The Scale of Needs: Beyond Survival.
The pyramid designed by Maslow pointed out the importance of this scale of human needs. At the base he placed those of survival, in the middle part those of security, love and at the top those of self-realization and transcendence.
Most people survive at the lower levels of the pyramid and very few make it to the top. Necessity is the mother of invention that allows us to climb the pyramid. But to have a happy heart you must first have a full belly.
Innovative Creativity: The Mission as an Engine of Happiness
The connection must be between being creative and innovative and becoming aware of one’s personal mission in life. This allows us to act from an internal vital purpose, to feel that we are contributing essential value and a useful service to others. Associated creation and innovation are value producers.
Getting Out of the Pit: Challenges in a Disconnected World
There are people who are not poor, but who are unhappy. Dissatisfied people are the breeding ground for populist governments. The collapse of ideologies and the gradual collapse of traditional religions have left hundreds of millions of people without a moral compass, without a community and without a purpose.
There are other factors that influence disconnection: the technological revolution, which transformed the world of work by eliminating the illusion of a job for life, and social networks that decreased communication that produced greater human contact.
Social Prescribers: Unusual Recipes for Happiness
Faced with the wave of unhappiness caused by the combination of these factors, some countries took measures to increase happiness. There are British doctors who are giving social prescriptions: from dance and singing classes. They consider that one of the keys to happiness is optimism. Optimistic people live six years longer than pessimists. They propose creating a culture where realistic optimism predominates. That provides more energy, creativity and productivity. Optimism can fail, but pessimism paralyzes.
Rising Unhappiness: Unraveling Global Causes
The social explosion experienced in 2019 in Chile occurred even though the country had achieved the highest rate of economic growth in Latin America and was the reason to investigate the reasons that explain the record rates of dissatisfaction throughout the planet.
To improve, we must insist on economic growth, but maintain the fight against populism and corruption, combined with the fight against discontent.
According to the Gallup Poll in 137 countries in 2022, the rate of people who declared themselves angry or stressed was 33%, a considerable increase compared to 24% in 2006.
Great Social and Scientific Advances: Confronting Social Factors
It is undeniable that despite scientific and technological advances, there are social factors that undermine happiness and countries generate policies to fight against unhappiness. In India there are programs to teach children to be happier. The Step Up organization in Nigeria organizes sessions that teach children how to combat corruption, one of that nation’s biggest problems. In the United Kingdom, they measure happiness with questions during the census, which allows them to later develop targeted initiatives.
Happiness scholars point out the difference between joy, as something temporary, and life satisfaction, which goes hand in hand with a decent job, financial savings, living in democracy and far from corruption. Joy is a temporary phenomenon, life satisfaction is much more lasting, a variable in which Nordic countries such as Finland are leaders, a nation that also has the lowest suicide rate compared to the European average.
In the Gallup study, the happiest countries in the world (from the perspective of life satisfaction) are Finland, Denmark and Iceland, while the United States is ranked 15th and Spain is 32nd. It is no coincidence that the most economically disastrous and corrupt countries like Venezuela are at the bottom. Cuba is not part of this study because it does not allow Gallup pollsters to enter.
Technological advances play a role in the pursuit of happiness, for good and bad. A technological development that has a positive contribution is the possibility, thanks to data engineering, of finding “foci of discontent” to develop targeted public policies, as well as addressing the wave of loneliness among older adults.
There are social problems that translate into illnesses, hospital costs, deaths and a collective bad vibe that affects us all.
Recipes for Happiness: Beyond Economic Growth
The fact of recognizing unhappiness does not imply that the measures adopted to combat it are adequate. Bhutan is an example, it created the gross national happiness index, but today it is among the worst countries in the world. Legislation on unhappiness was incorporated into its 2008 Constitution, but the reality is not as idyllic as the fame that accompanies this remote kingdom located in the Himalayas. It is a poor state (its annual per capita income is just over $3,000) and, furthermore, it occupies a distant 95th place in the World Happiness Report, according to Karma Ura, president of the Gross National Happiness Research Center. .
School as a Pillar of Happiness: Daily Teachings
The impact of education on happiness. One of the pillars of happiness is in school. In India, children are taught daily in different practices, such as mindfulness or conversations about how to tolerate and overcome failures. The latter are based on real cases such as that of soccer star Lionel Messi. The objective is for children to learn from a very young age that they should not drown in a glass of water. As the law of karma – one of the Buddhist principles – says, each person reaps what he sows.
Populism and Discontent: Challenges to Global Happiness
The role of populism is decisive in the wave of unhappiness. The economy, democracy, and the need for an optimistic culture are necessary to look forward. One of the worst causes of the wave of unhappiness is the rise of populist leaders, from both ends of the political spectrum. Discontent explains why Gustavo Petro (Colombia), Donald Trump (United States), and Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela) came to power. To cultivate Happiness in a Changing World that faces social, economic and technological challenges, and build a happier future, it is important to develop social relationships and fundamental values that compensate for the fall of ideologies and religions that caused us to lose our compass. morality, communities and a sense of purpose in life.
While robots threaten human work and networks reduce contact, there are countries looking for solutions. Doctors in England give social prescriptions. They try to create a realistic optimism, since many pathologies are caused by a lack of human relationships.
One of the pillars of happiness is in school. In India you learn mindfulness and overcoming failures. The objective is to learn not to drown in a glass of water.
The wave of unhappiness comes from populism. Happiness implies a healthy economy, money does not buy it, but its lack leads to misery. Then follows living in democracy, without corruption, creating an optimistic culture and looking forward without myopia of the future.