Saturday, January 16, 2016

What's Gross about Happiness?

Laura's chalk happiness excursions
This is the first of twelve posts for 2016 that explain the work of the Happiness Alliance, the Gross National Happiness Index and the Happiness Movement.  I am writing these posts from my own perspective of having been in the happiness movement since 2010.  At the end of the year, all of these posts will be collected and issued as a book.

This is the first post and it explains the Gross National Happiness Index. Each post is meant to inspire you towards your own happiness and to participate in the happiness movement.  Thanks for reading! Laura Musikanski, executive director of the Happiness Alliance happycounts.org


Gross National Happiness is an index. It's a philosophy. It's emblematic of a paradigm shift to an economic system based on sustainability, love and well-being for all. And it's more. Since 2010, it has been the portal that has changed people's lives. It has transformed communities and guided countries.

Let me tell you two stories to illustrate this point.

A Personal View on Gross National Happiness

In 2011, when we first issued the Gross National Happiness index survey in North America, a woman took the survey.  She worked for a not-for-profit doing environmental work in California. Her job was to measure the impact of the nonprofits various projects and report it.  By her own definition, she was a data-junky.

Her survey scores looked like this:
Gross National Happiness Scores 
Notice anything about the scores?  Being a data junky, she realized this immediately. Before you read on, see if you can see it.

She scored higher than all other survey takers on pretty much every domain of happiness except satisfaction with life.

It's important to understand that she knew that her scores were her own self-assessment of her well-being. Nobody was dictating to her that she was better or worse off than others. Nobody was observing her and telling her that her health was good or her financial future was rosy.  She had determined her own scores by answering the questions in the survey.

This is what she realized:  Her life was as good as it gets. Any unhappiness or dissatisfaction that she felt was not because of anything external in her life. She realized with a finality she had not felt before the truth that nobody and nothing could make her happy. She did not need to change anything in her life. She did not need a new job. She loved her job. She did not need to move. Her neighborhood was great. She did not need a different family, to lose weight, get more stuff, or have more friends. Her life was really good.  It was up to her if she wanted to feel better about her life.

She decided to take up a daily gratitude practice.  Everyday she wrote down three things she was grateful for.  Within a few months, she found that thanking the people in her life who did little things, like the teller at the grocery store and the front dest person at work, came more naturally and frequently. She also found herself admiring her husband and little boy more frequently. At first they were a little surprised when she would praise them unexpectedly. They happily got used to it.

She decided to start a daily mindfulness practice. Every day she sat for at least five minutes and just watched her mind think, or observe the inhale and exhale of her breath. Sometimes she missed a day, or a few, but would take the practice back up when she remembered, without chastising herself. After one year, she took the Gross National Happiness Index again. There was one noticeable change in her scores. Her satisfaction with life scores went up. In a conversation with her, she told me that she felt, indeed, happier.

That's a story about how the Gross National Happiness index has made a person happier. Here is a story about how it has had a transformative effect at a national scale.

Gross National Happiness at a National Scale

Bhutan, source of Gross National Happiness
In 2008 Bhutan (a country in the Himalayas about the size of Switzerland) used its Gross National Happiness index to measure the well-being of its population.  Forty years earlier the King of Bhutan had coined the term "Gross National Happiness" when queried about his country's economic future. Bhutan's Gross National Happiness scores were used to inform laws, policy and programs for the nation. A Gross National Happiness Commission was convened to help draft, aid the parliament in promulgating, and then implement happiness policies. The United Nations took notice.  So did many policy makers, media, and others.

In 2009, a year later, the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, let the world know about a report he had commissioned, popularly called the Stiglitz report. It is called the Stiglitz report because Joseph Stiglitz, a nobel prize winner in economics lead the project, along with Amartya Sen, another nobel prize winner in economics, who wrote Development as Freedom, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi, a French jewish Tunisian-born economist  (I also am a French citizen, jewish and Tunisian born, but not an economist. Funny, the little coincidences in life.) lead its creation.  Sarkozy urged all presidents of countries across the globe to adopt wider measures of well-being in lieu of Gross Domestic Product.

