Peace and Happiness by Design

Life advice from savvy, socially conscious entrepreneurs.

February 19, 2010

Admit it. We're all suckers for being wooed. Our parents first coddled us with unconditional love, regardless of bodily fluids we ejected their way. In elementary school, macaroni valentines and love notes slipped under desks made us swoon and swagger.

Today, as we've graduated from diaper bags to backpacks to suitcases, our relationships have grown more complex. Hence the dilemma: how to enjoy both peace and love - that is, how to maintain peace of mind while remaining open to the same wide-eyed, kneeknocking love you enjoyed before?

In this edition of Takeout, we want to shed light on the notion of "buying" into relationships that matter - with your family or with the world at large - without spending a cent.

Here, we convey the wisdom of San Francisco designer Joshua Chen and two relationship-savvy clothing entrepreneurs, Michelle Jeong and Helene Park.

Chen, named one of Graphic Design USA's People to Watch in 2009, led a team at Chen Design Associates in creating Peace: 100 Ideas. This illustrated guide offers whimsical yet practical suggestions that, taken together, gently remind us that we need to navigate the line between tumult and peace in every relationship.

"In a climate of global war, socioeconomic and political divisions," the book tells us, the road to satisfying relationships may begin with taking action close to home. Put simply, "an act of peace, no matter how small, is capable of inspiring hope."

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Writer Han Pham

Han Pham is Hyphen's Takeout editor. Her best relationship advice: "Curiosity is a better aphrodisiac than telling someone to shut up. " She'll fall for anyone who tells her "I love you more than bacon. "