Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”
– His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan
“GNP has long been the yardstick by which economies and politicians have been measured. Yet it fails to take into account the social and environmental costs of so-called progress. We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental wellbeing are indivisible.”
-H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
If you are not already familiar with the concept of Gross National Happiness, may I suggest that you do some reading on it.
I, myself, have not researched it to any great depth, and to be honest I have no real interest in doing so at this time, but I am drawn to the ideals of the concept.
In a nutshell: a country should measure its success not by its economic performance, but rather by the happiness of its people. But that may be too simple and lead you into some fairy-tale world about your ideal life. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is about a balance between:
- Good Governance
- Sustainable Socio-economic Development
- Preservation and Promotion of Culture
- Environmental Conservation
You can read more about this at: http://www.gnhcentrebhutan.org/what-is-gnh/
I believe that we are on the verge of a paradigm in the way societies think and act. I just want to give this a kick-start.
What I am proposing is not that New Zealand go all the way down the GNH road, although that would be a great option.
What I want is to start a conversation and a thinking, an understanding that we all wish for the same things in life and that by making some small changes to the way we think ourselves, we can start bringing about change.
Society is about to change the way it thinks about socialism versus capitalism, democracy versus dictatorship, the role of tolerance of religion and so much more.
It will be a world of the middle ground, a world of compromise and I believe a world where contradiction is accepted and valued. A world where not everything will need to be black and white, and where human-touch is embraced and treasured.
We need to change how we think and how we act. We need to think more compassionately about others. We need to accept that everyone is doing their best and that no one sets out on any journey with bad intentions.
We need to be less eager to express our opinion and more ready to listen.
We need to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of others even though we may not agree with them about anything else.
We need to abandon the notion of the “Me Generation'” in favour of a new “We Generation”.
If this sounds like the kind of society that you want to live in, please like and share and promote this blog.
We can begin by choosing to live our own lives more compassionately:
- my first thought about any person, regardless of whether I agree with them or not, should be that they are ‘doing their best’
- I will seek first to understand and then to be understood
- ‘I respect your opinion (although I may not agree with it). Thank you for caring enough to share it with me’
- I acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of any other who, with true intent works and fights for the rights and freedoms of others whether or not we agree with their methods
- I will do my best to be more compassionate
- I will resist the urge to generalise
- I will not let my thoughts and our society be hi-jacked by lobbyists, sensationalist media and nah-sayers
- I am willing to let my flaws be seen and will accept that others have flaws too
- I will learn to trust myself and my instincts. I don’t need proof or assurances in order to do what I know feels like the right thing to do
- I will try to do what I know to be the right thing to do, not what is expected of me.