The Stiglitz report said that countries needed to use wider measures of societal well-being and environmental sustainability to guide policy. It said that the current measure governments use were prone to giving policymakers a distorted view and exacerbating growing income inequality, among other things.  Since then, the United Kingdom followed Bhutan in measuring the happiness of their people and using the data for public policy, the European Commission created a brain trust that culminated in a report called the BRAINPOoL Report, and forty countries around the world started the process of measuring happiness at a national level.  These two events may someday be seen as signs of the trimtabs that changed the course of events for our planet. I hope so.

Trimtab
Trimtabs are the rudders on the rudder of a ship or airplane that determine the long range direction of the vessel. The Gross National Happiness Index is a trimtab.

The Gross in Gross National Happiness

So what is the Gross National Happiness Index and what's so Gross about happiness?

Oxford Dictionary defines "gross" as: (1) (especially of a wrongdoing) very obvious and blatant and (2) (Of income, profit, or interest) without deduction of tax or other contributions. Webster's defines it as (1) (a) immediately obvious, (2)(a) big and bulky; 2 (b) growing and spreading with excessive luxuriance and (3) (b) consisting of an overall total exclusion of deductions.  We are going to go with Oxford's second and Webster's third definition of gross, but will keep in mind the preceding definitions.

The Gross National Happiness index gets its name from the term "Gross National Product." Today, people say "Gross Domestic Product," so let's use that term. Gross Domestic Product is the sum of all
goods and services a country produces in a year. If you measured the Gross Domestic Product for your household, you would include all the money you and all the people in your home earned at work, all gains from investments, any money you got from selling stuff on e-bay, at a garage sale or to somebody (like if you sold your car), and money you won or were awarded, like for a law suit. Essentially all the money that came into your household.

For a country, you can calculate Gross Domestic Product by adding up all the money spent, or all the money earned. In either case, you will include the money earned or spent on everything ranging from computers to environmental restoration, from hospital bills to lawyers, from guns to prisons.  It counts things that matter to us and counts things that hurt us. It misses anything that you do not get money for, such as parenting your child, family time, a day off, sleep, a hike in the mountains, an act of kindness to a stranger. This is why Bobby Kennedy said that Gross Domestic Product "can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."  Today, we could say the same thing about every other country (except Bhutan and, to a degree, the United Kingdom) because today every government is using Gross Domestic Product as the main measure to guide governments.

This is where we circle back in the first definitions of gross.  Remember them? Gross is (1) (especially of a wrongdoing) very obvious and blatant (Oxford), (2) (a) big and bulky; 2 (b) growing and spreading with excessive luxuriance (Webster).

It turns out that when we talk about Gross Domestic Product, it is gross. Even the creator of Gross Domestic Product, Simon Kuznets, thought so. When he introduced it to the U.S. Congress in 1934, he cautioned our elected officials that "The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income."  We did not heed. Instead we built our nation, and then other nations built their nations on the singular objective of increasing Gross Domestic Product. Coming out of the depression in 1934, we figured a little money is a good thing, so a lot of money would be a better thing. Turns out, not so.

Can't Buy You Love

Money does not bring happiness once you recover from a depression.  It does bring a lot other things, though.  Inequality. Environmental degradation. Discontent with a simple life.  We have all of those in oodles now. As our Gross Domestic Product increases, we will likely have more and more of it. This is because Gross Domestic Product does not catch inequalities, injustices or the side effects (economists call it externalities) of everything money can buy.  Nonetheless, we keep using Gross Domestic Product.

But now we have Gross National Happiness.  Gross National Happiness is a measure that counts the things Gross Domestic Product leaves behind. It accounts for income, and includes many other areas and activities of our lives and our country.  Gross National Happiness measures:
  • Satisfaction with life (how you feel and if this life is worthwhile)
  • Economy
    Gross National Happiness http://www.happycounts.org/for-researchers.html 
  • Work
  • Time Balance
  • Environment
  • Health 
  • Government   
  • Community 
  • Social Support
  • Learning
  • Culture
  • Psychological Well-being.

It asks you questions like "Do you feel a strong sense of community?" and "Are you able to make ends meet?" It accounts for whether you feel your environment is healthy or toxic and if the bottom fell out from your life, you would have a place to turn.

