Here is what 10 Happiness World Leaders have to share about Happiness

Business leaders, entrepreneurs, and startup founders need to look after happiness in their organizations as research consistently shows that happy people are more motivated

By Rajesh K Pillania


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Though we human beings have been in search of happiness for a long time, the current unprecedented time of COVID-19 has made happiness even more imperative for all of us. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, and startup founders need to look after happiness in their organizations as research consistently shows that happy people are more motivated.

Here are insights from ten Happiness World Leaders, which are taken from the first India Happiness Report 2020 released recently.

Maintain a cheerful spirit

Historian and biographer, Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, Research Professor, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shares Mahatma Gandhi's understanding of happiness. Some of the key insights are his conscious decision to maintain a cheerful spirit even when he was shattered by the carnage that had accompanied Partition and was living through a time of darkness and his now-famous talisman, that before making a decision, envision the impact on the poorest and weakest members of society and ask will it benefit them.

Understand employee well-being and happiness

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, the 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School, University of Manchester and a leading scholar in occupational health and wellness research highlights the issue of well-being and happiness at work becoming a bottom-line imperative in most countries; increasing understanding of employee well-being and happiness by business leaders; and the need for a Gross National Well-being!

Value time and leisure

Dr. Ashley Whillans, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School, author of the Time Smart book, and a leading scholar in the time, money, and happiness research field stresses while money is important, it is not everything as wealth only weakly predicts well-being; people who value time over money report greater well-being; countries with citizens that value leisure more than work report higher subjective well-being; and governments should help their citizens recognise the value of leisure to improve the happiness of individuals and societies.

Be compassionate and kind

Dr. Emma Seppälä, Science Director, Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and Co-Director Wellness, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence highlights those people who are happiest and most fulfilled in a sustained manner throughout their lives, are those people who live a life characterised by compassion and kindness towards others in balance with compassion and kindness to themselves.

Appreciate the opposites

Journalist and public speaker Jennifer Moss, award-winning author of Unlocking Happiness at Work, CBC Columnist, and UN Happiness Council Member, stresses with life so riddled with stress, particularly in these trying times, appreciating the opposites may be the key to sustaining a healthy mind-set; and humanity will never stop being tested, so happiness must be about rebounding.

Both material and non-material things matter

Dr. Dasho Karma Ura, Head, Centre for Bhutan, and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Studies, the government multidisciplinary think tank in Thimphu, Bhutan, shares experiences from Gross National Happiness of Bhutan that both material and nonmaterial conditions contribute to happiness.

All HRD policies need to be redesigned

Dr. T. V. Rao, Chairman TVRLS, former Professor IIM-Ahmedabad and often referred to as "One of the Fathers of HRD' in India stresses that it is time to review all HRD policies in the corporate sector, government, and all sections of society, and redesign them to create happiness at work. He highlights that those who respect nature and life around them are more likely to nurture the same and recommends equipping people with the skills to cultivate happiness from an early age.

Happiness needs three goddesses - Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Druga

Devdutt Pattanaik, a popular writer on the relevance of mythology in modern times shares happiness requires all three goddesses Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth to get food and clothing and shelter for survival and hope to thrive; Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge to enlighten us and make sense of the world; and Durga, the goddess of power to develop relationships that empower us, make us feel secure and safe

Give equal respect to nature and humanity

Dr. Rajendra Singh is popularly known as 'Jal Purush, Waterman of India', and winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2001 and the Stockholm Water Award, popularly known as the Nobel prize for water in 2015, stresses happiness means the satisfaction of life; satisfaction of life means the nourishment from nature for humankind; lasting happiness comes by giving equal respect to humanity and nature; this respect nourishes our brain and heart and the satisfaction and happiness of our brain and heart is continued happiness.

Keep happiness simple, fun and balanced

Professor Rajesh K Pillania, author of Happiness Strategy and India Happiness Report 2020, stresses don't make happiness so complicated. Happiness is simple, fun, and it involves managing a balance in five aspects of life namely work, relationships, health, philanthropy, and religion or spirituality. All these five components of happiness are found significant in research.

Happiness has various aspects and one needs to take some of these insights to begin one's journey on happiness or accelerate it if one has already started the happiness journey.

Rajesh K Pillania

Professor of Strategy, MDI

Rajesh K Pillania makes strategy, innovation, and happiness, simple, humorous, and applicable in his writings, training, and consultancy. His research and / or academic experience includes IIM, Kozhikode; Smith School of Business, University of Maryland; and Harvard University among others. He is Professor, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.

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