Updated: Sep 3
Tuesday 20th March is International Day of Happiness. Yes, you read that right... International Day of Happiness; a global celebration of the United Nations fundamental human goal for happiness that was adopted in 2011. This resolution called for a 'more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and wellbeing of all peoples'.
In other words, happiness matters. Wellbeing matters. We can no longer simply measure 'progress' in terms of economic growth; it has to be considered in more human terms. Global progress is about increasing human happiness and wellbeing. Happiness matters.
But what does happiness have to do with connection?
In 2015, the International Day of Happiness campaign focussed on relationships and the idea that us humans are more likely to thrive when we are connected with others. As Dr Mark Williamson identified in 2015:
“This International Day of Happiness is more than just a fun celebration, it also remind us all that the world is a better place when we connect with and care about the people around us”
And he is right. Most definitely right.
My past two weeks have been filled with connection. Also coffee and plenty of conversation (and the odd peppermint tea)... but at the heart of my last fortnight has been connection. I have literally travelled the length of the UK - from grey rainy Aberdeen to sunny London via the West Midlands and North West on route back to Scotland later this week - and have met up with an amazing array of people for some inspiring and motivating conversations along the way.
As I look back on my past two weeks I am incredibly grateful to the people I have met. The people who willingly gave up their time to meet me to catch up. People who happily (I think anyway) replied to my emails and messages saying I would be 'in town' and wondered if they had time to meet. For no particular reason, no specific purpose, other than to talk. To connect. And wow, did we talk!
As one friend summarised, 'it was just so great to have a sparky conversation'.
We talked about ideas, plans, goals, challenges and opportunities . We shared concerns, issues, worries, set backs and frustrations. We discussed coaching, collaboration, diversity, inclusion, investment, pensions, life and sport. And quite often we ran out of time to talk more about cycling, running, mountains and music. Every conversation was filled with enthusiasm and passion; laughter and fun; debate and discussion; big dreams and serious issues.
But most of all they were about connection. Two people meeting just to talk. No set agenda, no direct objective, other than to connect and converse (and yes, often drink coffee). And each conversation left me energised. Each connection sparked a different idea. Each interaction helped me make new connections...between random ideas and even different people. And I hope that I provided a little motivation and inspiration in return. It is truly amazing just how energising a great conversation; how much it is possible to learn just from talking and listening and sharing.
So. To everyone who has taken time to meet up with me at any point in the past few years, thank you. Thank you for your energy, your inspiration and your ideas. And most of all your willingness to talk, share and listen. I head into this next week feeling ever grateful for the connections from the past two weeks, and looking forward to the connections that will come and those I have yet to make. Who knows what awesomeness can come from one simple conversation?