So what is so gross about that? Well, by name and origin, it is a proposed alternative to Gross Domestic Product.

The Gross is Gross Domestic Product

Past and Projected Gross Domestic Product from statista.com
Today our country's Gross Domestic Product is huge, at just over 17 trillion dollars. It's "big and bulky" and "growing and spreading with excessive luxuriance." By 2020, it is expected to go up to over 22 trillion.

Good news?

Very likely not.  Remember, money does not buy you happiness once you have recovered from economic hard times.


Imagine Gross Happiness

Imagine our government used Gross National Happiness as its guide. Imagine we held our health in
the same esteem as our bank accounts. Imagine that how we defined ourselves as community members - volunteering, participating in sports, arts or governance - was as valued as our career success. Imagine you spent as much time with your family and friends as you wish you could and your boss worked with you to ensure this happened.

Imagine companies were invested in because of how well they performed in the community and for the workforce, as well as their financial output.

Imagine if policy maker vied for ways to increase the happiness, well-being and sustainability of our nation in as many of the domains of happiness as they could.

What if our happiness were big and bulky? What if it were obvious that you were happy? What if happiness was growing and spreading at a national and individual level?

There are some real examples of how happiness policy spreads happiness, well-being and sustainability. In Denmark, often cited as one of the happiest countries in the world because of its scores in the Gallup World Poll, policy makers hold annual political festivals that are open to all. People come and listen to the people who want to be elected and the incumbents speak for one day, and then for the subsequent days, can meet with them for discussion at booths or in meetings. Imagine if our city and county elections in the U.S. were precipitated by a political festival.  In Costa Rica, often cited as the happiest country on the planet because of its scores on the Happy Planet Index, the forest covers 52% of the land, with a goal for 70% and a carbon-neutral country by 2020. The policies implemented to get there were drastic and daring. The army was disbanded and funds were channeled into efforts to restore forest cover, which had dwindled to 25%, and into social programs including schools, jobs and social security.  Imagine if the world powers were to do that.

There are other examples of happiness guiding government that are bite sized. In the United Kingdom, where scores showed high-school aged kids were not so happy, summer programs were implemented to match youth up to community building projects in their borough or town. In Victoria, British Columbia, a section of downtown was smattered with "8 smiles per zone" signs to encourage people to smile at least eight times an hour. In the state of Vermont, policy makers and not-for-profit leaders were treated to a weekend seminar to learn what accountability to happiness data meant, and then invited to join a data collaboratory.

Measurements Matter

I mentioned earlier that the Gross National Happiness Index is a trimtab. You may be wondering what the heck that means. It has to do with the power of measurements. Have you ever heard the sayings "what you measure matters," "you get what you measure" or "what you measure is what you get"?  There is more truth than one might expect in these adages.

If you watched the movie Happy, at about 28 minutes in, you saw my friend Tim Kasser explain.
Tim Kasser in the movie Happy.
He talked about values, goals and metrics.  Metrics have a direct causal relationship to our goals. If we measure money, our goals are to make more money. If we measure happiness, our goals are to become happier. Tim's research tells us that measuring gross domestic product means we set our goals for money, image and status. These are extrinsic goals. Even if we achieve them, they do not make us happy.  But if we set our goals for personal growth (really being you), personal relationships (deeply connecting with your friends and loved ones), and helping the world to be a better place, we are happier.  And, when governments use measurements, they are telling people what is important, and what to value. If governments use happiness and well-being measurements, then people value sustainability, wellbeing and happiness for themselves and others. In other words, what you measure, matters.


So, right now, we live in a world where our society tells us that money, wealth, status and image are more important than making the world a better place, loving and being yourself. You probably feel this in your everyday life. Have you ever apologized for doing volunteer work or for being different? Have you ever felt too embarrassed to express your feelings?  Do you feel like you do not have the choice to do what you really want to do in life?  The truth is that for most people, if they did the work they felt called to do, they may not earn enough of a living to...live. For many of us, if we fully expressed our feelings (in a healthy way), we may be ostracized by family and colleagues. And for most of us, there just is not enough time in a day to spend as much time as we would like with our friends and loved ones.

