Posted here is a very interesting article about the country of Bhutan and ever-broadening world views of what constitutes success.
The article discusses, among other things, GNH or Gross National Happiness. Here in the US, it seems we often assume that with ‘success’ will come happiness. I think most of us know that while some happiness is probably easier to experience when you’re not desperate for basic resources, many people who experience success of the type we typically value here in this capitalistic society are not happy at all. The question seems to me to be two-fold: What is our definition of success and can we make the concrete goal of happiness an attainable and desirable part of that?
While reading, I couldn’t help but think about why making happiness a highly valued goal is hard in a culture that doesn’t already make it a practice to put “soft” principles high on the priority list. Part of it is that here in the US we’ve evolved into a capitalistic culture of a certain type that places very specific social judgments on placing the importance of things like happiness as highly as other goals -things such as financial stability or academic prestige. However, some of it is also our resistance to change. Even if we see that happiness is an important goal that pairs up nicely with our other interests, we still have to practice articulating that, telling others that we believe that happiness is imperative for our new definition of success. What is the driver for change and what provides the momentum to follow through? To change our feelings about success and what constitutes success on a societal level requires examining our entire sense of relative values. Difficult to do as a big group. However, if we do it individually and talk about it and share it with others, it becomes viral or infectious. (Funny I’m so interested in language and both those words have such specific connotations. Going to use them anyway…another topic for another day!)
Really is a great article…enjoy!