To avoid any possible confusions, I wish to highlight from the very start that this article has nothing to do with the world-wide movement of Delivering happiness (although i love it!) or to Tony Hsieh book (although i love that one too!). This is an article about happiness in small doses – on different occasions in Impact Hub Vienna; about happiness as a verb and not a noun. But let’s start from the beginning.
The most commonly used definition of happiness is a “state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” Many people search for happiness, there are websites dedicated to happiness, millions of dollars are spent in the pursuit of happiness. There are even authors who explore whether social entrepreneurs have the key to happiness. I certainly don’t have the answer to that, but in 2013, the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin published a paper exploring cultural and historical variations in concepts of happiness. The authors looked at the dictionary definitions of happiness in 30 nations and discovered the words for “happiness” in German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Estonian, Romanian, Norwegian, Indonesian, Israeli, Malay, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Pakistani, Iranian, and Turkish all have the meaning of “good luck and fortune.” Tracing further back in history, the Ancient Greek term for happiness, “eudaimonia”, consists of “eu” or “good”, and “daimon” or “spirit”. As you could notice, throughout the history of most civilizations and most nations, it appears that the central meaning of happiness has been good luck and fortune, over which humans have no control. But, that changed around 1920. Many historians of American culture conceive 1920s as a turning point, the first decade of affluence, urbanization, and consumer culture. Affluence meant more personal control over one’s life, giving the belief to people that they were able to control their own fate.
Regardless of the definition of happiness, there are many interesting examples of living, delivering or measuring happiness. For example: since 1971, Buthan has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH). Over the years, people from around the world have traveled to Bhutan to learn more. In May 2014, Gross National Happiness USA conference was organized and one of the conference organizer, Zelie Pollon, pointed out a clear pattern int the way people understand happiness: as community, as being able to be with friends, being able to be in a social, strong networks.
But how about us, at Impact Hub Vienna?
In our community, happiness comes on different levels and at different occasions. For some, it’s the connections they built within this community, for example Eva Westhauser who met Nicole and then teamed up with Konstantin to further develop their work in health care. Namely, they are working on Anne Eli, a project that gives easier access to healthcare services for migrants.
For others it is the acceleration: like for Andra Slaats who entered the community as a host, went on to winning Impact Hub’s MBA scholarship for MODUL University and this year, won the SIS incubation scholarship, as a founder of Younited Cultures, a social company which promotes the image of migrants through innovative story-telling scarves.
For some some it is the fact they accelerated their idea to a whole new level, like the Ruffboards who entered Impact Hub Vienna with a marvelous idea and grew to a level of impact investing (they even became finalists at EU Social Innovation competition)! Through the Hub and SIS Ruffboards found Reinhard Herok, who know works closely with them on their brand new marketing relaunch.
Happiness is also a fresh flower waiting at your collaborative working desk or a Sexy Salad gathering or… a crucial grant opportunity you found on HubNet.
To capture the thousands feeling of happiness and gratitude, we decided to open a community competition for the best Happy-maker of 2014! From July 4th-21st, we ask you to nominate 3 persons from the Impact Hub Vienna community who made you feel happy. Whether they opened the door for you, shared a story, kissed you or enjoyed a Sexy Salad with you – we don’t care. We only care about who it was! To make your nomination, click here! At the party (29 July 2014), we will announce the TOP 5 nominations and all of you, present party people, will be able to vote for the one-and-only Hub Happy-maker 2014. For more details, click here.
Regardless of the definitions, cultures or regions, the only moments when we lack happiness are the moments when we forget that we belong to each other. So mark this month in your calendars as a special month and join our contribution to happiness!
[NB] And if you’d like to dive into the concept of Happiness Consumerism, developed by our own team member Ioana, come to her graphic design exhibition, The Happiness Department Store on the 26th of July!