Happiness, according to Americans, Scots, Canadians, Japanese, Costa Ricans, Italians, etc. Also, 7 other things worth your time.
Considering the happiness philosophy of other nations helps in bringing better perspective to my own as an indoctrinated American. I’ve experienced the culture of Pura Vida in Costa Rica. It was medicinal for my over-worked psyche. Thanks for reminding us of the gifts of the world out there.
We're conditioned to believe that happiness follows success, when in fact happiness precedes success.
I tend to view happiness as a fleeting emotion that we are lucky to experience from time to time. At this stage in my life (53) , my happiness is not tied to any pursuit. Happiness sneaks up on me and often comes as a surprise. I savor it in the moment for the rare gift that it is.
Considering my age, I’ll take wabi sabi
I was brought up to believe that happiness for Americans was the love of money. But I have found, in my life, that there’s contentment (zen living) and happiness (having a vocation/bliss). It’s true that when I’m working, the world and its troubles fade away. I’m fully engaged in intuitive creativity and look forward to it the next day. But now that I think about it, that’s actually Conditional Happiness - I must be engaged in my process. Where Contentment is more long term happiness. I, personally, think a person can have both. It may take some doing to bounce back and forth between being fully engaged and being an observer, but it sounds like the perfect American way to have both worlds.
The psychogeography of the subject is an interesting one. I use the term psychogeography in its more recent meaning, rather than its artistic origins. Personally, I subscribe most closely to the Italian devotion to personal emancipation.
If we’re lucky, our work can benefit others. If it does and we can see that benefit, it will lead to their happiness and enjoyment of our service or product. Our happiness and contentment will follow. Purpose!
The Latin-based cultures such as Italy have it right. Dolce far niente doesn't mean sitting and staring at a wall all day. It doesn't literally mean nothing. It means whiling away the hours in a cafe with a friend. It means showing up somewhere for a brief errand, and you end up spending the whole afternoon there doing something else because it was appealing. It means prioritizing happiness and seeing it as a necessary and important part of life. We live in a Puritanically based society where work and gain are seen as the most important thing. And if work makes you happy, go for it. But a lot of things can make you happy. Seize those moments and run with them. Happiness is what life should be about. I happen to love my work, but I love a lot of other things too. No one ever said on their deathbed "I should have spend more time in the office."
People are productive when they are engaged. People are engaged when they are, purposefully and with self-awareness or accidentally, able to use their natural talents in an activity. Think Gallup StrengthFinders.
Sadly, I witnessed the consequences of “Dolce Far Niente,” while serving alongside our Italian NATO allies while stationed in Afghanistan. Great people, just not a philosophy that you want to live by in combat zone. Lives were lost.
Excellent discussion - very big fan of the theory of happiness:
Ranking of happiest countries worldwide 2020, by score
Published by M. Szmigiera, Jun 10, 2021
Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report from 2021. The Nordic country scored 7.89 on a scale from 0 to 10. Two other Nordic countries, Iceland and Denmark, followed with a second and third place, respectively. The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The measurement of subjective well-being relies on three main indicators: life evaluations, positive emotions, and negative emotions.
BTW the first several countries are sitting in Northern & Central Europe, with NZ being the first ex EU country and before US. US ranks on place 14. The survey was done in 2020 - I guess during pandemic & lockdown times. Personal interpretation that ex US happiness is not necessarily linked to productivity, rather to individual traits and enjoyment.
My best days at work are those when I am most productive. I celebrate at home after one of those days with a nice G & T (yes- boomer. yes - busted). Those days when I don't get as much done as I should (based on my standard), I return home regretting the missed opportunities. Are happiness and satisfaction the same? Nope. But for me, satisfaction creates happiness. Happiness creates gin and tonics.
Reading about other countries' ideas of happiness is enlightening and inspiring. We do get stuck in an American-centric definition and so reading of others' definition and goals is pretty cool.
Having said that, I am not really a happy person. I am kind of an "old soul" and when I read of all the misery that so many endure world-wide, I do not really see happiness as a goal. Being productive, decent to other people and not making everything "about me" is more of a goal. If I end up being happy for a little bit once a year, that is fine. But it is not really much of a goal.
As far as my ethnic makeup, I probably should be happy; 3/4 Norwegian and then Welsh, Scottish and English for the rest.
Something we have been exploring as we head nearer to retirement - Canadian born and lived in Italy as well as traveled down under - fell into Kintsugi (so?) as a reminder that broken does not mean un-valued. I agree that if you are doing something you love you will never work a day in your life I think in the US things are all about competition and production and busy does not necessarily equal value. It seems we have some similarities with the Scots we feel have to suffer first before the fun - eat our veggies before dessert. We have slowed things down, simplified and work on finding joys and happy in things each day - it probably sound corny, but my wake up call was cancer and I really sat back and chose to change my focus a few years ago. I still enjoy my work but there are boundaries. I enjoy wine on the deck watching the sunset just as much if not more.
I agree my personal happiness is closely linked to the pursuit but not limited to it. I believe happiness comes from within and the decisions we make everyday regarding our mindset and how we choose to view the world.It is not external nor is it sometime that you will reach once x happens.
I do agree 100% that I have not worked a day in my life, even during the hardest times I've endured with my business because I am so grateful I get to get up everyday with a purpose than means so much to me. I get to do what I love the most everyday, day in and day out. Even the hard times don't diminish my happiness, they are just part of the journey, or the pursuit. But happiness doesn't just come from what I do for a living. It comes from being surrounded by the people I choose to surround myself with, being true to my beliefs and being present. As a Latina, happiness has a lot to do with friends and family and enjoying those around me as much as possible, in the most festive ways possible too. I also believe happiness is closely tied to how grateful you are, regardless of where you're from or how busy or productive you are.
WoW 🤩! I consider myself to be a very happy person; however, reading your article with all the different perspectives on the happiness has opened a whole other can of worms I never thought possible. Thank you; you’ve expanded my horizons in such a way I never thought possible!