Forget GDP: happiness is the secret of success. From politics and business to community and family – ‘good karma’ hunting has become big business. It is no longer just a personal pursuit, but a big-hearted approach to work, money, family, community – even politics.

Corporate karma consultants and happiness gurus run workshops on how love and happiness can be applied to everything: personal development, spiritual branding and the marketing of products, services, businesses and leadership.

Happiness Science
The science of happiness is a growing field. Both the public and industry are looking for insights into emotional wellbeing and positive psychology as an aid to living a more fulfilled life. A wide range of external factors determines happiness levels, but recent scientific theory asserts that these are matched (50:50) by our genetic make-up. The psychotherapy or coaching session of the future may well focus on positive emotion, your strengths and virtues, and how to build more meaning and joy into all areas of your life.

Karma Culture
Scandinavia is supposedly one of the happiest and wealthiest regions in the world. Here business leaders now engage in karma capitalism, practicing meditation in between meetings. Spirituality is a safe card to play. In a sense, the Dalai Lama is the iconic epitome of Buddhism’s extremely positive status in the West. This spiritual guru inspires compassion and his wise words are quoted and applauded. He laughs and smiles in TV interviews, conveying genuine warmth and happiness – a rare and precious commodity among leaders in any field.

Rethinking GDP
Since rising national wealth does not necessarily make people more satisfied, economists and politicians are looking beyond balance sheets to well being. When it comes to life, love and true happiness, France is leading the way. President Sarkozy’s plan to rethink the way we judge national performance is to be applauded. Perhaps GDP will come to be measured alongside GDW (Gross Domestic Wellbeing) – an index reflecting inner wealth! One thing is certain: what makes society happy will be a hot topic over the coming decade.

Inspirational Sources

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”. Dalai Lama

– Bhutan national happiness index: On the roulette wheel of hope for the future, you should put your money on gross national happiness and Bhutan, not Copenhagen. Bhutan measures national performance with happiness index

– From Bhutan to France: Gross National Happiness: On the intersection of place, politics and culture. Call it the trickle-up theory of ideas. Big ideas often start in small nations. For instance,  the wildly successful practice of micro-lending was born not in London or Tokyo but rural Bangladesh. Why? Necessity, yes. But another reason, I think, is that small, off-the-map countries have less to lose. If Bhutan proposes something like Gross National Happiness people might snicker but they’re not likely to think of any less of Bhutan.

– Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich: Pull yourself together >>

– Buddha, Buddha Cool: Buddhist ideology and practice has become popular in business. It is used as a development tool and for the spiritual branding of everything. Read reflections about why we should ask critical questions about this trend. By Jørn Borup CIFS 2/2009

– Genes ‘play key role’ in happiness: Happiness – 50% genetics, 10% circumstances, 40% intentional activity. How to be Happy 

1. Happy family – Martina and kids
2. Happy Planet Index

3. Monocle’s Quality of Life Index

4. Gross National Happiness – Arthur C. Brooks
5. Meditating monk in India 


The Futurist

Anne Lise is a keynote speaker and works across the world out of London base

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