I had the privilege and good fortune to attend the World Happiness Summit (WOHASU) in Miami March 16-18. While that may sound like a hokey, silly purpose for a summit, the content was compelling. Over the past three decades or so, the science of happiness (aka positive psychology) has emerged as a legitimate study of how humans thrive, breaking from traditional psychology (which is restricted to the study of mental disease and illness). From the scientifically-proven benefits of mindfulness practice to the development of character strengths to achieve life satisfaction, speaker after speaker confirmed that sustainable happiness is possible. More importantly, cultivating happiness wildly benefits our performance at work and our overall well-being.
One particularly compelling talk for me came from Mo Gawdat, who just left his post as Chief Business Officer of Google X (the “Moonshot Factory” of Google) to devote his life to his One Billion Happy project. He admitted that he had spent most of his career unhappy despite his circumstances – incredible wealth, opportunity, and leading one of the most innovative organizations of our time – and in response to this “problem,” he set out to “Solve for Happy.” Finding that happiness is not only possible, Gawdat convincingly argues that happiness is an imperative for all of us and we must take steps to cultivate it.
I’m not sure if you would describe yourself as happy or not, or whether you think that answer is important. But, I do think happiness is relevant to everyone. After all, what else is the purpose of all we undertake if not to be happy? How can you increase your happiness to create a better life for yourself and those around you?