Monthly Archives: October 2016

Happiness is …

Woman jumping

By Reino Gevers

The “How-To” happiness culture seems to be flourishing all over the glossy magazines and the bestseller lists, suggesting countless ways of living a happy life. This comes amid an almost epidemic rise in the number of people suffering from depression.

I’ve just spent a weekend with a group of people in the medieval northern German monastery of Loccum, discussing several topics around the issue of “happiness”. Some people said spending time with their families made them happy, others mentioned appreciating the “magic of the moment” and spending time with good friends.

One person mentioned that in order to experience real happiness you need also to have gone through periods of deep darkness. “We need to accept death in order to accept life”, said a retired CEO from Switzerland.

Happiness exists in the contrast experience of grief and sorrow. Life is cyclical with up-and-down periods. Just accepting this pure fact relieves the pressure that we always need to show a positive face. Even the people who seem to be more successful, happier and content go through these dark periods. The difference is that they have found a better coping-mechanism in recuperating from those down cycles and to move on.

Professor Johannes Hirata from the University of Osnabrück has done a lot of research on happiness, development and ethics. Some of his conclusions:

  • More income does not necessarily mean more happiness but you need a certain base income for basic needs.
  • Some of the world’s wealthiest countries  (Germany is only 15th on the happiness index) are not necessarily the happiest while several relatively poor Latin American countries are pretty high up on the list.

Why this is so depends a lot on how far you feel socially included. Trying to keep up with the Joneses won’t make you happy because material things only provide short-term satisfaction. Professor Hirata has pinpointed also certain personality traits in happy people: Extroverted and balanced people have the right combination.

Adam Grant, an associate professor at Wharton School, did an analysis of 35 separate studies and found that the statistical relationship between extroversion and income was basically zero. People who ranked right in the middle for extraversion and introversion (ambiverts) turned out to be the best salespeople.  It means that if you can be assertive and enthusiastic and at the same time have the ability to listen – then you have the right combination to be successful and happy.

Not surprisingly, according to Hirata, unemployed people are among the unhappiest in the world. People want to make a contribution with their individual talents and get appreciation for it, especially at the workplace. A solution would be reducing the working week, spreading the available jobs amongst more people. At the same time this would increase productivity with part-time workers having more time to spend with their families and to pursue a hobby.

Reino Gevers – Health Mentoring for Leaders and Achievers


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The battlelines are drawn. Which side are you falling on?

View of the planet Earth in space

By Reino Gevers

As humanity moves on into a next dimension of raised consciousness the shadow side of lower consciousness inevitably rears its ugly head. It can be particularly observed in the current highly toxic polarised political climate in many countries.

But what holds true for the public discourse is also a battle within and taking place in daily inter-personal interaction. Here is my own, albeit incomplete list of the battlelines. So which side are you falling on?

Raised Consciousness Lower Consciousness
Global perspective. Concern for the well-being of humanity as a whole. Only if we help and support each other in solving our problems can we survive as a species. Concern limited to the nation or members of ones own ethnic group. Persons outside this group are perceived as the enemy.
Alignment with the higher consciousness. Core values: love, peace, integrity, service. Disalignment. Driven by toxic emotions such as hatred, fear, greed, anger.
Timeline of thinking: Service for what is good for generations to come? Short-term self-gratification.
I need to change if the world is going to change. Ability for critical self-reflection and correction. Narcissism: Everyone else is responsible for my problems, except me. I am right, everyone else is wrong!
Non-ideological. Multi-facetted approach to problem-solving. Probagation of „easy solutions“ based on „ism“ ideologies such as nationalism, communism, capitalism
Asking questions rather than having ready answers. Active listening ability. Dogmatic belief system. Unwillingness to adapt to changing circumstances. Inability to accept other views than ones own.
Givers Gain. What can I contribute to my village, my country and the world. Long-term trust in universal justice Entitlement attitude. The world owes me. I will grab for me what I can get.
Energised active participation I couldn’t be bothered
Appreciation and gratitude Needy and disrespectful. Its never enough
High self-esteem Low self-esteem

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