Friday, July 18, 2008

We Can Do It - Part 2

Donnie Deutsch is the best, just so positive, kind of cute and funny too. You can tell he loves his job. The Big Idea is uplifting and a must for business people. I have been having insomnia for weeks and caught a really good show of his late last nite that I'd like to share. The theme was ta da...being happy. Seems there are studies out there that happy people earn 40% more than unhappy folks. Now one can argue that these people are happy becuase they earn more but actually the study explains that their positive outlook makes them more attractive interviewees and employees.

Now I know that we can't wave a magic wand to make this happen, all this happiness. But Donnie being Donnie had several experts on including Sonja Lyubomirsky who has written a book on how to be happy. On the CNBC website she has a condensed version of her 12 step plan. Here's the link.

Now if you are a long time reader of Vie you may remember that I lived in Denmark for several years. A global happiness survey has been conducted for the last 30 years and Denmark always comes up on top. The survey has been done for the last 30 years and Denmark always wins. I can vouch for this. People are not as materialistic, and make more of an event out of every day. What everyone strives for in their home and entertaining is "hygge". Loosely translated it is a feeling of coziness and well being. Candles are always lit, whether at home or in the cafes. A small, carefully arranged flower grouping is always at the table. Furnishings are chosen for life. Parties are planned with great care. And everyone knows that their responsiblity is to be a good guest and conversationalist.

At lunchtime in any office, the whole dept puts aside any talk of work to enjoy the half hour meal together and talk about the weather, the news, travel, etc. A gift is chosen with such tenderness, even if it is a business gift. To me it seems that it is done from affection and not duty. There's a lot of other examples but I think you understand.

Now the interesting thing about this survey is that Danes when interviewed said that the reason for their happiness is because they have lower expectations. I don't think that this is it, I think it is that they are satisfied. Less is more. (and five weeks of vacation a year mandated by the government, plus lots of great social benefits doesn't hurt either.) Another big part of it has to do with a reading that every school age child learns which basically says that no one is better than anyone else and that the society is as great as it's weakest link.

Before I lived in Denmark I did not truly understand how to savor a moment. My mom used to tease me about my impatience, always saying I was going to wear my wedding dress before my wedding. I was always looking for the next raise or promotion or whatever. Now the lessons I learned in Denmark sometimes get lost in my hustle and bustle American life but I do try to remember that this moment won't come by again, and that I need to enjoy it for all it's worth.


Suzanne said...

I think I'm a closet Dane because I'm very happy and live each day to it's fullest. There was a watershed moment after a visit to a doctor's office and a was the more freeing experience in my life. It was awesome because it set me free to live life without a net, because I realized THERE ARE NO NETS.

The problem is that I live with an 87-yr. old someone who is just the opposite.....stingy and a narcissistic. It's a poisonous atmosphere that threatens to smother happiness. I work hard to maintain my course.

Very thoughtful post.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Tracie~MPMaison said...

So glad I found your blog (through a comment at Karen Eileen's).

I loved this post. We all have our ups & downs, but one thing I've learned in the last year (yes, it took me a while to catch on) was do what you love and can change your (my) outlook on life so, so much.

I slip (like everyone) but always try to look on the Sunnyside of Life ;)

Just to think if people in the workplace in the US took time at break/lunch to talk about things other than work what a change that would make. I could really ride that soapbox for a while.

Ahh, and candles lit all the time, sounds wonderfully appreciative of the culture.

Ann said...

I found your site via SITS and I'm so glad I did.
What a joyful place you have made.
It makes me happy.