Seriously Happy

Do your eyes glaze over when the finance report comes on the news? Do you cheer when the ASX200 goes up? Does it make your day to see the latest GDP statistics?

It all seems a bit distant to me. When I think about the things I value, I think friends, hobbies, travelling and experiences. I think of things which make me happy.

In this TED talk, Nic Marks talks about a quietly revolutionary idea. It’s not a new idea; the concept that the performance of a country shouldn’t just be measured based on production or the amount of money flowing through it, but the outcomes it achieves on what people value. What do people value? Happiness. Unfortunately, in much of western society, marketing, advertising and social norms have done a good job convincing us that stuff will bring us happiness, so we buy stuff, which pushes money through the economy and keeps our GDP looking plump and healthy. If this paradigm is right, then the richest countries should be the happiest. Is it right?

Check out the video to find out some of the remarkable results Nic’s discovered when it came to the happiest places in the world. If you want to check out more, go explore the globe on the Happy Planet site here!

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Categories: Things people do, Thoughts, Videos | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Seriously Happy

  1. A somewhat different map to the “best countries” one in Newsweek recently (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/15/interactive-infographic-of-the-worlds-best-countries.html)!

    Also am a fan of TED talks. Listen to the podcasts when I’m in need of inspiration.

    • Interesting – the Newsweek one used metrics which would determine personal success, and the Happy Planet aims to incorporate sustainability (ie resource use) as well. So the main difference is that the HPI seeks to value the countries who achieve high outcomes with the least consumption of resources.

      The Newsweek one’s interesting though, and highlights the difficulty ‘big’ countries have in achieving these kinds of outcomes.

      • About the HPI: While I’m not surprised that most African countries are part of the “red zone” (or that the USA is too – their ecological footprint really drags them down), I didn’t expect Mexico, Columbia and most of Central America to have the best overall score. Or am I reading it wrong?

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