What’s Your GNH?

We all have heard about the GNP – gross national product – the widely used measure of economic well-being. We also know that many studies have shown that the citizens of wealthier countries are not necessarily happier than those in less wealthy countries. Our own experience shows us that income does not necessarily correlate with happiness.

Along these lines, I came across a fascinating story recently about the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan, which uses GNH – gross national happiness – as a cornerstone of its country’s development and success. While the philosophy is not without its detractors, there is widespread enthusiasm for it among the general population. What an amazing concept!

Although there have been times in my life when I earned more than I do now, I am very happy with what I do every day. In my coaching business, I meet many wonderful people, both clients and professional colleagues, who interest me, challenge me and whom I truly enjoy. I am also able to be home with my family more and not be a road warrior 50% of the time.

And I have grown as a person in many ways that I deeply appreciate. A healthy income is very useful, and… it’s not all about the money. Business should be both serious and fun, and happiness is an important part of a truly successful business or career.

Since ancient times, happiness has been held in high regard. Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

So as you consider your plans for the new year along with your financial goals, I encourage you to consider your personal GNH and where you’d like it to be in the coming year. Ask yourself, what truly makes you happy?

• Daily breaks in nature?

• Listening to music that warms your heart or inspires your soul?

• Regular times with those you love?

• Writing a snail mail letter to your mom or dad?

• A great bubble bath?

• A party at the office for no reason except your gratitude to be able to work with such a great team?

• Helping others (including employees and colleagues) to be happy? As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”

What will you commit to doing or being in the coming year that will increase your GNH and that of those with whom you come in contact?