Is happy the new rich?

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How many of us have done something consciously in the last few days to make ourselves happy?

Do you know–India ranked a dismal 133 (out of 156 countries) in the 2018 United Nations World Happiness Report. What makes it worse is that it dropped 11 places from last year. Surprisingly, most of the Asian countries, including Pakistan (75), China (86) and Bangladesh (115) are ahead of India. Not the best piece of news to kickstart the International Day of Happiness!

Happiness is a gift that keeps giving! Yet, most of us are guilty of taking it for granted, routinely sacrificing it on the altar of perceived success and short-term results. How many of us have done something consciously in the last few days to make ourselves happy?

A lot of our life choices stem from ignorance. The common belief is that happiness is the outcome of success. “When I am successful, I will buy that swanky car or a sprawling house and that will make me happy.” Haven’t we heard this often? Aren’t we putting the cart before the horse?

Sorbojeet Chatterjee

A meta-analysis of over 200 studies on happiness, covering 2,75,000 people from across the world, indicates ‘Happiness is not the outcome of success, but a precursor.’

Consider the amount of stress and duress we live under—from workplace challenges to parenting dilemmas. Most emerge from impossible benchmarks we set for ourselves, chasing elusive targets we believe will make us happy!

In the workplace, the benefits of happiness are immense. Happy employees are more creative, demonstrate higher productivity, make better leaders, generate higher revenues and are more likely to get promoted. Yet, workplace happiness is often considered to be a paradox.

We tend to gauge the strength of an economy by looking at the GDP numbers and the comparative growth. But, way back in 1972, Bhutan introduced the concept of Gross Domestic Happiness. Infact, King Jigme Singye proclaimed – “Gross Domestic Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product”. In 2011, the UN passed a resolution urging member nations to measure the happiness and wellbeing of their citizens.

Maybe organisations can follow the Bhutan example and start tracking another metric in addition to return on investment—return on happiness! That day ‘workplace happiness’ might cease to be a paradox!

Beyond statistical numbers and common knowledge, the malaise runs deep! Ironically, our priorities with respect to happiness are so mistaken that the phrase “if it makes you happy” is a taunt. “Hope you’re happy now” is an intended jibe! It is about time we make happiness a priority. And this International Day of Happiness is a fitting occasion to start our journey of making happiness a priority. After all, happy is the new rich!

(The author is the CEO and co-founder of Happ Coach and Happ Stuff. )

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