Happiness Will Save the World

World Happy DayWhat makes you happy? How often do you spend time really thinking about the answer to this question?

Roko Belic, a documentary filmmaker, spent six years searching for answers to that question – not just for himself, but for the entire world. He wondered how a dirt poor man in India who pulls a rickshaw to earn just enough to feed his family could feel perfectly happy, when Roko’s millionaire friends in LA with their mansions and parties and good looks are rarely so. He wondered how America could be one of the richest countries in the world, but nowhere near the happiest. He set out to travel the world and learn all the things that make people happy.

His film HAPPY is the product of his pursuit. It tells the stories of people Roko met on his journey who are truly happy – and some who are not so happy, and weaves in research from the growing field focused on happiness.

The Science of Happiness

According to happiness research, happy people are healthier and live longer. They are more likely to care for the environment and less likely to commit crimes or go to war.

How does volunteering fit into all of this? According to the research, happy people help others more often. Scientists have identified something called “intrinsic values” – compassion, cooperation, and generally wanting to make the world a better place. People who have these intrinsic values are more likely to be happy than those who prioritize “extrinsic values” such as social status, good looks or money.

When we did our own study with UnitedHealth Group, we found that people who volunteer tend to be healthier and happier, as well – another strong support for the importance of intrinsic values.

Taking HAPPY Global

As Roko discovered while making his film, happy people make for a happy world. To celebrate this, and to spread the message as far and wide as possible, he has organized World Happy Day.

On February 11, 2012, thousands of people will come together all over the world to watch the film HAPPY and find ways to start making themselves happier. Over 400 cities in more than 40 countries are already planning to participate.

What can you do to be a part of this uniquely important event? Join in on World Happy Day – let your volunteers know about it, and go see the movie at a screening near you.

In fact, the first ten people who email me and let me know what makes YOU happy will get your choice of six free tickets to your local AMC Theater to see the film (and bring your favorite volunteers!), or a free screening copy of the film itself. You can be one of the first people in the world to own the HAPPY DVD, and show it to your office mates, your volunteers, or organize a viewing for your community on World Happy Day. But hurry up – this special perk is only available for a couple days.

So take some time and think: what really makes you happy? And how can you harness that to make a happier world?