The Stuff That Shapes Who We Are and How to Make Positive Changes
Stick with Wendy Wood Ph.D. & Bill Sullivan

Original Air Date Wednesday, Nov 13th, 2019

This episode is about our ability or inability to make positive changes in our lives. Studies show that 43% of our daily activities are unconscious habits. That means that we live much of our lives on auto-pilot. But, how is the auto-pilot programmed? How easy is it to change our habits?  Willpower and self-restraint have very little to do with the success rate of changing habits, but why? Could the trauma experienced by past generations be imprinted in our DNA? To unravel our genetic code and investigate how we create mental shortcuts, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two authors who write about our ability to make positive changes in our lives. Wendy Wood discusses her book, Good Habits Bad Habits and why some succeed in changing and others don’t. And, Bill Sullivan shares some noteworthy studies about the mysterious forces that make us who we are included in his book, Pleased to Meet Me.

Does something in this conversation resonate with you? Are you in need of a professional speaker who can elevate your tribe & enliven your culture? Lisa Cypers Kamen is an award-winning speaker, author & happiness expert who facilitates life-changing presentations for organizations of any size. The science is clear, happier people thrive in life. If you are ready to inject joy into your organization, find out which program is best for you at Lisa’s Live Events.

Wendy Wood Ph.D. — How to Make Positive Changes:
  • Wendy describes why habits are beneficial and efficient for humans. [1:48]
  • Good habits, bad habits, passive habits, and reward systems. [4:22]
  • How to change existing habits or create new complex habits. [8:55]
  • Creating a habit around something you don’t enjoy is futile. [17:29]

Wendy Wood has devoted the last 30 years to understanding how habits work. She is a Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at
the University of Southern California, where she also served as Vice Dean of Social Sciences. She recently launched the website​ to convey scientific insights on habit to the general public.


Book: Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes that Stick

Good Habits Bad Habits Website
@ProfWendyWood on Twitter
Good Habits Bad Habits on Facebook
@HarvilleHendrix on Instagram

Bill Sullivan — The Hidden Forces That Drive Who We Are:
  • Bill’s book, Pleased to Meet Me, uncovers the four hidden forces that make us who we are and why we vote the way we do. [26:24]
  • The impact food has on prenatal development and how the microbiome in our guts drive food cravings. [33:20]
  • How generational trauma or transgenerational epigenetic inheritance affects DNA. [37:13]
  • Bill explains the incredible epigenetic event caused by women who were starved in World War 2. [45:29]
  • The brain is an energy hog and why it’s hard for humans to cultivate compassion for one another. [47:04]

Bill Sullivan received his doctorate in cell and molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and is an award-winning professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, where he studies genetics and infectious disease.



Book: Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Mysterious Forces That Make Us Who We Are

Author Bill Sullivan Website
@WJSullivan on Twitter
Bill Sullivan on Facebook
Bill Sullivan on Instagram

This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life — A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?

H-Factor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film that explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally-desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.