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Today’s conversation is with Laura Musikanski.
Laura is the executive director of the Happiness Alliance. She believes in the importance of data because when you can measure something, you can better manage it and in this case she’s interested in measuring happiness, well-being and the resilience of people and the planet. She has a background in sustainability so that all makes sense.
Laura is all about happiness, at least the data behind happiness. She spends her time researching and trying to understand what it is that makes us happy (or not). And how we can make a cultural shift so that we are more focused on happiness not profit.
In a time when it’s easy to feel hopeless, she is a self-described “pessimistic optimist.” In other words, she has an optimistic outlook on things but bases her viewpoint in reality—because, as you’ll hear, she’s all about the data. And data is the reality.
I went into this conversation having just read some studies about climate change and I was feeling a bit discouraged about how things are going for our planet. But I have to admit that after listening to Laura’s positive outlook on a number of things—and that includes social media, television and even gaming—I felt a bit more hopeful. Again, she’s realistic but she sees a way out of the path we’re headed down.
Having been to Bhutan as many times as I have and knowing their policy on Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product, I admit that I’ve always looked at Bhutan as a bit of an anomaly. A tiny country in the Himalayas that’s able to be very thoughtful in terms of their approach to dealing with the rest of the world because they are so small. And it’s much easier to manage or change things when you’re small and growing. And, for the most part, they’ve done a great job at it.
But I haven’t ever thought that this kind of approach, this Gross National Happiness, was possible for the rest of the world, particularly the United States. But Laura thinks otherwise. So it’s gotten me thinking a bit differently. Maybe we are on our way to a bit of cultural shift. I guess time will tell.
Anyway, I hope this episode gets you thinking about the future and in a positive way. With that, please enjoy this conversation with Laura Musikanski.
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Links/books/people mentionedBliss Medical Center Seattle Free Form Dance Dance Dance Underground Om Culture - Seattle Alejandro Adler Martin Seligman Gross National Happiness Sustainable Seattle Johann Hari Johann Hari (Ted Talk) Brene Brown
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