Published in the Huffington Post.
Finding the key to happiness is something we all strive for during our time on this Earth. Some people try virtually anything to achieve inner peace and contentment, but what if being happy doesn’t actually have to be that complicated? What if the key to being happy is figuring out our own individual values and living by them, instead of aspiring to be something that we are not? Our study on living well and happily emphasises the importance of living life according to your own values.
Being at one with our own beliefs can lead to an on-going sense of satisfaction, contentment and a true feeling of happiness. As individuals, we may not be able to change the world all on our own, but knowing that you stay true to your own values, is an important part of living a happy and fulfilled life.
I am co-founder of human insight consultancy One Minute To Midnight and we surveyed 2,500 subjects across China, India, Brazil, USA & UK, in combination with many hours of in-depth ethnographic interviews and using input from a leading corporate Anthropologist we sought to find out how human values shape the way people feel about themselves and their lives. The research revealed unequivocally that the key to happiness centres around living life by your own values.
An overwhelming amount of people agree that those who can are far happier than those who can’t. Those who can live life according to their own human values on a daily basis are significantly more satisfied in every inch of their lives. They are much more likely to be content with their financial situations, their relationships, their jobs and their health. They seem much more rounded and complete.
In an attempt to clarify exactly how important sticking to our own values is, we asked recipients a variety of questions including the statement “I am happy”. Interestingly, the results from India were the most favourable, with more than half of respondents agreeing that they were, in fact, happy! This was followed closely by Brazil, the USA, UK and China. The results were also identical when asking to what extent people in each country lived life by their values. Recipients from India once again agreed most strongly whereas the recipients from China agreed the least.
Through this study we’ve seen the real impact of human values. Values impact everything, from who we are, to what we do, our attitudes and how we feel, right through to the brands we connect with and buy from. People that are really living life by their values are not just a little happier, they are very significantly happier across nearly every aspect of their life.
Of course, the key elements of personal happiness vary from country to country and culture to culture. But still, the happiest people appear to be those who said that creativity or benevolence were their top values, suggesting that the freedom to create or looking after others has a direct impact on our own happiness.
For us Brits security is the most dominant value. Whether as a result of increased terror threats or the uncertainty of Brexit, we seem to want to feel safe. In China, tradition and power are their most dominant values, whilst Americans saw the value of adventure feature far higher in their own personal preferences.
Living by one’s own values has a positive effect on every aspect of your own self worth, regardless of location and culture. Our study comprehensively agrees with the principle that we are all happier if we are able to live our lives by our own values. So take stock, take time to identify your own values, and take the opportunity to live by them every single day.
Perhaps your own personal happiness is much more achievable than you think? I certainly think it is.