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1 Creating a Happy Life. 2 Life is about the pursuit of happiness Humans are wired to seek happiness To avoid danger, and find pleasure. No need to feel.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Creating a Happy Life. 2 Life is about the pursuit of happiness Humans are wired to seek happiness To avoid danger, and find pleasure. No need to feel."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Creating a Happy Life

2 2 Life is about the pursuit of happiness Humans are wired to seek happiness To avoid danger, and find pleasure. No need to feel guilty! The pursuit of happiness is a natural, genetic, evolutionary trait. – It helps us to avoid being complacent. – It motivates us to live through adversity. – It is the light at the end of the tunnel

3 3 Happiness? However, our genetic evolution is no longer serving us so well ! We are so far removed from the 99.9% of our evolutionary environment in the wild… …hunting + gathering supplies …staying safe + healthy Our modern world is motivated by wanting rather than by needing. –Wanting nicer cars, country homes, travel, art, fine wine, iPhones, and so on. –More material goods do not increase happiness, but we fail to appreciate this. We want more, and are willing to work hard for it, but we are not good at anticipating the emotional pay-offs of this hard work.

4 4 The World Values Survey The World Values Survey is directed by University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehart and administered from Stockholm –It has compiled data from 350,000 people in 97 countries since 1981 It aims to measure peoples' happiness and life satisfaction. It employs just two basic questions, which have never changed: 1."How would you rate your happiness?" 2."How satisfied are you with your life these days?"

5 5 “Survey Says…” No. 1: Denmark Life Expectancy: 78, GDP Per Capita: $37,400 No. 2: Puerto Rico Life Expectancy: 79, GDP Per Capita: $19,600 No. 3: Colombia Life Expectancy: 73, GDP Per Capita: $6,700 No. 9: Canada Life Expectancy: 81, GDP Per Capita: $38,400 The wealthiest nation in the world? With freedom and independence as their mantra USA = Just 16th Place !

6 6 Happiness has been declining in the USA (and perhaps similarly in Canada) Since 1945… With greater choice, freedom, and money …. –Work life has taken more time of each day –The average distance commuted to work has increased steadily –Membership in clubs, voluntary organizations, community associations has declined steadily. –Less meals shared together as a family –Decline in the number of close friends (less than three, on average!) –Greater time alone, with the TV and/or on the computer –Decline in religions in the western, developed world –Increased divorce rates –90%+ of our time is spent indoors in a controlled environment –And so on! Are we on the wrong path? Our social evolution in N.A. is taking us down the wrong path! Materialism and the pursuit of wealth is not the answer

7 7 We are stuck on a “Hedonic Treadmill” (Brickman & Campbell) “Hedonic Paradox” (John Stuart Mill) –By pursuing happiness itself, one makes it more distant, whereas by pursuing something else, one can inadvertently bring it closer

8 8 Geared towards Compassion One of our strong evolutionary emotions is compassion.  This has helped us to nurture and protect our vulnerable infants and children  It helps to stay bonded as a tribe, with the benefits of working together Historically, across the millions of years of our evolution, we learned to participate in the tribe; to give.  Our evolution, our survival, depended on being part of a tribe and benefiting from the synergies of the team.  If we always took, and never gave back, the tribe would have kicked our ancestors out. Game over!

9 9 Geared towards Compassion Researchers have found that when we care for others, our brains release dopamine, stimulating feelings of warmth and happiness.  This is nature’s way of encouraging us to be nice…to want to be nice! Inglehart (“World Values Survey”) says that their most recent study has made the picture a bit clearer…  In his opinion, charity and expressions of gratitude appear to be subtle but powerful ways to bring happiness into one's life and to extend it.

10 10 So…How are we doing in our Canadian Benevolence? 1) As a percent of income, how do Canadians compare to Americans for giving to charity? a)Canadians give twice as much as Americans b)Canadians give about the same as Americans c)Canadians give half as much as Americans 2) What percent of Canadian Tax Returns claim a charity receipt for a tax credit? a)Approximately 25% b)Approximately 50% c)Approximately 75% 3) Overall, what is the median amount of money given to charitable causes per year by Canadians? (the amount where half of Canadians give more, and half give less) a)$120 b)$420 c)$720 d)$1020 4) What percent of Canadian adults volunteer 1+ hours/month to non-profit organizations? a)Approximately 25% b)Approximately 45% c)Approximately 65%

11 11 So…How are we doing in our Canadian Benevolence? 1) As a percent of income, how do Canadians compare to Americans for giving to charity? a)Canadians give twice as much as Americans b)Canadians give about the same as Americans c)Canadians give half as much as Americans 2) What percent of Canadian Tax Returns claim a charity receipt for a tax credit? a)Approximately 25% b)Approximately 50% c)Approximately 75% 3) Overall, what is the median amount of money given to charitable causes per year by Canadians? (the amount where half of Canadians give more, and half give less) a)$120 b)$420 c)$720 d)$1020 4) What percent of Canadian adults volunteer 1+ hours/month to non-profit organizations? a)Approximately 25% b)Approximately 45% c)Approximately 65%

12 12 Caring people help others Canada is a caring nation. Caring people help others in need But our we are not really so good at actually doing anything to help others!! It is not that Canadians are not caring. It is that Canadians do not know what they should be giving! –Just 13% claim they have a good sense for donating –Just 9% claim they have a good sense for volunteering

13 13 The Path to a Good Civil Society Michael Edwards, in his book “Civil Society” spells out a convincing path… He describes three distinct models for how society functions: 1.A state or government model 2.A free enterprise ‘market’ model 3.A “civil association” society (people power) He suggests that civil association leads to the right best outcome. However many ‘associations’ will act in their own self-interest to the detriment of the public good (e.g. Klu Klux Klan in the USA). There is a need for government policy to encourage the outcome of the desired social associations + outcomes (and deter undesired associations). Americans largely oppose government involvement in society, whereas Canadians are more accepting of the already major role government plays in our lives. We need both social associations and government policy/support, to help lead us to a better civil society, with greater benevolence and compassion.

