Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
You think about happiness a lot, don't you?
You think about it all the time.
You think about it all the time because you think you don't have it.
Please don't worry. I have come to your rescue.
I've just learned, you see, that Denmark, officially the happiest country in the world, has begun to reveal its secret.
It's call encapsulated in the word hygge, which roughly means: Someone is gently pouring warm, sweet treacle down your spine and whispering sweet everythings into your earlobes.
Naturally, this is my own translation.
The thinkers, nay, thought-leaders behind hygge are now writing books and creating institutes.
So here are the 10 principles of huggable hygge happiness, as expressed to the Daily Mail by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.
I have tried to contrast them with American principles, just to see where the two might coincide.
Turn down the lights. Create a warm mood. Make things feel huggable. This is something we're not too good at in the US, as we're rather more keen on being bright, shiny and awesome because this leads to winning. And we think that winning is the only way we're going to be happy.
This involves actually paying attention to the here and now. It also involves turning off your phone, so that you can pay attention to the here and now. Americans aren't very good at this either. How are you supposed to win when you're not on your phone trying to do a deal or spouting some angry self-marketing on Twitter?
Eat large cakes. Don't feel guilty. This is the apparent secret. We're surely excellent at this in America. We eat and eat and eat. Because we believe that more is always better, we learn how to eat more at a very young age. The only problem is that, for us, more is always better. Which means we rarely know when to stop and we never stop to consider the pleasure we're getting from just a little bit of lovely.
We over me, says Wiking. Share the tasks and the conversation equally, he says. America says: "You raving European. That's socialism. Can't you see that? Equality is the biggest destructive force of all. It's about the individual winning. That's what makes us happy. Oh, wait."
Wiking warns that we should be grateful in the here and now because this might be as good as it gets. Grateful? Grateful? Well, in California they try this sort of thing. They salute the sun and bow to the moon or whatever it is. But you can't be grateful for too long. This is America, so you can never be complacent. Some ungrateful soul will come along and take all your toys away and we can't have that.
"It's not a competition. There's no need to brag about your achievements," says Wiking. What? What would we Americans have to talk about? What could we possibly post on Facebook? How could we possibly tell the world how awesome we are? This makes no sense at all.
This is all about taking breaks and relaxing. It's all about being comfortable. But haven't these Danes heard the first rule of business? You're always supposed to feel uncomfortable. How else can you possibly drive yourself to get even more? Comfort is our enemy. No, no, Denmark. We can't possibly do this. It'll turn us all European.
Wiking explains that you'll be far happier avoiding conflict and drama. You'll also be far more content, he says, if you stop talking about politics. But what will we talk about? How happy we are? We need enemies in order to stay alert and competitive. If we suddenly came over all trucey-goosey, our defense industry would crumble overnight. It's all very well for Danes -- with their vast social benefits and short working hours -- to tell the world not to be aggressive. But let them try being us -- with our puppy-eat-puppy mentality -- for a week and see how it goes.
This is the quaint notion that we give time over to relationships and shared experiences. We Americans like the idea in theory. We especially like it in movies. But doing it requires a complete cultural reset. And we're too busy driving the tech business toward turning us all into robots. Well, I suppose at least we're doing that all together.
Wiking explains that we really need a place where we feel peaceful and secure. Now this is an are where we Americans truly excel. We know we excel at this because we have guns. These make sure that if anyone tries to disturb our peace and security, we'll blow their bloody heads off.