Gross Personal Happiness

There is a country between India and China called Bhutan. They measure their Gross National Happiness instead of their Gross National Product. Wikipedia says, “While conventional development models stress economic growth as the ultimate objective, the concept of GNH claims to be based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other. The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance.”

Your GPH – Gross Personal Happiness

What if we measured our Gross Personal Happiness? What would your GPH be based on? Let’s borrow the four pillars of Gross National Happiness as a beginning. The first pillar, personal sustainable development, could be to work and live in a way that incorporates and balances all areas of living – work, play, health, fun, relationships, spirituality…etc. What would you add to the list to make this your own guide to sustainability? We could devise a measure for each of these areas to assess our sustainability. For example, health could be ability to run two miles, or weigh between 128 and 133 pounds, etc. The measurements would be set for sustainability, so all parts of life were honored.

The second pillar of Gross Personal Happiness is the preservation and promotion of personal (and cultural) values. Have you ever violated a value – made a choice that dishonored one of your key values? It hurts like a punch in the stomach. I did that by taking a job that really excited me, but kept me away from my family at a time where my highest value was expressed through being a Mom to my kids. Not a happy year. Increase your GPH by honoring your deepest values.

Next is conservation of the natural environment. How does that translate for you into your GPH? It could mean having a home that is beautiful, functional, and green; it could mean recycling and consciousness of your carbon footprint. This ties in with sustainability, the first pillar. Measurement here would be up to each person – size of recycling pile every week; choices of food products, etc.

Finally the fourth pillar is the establishment of good governance. On a personal level, this translates into self governance – being autonomous. Being able to set your own guidelines for conduct and follow them. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say. This would promote personal happiness by encouraging consistency, ease, good habits, and safety. How would this be measured? You might choose 10 “laws” that you will abide by – laws of your choosing that promote the other three pillars. Perhaps you will also govern the voices in your head and whether you listen to the harsh judgment they often deliver, like “you’re too old”, “you did a bad job”, “you’re hopeless”. What would you do to monitor this?

Can you imagine how the world would be if we were responsible for and measured our Gross Personal Happiness based on these four pillars? The world’s Gross World Happiness would surely rise. We would conduct sustainable daily lives, honor personal and cultural values, conserve the environment and live by good self-management. What else would you do or be to have a high GPH?

May you have a high GPH this day, this week, this month and year.