The Happiest Countries in the World
Have you read the recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development? They measure life satisfaction based upon 31 factors in developed countries to come up with an overall life satisfaction or “happiness” score. Not surprisingly, many of the factors relate to overall economic wellbeing including: unemployment, disposable income, health, small government debt, job satisfaction, free time, etc. According to the survey, the top 10 countries are:
The United States ranked 11th, despite the fact that it has the highest disposable income of any country. More money doesn’t guarantee happiness. It seems that working a job that you like, while working hours that are reasonable and give you time for leisure, family and recreation are the things that matter. Notably within each of the countries, there is a strong sense of national pride, heritage and the country’s history.
That seems to be one of the messages underlying the survey. “Happiness” derives not just from economic status, but also from a sense of identity; of understanding where we came from and why we are here today. Think about Israel. The country is often under siege, yet the Israeli people have an understanding of their story and where they came from.
An understanding of history and purpose seems to increase the likelihood that a nation will come together and work toward common goals, including economic goals. At an individual family level, the message is perhaps all too familiar, yet bears repeating. Money won’t make you happy. Time with family and time understanding your connection to your past, and to one another, are more likely to lead to satisfaction, health, and wellbeing.
–William High is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org