So what can you do right now, in a world where money matters and being truly you, giving to others, acting out your crazy self, and taking care of the planet is frowned down upon? Take little bites. The time that you do have with your loved ones, try to be fully present. Bring your focus back on them each time it strays. If you have time with a niece, nephew, child or grandchild and find yourself on your cell phone, don't chastise yourself, but put it down, and join your loved one in what they are doing. If they are playing a video game, don't demand they stop - join them or ask to watch and participate in a non-judgemental way (praise is always good -seek things to praise about what they are doing).  If you wish you could do more to save the planet, love that you are the kind of person that feels this way. Look back over the last year and find all the things you did right. Think on how you have been a good person.

You can make a difference. Let's live in a nation where happiness, well-being and sustainability matter at least as much as money. You can be a part of the happiness movement by bringing the message of the happiness movement into your home, your community and your life.

Stay tuned to learn more about the happiness movement and visit our website at happycounts.org to find tons of information and resources.

And if you are inspired, take the Gross National Happiness index survey and use it in your community.

Posted with love, Laura Musikanski
laura@happycounts.org 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sending letters


I'm sending thank you letters today to the hand full of people who donate on a monthly basis.  In sharing a short version of all we have done this year with our donors, it occurred to me how much we have done.  I wanted to share the start of the list of our accomplishments:

Hello!

Thank you so much for your monthly donations! It really does mean a lot to me that you do this and feels like a cheer each month.  

With a very small budget (less than $5,000 this year), we have managed to provide tools and resources, including the Gross National Happiness Index and toolkits like the Personal Happiness Roadmaps to over 42,000 people this year.  This year also saw the publication of Happiness In Public Policy by the Journal of Social Change and we were invited as the only grassroots organization to participate in the OECD 5th World Forum: Transforming Policy- Changing Lives. From that, we were invited to contribute to the WikiProgress site giving examples of work being done in communities. Here it is! 
 We also launched a whole new set of tools addressing really hard issues in happiness, that included the tool "Feeling Sad, Feeling Happy."

Attached you will find a receipt you can use for tax purposes. Please let me know of your ideas or suggestions for this very grassroots but impactful project!
Thank you!
Laura 

There is so much more, but the short letter is a start. And in writing this I feel a bit overwhelmed by all that has been done this year, and all on the string in shoestring budget. I love this work, and am willing to do it without pay and at the expense of being able to afford many things money buys, but at the same time,  there is a cost to doing volunteer work when you are not wealthy (i.e. "can't afford it."). One of them is the dark times I go through emotionally feeling like the work I do is not valued by society. The notifications each month that come from those who give a little each month really do cheer me on.  

So, again, THANK YOU to all who donated this year <3.
Laura Musikanski
Happiness Alliance ED.

PS You can donate here. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Reinvented Resolution: How to Bring Real Change in the New Year

Thanksgiving, even Halloween, marks the start of the holiday marathon. Each mile along the way, we attend holiday parties, indulge in sweet treats, devour delicious foods and sip on tasty drinks. With each indulgence through the Christmas season, a promise is made to jumpstart the new year with a New Year's Resolution to eat less, eat healthily and most of all, get in shape. By Jan. 1, we cross the finish line, ready to kick this resolution into high
gear.

And that's great! It's fun to make a New Year's resolution and there's no better time than at the start of the year to make a healthy change. Yet, resolutions have a reputation for dissipating — only to disappear and re-emerge in 10 months. Sound familiar? If you want to begin a fitness renovation, here are tips to help ensure its permanence.

The Gym Isn't Your Resolution One Day at a Time

Empower your resolution by resolving to practice commitment and accountability, rather than "going to the gym six days a week." Your goal is to stay committed to an idea and hold yourself accountable. It's easy to excuse yourself from your gym responsibilities because of work stress, family obligations or lack of time. But can you accept that you dropped the ball on personal commitment and accountability? These are your New Year's resolutions — to live with commitment and hold yourself responsible. Embrace and follow through with these positive qualities. Your health and fitness will only improve as a side effect.

