Enjoy the 2018 International Day of Happiness

Here we are again: the International Day of Happiness

What is the International Day of Happiness? It’s a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that seek to end povertyreduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. Last year, the Smurfs rallied behind the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for the International Day of Happiness.

The United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in celebration of the International Day of Happiness. I share with you some tips on how best celebrate the day:


1) Today the World Happiness Report is available

I suggest that you read here  to reflect on how you should encourage Happiness in the world to improve on 3 major challenges that Humanity is facing: the Obesity, Opioid and Depression epidemics.

Practical policies exist to reverse all three of the epidemics. Obesity can be reduced through regulations limiting sugar additives in storebought products; corrective taxes on soda beverages; the elimination of subsidies on corn (and therefore on high-fructose corn syrup); limits on food advertising, especially to young children; and the promotion of public awareness regarding the causes of obesity and solution through more healthful diets. Mental health can be improved through preventative medicine, measures to strengthen social support systems for vulnerable groups, steps to combat addictions to the new social media and technologies, and greatly improved access to mental health services. The opioid epidemic could be radically reduced by ending the direct marketing of addictive drugs to patients as well as banning the implicit and explicit kickbacks to doctors who (over-)prescribe these dangerous products. These are important “top-down” policy changes. At the same time, “bottom-up” programs of positive psychology and wellness at schools, workplaces, and in the community can help individuals to change their own behaviours, overcome addictions, and pursue life strategies (such as meditation) to bolster their personal well-being and the well-being of friends, family, and community. The evidence is large and growing that such life-change strategies can be highly effective. This year’s Global Happiness Policy Report contains detailed surveys on best practices in education, the workplace, and personal, family, and community well-being.

2) Read about Positive Organizations 

Spend some time reading excellent books on how Happy approach can help your organization improve.

Robert E. Quinn’s life mission is to inspire positive change. He does this as a faculty member, author, consultant and speaker. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and one of the co-founders of the Center for Positive Organizations.

As an author he has published 18 books. His best-selling volumeDeep Change has been used across the world. Don't let your company kill you!

Open this book at your own risk. It contains ideas that may lead to a profound self-awakening. An introspective journey for those in the trenches of today's modern organizations, Deep Change is a survival manual for finding our own internal leadership power. By helping us learn new ways of thinking and behaving, it shows how we can transform ourselves from victims to powerful agents of change. And for anyone who yearns to be an internally driven leader, to motivate the people around them, and return to a satisfying work life, Deep Change holds the key.

 His book, The Best Teacher in You won the Ben Franklin Award designating it the best book in education for 2015. The Harvard Business Review has selected his paper, Moments of Greatness: Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership,” as one of their 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself.

 3) Make your people Flourish 

Veruska Gennari and Daniela di Ciaccio have just published “La Scienza delle Organizzazioni Positive”. The book helps understanding and appreciating how Positive Organization Science applied to companies create a happy working environment where people flourish and reach results far above expectations 

“Credo che questo libro, in modo molto semplice, consenta di avere chiaro la costellazione di persone che si occupano, in modo diverso, del tema felicità. Per riprendere una metafora, usare l’occhio nudo per avere uno sguardo di insieme e il telescopio per approfondire la conoscenza di qualche stella particolare.” Luciano Canova, Economista


International Day of Happiness on March 20th every year

What is the International Day of Happiness?

It’s a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world: “The General Assembly, (..) conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives, recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradicationhappiness and the well-being of all peoples, decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness.

Action for Happiness sustain the UN goal 

Lord Richard Layard founder of Action for Happiness sustains that: “ We all want to live happy and fulfilling lives and we want the people we love to be happy too. So happiness matters to all of us. Happiness is about our lives as a whole: it includes the fluctuating feelings we experience everyday but also our overall satisfaction with life. It is influenced by our genes, upbringing and our external circumstances - such as our health, our work and our financial situation. But crucially it is also heavily influenced by our choices - our inner attitudes, how we approach our relationships, our personal values and our sense of purpose”. “

“In the last 50 years, while Economic growth has been very important, Happiness has been flat so if we agree – he continues - that for all human beings it is important that they experience happiness and escape misery, then it follows that the best society is the one in which there is the least misery and the most happiness. On this basis, everyone's happiness counts equally. This includes the happiness of everybody now alive as well as that of future generations. So it is important that we act in a way that takes the happiness of all into consideration. If we can agree on this then we're one step closer to achieving a happier society”. 

