Who is the richest person in Bhutan
In Bhutan, the happiness of the citizens is the top government goal
Shutterstock / Phuong D. NguyenYou have probably already talked to your close circle of friends about what amount will end up in the account with whom at the end of the month.
You may have been proud that you were doing well financially compared to your clique. Or maybe you were jealous of someone who got twice as much salary as you for the same hours of work.
If so, comfort yourselves! While an average German earned around 40,000 euros in 2016, the average resident of the Himalayan state of Bhutan had to be satisfied with an annual income of less than 7,000 euros. But the Bhutanese probably don't care at all.
If the government doesn't make people happy, it has no right to exist
When the King of Bhutan was asked about the “Gross National Product” of his country in an interview with the Financial Times, he replied that “Gross National Happiness” was more important in Bhutan. In fact, the happiness of the people is enshrined in Bhutan's constitution: “If the government is unable to make the people happy, then the government has no right to exist.” All institutions in the country are obliged to promote gross national happiness.
PrivateBusiness Insider asked the Center for Gross National Happy's longtime program director Ha Vinh Tho how it works in practice.
The concept of “gross national happiness” emerged in Bhutan in the early 1970s. The third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorje Wangchuck, died unexpectedly at the age of just 43. His son Jigme Singye had to drop out of college and take the throne at the age of 16.
The young king was unsure of what the people would expect of him. He decided to travel around the country and just ask people, as Ha Vinh Tho relates.
In the 1970s, however, there was hardly any infrastructure in Bhutan, so Wangchuck walked most of the time. He got very different answers to his question. But he noticed that they could all be reduced to a common denominator: All people want happiness and well-being. The young king decided to make this the main purpose of his government.
He started the Center for Gross National Happiness, which has since researched the conditions under which people are happiest. The external conditions for this are social justice, cultural freedom, legal equality and ecological sustainability. The most important finding: the economy must serve people and their happiness, not the other way around.
Bhutan deliberately refrained from various profitable economic projects
For this reason, Bhutan has also rejected a number of promising economic projects, says Ha Vinh Tho, who handed over his office to his successor Julia Kim a few days ago. This explains the low average income.
Bhutan is also the only country on earth that absorbs more greenhouse gases than it produces. The reason: 72 percent of the land is forested. By the way, a forest cover of 60 percent is required by law to guarantee carbon negativity.
The inner conditions of happiness consist primarily in a change in people's consciousness. "Depression is the main cause of illness in Western countries," says Ha Vinh Tho. "Because people have lost touch with their innermost being, they try to fill the resulting hole with materialism."
Mark Dozier / ShutterstockIn Bhutan, school children are already learning what are known as “happiness skills”. “Our job is also to train teachers appropriately,” says Ha Vinh Tho. "They teach mindfulness, social and emotional skills such as empathy, communication, conflict management and meditation." It has been scientifically proven that meditation techniques change the human brain in a positive way. That is why it is practiced by most of the citizens of Bhutan.
Many successful people fall into a crisis in their mid-40s
Ha Vinh Tho, the longtime head of the Research Center for Happiness, shared his experiences with us and gave tips on how everyone can become happier: "Real happiness comes when a person lives in harmony with himself, society and nature," he says . “Some young people strive to make as much money as possible. One can understand that. But these people mostly plunge into a deep crisis in their mid-40s. You have sacrificed family, relationships, free time, and hobbies. They can buy anything they want, but is that all life is about? "
Ha Vinh Tho advises you to put your own happiness intelligently in the foreground and to be aware of how you use your lifetime: “Do I have the feeling that what I do is in line with my values? That I am making a positive contribution? We all have to make money, but one should always ask oneself: If I were financially secure, would I do what I do without getting paid? "
Generation Y in particular is looking for that extra sense of purpose, says Ha Vinh Tho. Companies that not only pay well, but also have values that emphasize the well-being of their employees, society and the environment get the best people. “It is a special grace to be young today,” he says. "Because an old world is coming to an end and a new one wants to be born."
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