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Does happiness have coordinates?

What is the #1 happiest place to live in?

Vancouver? No, although I’d loooove to move there, like right now. Wellington? Amazing steaks, great grassy hillocks! Tampere? Almost, almost, but too few restaurants for health nuts.

C’mon, you know that happiness is not a geographical place. I wish I could set my navigator to “follow the sunshine” or “direct me to my bliss”. But no, apparently this is still some way up the roadmap.

Based on how we are living our lives, the happiest place must be … drumroll … “somewhere over the rainbow”. The promised land where dreams come true. Tomorrow. Some day. Some time.

To get there, you need to be worthy, right? You need to bring your A-game and work like a mad viking horse. Your road shall be paved with blood, sweat, tears, caffeine, heartburn, a couple of spells of insomnia, and (if you are lucky) the company of small green men, but… when you bust your ass and finally make a break-through and succeed, you will get there! Hello rainbow land!

Or so I it must be, because everyone is so concerned about success. 

Let’s repeat it together: once you succeed, you will be happy.  

I have been working out, you know. So I can run all the way to the end of the yellow brick road, then somehow (perhaps with the aid of suction gloves) climb the rainbow and finally rappel down to the land where “troubles melt like lemon drops and bluebirds fly”. I have overdosed on high-priced café lattes and spent a lot of money on antacid meds. So far, I have made it all the way to the rainbow and I find myself being eyeballed by suspicious elves guarding their pots of gold. Doesn’t look promising, let me tell you.

And now! NOW I get this piece of news from TED: Explorers finally confirm what I have suspected to be true all along! The land over the rainbow is a hoax! If you do reach the rainbow, manage to wiggle yourself on top of it, and … let’s say … base jump down, what you find is this graffiti on the wall: The cake is a lie! And … get this … a whole bunch of new brick roads of various hues leading to every imaginable compass direction.

(At this point, you may wonder why people won’t just walk under the rainbow? I have no effing clue. The person who invented the land OVER the rainbow didn’t want it to be that easy? Or maybe it was the elves. They do look a bit iffy.)

Nevertheless, the point is: happiness, bliss, completeness, whatever it is that you are looking for, cannot be found with grit, perservance, or “sisu”. The age-old mantra “work hard – succeed – be happy” is the biggest scam ever!

TED says: “If happiness is always on the other side of success [a.k.a. rainbow], your brain never gets there”.

Why, you may ask? It’s very simple really. If and when you do achieve success, your brain has already readjusted your expectations. Once over the rainbow, there are just more brick roads to follow.

The number #1 place to be might just as well be Vancouver. Or wherever you may be right at this moment.

Now, stop the multitasking, scrolling & scanning of text and read the following sentence three times:

There is a correlation between happiness and success. If you are happy, you will work more productively and for this reason, you will succeed. Carlo agrees, too.

The explorers suggest a new mantra: BE HAPPY, WORK IN A BETTER FRAME OF MIND, SUCCEED.

Instead of waiting for delayed gratification in the form of the mythical land over the rainbow, you have a bigger and more challenging task at hand. You have to find out what happiness is for you. Right now. Being in a #1 place for you (physically, emotionally, spiritually) is a good place to start. A silly proverb says: If you are unhappy, MOVE! You are not a tree. Move to Wellington! Move to a new social group! Move to a new job! Move your body! Move your beliefs! Be moved by other people! Just move.

Just in case you were wondering, here are the TOP 10 happiest places to be (according to OECD’s Better Life Index 2014). And this is no hoax:

  1. Australia
  2. Norway
  3. Sweden
  4. Denmark
  5. Canada
  6. Switzerland
  7. United States
  8. Finland
  9. Netherlands
  10. New Zealand

Or, maybe the following list is more important:

  1. Your summer cottage’s pier on a crispy autumn afternoon
  2. The arms of your loved one
  3. Smoke sauna in the dead of winter
  4. A meadow deep within the arms of a forest
  5. Under the covers when you are really tired
  6. In a bubble bath all by yourself
  7. In a fast car, driving to a faraway destination
  8. On a quiet beach with a picnic basket
  9. Right here, right now
  10. Inside your favourite book

You decide. Here’s Tampere, my hometown.

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Copyright: Alexander Savin.

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