Reading this recent article ( The World’s Most Miserable Economy) and Happy index by Bloomberg, I wonder what is your Happy Index at home? Can you really measure happiness?
A year before I was born, scientists started to run surveys know as the Ladder of Life (or Cantril Self Anchoring Scale) and for almost six decades they conducted global studies and engaged with respondents’ answers about wellbeing, life expectancy, inequality of outcome and ecological footprint.
Despite clear evidence that wellbeing’s subjective measures are dependant on measurement of stress hormones and brain scans, subjective wellbeing seems to be the most accurate reflection of how satisfied everyone is with life in general.
Analysing the reasons people stay together, or have children, or win elections, and how long they live, can give you an accurate indication of what matters to them.
Do you think life is becoming a better place?
During a three years book tour around the world, I had a close look at rising inequalities, economic turmoil, political confusion and climate change. People I’ve met in their own homes across five continents, no longer believed that life is getting better. In South Africa I learned that while ‘life getting better’ is not an option, locals decided to “get better at life”. In Asia locals “adapt to whatever is thrown at us”, Americans “learned to make lemonade with the lemons life throws” at them, while back at home, Londoners “Keep calm and keep going”.
Against the progress made by society in modern age, there are severe challenges to people’s wellbeing, and in my opinion there is a direct link to what a government’s top priority is at the time.
If government’s focus is on economic growth, electors will support leaders who promise a stronger economy but in reality, forcing an artificial GDP leaves no room for wellbeing. Instead of being a solution for better life expectancy, reduced ecological footprint or social equality, GDP growth ignores what matters to people: inclusion, social edification, how they feel about the choices they can make for their own time, health and aspirations. Here I am, just like you, questioning my own scale for happiness. Can you really measure happiness when you can’t see a sustainable solution for your grandchildren’s wellbeing? Is “quality time” a thing of the past?