Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A week of happiness

The WGS and Global Happiness Dialogue I recently attended in Dubai, UAE was truly inspiring.  A major focus was on happiness, and here are some of the key findings

  • Happiness matters
  • Happiness is not fixed - what we do individually, in organisations  and as a society changes it, both up and down
  • Science now knows a lot about how to increase happiness in individuals, organisations and societies
  • This knowledge about happiness though important is however not widely known -even among the well-educated - because we didn't learnt it at school!
To do my bit to address point 4, I am going to blog all week about happiness. 

Today - happiness matters.

How many of the following benefits do you think happiness is associated with?
  1.          Improved  health
  2.           Longer Life
  3.          More achievement
  4.          More wealth
  5.          Improved productivity
  6.          More pro-social and altruistic behaviour

The answer – all of them! 

Happiness not only feels good, it also makes us more likely to do good and be good. 

This is not to say that happiness is the only thing that matters. Selgiman's PERMA theory suggests 4 other values that are important (engagement or flow, relationships, meaning and accomplishment) - and we could undoubtedly add others ourselves (wisdom, courage, justice,self-control, compassion, freedom)

Nor is it yet saying how we attain happiness. Nor that it's your fault if you are not happy. What is says is that, other things being equal, the happier you are, other good things are likely to come  as well - good not just for you, but for others.

So, once and for all, let's put away the myths that say happiness is unimportant, or self-indulgent, or narcissistic.  Ed Diener, the most eminent of happiness researchers, put it well in his WGS speech - "Happiness is not a luxury, it's a necessity".

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