The quest for happiness
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The quest for happiness

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This session argues that happiness is the ultimate goal towards which we all aspire, even if the means to achieving it be different. With that goal in mind, how can we measure happiness – at the ...

This session argues that happiness is the ultimate goal towards which we all aspire, even if the means to achieving it be different. With that goal in mind, how can we measure happiness – at the individual, corporate, and national levels? Further, what measures can individuals, corporations and governments take to enhance the happiness factor?

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The quest for happiness The quest for happiness Presentation Transcript

  • The Quest for Happiness ESMT Annual Forum 2014 Corporation 2050 Shirish Pandit Berlin, July 03, 2014
  • #esmt2050 Acknowledgements • Swami Paramahansa Yogananda • Swami Chinmayananda • Shubhraji • …and Google Images July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 1 • Jonathan Haidt: The Happiness Hypothesis • Sonja Lyubomirsky: The How of Happiness • Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index
  • #esmt2050 Happiness is hard to put into words. Yet it is the feeling that we all aspire to experience. This aspiration pushes us on to a quest of happiness … and poses a series of questions • Happiness: − is a state of feeling joy, exhilaration, etc. − results from attaining/possessing something − varies from contentedness to bliss July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 2 • Some first thoughts: − Why conditional upon externalities? − Possible to drive it fully intrinsically? − Why not long-lasting feeling? − Can happiness become monotonous? − If we crave for the happy feeling – yet, once we have it, it starts diminishing in value – what exactly are we after? Happiness: concept and relevance
  • #esmt2050 The ultimate destination of this quest is the state of “bliss”. Experiences of happiness are key milestones on this journey • Bliss (Ānanda) − a state of serenity that is beyond the perceptions of duality (Body, Mind, Intellect) − the source of peace, wisdom, courage and faith in spite of the ever-changing experiences of joy / sorrow − experiencing bliss is among the key objectives of spirituality / meditation / Yoga July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 3 • Mastering the art of being happy under all circumstances is an important step in attaining bliss Happiness: concept and relevance
  • #esmt2050 Happiness has a range of benefits. Individuals, corporations and states – all can benefit from, and contribute towards generating, a happier society • Tangible benefits: − Better physical & mental health, greater longevity, lower propensity towards drugs / depression, etc. − Stronger relationships with family, friends and at the workplace − Direct, positive correlation with income • More profound benefits: − Closely linked with finding and fulfilling the “purpose of our lives”, helps to overcome fear of meaninglessness of life − Feeling is contagious and creates positive spiral (e.g. a country moving on in the World Cup vs. a war-torn region) − Better thoughts, emotions, attitudes => more fruitful actions • Drivers of happiness can wilfully be controlled / influenced, at: − Individual level − Corporate level − National level July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 4 Happiness: concept and relevance
  • #esmt2050 The progress principle and adaptation principle help explain why individual happiness, even upon attaining long sought goals, is transient July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 5 Progress Principle • Pleasure comes from making progress towards goals than from achieving them (this is not football ) • What we feel along the journey is happiness, what we feel at the destination is more of relief • It’s the journey that counts, not (just) the destination − Journey: pre-goal attainment positive affect − Destination: post-goal attainment positive affect Adaptation Principle • Happiness is felt, if the current situation is perceived to be better than the one that we have adapted to • We are highly sensitive to changes in conditions, not to absolute levels • We adapt to the new conditions over time: − Lottery winners: upfront joy, diminishes over time − Paraplegics: upfront loss, normalizes over time Individual level happiness
  • #esmt2050 The “happiness formula” developed by Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, Schkade, and Seligman gives us helpful insights into the drivers of happiness July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 6 H = S + C + V “Conditions” or circumstances in life. E.g. health, wealth, beauty, marital status, geographic location, etc.C V “Voluntary Activities”: These are the ‘happiness strategies’ that we have the choice of pursuing “Set Point”: Baseline level of happiness that we are born with. Those with lower S will have to work harder to achieve/maintain happinessS External factors Happiness does depend upon external, controllable factors! Individual level happiness
  • #esmt2050 Among the external factors affecting happiness, the activities we voluntarily choose to indulge in, play a decisive role July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 7 Source: Sonja Lyubomirsky, “The How of Happiness – A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want." Individual level happiness
