What makes you happy?

Curium | 20 Mar 2015 | News | General

I stumbled across an article which informed me that today, 20th March, is declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Happiness to recognise the relevance of happiness and wellbeing as universal goals. It seems to be a growing phenomenon to have so many dedicated weird and wonderful days of the year. Yesterday was Submarine Day and next week apparently it will be French Bread day!


The initiative to declare a day of happiness came from Bhutan, a country whose citizens are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world. The Himalayan Kingdom has championed an alternative measure of national and societal prosperity, called the Gross National Happiness Index (GNH). The GNH rejects the sole use of economic and material wealth as an indicator of development, and instead adopts a more holistic outlook, where spiritual well-being of citizens and communities is given as much importance as their material well-being. The day recognises that happiness is a fundamental human goal. By designating a special day for happiness, the UN aims to focus world attention on the idea that economic growth must be inclusive, equitable, and balanced, such that it promotes sustainable development, and alleviates poverty.


Having resonated with me, I mentioned it to a few people and the inevitable resulting discussion was all around ‘What is happiness?’ and how different that definition can be for all of us.


Having talked through the many different things that make us all happy we ended up connecting it to our work lives. ‘Motivation’ is a huge influencer around performance and success at work. In any performance management study, course or book you will come across the formula (or a slight variation of)

Performance = Ability x Motivation


It’s obvious that we prefer to be doing things we enjoy rather than the things we don’t, so the trick is trying to find a role that combines the things you enjoy with the requirements of the job?


If you know any of us at Curium, you’ll know we take pride in the fact that we happen to be lucky enough to really enjoy (some would say ‘love’) what we do. As a team, we recognise that ‘what’ we do is not really what defines us, there are many consultancies that do ‘what’ we do, but it is more about the ‘how’. Being ‘happy’ in what we do means we don’t need to focus too much on the ‘how’ bit as it just seems to come naturally. If you enjoy your work you are far more likely to approach it with exactly the right mindset, do what’s required in the best way and therefore achieve the outcome you want.


One of our team values is ‘to have fun delivering value’ which absolutely sums up the secret of success for me. We sometimes get some strange looks when we talk about this to our outside world but any of our colleagues or customers totally understand it and know why it is a Curium Value as they see and experience the benefit of this as part of any Curium interaction.


This year the United Nations is marking the International Day of Happiness by asking celebrities and Twitter users to help them compile ‘the world’s happiest playlist’ and today Cody Simpson will choose five submissions to be included within the official playlist.


So, I thought I would be Curium’s very own Cody Simpson and use this day as an excellent excuse to come up with our very own ‘happy playlist’. Earlier this week I asked ‘Team Curium’ to tell me what song makes them feel ‘happy’ and to help with what happy means I thought I had better provide two different definitions to account for our range of personalities:


Wikipedia tells me:

 “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”


Yet, Winnie the Pooh describes it slightly differently:

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” A.A Milne


Well, no surprises that my team added a few other suggestions to those definitions but huge surprises in the songs they opted for and, below is the resulting playlist (!!)


It is fair to say I got a bit more than I bargained for with this request and ended up learning quite a bit about my team from this little exercise, hearing stories of what the songs reminded them of, all very entertaining (and probably not print worthy to be honest!)


Axel F                                                                           Crazy Frog

Blurred Lines                                                             Robin Thicke

Budapest                                                                     George Ezra

(Don’t Stop) Wiggle Wiggle                                   The Outhere Brothers

Drops of Jupiter                                                       Train

Flowers in the Window.                                         Travis

Gold digger                                                                Kanye West

The Happening                                                         Diana Ross

One More Time                                                         Daft Punk

Shake it off                                                                 Taylor Swift

Spectrum                                                                    Florence & the Machine

Sweet Disposition                                                    The Temper Trap

We are family                                                           Sister Sledge

You get what you give                                            New radicals

*In 2014, the song “Happy” became the anthem and inspired clips from around the world.


I know what you’re thinking, what an array of musical delights …??


Listening to our playlist this morning certainly put a smile on my face, so as you go about your day today, why not think about what happiness means for you and have a think about what your ‘happy song’ would be?


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