Watching TED talks on happiness might be my favorite hobby of all time. My favorite one’s by Shawn Achor titled: The happy secret to better work. It’s really funny and relaxing to watch, so it’s well worth watching.
I started thinking actively about happiness after my freshman year. I came to Michigan carrying the typical gene for “success” – both the talent and diligence to get as high a GPA as possible, build an impressive resume, and find the most prestigious internships possible. A year later, at the very same spot, the dream lost its appeal. Life was interspersed with periods of unease, apprehension and emptiness. A good GPA and an impressive resume did not give me meaning. Life was still incomplete. In fact, it wasn’t just incomplete; it was miserable. I was fed up with the one-dimensional approach of continually working for “a bright future.” I just wasn’t happy.
As a society, we’ve been neglecting the conditions of life that make us happy. Look at our country’s main indicator of progress: the GDP. Robert Kennedy once said, “[GDP] measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
The movement to measure things that make life worthwhile started from an idea that spread. It started in a tiny Himalayan country called Bhutan, whose king said that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.” So it began.
Now, the “happiness movement” is growing across the globe. TED videos like the one above help spread the word. But most importantly, people are generally less happy now than they were fifty years ago, and we’re going to do something about it.
Preliminary survey results in Seattle, WA show that persons aged 19-25 are as unhappy as ever. College students are increasingly concerned about our job outlook, financial security, and we never seem to have enough time to do everything we want.
It’s time for change. That’s why I started The Happiness Initiative at the University of Michigan. It is a part of a nationwide initiative to enhance the quality of life and extend the concept of success beyond wealth and academic/career success.
The goal is to create a UM Happiness Report Card, which will summarize our overall results. So WE NEED YOU to be a part of this! Please consider taking the survey. It only takes 12-15 minutes, and at the end, you will get to see your personal results, i.e. how you feel about the different conditions that affect your happiness.
To take the survey, click on the link below.
UM students: http://happycounts.org/survey/GNH/uofm007
UM faculty & staff: http://happycounts.org/survey/GNH/uofm026
Even if you’re not currently a student, faculty or staff at UM, you can also take the survey: http://happycounts.org/survey/GNH/
Thanks a lot for your help! Feel free to leave a comment on the blog or at the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/114283875362428/!