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Happiness Revisited

26 Oct

Recently a colleague forwarded an article to me written by an exchange student from Denmark. She says:  “I am from Denmark, and came to Orlando to study abroad for this semester. I love it here, but life is different from back home. Here, everyone talks a lot about money. In fact, everything is money.”

This article did not make me happy (pun intended).  How did this young woman get such a distorted view of America?  Do you know anyone who is personally driven by money?  I have been in 350+ organizations and we almost never talk about money.  I now have 99 posts on this blog, not one of them is about money.

I concede that Danes are very happy, in fact Denmark is the happiest country in Europe, perhaps in the world.

But Americans are also very happy. Except for Mexico, North America is a very happy place.  However, it seems that Florida is not as happy as the upper Midwest, perhaps this explains her perception of the experience, as well as her lack of graciousness.  Clearly, no Iowa Nice where she has been living.

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The Science of Happiness

13 Oct

Searching in TED, I found two very interesting videos on happiness.

Psychologist Nancy Etcoff (19:43 minutes) on “The surprising science of happiness.” This is a lucid and entertaining scientific overview with lots of interesting data. She introduces a human response I had not of heard before, biophilia.  If you can find 20 minutes, take the time – it’s worthwhile.

Dan Gilbert (21.20 minutes) in “Why are we happy” places happiness in the evolutionary continuum and gives insights into how our minds steer our happiness.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of……..

6 Oct

Recently in a leadership group we were discussing happiness, and did a round-robin self-assessment of our levels of happiness.  We all agreed we were a pretty happy group.  This was especially true of one of our members who just got a new, and apparently more interesting and pleasant boss.

Happiness is explicitly noted in the Declaration of Independence, so Americans have been striving for this fine state of being for some time.

There are now tests to measure the level of our happiness and there seems to be some agreement on what are the core causal variables that produce happiness.

For an interesting (five quick questions) self-survey of happiness,


There are quite a few interesting links on this site.  I particularly liked the one on Gratitude.

For a short overview of happiness and the primary variables that contribute to happiness go to: