make happy

In a time of public sector strikes, environmental disasters and horribly inappropriate uses of financial and natural resources I can't think of a better, more relevant type of organisation than Action For Happiness. In their own words:

"For fifty years we've aimed relentlessly at higher incomes. But despite being much wealthier, we're no happier than we were five decades ago. At the same time we've seen an increase in wider social issues, including a worrying rise in anxiety and depression in young people. It's time for a positive change in what we mean by progress."

We talk a lot about the importance of resilience, about the importance of self-belief and developing coping mechanisms as a way of dealing with negative challenges, and keeping hold of the bundle of feelings you can call happiness.

I'm a sucker for talks like this one from Rory Sutherland or this one from Sir Ken Robinson, or this one from Stefan Sagmeister (you'll have seen them all before) and the arguments they make from different angles towards the same thing: basically, as a society, we value the wrong things, and that we can (or need to) repurpose the same tools we have now towards something that better meets our needs.

That's a little bit of what I see in Action For Happiness. I like the content, I like the calls to action peppered all over the place, it feels like an organisation that knows how to get you to do something pretty well. It's good enough that it doesn't even feel like a charity. But I like the self-organising nature of the movement. I like the way it points you to other people's resources. And I like the idea that it takes this potentially airy-fairy thing and makes a manifesto to create more value for this intangible, immaterial, essential thing. Which feels like a good point to end.

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