Photo by Frank Kovalchek
A while ago I wrote about the World Happiness Index and how I thought that it wasn’t so much about happiness, but about freedom of choice. I did some more research since and it looks like there are as many ‘happy’ indexes as there are countries. For me, two are worth mentioning: The Happy Planet Index and The Better Life Index.
The Happy Planet Index
The Happy Planet Index combines ‘good life’ characteristics with the natural resources a country uses. It measures ‘How much well being do you get for your resources?’ When it comes to happiness, the western world is on top. Again. But they sure need a lot of natural resources to ‘maintain’ their happiness. The implicit question is: ‘For how long can they keep that up?’
On the other hand, a lot of African countries do well when it comes to their ecological footprint. As does most of Asia. Unfortunately, many of those countries are not doing well on happiness. But in the Happy Planet Index they combined several aspects: Well-being, ecological footprint, and life expectancy. And if you do that, something interesting happens. When you consider resource usage in addition to well-being, a couple of countries in Central-America and South-America score very high points. As does Vietnam.
The message from the Happy Planet Index is that it is possible to be happy without destroying natural resources. A good reason to focus on the “soft” aspects, like intrinsic motivators such as purpose and curiosity.
‘The Happy Planet Index highlights the tension between good life now and good life in the future.’
OECD’s Better Life Index
There’s also the Better Life Index, measuring the well-being in 34 industrialized countries. An example: The United Kingdom scored high points on environmental quality, personal security, jobs, earnings, and housing. So while only on spot 22 on the World Happiness Index, they end up higher on this one.
In the Better Life Index website you can play with several switches (topics) that define happiness for you. Life satisfaction, yes, but also housing, income, community, health and so on. Of course I put life satisfaction, work – life balance, jobs, education and community on full throttle. That sure changes the outcome: On top I found Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Coincident or not; out of those six, four have a legal Happy Melly entities…
Love and keep up the good work,