have to like the people we work with); #2 was the job must be interesting (#3 was pay)
  • Jon regarding money: common mistake people make are confusing a means with an end in terms of how they’re living their lives (i.e. they’re focusing on the means rather than the end)
    • The “when I _______, I’ll focus more on my relationships. Until then, I’m going to grind it out.”
    • Money can help prevent you from suffering, but it can’t be an end in itself (i.e. it’s not the source of fulfillment). Once you’ve reached a point where all your material needs are met, it’s not doing much for you
    • Human beings can’t help themselves from comparing themselves to others

[34:16 – 41:53] What you can’t miss if you want to have more life-satisfaction and fulfillment in your daily life

  • Nick:
    • Ask yourself: What’s your recipe for a good life?
      • What ingredients do you WANT?
      • How much of each ingredient do you NEED?
      • Intentionality – cook your recipe!
    • What’s most important to you (i.e. want), when does it hit a point of diminishing returns (i.e. need), and how do you put the recipe together?
  • Jon:
    • Part of the journey to living a good life is identifying what works best for you and what makes you different from other people.
    • Enhance the eight domains that research says are ends in themselves (but don’t focus on making one far surpass the others thus to the detriment of the others)
      • Happiness
      • Good, close social relationships
      • Meaning / purpose
      • Flow
      • Accomplishment
      • Mental and physical health
      • Character (developing strengths and character virtues)
      • Fulfillment

[41:54 – 46:58] What’s anti-fragility and how to leverage it to become a better leader

  • Fragile = adversity strikes, we brake
  • Resilient = adversity strikes, we navigate it and come out the other side
  • Anti-fragile = adversity strikes, we navigate it, come out the other side, and grow our capacity because of it (NOTE: This is not the “suck it up” attitude and rigidity)
  • The goal: develop stress tolerance to unpleasantness (because research tells us we need unpleasantness in order to grow) 

[46:59 – 54:01] Wrapping Up

  • Nick and Jon’s BIG domino
  • How to connect with Nick and Jon


“Success is not an automatic route to meaning and fulfillment” – Dr. Nick Holton

“In regards to your life satisfaction, don’t over-index on money.” – Dr. Nick Holton

“Part of the journey to living a good life is identifying what works best for you.” – Dr. Jon Beale

“Prioritize what matters the most to you.” – Dr. Jon Beale



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