The Key to Happiness is Activity

When you lack purpose, everything feels bad

Darius Foroux
4 min readSep 24

The Finns are the happiest people on Earth. They have been the happiest folks for 6 years now.

Unsurprisingly, Finland is also among the top 3 in over a hundred global measures of economic and social success. Even if it has much less money (or oil) than countries like the United States (ranked 15 in the happiness scale).

The World Happiness Report considers, among other measures like GDP per capita, the Cantril ladder life evaluation, with a question that goes:

“Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top.

The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you.

On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”

Try asking yourself that question. What part of the ladder are you currently in?

You can also try answering the follow-up question:

“On which step do you think you will stand about five years from now? (ladder-future)”

Generally, the factors that contribute to a country’s happiness are things like lesser wealth inequality, lower levels of corruption, better health care and educational systems, among others.

But these are mostly out of our direct control as ordinary human beings.

So what can we do instead?

We can’t all move to Finland

And for some of us, luckily, we don’t even have to.

I live in The Netherlands, which is ranked 5 on the happiness scale. The US, Canada, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and other places that read and write primarily in English are also in the Top 20.

So if you live in any of these places, you’re pretty much ahead in the happiness scale compared to most other people in the world.

And even if you don’t, the fact remains: Your happiness is mostly up to you.

While factors like governmental support and low corruption rates are largely out of your hands — you still…

Darius Foroux

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