I read an article this weekend that described Bhutan (a tiny Himalayan country) as the Happiest Place on Earth. I was intrigued and wanted to know more and I went searching.  I found that Bhutan measures its wealth in terms of Gross National Happiness (or GNH) rather than Gross Domestic Product (or GDP). This means the Government makes all decisions relative to the impact on the happiness of their people.  Bhutan offers its people free healthcare and free education and over 95% of the population is happy.  It is also the world’s only carbon negative country and is purported to have some of the most breathtaking scenery of anywhere in the world. This 3 minute video provides a good summary on Bhutan and GNH.

I was curious to learn more about Bhutan’s approach to education.  Here is what I found Jigme Y. Thinley (Bhutan’s Prime Minister ) to have said about his vision for education ………..  “Ten years from now, five years from now, 20 years from now, what I would like to see happening in Bhutan is firstly, an education system that is quite different from the conventional factory where certain knowledge and capabilities are imparted, where children are just turned out to become economic animals, thinking only for themselves and working and earning for themselves. I would like to be able to see an education system that is truly educational, that will be able to produce graduates that are more human beings, with human values; that place and give importance to relationships; to students that are eco-literate, that are contemplative, that are analytical in terms of how they approach issues, challenges, even new knowledge; and basically people who will know and understand [and] appreciate that their needs as individuals are not really excessive. That success in life does not mean acquisition of wealth. That success in life is a state of being when one can come home at the end of the day satisfied with what one has done, being able to put your head on your pillow and have a sound sleep and … wake up the next day realising that you are a happy individual, not only because you have found happiness for yourself, but in the process of one day’s work, you have given happiness to your spouse, to your children, to your family, to your neighbours and to the world at large.” Here is a leader committed to creating happiness for all of his people and who “walks his talk”. A leader who builds schools where children learn about love and helping others and how to walk lightly on the earth.   What am amazing Noble Goal!  It made me revisit my Noble Goal and recommit to it. As an experiment, I’ve decided to spend 30 minutes of each day  for the next 7 days (I want to say 21 days but I think I need to take baby steps with this) doing something that is truly aligned to my Noble Goal and to write in my journal about it each night (eg. what did I do, how did I feel, what will I do tomorrow etc). I’ve started my work day with a renewed sense of energy and passion and it feels great! I hope you’re making great progress with your Noble Goal also. Take care, – Melissa  

Melissa Donaldson

For the past 15 years, I've partnered with senior executives and leaders in public and private sector organisations to execute significant change, design and implement leadership capability programs, renegotiate complex industrial agreements and build leader and team performance.

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