The Pursuit of Happiness and Tea

During my time in the US, I spent some time reflecting on the genius that is the opening to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The right to pursue happiness is surely the most liberating goal man can have and for the first time, a nation was enshrining this right in its very own DNA.

And so yesterday, when the website for a new group. Action for Happiness, based in the UK, actually crashed under the volume of traffic it was attracting, it said to me that people are longing to realise this same natural instinct that the Founding Fathers laid down over 200 years ago.

Action for Happiness is apparently the work of The Young Foundation who employ 60 staff in New York, London and Birmingham to encourage “entrepreneurship to meet social needs”.

Music to my ears. I can’t claim that The Young Foundation isn’t a front for a clandestine political organisiation, but I doubt that they are. They just seem like good people and Action for Happiness is a natural offshoot.

One of the principles that they ascribe to happiness is resiliance – learning how to bounce back. This is a fantastic responce to those who say “England is mine it owes me a living” (although I still love Morrissey!) No the state won’t bail you out if you fail.

Seth Godin wrote a marvellous piece on failure in business this week, and J.K. Rowling’s speech on the subject to Harvard is still one of the most inspirational clips you will ever see.

What’s this to do with social media? Well here are people coming together socially, online to generate ideas and spread opinion. What’s the ROI on that?

I hope that the popularity of the Action for Happiness is maintained, that people really look to themselves to do simple things to achieve happiness, not other people, not the state but the one under valued resource they have at their fingertips – themselves.

Now I’m off to make a pot of tea for everyone, not a cup for myself.

Want one?

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