What makes people happy around the world? It seems to vary from place to place. However, there are still many similarities on what people answer to this question.
This week I had the pleasure to meet an awesome blogger; Oliver from Spain. He is travelling through South America and ask the people he meets on his way on video what makes them happy. At the moment he is in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The same city as me, and he therefore asked me to join this unique project by telling him what makes me happy, and of course I could not say no to that.
When asking Oliver what he found to be the most common answers on what make people happy so far, he said that people mostly answer the basic things. Family seems to be very important in Latin America and many answer that. Friends was also a common answer. In addition many answer that their jobs makes them happy. Not because they just love their jobs but because that is how they get money to provide for their families.
The Europeans that he met often answers learn new things, do good things for others, and be free. Travelling is also high up on the list.
So when he asked me the same question, what did I say? You are thinking that I said travelling, right? One year ago I would actually have answered travelling, my husband and my family. However, this is not what I answered now. When I was home in Norway last summer, my perspective of things changed. I was very depressed due to that my husband was not there with me and was thinking that I could not be happy without him. The plan was that he was going to come, but it did not work out. Then I read an article, and it made me understand something very important. If your happiness depends on others, you are big trouble! Then I started to understand that happiness is a choice that you take, and do not depend on others.
Furthermore, I know a couple of people that are never happy. No matter what people do for make them happy, they never are so. They have everything, but they are still not happy. Knowing these people was also a good learning lesson related to understanding that it is all in the mind. And if you want to be happy, be so.
So that is my answer to what makes me happy. Myself – because I am the one that take the decision to be happy. You can see the video with my answer here. I know I look very serious, but that was because I was thinking so much on what I was going to say 😉
This questions is actually one I have asked myself many times while travelling. Especially during my travels to Africa, I was asking myself what makes people here happy, since they have so little.
I remember when I was living in Nigeria, even more basic things made me happy than now. What made me happy, was if I could wash myself with hot water. As there were no showers, I usually bath with a bucket of cold water. But sometimes I boiled up some water for make it warm. And that was a really good feeling.
I memorize, when the electricity came back after many hours, even if it was just for 30 minutes, everyone was screaming of happiness and running for charge their electronics.
I also found many Africans to be more grateful than we are in the west. For small things they could be very happy. Two slices of cold rest-over pizza, which I gave to my “little brother” in Nigeria made him so happy that he had to call his mom that was in Germany. Because it was the first time in his life he had tried pizza. I think I have never seen someone so happy, and that for two slices of rest-over pizza!
In Uganda for Christmas we gave away a small solar panel light to the family, as a thank you for letting us celebrate with them. The whole village came to thank us for it. They were all so grateful.
When I left Nigeria, I bought a small micro-oven to the family I lived with as a thank you. I asked the neighbour to give it to them on Christmas eve. They called me to my cellphone screaming of happiness.
I never see people being so happy for so small things in Europe and Latin America.
What makes you happy?