A little positive psychology to be thankful for

Holland enjoying the waves in Far North Queensland

As Seth said yesterday, it’s the only holiday that really matters.  I sometimes have to pinch myself to remember the good fortune – our health, families, friends, jobs, house, food, the incredible climate and beauty of the bay area.  Especially given that so many others have had such a challenging year, I feel blessed to have had such a good one.  Every year we do calendars and cards, using a service like shutterfly, and it was such a treat to go back over the amazing photos this year looking for the best ones.  The digital SLR has not only increased the number of pictures 4-5X, but also hugely improved the quality, and pictures of our daughter’s complete and utter joy playing on the beaches in Far North Queensland will grace our cards this year.  (BTW, if you never searched online for coupons, it’s totally worth it.  Shutterfly wanted $25 for shipping – a Gogle search for “shutterfly coupons”reduced that to zero in under a minute).

Personal highlights of the year in rough chronological order include: the alt-MBA, training our new lab puppy, finishing the back garden, switching jobs, the first trip to Oz with Holland, finally starting this blog, discovering yoga, getting serious about trail running again, and several iPhone apps (see previous reviews of balloonimals and stitcher).

Henry reminded me of the ability to download TED podcasts which has filled long training runs with amazing and inspiring tales from people have made a career out of following their passions like Amy Tan, Al Gore, Dave Eggers, Katherin Fulton, John Hodgman, Brian Cox and Brian Greene.

One of my favorites, in tune with the holiday was Martin Seligman, on positive psychology.  The video is embedded below – it outlines the three components of happiness: pleasure, flow and meaning. The good news is you don’t have to be born with a genetic predisposition to have it, 50% of pleasure comes from surrounding yourself with friends and family, and success at flow and meaning will provide much more lasting happiness than pleasure alone.  Check it out – a great intro to the field, and maybe it’ll set you up for a 2010 to be thankful for 🙂

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Less is More: Cleaning Up Packaging For Kids

Been a busy couple of weeks, so I’m going to leave the deep and meaningful for a quick observation on packaging for kids. In brief, less is more: costs less, cause less mess, makes customers happier.

Yogurt tubes are a great idea – convenient packaging for on-the-go snacks for kids.  Why do they fill them up so much?

yogurt1

Another full tube

yogurt2

Another messy outcome

When you tear off the top, you invariably get large globs of yogurt in your lap and on your fingers.  Can reduce a kid to tears.  If you’re opening the tube (often requires too much dexterity and strength too open for kids under 4) you get covered.  Particularly annoying if driving and defeats the purpose of convenient packaging.  I ‘m going to write a letter to Horizon and Stonyfield today to suggest they increase the size of the package or put less in them.  Either would be fine with me.  Fill to bursting is not a good solution.  Could cost them less in the long run, and result in cleaner, happier customers.  Isn’t that a win-win?

clifshotenergygel

A smarter design retains torn off top

Be nice if they copied the idea from Clif Shot Energy Gels and made the tearing a little easier and had a strip to retain the torn off piece (see phot0).  But let’s just start with the level of fill.

 

 

 

 

Same goes for portable juice boxes.  Check out this video.  Again, too much fluid is the culprit.  They might as well call these thing juice pistols.  Insert straw, give to child. Child grabs with hands that are still learning how to grip at the appropriate level of force, juice goes all over their outfit, they cry, and you have to put on a new outfit and start again.  In the video they’re flogging a non-squeezable holder to put the juice box into.  That’s one way to solve the problem, but doesn’t address the cause.  Might be better to put a 1-way valve on the container that only opens when they suck on it.  Would make serving easier, as pulling off the straw and unwrapping it adds time and effort.  When you’re dealing with kids, every second counts.   Guess that’s going to take some more letters.

Finally, the ultimate evil – blister packs.  Is shop lifting so bad that we all have to endure these insanely strong and sharp packages?  I think there’s beenso much passion here for so long from so many (see the comments on this blog), that that things might actually be starting to move in the right direction.   Obviously, less would be more here as well.