  • #esmt2050 CONDITIONS have a lower impact on our happiness, because we adapt to them over time July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 8 CONDITIONS that we adapt easily to • Amount of wealth (lottery winners) • State of health (paraplegics) • Level of beauty • Marital status • Job promotions / career status • City / region / country of residence Source: Sonja Lyubomirsky, “The How of Happiness" CONDITIONS that are hard to adapt to • Level of noise • Amount of commuting • Degree of (lack of) control • Level of shame / (lack of) self-esteem • Inter-personal conflict Source: Jonathan Haidt, “The Happiness Hypothesis" Individual level happiness
  • #esmt2050 Voluntary activities can provide longer lasting happiness, if they allow us to experience “flow” and give us gratification July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 9 • Express gratitude • Cultivate optimism • Avoid overthinking and social comparison • Practise acts of kindness • Nurture social relationships • Develop strategies for coping • Learn to forgive • Increase flow experiences • Savor life's joys • Commit to your goals • Practise religion and spirituality • Take care of your body Examples and tips… Source: Sonja Lyubomirsky, “The How of Happiness" Which type of activities to undertake? • Those that allow you to “be in the zone”, “in flow” − Challenging, yet closely matched to one’s abilities − Clear challenge as a task, own skills, quick feedback • Those that give gratification, as they are − engaging, draw on strengths, allow us to lose self- consciousness, extend ourselves − not pleasure-focused (fade quickly, urge for more) • Those that introduce variety and spice − Variety is the natural enemy of adaptation • Know your own strengths (online tests available) Source: Jonathan Haidt, “The Happiness Hypothesis" Individual level happiness
  • #esmt2050 Reflection exercise: What concrete steps would you undertake to increase happiness at the (a) personal, and (b) company/department level, if you are in a position to do so? • … • … • … • … • … • … July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 10 Activities at PERSONAL level Activities at COMPANY level • … • … • … • … • … • … Company level happiness
  • #esmt2050 The “wealth” of countries is often measured in terms of their Gross National Product – a metric that fails to capture the numerous, softer aspects of life July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 11 Source: JFK Library; Transcript of Robert F. Kennedy’s remarks at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968; own emphasis added “[…] Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.” National level happiness
  • #esmt2050 Countries like Bhutan assess performance on 33 indicators across 9 domains to come up with a Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 12 Source: GNH Survey Findings 2010, The Centre for Bhutan Studies Domain (with number of indicators surveyed) Psychological wellbeing (4) Health (4) Time use (2) Education (4) Cultural diversity and resilience (4) Good Governance (4) Community vitality (4) Ecological diversity and resilience (4) Living standards (3) Total indicators across 9 domains 33 National level happiness
  • #esmt2050 The team at SecondMuse, a strategy and innovation firm in Berlin, has adapted the Bhutan GNH Index model to create a Gross Corporate Happiness (GCH) index July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 13 Source: www.secondmuse.com/gch/index.html National level happiness
  • #esmt2050 The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has developed the Happy Planet Index (HPI), and applied similar principles to the Well-being at Work Survey July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 14 • The HPI is essentially a measure of efficiency, comparing on a country basis the output in terms of “Happy Life Years” to the input in terms of amount of resources consumed • It does not yet address other fundamental issues like poor infrastructure, human rights abuses, etc., but the composition of the index is evolving with time Source: http://www.neweconomics.org/ National level happiness
  • #esmt2050 Summary July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 15 • By understanding the drivers of happiness at the individual level, companies can promote and environment and support initiatives that enhance the happiness of their workforce − Doing so will result in higher productivity, creativity, innovation, and better health of the workforce Take responsibility, become happier, and make the world a happier place ! ! ! • Happiness – whether short-lived or sustained, is a feeling all humans aspire to experience. Ancient wisdom can be, and is being, combined with modern research to crack the secrets to happiness • The components and their weightings in the Happiness Formula H = S + C + V give important guidelines for us to take responsibility for influencing our level of Happiness − Among these, the choice of voluntary activities that provide a gratifying, “flow” experience, is crucial • Measures like GNP, which focus only on the economic output of nations, are being challenged by those like the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index, the Happy Planet Index (HPI), etc. − Such approaches are being applied in corporate settings for evaluating the Gross Corporate Happiness (GCH) Index
  • #esmt2050 Links and further references • http://www.happinesshypothesis.com/ … Jonathan Haidt’s book • http://www.neweconomics.org/ … Nic Marks’ initiative on the Happy Planet Index • https://www.happinessatworksurvey.com/ • http://happiness-survey.com/survey/ … Oxford Happiness Survey July 03, 2014 ESMT ANNUAL FORUM 2014: CORPORATION 2050, Session “The Quest for Happiness” (@shirish_pandit) 16