Track your feelings

Change is a struggle. It's natural to default to old habits, feel uncomfortable and want to give up. Don't expect a change to be fluid progress. There will be moments of defeat and feelings of discouragement that could lead you to want to abandon it all. Take it one day at a time. You may actually have to "start over" every single day. You may have a good week and then a bad two weeks. Your third week is a fresh start to begin again. The goal is the journey itself because living a healthy and active lifestyle is supposed to be never-ending.
Many experts recommend keeping a food journal as a way to track what and how much you're eating. Rather than using guilt and shame as a way to eat better, keep track about how eating better or working out makes you feel. You can do this with a journal, by noting a thumbs up or smiley face (or frown...) on your calendar, posting on facebook, or even by giving yourself a gold star for each time you do something for your health that leaves you feeling good. Find a way to keep track that fits with your personality. 


Exercise and increasing your heart rate releases endorphins that in the long run, after you get used to your routine, leaves you feeling good. Regularly working out also boosts serotonin levels, which can energize and create clearer thinking. Although you may feel great after a workout on day, you may forget about that high during work the next day when you're tired and feeling stressed.  By keeping track, you can remind yourself of the positive end result. Why wouldn't you want to feel that way again? The sweat and burn of an intense cycle class in the morning begins the day with an endorphin high. Completing a three-mile run after work leaves you proud with accomplishment. Keep track of your feelings after you exercise and use your data on you as inspiration for doing it again.
Fitness doesn't have to be an arduous, lonely task that's just part of your daily grind.  One of the most beneficial ways to work out is to take a 20 - 40 minute walk every day. Walking is something you can do at most any age.


Social Exercise

Another way to enhance your exercise routine by turning it into an event to experience
with your family or friends. For example, the idea of running 13.1 miles may not sound like a vacation. But what if you signed up to complete a half marathon in a beach town or city you've always wanted to visit? The challenge becomes more fun and something to look forward to. Invite your friends and family to be a part of your exercise, or they can support you along the way and join you at the finish line to celebrate.
-- Guest post by Social Monsters

Sunday, October 25, 2015

At the OECD world forum - post two

Reposted from Linked In
By Laura Musikanski

Last week was a whirlwind. I spent the first part of the week in Guadalajara, Mexico at the invitation of the OECD (organization for economic cooperation and development) to their 5th world forum on statistics, knowledge and policy: transforming policy changing lives. The second half of the week was spent in Phoenix, Arizona at the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) at the invitation of the president of that society - more on that in another post. 
I want to tell you about the OECD meeting. There were over 1,200 people there. Most of them were high level policy makers, with a few academics sprinkled in. Pretty much all of them in suits.  I brought a colleague with me who is using the Gross National Happiness Index in her small community.   I think we were the only grassroots activists.  I'm not quite sure why they invited me...nevertheless, they did.

There were three talks I really wanted to attend featuring John Helliwell, Richard Layard, Gus O'Donnell and Jeffrey Sachs.  Helliwell and Layard spoke on happiness and sustainability.  I met Helliwell in 2012 at the UN high level meeting and have had several conversations with him since then. He is a great guy.  I really wanted to hear what he and Layard had to say, but the gods were against me. The meeting had been moved and while there was an abundance of beautiful tall women all dressed in black to tell one where to go, none of them could tell one the correct place to go. After checking the two plenary rooms, room one, two and three, I found the meeting in room four. Helliwell and Layard did re-cap their talk in the Q&A session: happiness and sustainability are inextricably linked  and the SDGs (meaning the United Nation's sustainable DevelopmentGoals) should be include happiness metrics.  Well, the World Happiness Report reflects this. I wished I could have heard the whole discussion (and maybe they will post the recording), but I did get to have a cocktail and snacks with Helliwell that night before we were treated to a spectacular show that night. 
Gus O'Donnell spoke on one of those panel so full it boggles the mind. If you have not read his work Wellbeing and Policy, you are in for a treat.  I loved what he said. He asked policy makers to ask "What are we doing wrong? What are we not measuring that we should? Where are we failing?"   I wish he had been given the entire time to go into why it is so important to look at our failings, explore our challenges in a real way, and be transparent about our mistakes.  I suspect most of those listening were not invigorated the way I was. I suspect that for most policy makers, the idea of publicly exploring, much less admitting, mistakes is anathema. But I liked what he said.

Jeffrey Sachs gave a keynote that sounded more like a lecture to students.  He started by telling us that he tells all his students: that most important decision they can make is who their parents are. I considered his words in the midst of the audience, and figured most of them had probably made a wise decision if the measure to determine whether it was a good choice is wealth and privilege. It was kind of a hard pill to swallow, since most of the other talks had been by the same policy makers who were in the audience and they had spent their time talking in platitudes about the importance of eradicating poverty. Just a few miles away from the conference center, there were children selling goods on the street.  I got a bit agitated and asked few questions at the end, which he did not really answer.

I left Guadalajara feeling a bit sad about the state of high level policy in the happiness movement. I've been working with lots of grassroots activists doing the work in their community that they are talking about. Helliwell did state the importance of bottom up (grassroots) efforts in conjunction with top-down and academic efforts (told you he is a great guy).  I wish there were a way to pool grassroots activists and high level policy makers and earnestly explore why this work is not reaching these high level policy makers  - one of the failure Gus O'Donnell spoke of.   

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

At the OECD fifth world forum - post one

OECD post one by Laura Musikanski


The music is grand, pounding thunder and hope. Last night They Were setting up the sound system as Kai, Laura Hannant and I put up posters and brochures for the Happiness arranged Booth at the OECD 5 th World Forum.

The announcer is introducing the President of the OECD, Governor of Jalisco State and other Officials With the intonations of a wrestling world championship event. The room holds over 1,000 people, mostly men in gray or blue well-fitting suits. Cameras on long reaching booms loom above us. The speeches are televised on three huge screens above each speaker, giving us a demonstration of what might be a very large bug's view. I have no idea what they are saying because they are speaking in Spanish.      


It's okay. I'm excited. Our happiness booth is one of 34 and definitely different. While we were
putting the finishing touches on it This Morning, Already People were milling about.    Laura H and I will be speaking at a session tomorrow spotlight about the gross national happiness index and the work Creston & District has done to measure wellbeing using the gross national happiness index.   I'm very interested to see how our interactions go at our booth today and tomorrow!  

Monday, September 28, 2015

Skip the Impulse Purchases for Lasting Happiness

Skip the Impulse Purchases for Lasting Happiness

Buying stuff can leave us feeling high. In fact, 75 percent of
Americans
 surveyed admitted to making impulse purchases
according to research by CreditCards.com. However, stuff alone cannot account for unadulterated happiness. Sure, getting that new French press, pair of heels or tie can be exhilarating in the moment, but impulse purchases rarely leave us with a sustainable feeling of well-being. Typically, whatever we purchased ends up collecting dust in a closet or cupboard somewhere, leaving us with only the memory of how it felt to find the deal. That being said, we can find ways to sustain our happiness that are not centered around things, but experiences.
Stuff in and of itself is not the enemy. It is when we fixate on things instead of the experiences we might be able to have with our things that leads to unsustainable forms of happiness. Science proves again and again that it is our connectivity to other human beings, and the environment in which we live that can have a larger impact than the material wealth we may have. According to the World Happiness report, the common threads around what makes people happiest are social and center around our experiences. So how can we generate these experiences?

Take a Vacation Already

As the Atlantic reports, Americans on average accrue 18 vacation days per year and only use 16, whereas our French counterparts use up to twice as much. Based on these statistics,Europeans seem to understand the value of taking a break and how productive it can be more than Americans. So, instead of sitting on a mountain of vacation time, use it. Take a trip somewhere you've always wanted to visit and enjoy the experience of disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Enough cannot be said about how effective a break can be in helping you reconnect with your family and loved ones and come back to work refreshed and rejuvenated.

Share Yourself

While stuff is not the answer to happiness, some stuff can help you better connect to the community around you. For example, your iPhone lets you connect to social media apps like Facebook,Twitter and Instagram to share your life with your friends and family. By sharing the things that matter to you and allowing others to experience them with you, you are able to enjoy things you might miss if you were depending on physically being present. Remember, technology can be a friend by helping you be a part of the lives of those you love who are far away or even close. 

