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Freedom and happiness

Freedom causes happiness---That’s a conclusion of Arthur Brooks in his book ‘Gross National Happiness’.

You may be surprised at the forms freedom can take. Brooks cites a 1976 study in a nursing home. On one floor, residents could decide which night was movie night and could choose to care for plants. The residents on that floor began to show greater alertness, more activity and better moods than residents on the control floor that were not given the same choice and responsibility.

“To the extent that work gives people a sense that they are in charge of their lives, it will bring them joy. If work strips people of control it will bring misery.”

Each person perceives and enjoys success at his or her personal level. Workers need to believe their work is meaningful and define what earned success means to them.

Brooks writes, “Indeed, people who feel they do not have control over their own successes are generally miserable. In 2001, people who said they did not feel responsible for their own successes—whether they enjoyed successes or not, mind you—spent about 25 percent more time feeling sad than those who said they did feel responsible for their own successes.”

Civility, respect for each individual, is at play here. If workers are involved and empowered to the extent they individually wish to be, they’ll be more creative and productive in the workplace because they are happier.


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