We are living in a world of the quantified self, trying to measure every aspect of our lives. How many steps did I do today? What was my sleep score? How many calories did I consume today? The sole aim of this data and algorithmic driven pursuit is to achieve the pinnacle of happiness. So, can we measure and track happiness? The World Happiness Report measures and ranks it by country. Finland is the “happiest country in the world”.
What about individuals like you and me?
There are a few tests to measure happiness or subjective well-being. I decided to try one from the University of Pennsylvania. It’s called the Authentic Happiness Inventory score. Mine was 3.08 out of 5.
What does that mean? Am I unhappy? Am I marginally happy? Usually, a sixtieth percentile score is not good. While pondering this dilemma, I came across an article written by Arthur Brooks, a Harvard Professor. He has developed three equations for happiness.
Equation 1 : Subjective Well Being =...
A quick recap of what transpired in Part 1.
Gerard lost his job during the Covid crisis and at 58 years old realized that he had lost his identity as well. He was not wanted in the company and he did not know what to do next. We chatted and my main message to him was that he needed to stay relevant. But first, he needed to disconnect and experience life without the corporate umbrella.
Fast forward to six months into the future.
Gerard had learnt to experience life away from a corporate job. He had started practicing Tai-Chi and enjoyed taking long walks. He and his wife watched Korean soap operas in the middle of the day. He was able to catch up with friends for lunch. He and his wife had relooked at their lifestyle and reworked their monthly household budget. Life had slowed down.
He had taken the first turn on the Flywheel to Staying Relevant.
“To stay relevant — not just economically, but above all socially, you will need the ability to constantly learn and reinvent yourself,” — Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
Gerard put down the phone in a trance. He had just finished a call with his manager and the HR executive. The news was not good.
Gerard was a senior accounts manager in a small precision manufacturing company. He had worked at this firm for the last twenty years. He was a competent performer and his colleagues respected him. He thought he was doing a good job.
Then, a pandemic came out of China. Governments all over the world forced lockdowns to “flatten the curve”. Companies shut their offices. Gerard’s company instructed the Finance team to work from home. He had to learn a new lexicon of life - Zoom, Google Meets, WfH(Work from Home), On-line training, Online shopping, Food delivery apps and a New Normal.
He struggled with logging in for Zoom calls....