DS Leadership Life Blog: Happiness


Are you happy now?

happy dog modified

As a regular practice I like to ask myself this question: am I happy? It would seem that a simple yes or no answer would suffice however, this question is embroiled with a host of things to consider as one allows it to marinate.

As I contemplated the deeper meaning of this question I noticed my mind looking at my own happiness based on my current experience in my different roles and responsibilities. Career was certainly one of them pondered. Am I happy in my current career? Are there certain areas that I am more happy with than others? Am I happy with my current relationships? Looking at life as a wheel with different areas to consider can be helpful in addressing this question of happiness.

For example, over many decades it has become clear that although the Gross Domestic Product is helpful in measuring economic viability, it has limitations when considering things such as a gain in a nation’s wealth when contrasted with environmental sustainability. One group that has attempted to look at this question more broadly as it relates to developed countries is the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). They developed an interactive tool titled the “What’s Your Better Life Index” that takes into account 11 topics considered to be essential to well-being. This index allows each individual to rank each factors on level of importance. It will then tell you what country may be the best fit for you based on your priorities (mine was Switzerland).http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/ I mention this tool as an example of a blending of factors that contribute to the measure of happiness. As I thought about moving to Switzerland, I also realize that one thing that detracts from my happiness is packing boxes and moving. So for now, I am going to remain in the United States. Although, according to Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Switzerland may be the place to be. http://www.youtube.com/user/DSLeadershipLife?feature=mhee

As leaders we look at the profitability of our companies as a measure of success but often we are plagued with the reality that financial success does not correlate directly with happiness. This consideration has been much of what the transformative leadership model has been concerned with since the industrial revolution and endless research that reveals time and again that money and happiness have a low correlation. In an article by Clayton Christensen in the Harvard Business Review, July 2010, he proposes that we can apply many of the same models and theories we use to run our businesses to the “business” of our life. Not a bad idea. What I like about this approach is that it yet again begins to wash away the thought that we can be one type of person in the boardroom and another type of person in the living room. As well, it addresses the host of factors that we can consider as we attempt to measure our ultimate happiness. And, if we agree that what gets measured matters, happiness may be a metric worth measuring regularly; for you and for those that you lead. Once this measurement is established it can be followed by taking action if those levels aren’t operating where you would like them to be, just like we do when we run our companies. http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/

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