Dr. Stephen Kraus was our first invited outside speaker this fall. He is the author of Psychological Foundations of Success, which he brought to the meeting for sale, along with other titles. He has a PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University. He contends that flawed strategies for success, rather than lack of luck or willpower, are the real cause of failure in what we are trying to accomplish.
It is unusual for HAGSA to feature a motivational speaker. That type of person normally speaks at business meetings (especially for sales personnel) and for explicit self-help organizations like Toastmasters. He spoke to us to point out the genuinely helpful information provided by such speakers, along with the fact that some of the speakers might repeat unverifiable urban legends and provide questionable advice. He also gave us some of his own advice.
To be successful in our goals we will first need to develop a vision of what we want. We will then need to develop a strategy to make that vision a reality. We will need to believe that that our strategy is realistic and likely to be successful. We will have to be persistent in trying to achieve our goals. Dr. Kraus said that the biggest barrier to success is the use of the wrong strategy.
Dr. Kraus pointed out that there are studies that purport to show that religious people are happier than non-religious people. Even if those studies are correct, there is still hope for the non-religious. Religious people have access to their churches as a support group in times of crisis. There is no reason why humanist organizations cannot fulfill the same function for the non-religious. Isolated individuals, regardless of their belief system, are generally less happy than those with a circle of friends.
Report prepared by Wayne Luney, Recorder