40% of your happiness…

Our #WITwants2know results indicate that just over half of our respondents (53%) are not aware of Project 40. In order to best understand what Project 40 is and the many benefits of the strategies, we asked two of the co-chairs of the Project 40 planning team to answer some questions.

Sarah Harmon is a counselor in the Center for Wellness and Disability Services.  She originally brought this idea to Wentworth through a series of lunch conversations with members of the Division of Student Affairs.  Bridget McNamee is the Assistant Director of Disability Services.  Sarah and Bridget, along with Mario Fernandez, also from the Center for Wellness and Disability Services, meet with a group of individuals weekly to discuss how the great message behind Project 40 can reach the community.

What does Project 40 stand for?

(Sarah)     Project 40 is a research-based initiative focused on helping our community build resiliency and take control of their happiness! The 40 in Project 40 represents the 40% of your happiness that is under your control. 50% is genetics and 10% is circumstantial (i.e. age, gender, income, etc.)

What has surprised you the most since you start the Project 40 program?

(Bridget)  How supportive the institute has been to an initiative that may come across as a little “touchy feely” at first.  That tells me that people are craving a happier life and are willing to put in the work!

(Sarah)     The more I learn about the research behind Project 40 and practices the strategies on my own, the more I am blown away by the power of awareness and choice can have on our lives. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such an important initiative that gives back to me just as much as it gives to others.

What is your favorite strategy and why?

(Bridget)  It’s really hard to pick just one!  I have to say my overall favorite is kindness/practicing acts of kindness.  Living, learning, and working in an environment where everyone comes from a place of kindness would have a profound impact on overall happiness. 

(Sarah)       Such a tough call! If I have to choose, I pick mindfulness and gratitude as they are so powerful and have made a significant impact in my life.

What do you hope students gain from engaging in these strategies?

(Bridget)    I hope these strategies provide the tools for our students to realize that life is full of barriers and hardships but they can not only survive, but thrive when they get to the other side of challenges. 

(Sarah)       I hope students learn that they can take control of their own happiness and significantly improve their quality of life and relationships by implementing these happiness cultivating strategies/practices into their daily lives.

What is one simple thing that someone could start today to foster resiliency or be more mindful?

(Bridget)    Adopt a mantra – “I am enough,” “I can do this,” “I’ve survived 100% of my worst days”, etc.  We all need to be our own best cheerleaders. 

(Sarah)       Start and end your day with 3 CONSCIOUS deep breaths. You don’t need to meditate for 30 minutes a day to be mindful. Sometimes all you need is one deep breath to change your mindset!

How can students learn more about Project 40?

Check out www.witproject40.com and/or ask a staff member in the Division of Student Affairs what it’s all about!


If you would like more information about the Project 40, please contact Sarah Harmon (harmons@wit.edu), Bridget McNamee (mcnameeb@wit.edu) or Mario Fernandez (fernandezm@wit.edu)