On Sept. 27, 2015, The Knockturnal was invited to the Explorers Club on East 70th St. in Manhattan for a panel discussion put together by Johnnie Walker, inspired by the ethos of the new Johnnie Walker global campaign.
The panel featured athlete and TV personality, Michael Strahan, writer and producer, Doug Ellin, the world’s fastest female motorcycle rider, Eva Hakansson, and expert in the psychology of happiness, Dr. Matt Killingsworth.
As stated on their website, “The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that is it vital to preserve the instinct to explore. Since its inception in 1904, the Club has served as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide.” Their headquarters is located at East 70th Street in New York City.
The Explorers Club is built and decorated to show off historical artifacts deemed worthy. Flags and maps decorate the wall and a sense of adventure is felt upon entry. The panel discussion took place in a room within the building where the audience was seated and given a copy of Michael Strahan’s new book, Wake Up Happy, and a flash drive containing a copy of Dr. Killingsworth’s, Joynomics: The Study of Joy and Progress. After a few moments, the four speakers along with the host, a representative from Johnnie Walker, were seated in the front of the room on a small stage. The room quieted down and the speakers were all introduced.
The discussion was focused on Johnnie Walker;s new campaign, “Joy Will Take You Further.” Joynomics is the belief that “Blood, sweat and tears will get you there, but joy will take you further.” Johnnie Walker is funding the idea that no matter how hard you work, no matter what you do and where you go, you will never be satisfied unless you enjoy what you do and the path you walk to get there. They believe that joy and happiness are really the key to success. The panel focused on talking about how joy led them and their careers and they answered questions pertaining to how their happiness and success were affected by this idea.
The first guest to speak was Dr. Matt Killingsworth who opened up the idea of joy and explained his studies and experiments on happiness and how it affects people. He explained that happiness and success were shown in his studies to directly correlate and that people who were happy with what they do were altogether more successful in what they do. This was related to hedonic adaptation, or the basic idea that the more you have, the more you want. There is no real end to the path of success. Once you achieve your goals and have exactly what you want, you automatically create new goals and strive to achieve even more. Unhappiness with following your path only hinders your ability to do what you have to and need to in order to achieve those goals. Dr. Killingsworth spoke about his study which took golfers and gave them both positive and negative reinforcement to alter their happiness with what they were doing and overall affected the way that they played. He proved that positive reinforcement actually did equal better performance, citing that 100% of the subjects came closer to their targets and preformed remarkably better when they were given positive reinforcement during their attempts as opposed to being insulted on each try. He stated that “Working hard doesn’t equal happiness, but being happy equals success.”
The next speaker on the panel was Eva Hakansson. Eva Hakansson is the woman holding the world record for fastest female on a motorcycle. She has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (Yass!) and gets incredibly exited with new technology, especially battery and natural powered inventions, which was proven by her energetic tangent about the new solar panels on her home. Eva stated that the path to success is never straight. It is full of lots of turns and twists. If you don’t have those turns and twists, she claimed, you’re probably not moving at all. “The meaning of life is to leave better than when you arrived.”
The next speaker was Michael Strahan, who stole the show with his convection of joy. Strahan started off with saying that he’s grateful for everything he has in life. He stated that he started with nothing, and because he made his success doing exactly what he loved, he went even further. When asked what fueled him as an athlete, he stated that he “wanted to be good at something, make [his] parents proud and [his] children proud.” He said that whenever he wasn’t in the mood, he would think about it this way: Imagine how a child looks at you. They get so excited to see what you are, what you have, and what you’ve done. They’re excited about everything around them. If you take them to Disneyworld, their face says it all. But you may be thinking of all the negative things like how much you have to walk or even that you’ve already been here, nothing’s changed. Put your life into the perspective of a child. If they can be so happy, why can’t you? Once you can see things like that, you can do anything. Strahan went on to say that there is “never a problem. There’s only something that needs to be figured out.”
“Success for me is the ability to make sure my family is ok. I didn’t come from nothing you know. Success is being able to have an influence positively in any way on somebody. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. I live in the moment and enjoy what’s right now. There’s more value in your attitude than in your bank account,” stated Strahan.
Last but not least, there was the writer and producer of the famous show Entourage, Doug Ellin, who told a story about his life being mostly fueled by anger. Not the best example as he joked. However, he did talk about how there was an example of sexual harassment on one of his sets that made him not enjoy his job at all. After that he realized that he did take joy in what he did and went so much further when he did take joy in what he was doing.
After the panel discussion, drinks were served at the bar set up by Johnnie Walker including their Blue Label, Gold and Red Label and certain versions of their Explorers Club Edition. The panel was interesting and the discussion was very eye opening. The Club was also open for exploration. We here at The Knockturnal send our thanks out to Johnnie Walker, The Explorers Club, and all the guest speakers of the panel. It was an awesome night!
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Simon, Startraks