Follow Your Passion

Have you always been interested in something but think you will do it when you have more time? Now is that time. When you make a purchase, spend for something you are passionate about helps you create lasting happiness. When we value genuine wealth, like that of engaging in the things we love, we create an environment for lasting happiness. Try charting what gives you a natural high, so you become more aware of the wealth you already possess and can make it happen more often. By allowing yourself the freedom and space to spend in the areas that matter most to you, you can generate the experiences that make you happiest.
Choose wisely where you spend your money and you are sure to see many returns.
Guest post. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Service and HAPPINESS

 
Service; participate actively to generate circles of HAPPINESS
A Totally Genuine Lovely creation
Post by  Alejandra Torpey is a professional in the learning and development industry, committed to serve for the integral development of people to empower them to perform at their best.

What is service? In a short and simple manner to explain it; is a wonderful thing, is something you do because you want to satisfy the needs of another being. I believe that you can serve to a dog when you feed him, you can serve a plant when you water it, but of course when you serve a person the feeling is amazing. By fulfilling the needs of a person, that person feels happy, and seeing and feeling such happiness that you gave them, makes you happy too. Is a two way road; a very gratifying road, I would say. Then, a circle of HAPPINESS is created.

In the past, the word “service” was underestimated and maybe even considered to be a meaningless activity. Nowadays, things have changed; a good service is what everybody wants everywhere they go then, you are a part of that too; don’t forget to provide a good service to those around you every time you can.

The power, nobility, honesty and meaning of service is very much valued and appreciated; as a  person. I haven’t seen a HAPPY person who is not willing to serve others and who can reserve for their own their good emotions and vibes instead of spreading them all over and radiating positivity.   

consequence, the person who provides the service is also appreciate it and valued. Then, it is in order to say that a person who is attentive and helpful to sever others, is a HAPPY

Imagine a Chef; they love cooking, is their passion! They feel HAPPY satisfying the taste of people  feeling, which is going to give their families satisfaction and joy to know their loved ones are doing awesome! Once more, a happy circle is being created based on the service.
with their creations; is more than filling empty stomachs, is providing a whole experience by means of what they do. When they receive the compliments of the guests, is a boost of energy to the Chef, a very rewarding emotion and a good Chef will share such compliments with everybody in the team because everyone in that kitchen (of course the waiters and waitresses too) served the guests; they made the guests HAPPY and that brought happiness and satisfaction to the working team who even if it was a crazy, rushing, long and tiring day, they are going to get home and share with their families: “today we were congratulated for our meals, or our service, or… whatever”. They are sharing a HAPPY
There are many types of services like: doing a favour to someone, is a service, and sometimes even if we not precisely told: “can you do me a favour”; when things are done, you know you contributed to something, someone and for a bigger benefit and purpose.

How many times at work we are told: “can you help me find this file, please”, “can you please remind me about this matter”… and the chain of service starts, because what you know or have, or do, is going to serve for something else and for somebody else. That’s what happens inside organizations, it doesn’t have to be an external person to call him/her a client; everybody around you is your client, because at any given moment you are going to need something from them and they are going to need something from you too.

Service is honest, service does not know envy or rivalry, it flows freely and does not feel like an obligation, things are being done on purpose for a purpose. When things are not done like this, harmony is broken.

In an organization every person is a member of the same team. If you serve your team members, you serve to yourself too and in the bigger picture you serve to the organization you represent by means of what you do and how you behave; and organizations serve the society. Again is a service cycle.

When people feel good at work, they are happy and a happy person is going to have a good attitude toward work, toward challenges, toward being asked to do something extra and very likely, will be willing to give that extra without even being asked for it. A happy person without doubt will add up to generate a good organizational climate and will be open to serve others.


Something to consider and to reflect about, what kind of people do
you want to have in your team? HAPPY people are more productive people. How can you contribute to serve HAPPILY to those around you? By putting a reliable smile on your face you already contribute a lot, and even help yourself too! Are you aware if the people in your team are HAPPY and honestly attentive and helpful in an honestly manner? Take the chance and the time to ask around; informal talks can serve better than strict organizational climate questionnaires. Use that information as a base to take action and to HAPPILY serve your people, serve your team; participate actively to generate circles of HAPPINESS!