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Arthur Brooks Speaks to First-Year Students at the University of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Renowned speaker and author Arthur Brooks recently engaged with a captivated audience of First-Year students on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus, sharing insightful perspectives on happiness, leadership, and personal fulfillment.

Dr. Brooks – who was joined by Student Orientation Leader Kylee Bird – left a lasting impression on these student scholar attendees during a ‘fireside chat’ style conversation, as well as a select group of campus student leaders, who Dr. Brooks also spoke to about research & happiness later that day.

Kidist Girmai, a scholar in business marketing, emphasized the notion that happiness is not an absolute state but rather a continual journey toward improvement. She encapsulated this idea with the quote, “You can’t be happy; you can only be happier.”

Kenan Assay, a student scholar in psychology, highlighted the importance of leading with positivity rather than anger. Her reflection, “Don’t lead with anger, but uplift others,” underscored the power of uplifting and supporting those around us as a key aspect of effective leadership.

Ava Davis, a scholar studying architecture, contributed the idea that happiness is not a fixed destination but a direction. By expressing, “Happiness is not a destination; it is a direction,” Davis emphasized the need to focus on the journey and continuous improvement rather than fixating on a perceived endpoint.

Seth Abbott, a student scholar in engineering, acknowledged the inevitability of struggles on the path to success. With the statement, “We need the pain of struggling to get the bliss of reward,” Abbott highlighted the transformative power of challenges in achieving meaningful accomplishments.

Emalee Thackston, a business student, emphasized the importance of taking responsibility for one’s happiness and adopting intentional actions for long-term rewards. Her perspective advocates against seeking instant gratification, promoting the idea that true fulfillment comes from deliberate and sustained efforts.

Mykah Sheffield, a student in social work, concluded the student reflections by emphasizing the significance of gratitude. “Being grateful for what we have and not worrying about what you don’t,” she expressed, emphasizing the importance of cultivating gratitude as a foundation for contentment.

Arthur Brooks’ speaking event left an indelible mark on the audience, inspiring them to reconsider their approach to happiness, leadership, and personal development.The diverse range of student scholar perspectives showcased the universality of these themes and their relevance to various fields of study and personal journeys.