EDITORIAL: Seeking happiness crucial to development

 

Amidst all the activities in March, there was one occasion that received little fanfare, which should perhaps be the one subject that everyone focuses on each and every day of their lives.
 
On the local stage, March is recognised as the Month of the Disabled and during this time there were a few demonstrations to highlight the continuing challenge of accessibility and the need for necessary legislation, including a disabled parking simulation. On the world scene, March is the home of 15 internationally observed days such as International Women’s Day; International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and World Water Day. 
 
Yet, one occasion, International Day of Happiness on March 20, though it may seem insignificant in the face of all the challenges facing people all over the world, may actually be the most important. As United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated, “At this time of grave injustices, devastating wars, mass displacement, grinding poverty and other manmade causes of suffering, the International Day of Happiness is a global chance to assert that peace, well-being and joy deserve primacy.” In fact, it not only deserves primacy, it is used as a measurement of the strides being made in other areas. As was stated in a UN release, Sustainable Development Goals seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. Therefore the attainment of happiness is crucial.
 
However, economic, environmental and equality issues aside, there are other aspects of happiness which must be considered. Achieving goals, dreams and standards is another measurement of happiness. Having the world spread before you on a platter with the freedom to make choices and the support to do so is only one part. People must also actively participate in a journey, overcome challenges, attain goals, and delight in their success to experience true happiness.
 
Finally, but most important, a spiritual balance and contentment is usually necessary for one to reach a level of happiness. External factors and personal achievements will fail to have an impact if one’s psychological and emotional well-being is in turmoil. Therefore, organised religion and spiritual practices like meditation can help in this area.
 
Here in Barbados, the idea of achieving happiness should be central to policies. As a country that undeniably has problems with productivity and customer service, it would be good to remember that happier employees work harder and better. Therefore, not only should individuals examine themselves to ensure that their spiritual, psychological, personal development and career goals are set and achieved, but employers must also seek to ensure the right environment is available. A balance must be achieved between the workforce and the employer, so employers must provide the necessary tools with which staff can produce increased quality output, and individuals must give their all at work while maintaining a balance between all the areas of one’s life.

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