Dave's Space

A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind

A simple observation

2010-03-10 by David, tagged as philosophy
Occasionally something so obvious comes along that we should take notice. What would you do to be happier?

Have you all heard of the gross national happiness index (GNH) as popularized by the leaders in the rather small country of Bhutan? If not, please take a moment and read the following:

Wikipedia's entry on the subject of GNH

The general idea is that in order for a country to be able to measure the happiness of its citizens, an index should be developed. That is to say, that there is a recognition that being prosperous does not always correlate with being happy.

To say that should be obvious for many people, after all, they say that "money won't buy you happiness". But, it is also true that people with money tend to be of a certain happiness level which is higher on average than someone with no money. But, I'm not here to bicker about money. Instead, let's assume that you have enough money to cover your basic needs. Probably most of the people that aren't happy in the above scenario are that way because they don't have the money to cover basic necessities. So .. assuming you have enough money for the basics, what next?

Allow me make a suggestion. Instead of making a list of your ambitions and where you want to be 5 years from now, let's try another tact.

Make a list of the top 10, or even top 5 things in your life that you're not happy about. Or even if you are perfectly happy, try listing things that you could do better with. It may take you a couple of moments to list the sore points down on paper. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Done? OK. Now, take another look at this list.

What if I told you that you could take even one item off of this list? It would make you feel a lot better, right?

The concept of GNH supposes that it can measure quality of life in "holistic and psychological terms". Let's take it one small step further. Why can't we start making lists on how to make ourselves happier as a society? I see a lot of unhappy people out there. I think perhaps some of them haven't made the mental leap that it is possible to enumerate the things you should change in your life, and deal with them in a similar and practical manner as you would, say, go to the grocery store. Sure, it may take longer, but the results will be well worth it.

Pick an item off your list. Come up with a plan. Do it step by step. Take real, concrete steps toward crossing that off your list. You won't regret it.