Investing in Happiness

I found this movement while I was reflecting on how Finance can help Society to be a better place to live and TheHappyCFO’s articles on LinkedIn shared my thoughts. The inspiration of my articles has been Shiller’s book “Finance and the Good Society” where he writes: “What I want most for my students – near and far, young and old – to know is that finance truly has the potential to offer hope for a more fair and just world, and that their energy and intelligence are needed to help serve this goal.”

Can Finance make it “Fair, just and happier?” 

In almost all profit and non profit, large and small, successful and unsuccessful organization people cooperate and share information under a defined power structure where usually there is a leader that stands for the idea – the core idea behind the company’s activities, a way of thinking that defines the work of all company’s employees and a culture that includes its corporate values connecting the company to the larger society. I will focus my article on profit organizations where the leader is Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  A great part of the World working population operates in mid to large profit organizations and the CEOs and their power structure can influence importantly their level of Happiness as measured in the 8 KPIs of the Happiness Report. (Increasing GDP/ company outcome, keeping a correct boss to employee relation, helping people in trouble through charity and donations or special aid programs, create a culture of freedom, at work, a climate of trust, happiness and enjoyment – see notes for more details)

The CFO of any of those organizations, through constant financial resource optimization, can contribute that those goals are pursued via measuring and setting a system that includes measures of Happiness. 

You get what you measure: include Happiness in Financial reports 

Jacob Morgan author of “The Employee Experience Advantage” in a very recent article on HBR reports that “investing in Happiness” gives high returns. After interviewing more than 150 leaders around the world, he identified three environments that matter most to employees: cultural, technological, physical. Next, he developed survey questions to determine how organizations are faring in each area.

 When he interviewed business leaders at the top-scoring organizations, they told him that their investments in the three employee experience environments had led not only to happier employees but also to larger talent pipelines and greater profitability and productivity. Morgan in addition found that, for instance, compared with the other companies he studied, those that invested most heavily in employee experience were included 28 times as often among Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, 11.5 times as often in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work, 2.1 times as often in Forbes’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, 4.4 times as often in LinkedIn’s list of North America’s Most In-Demand Employers, and twice as often in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Some of the most compelling evidence lay in the financial data: Compared with other companies, the experiential organizations had more than four times the average profit and more than two times the average revenue. They were also almost 25% smaller, which suggests higher levels of productivity and innovation. 

Ultimately then the CFO certifies the outcome of the unit, reassure the CEO that the unit is in the right trajectory and then measure Happiness as an outcome of their effort.

When the objectives are reached, it means that the unit the CFO works for is in line with its broader scope. Then embedded in a broader scope, when numbers turn in the right direction, the CFO feels his or her role accomplished. The whole Society benefits for proper use of money. Happiness comes. 


The Happy CFO preparing for the International Day of Happiness 

Yearly the World Happiness Report is published on March 20th, the International Day of Happiness. It will rank more than 180 countries by their happiness levels. The widespread interest in the World Happiness Reports, of which the 2017 one will be the fifth, reflects growing global interest in using happiness and subjective well being as primary indicators of the quality of human development. Because of this growing interest, many governments, communities and organizations are using happiness data, and the results of subjective well-being research, to enable policies that support better lives.

The KPIs measured to define Happiness status in one country are listed at the end of the article with some comments taken from a speech on Sept 23rd 2014 by Lord Richard Layard


Stay tune with TheHappyCFO if you want to know more about World Happiness Status



How Happiness is measured in the Report

1. GDP per capita is in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) measures the impact that income has on Happiness. Based on past analysis, Income variation contributes to 2% of total Happiness variation across countries.

2. The time series of healthy life expectancy at birth measure the important element of physical health while the aspect of mental health should then be measured in addition, suggests Lord Layard.

3. Social support (or having someone to count on in times of trouble) Today only 30% of people in US and UK think that most of the people can be trusted.

4. Freedom to make life choices is a powerful motivator of internal wellness

5. Generosity – “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita.

6. Perceptions of corruption

7. Positive affect is defined as the average of previous-day affect measures for happiness,laughter and enjoyment

8. Negative affect is defined as the average of previous-day affect measures for worry, sadness and anger


Action for Happiness

Less than 100 days to the International Day of Happiness Day

UN Official International Day of Happiness March 20


World Happiness Report


Action for Happiness


World Happiness Summit Miami 2017


Happiness Meeting Miami