TED Conversations

Nic Marks

Director, Happiness Works


This conversation is closed.

Can we really become happier? Happier ourselves? Can we create happier places to work? Or even happier societies?

Happiness can often seem elusive ... like love ... the more we chase it the more it seems to slip away from us. Can we really become lastingly happier? Are such efforts worthwhile or futile?

What about organisations and businesses? Can we create happier organisations? Would they be more effective or simply not be competitive?

How about whole societies? Should governments be seeking to help citizens lead happier lives? Or is that somehow sinister?

The new emerging science of happiness and well-being seems to offer some insights but the real world is not the same as controlled experiments.

What do you think? What are your favourite recipes for happiness?

Take part in this Live Conversation this Wednesday, 11th January at 10am PST / 1pm EST / 6pm GMT (my time zone in London!)


Closing Statement from Nic Marks

Well I enjoyed 'hosting' this conversation very much ... we touched on so many topics from the meanings of happiness, the pathways to happiness and a look at the darker side of depression and suicide. We talked of determination, choice, acceptence, contentment and love ... of generosity and poverty ... of consumerism and education ... of passions and curiosity, mediation and exercise ...

It seems to me that a conversation about happiness can get to the core of the human experience ... and in a world facing difficulties of today and tomorrow (a MLK quote!) it could just be that thinking and having conversations about human happiness could be the start of a quiet revolution of our shared world ...

Thanks for talking with me today

Be well


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  • Jan 11 2012: Everyone would be really really happy when they are in Untopia or heaven.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not being sarcastic, but just telling you that it is impossible to make all of the people in the world happy at the same time.
    (And Sometimes we don't even realize what is the happiness and what makes us happy.)

    Apparently, it depends on your mind.

    However, we must not ignore the people who live in poor conditions, who are tortured and who are repressed by society.

    For their "humane lives", we should at least do something realistic--make laws and help them in order to give them HOPE to live happily.

    Personally, I can be happier than ever only if i decide to be grateful for everything and enjoy my life.
    But, it's pretty difficult to make all people think the same way that I have.
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      Meli D

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      Jan 11 2012: Why is it impossible?
      • Jan 11 2012: Good question.
        Then, how can you make all of the people in the world happy at the same time?
        I want to hear your idea.
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          Meli D

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          Jan 11 2012: There's a long answer to that, but you haven't answered my question! Why do you think it is impossible?
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      Jan 11 2012: I think that for me it makes absolutely no sense for us to create some societies that happy but that is at the expense of other people's happiness either now or in the future ... for me social injustice is the distributuion of happiness ... sustainability is the happiness of humanity through time ... a truly happy society needs to be soically just and sustainable ...
      • Jan 11 2012: I guess that's a part of your standard of happiness.
        But do you think your ideal society would emerge?
        And even if it would come true, we can't be sure that society would make all of the people happy.
        Of course, it could satisfy the people, but satisfaction is not the only factor that makes people happy.
        Even if the society is just, not all peopple would happy about it, rather, some would complain.

        You know, people's minds are delicate and complicated.
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          Jan 11 2012: I think there will always be a distribution of happiness - so many of the drivers are personal - we all have losses and truimphs ... it would seem extremely dull to not have these ups and downs ... but a happier society would remove systemic obstacles to our happiness ...

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