Thursday, August 3, 2017

Happiness Without Borders

I‘ve blogged about happiness and personal wellbeing at length. In recent years happiness has gained ground all around the world. There’s World Happiness Day, the World Happiness ReportThe Happy Planet Index and almost ten years ago France followed Bhutan’s example and included happiness as key metric for their country. It’s great to see that happiness is being perceived as more and more important in an otherwise achievement driven world. The “Happiness without Borders” initiative in the UAE is now bringing happiness into corporate culture. As part of the program ‘chief happiness’ and ‘positivity officers’ from various government agencies are providing free consultations and offer interactive workshops to support organizations to “establish a culture of happiness and positivity.” I love it.

Looking at how important happiness can be for our personal wellbeing as well as our performance it makes sense to introduce ‘happiness’ training into organizations. I’m a firm believer in personal wellbeing as key element in peak performance. When you look at rankings of the best companies to work for you will notice they usually have something in common. They are known for making working there fun. And happy companies significantly outperform their peer group. No surprise here.

Happiness does not only affect our mental wellbeing, but also has been found to have a significant effect on physical health – it seems that for some people “subjective well-being can influence health and longevity.”

Pondering this I took to Google and discovered even more interesting studies on happiness. Experts speaking at ‘Happiness and its Causes’ recently held in Sydney, found that while wellbeing and happiness are words that are often used interchangeably they are not the same. Happiness is an ingredient in wellbeing, but you can have wellbeing without happiness. That certainly provides food for thought. Just think about the adage that money doesn’t buy happiness. What it boils down to is a sense of purpose and meaning. And studies confirm that people who are focused on giving back to communities or on personal growth were more likely to be happy than those who weren’t. It makes sense and also applies in business. Purpose is why people work for you, buy from you, stay with you, share you and proliferate you. It really is about making happy choices – both in personal life and in business and enabling others to do the same.