Thursday, September 24, 2009

On France & Happiness

Happiness is gaining ground. In fact, it’s moving from East to West. Bhutan made famous its focus on Gross National Happiness, not on GDP, and now France wants to include happiness as a key metric for the country.

Last week President Sarkozy said France’s measurement of progress should include factors such as healthcare availability, well-being and leisure time. Speaking on the one year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Sarkozy said: “The crisis doesn't only make us free to imagine other models, another future, another world. It obliges us to do so.”

Measuring happiness will not be without a debate and there’s little chance that richer countries will come on board. But Sarkozy’s wish is a welcome sign that happiness is receiving the attention it deserves. In the wake of a financial collapse that disrupted every industry, the balance of our lives is being reconsidered. This is the spirit and point of view with which Saatchi & Saatchi S operates. Adam Werbach and team are championing a growing movement with the goal of happy people in a healthy planet.

I’ve written about happiness before. There’s the Happy Planet Index and the World Database of Happiness. I like what philosopher Daniel Dennet says is the secret to happiness: “Find something more important than yourself and dedicate your life to it.”