14 14 Avoiding One’s Responsibilities a) True or false, immigrants to Canada tend to be more generous in support of charities than native born Canadians? True False b) Personal political views range from quite conservative to quite liberal. Which group tends to be more charitable? The conservative minded people The socialist or liberal minded people? Many Canadians are so open to the role of government that they prefer to avoid taking any personal responsibility of their own in the social sector

15 15 Avoiding One’s Responsibilities a) True or false, immigrants to Canada tend to be more generous in support of charities than native born Canadians? True. Immigrants donate more False b) Personal political views range from quite conservative to quite liberal. Which group tends to be more charitable? The conservative minded people donate more, likely because they do not want or expect the government to be doing so. The socialist or liberal minded people? This is about culture, values, education, and up-bringing. We need to teach, nourish, and encourage greater benevolence Many Canadians are so open to the role of government that they prefer to avoid taking any personal responsibility of their own in the social sector

16 16 “It is not you…It’s me” Consumer surveys indicate that the vast majority of Canadians are familiar with the contributions of the charitable sector, respect the importance of non-profits, and feel the leaders in the charitable sector are trustworthy. Our poor philanthropic behaviour in Canada is not due to a lack of respect of the charitable sector. A majority of Canadians (77%) trust charities. Not only do Canadians trust charities, they also trust leaders of charities. In fact, of all professions assessed in the study, only nurses and medical doctors are trusted by more Canadians than are leaders of charities. (Source: Ipsos Study conducted for the Muttart Foundation, June, 2008)

17 17 We all need to learn our obligation to give No one becomes wealthy, happy, and loved without others enabling it to be so. The world we live in today is an outcome of the generousity and sacrifices of prior generations and philanthropists (our hospitals, libraries, parks, community centres, universities, and so on, exist in thanks to philanthropy). –We need to pay back for the (prior) use we have enjoyed, and have taken advantage of. In turn, we have a social responsibility to give back to the very society that enables us to enjoy the good fortune we have.

18 18 TOTAL CANADA 1 to 3 4 to 78 to 10 Religious (rating) We need to fill a growing hole The problem is that we are becoming less religious (since 1965). Nothing seems to be replacing the loss of religion. Charitable leadership is being lost in Canada. 55% 48% 54% 71% Donated at Least $100+ in 2007 If less religion, then what?

19 19 We need a program to encourage more charity and volunteering We Need We need to fill a growing hole

20 20 We need GIV3 We need a definition of what is expected of us. What is our social norm? –People want to know –We strive to meet the tribe’s norm to be accepted, and not kicked out! As like the health sector with ParticipACTION, we need a similar initiative to encourage more Canadians to be more philanthropic.

21 21 Some of our GIV3 initiatives www.GIV3.ca –The Great Canadian Charity Contest –Vote our Donation –Fav quotes –Donation Calculator –Club 21 –Tips, facts, and more

22 22 It is what Canadians told us! - Our ‘Donation Equation’ is based on the opinion of a majority of Canadians Suggested % of Income For Households of Specified Income Levels This is the “Best Fit” line, and equation. y = 1.5221Ln(x) - 13.894 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000$250,000$300,000 Why 3 ? 3% is what Canadians tell us is a “fair and reasonable level”! Ipsos study of 1,000 adults (2008) $66,000

23 23 It works! People who were brought up to be charitable, and who had examples (leaders) in their lives are indeed more charitable. People who know what is expected of them for charity are also more giving. Education and leadership works, and for a life time! “Growing up as a child you had adults who showed you the importance of charity & volunteering.” 50% 49% 65% DisagreeAgree SlightlyAgree Donated $100+ in 2007

24 24 25% Total Canada 31% Earn $100,000 or more 34% Volunteer 16+ hrs/month And GIV3 leads to greater happiness Q. “In terms of how you feel about your social life, your health, your family life, in other words your overall general outlook, how would you score yourself?” 10987654321 Feel about overall general outlook on life… More happyLess happy Scored 9 or 10

25 25 A Road to Happiness

26 26 Avoid being self-centred… a)Focus on things beyond yourself such as the well-being of your community + family. b)Appreciate that wealth, and the hard work to earn it is not synonymous with happiness. Wanting is not liking. c)Focus on and nourish many self-images to reduce the importance and vulnerability of any one of them.

27 27 Recognize our evolution. Our evolutionary history is about living in tribes, in the outdoors, and connecting with others. Appreciate what it is to be human. It is very natural to be a little unhappy. It is in our genes!

28 28 “Reporting Live from the Future” (“Stumbling into Happiness”, by Daniel Gilbert) Since we are very poor at correctly anticipating the emotional experiences in the future, talk to someone who has recently experienced it.

29 29 Be philanthropic, and volunteer. Feel the warmth It is the right thing to do Dare to Care! GIV3

30 30 If you want to change the world, be that change. - Mohandas Gandhi If you cannot feed a hundred then feed just one. - Mother Teresa

31 31 It’s the right thing to do. It will make you happier! Now we all know to… +


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