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What makes life worthwhile?

By Marcus Santer

Last Friday (20th March) was International Happiness Day.

And it got me thinking.

Because there’s no doubt happy people live longer.

And being a dry sponge always ready to soak up new insights to share with like minded folk I went off into research mode.

Now happiness is a very subjective quality.

You can’t just look at someone’s bank account and see an accurate figure of how happy they are.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Because despite what the wishful thinking, unicorn loving new-age folk might tell you – the size of someone’s bank account is definitely linked to their happiness.

Up to a certain amount.

And it’s interesting because Gross National Product (GNP – a measure of a country’s economic performance) is used to measure a country’s progress. And historically it was believed that if the right numbers go up then somehow your life is going to get better and you’ll be happier.

But it’s flawed logic.

As Robert Kennedy pointed out:

“The GNP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile”

And in the last decade a different set of criteria has been proposed to measure a nations progress. And one of those criteria is: People’s well being.

As I continued digging I found much more.

I found a huge batch of incredibly shallow views on how to happy. Views that completely showed the ignorance and how out of touch with reality the person spouting such nonsense was.

I’ll sum it up here with this as an example:

“If you’re stuck in a job you hate, you should follow your bliss. Stop watching 5 hours of TV each day and work on your bliss instead.”

Makes my blood boil.

Having worked in many jobs I disliked – the solution really isn’t as simple as following your bliss.

Try telling this to the rent man.

“Sorry I can’t pay my rent this month, I was following my bliss.”


I also discovered:

  1. The Happy Planet Index (HPI) – By using it’s formula they claim to show which of 151 countries produce the happiest, longest lived people. The top 3 countries will surprise you.
  2. Gallup’s Positive Experience Index – They polled people from 143 countries, asking 5 questions and based on the answers created a chart of the happiest people. Their top 10 closely matches the HPI and it’s top 10 countries will also surprise you.
  3. The Foresight Study – Involved over 400 experts and included over 100 commission reviews on the science of wellbeing. Crunching the data they came up with 5 heavyweight actions you can take to improve your happiness and wellbeing. Their 5th action really surprised me.

And so very much more.

Including why Bhutan slide from 13th place on the HPI in 2006 to 17th in 2009 and then didn’t appear at all in the 2012 rankings.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here on what I’ve found on how to be happier.

But I’ll be revealing it all in April’s ZEN+ Journal.

If you want a copy, best hurry because it’s going to my printer next week.

Get your copy here.

Bye for now


P.S. I haven’t finished editing The Journal yet, but if I have the space I’ll also be including this:

Two reasons why you don’t do what you know and six solutions

Consider it a master class in getting stuff done.

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