The Economics of Happiness

Continuing on David’s theme about happiness… I completely agree that we’ve got “happiness-seeking-run-amok” and that sadness is good too! Does real “happiness” mean the absence of sorrow? I suspect it means “being more alive.” It certainly doesn’t seem to come from ease.

I haven’t read it, but thought the premise of this book sounds right on! The Economics of Happiness. Have you read it? Please comment!

Why, in spite of increasing economic prosperity over the past 50 years, are many conditions of well-being in decline and rates of happiness largely unchanged since the 1950s?

It seems we have so much to be happy about – but not the happiness! I remember as a teen visiting my sis and bro-in-law who were teaching in rural Kenya. We walked around the village where they worked and people had next to nothing, but seemed so happy. At the time I though it a strange paradox then, but moved quickly onto the pressing matters of growing up.

Now I see there’s some essential secret we’ve missed, and I wonder if we can get it back?

Crossing the Cultural Divide with Emotional Intelligence

Crossing the Cultural Divide with Emotional Intelligence
Joshua Freedman
Published March 2007

A few excerpts…

Is there a way to cut across cultural difference and understand one another at a human level? If we access the intelligence of emotions, are we just using another cultural filter, or does universality exist? Are some aspects of emotional intelligence (EQ) more or less influenced by culture? And how do we use this concept to improve performance?

One of the areas with the greatest difference is optimism. Because optimism is linked closely with performance, this finding has important implications for performance management. When people from the Americas and Asia work together, they often assess risk differently. Those from the Americas are more likely to see possible solutions and have an expectation they can affect the outcome. Coupled with research indicating optimism scores predict performance scores, this finding suggests managers from the Americas might under-evaluate the performance of their Asian team members. Conversely, it suggests Asians who want to excel in a multinational company will benefit by developing this learnable skill.

The cross-cultural aspect of emotional intelligence is of particular importance in a global economy. To the extent that emotions are a universal language and that people in all cultures and places share a similar view of traits such as integrity and authenticity, the ability to “read and write the language of emotions” is an invaluable asset.