How are you? It’s a simple enough question, one that we hear on a daily basis. Average responses range from 'fine' through to the truly insightful 'a bit tired'. How often do we reply saying ‘I’m extremely happy?’ A couple of years ago we saw the results of the first annual Happiness Index launched by David Cameron. In 2010, the BBC quoted him as saying: "the country would be better off if we thought about well-being as well as economic growth". Cameron believes that GDP is not enough to measure progress as it doesn't take into account other social factors.

The Engage For Success movement has clearly demonstrated how important employee engagement is to business success. The Evidence giving just that – real business case studies that are hard to dispute.

With this in mind I was curious about what to expect when I was invited to attend a ‘Science of Happiness’ workshop. The session was organised by Colin Mills, who has run several advertising companies and now specialises in building effective teams. The workshop was run by Rens ter Weijde, founder of the Energy Strategy as well as being a sports psychologist, consultant and adventurer.

I have to say that three hours of my life has never gone so quickly. It was a fascinating look at:

  • The importance of happiness
  • The latest scientific thinking in this area
  • How we can all improve our levels of happiness.


Rens was an extremely engaging and knowledgeable facilitator. Everyone in the group was actively involved and using the Chatham House rule gave everyone a chance to share their thoughts on a topic that involves a lot of personal elements.

It would be impossible to share in a single blog post everything we covered – which by the way was just a small insight into a much bigger movement. However, it did remind me how important it is to take a step back now and again to review what does make you happy. Also, improving your levels of happiness doesn’t require radical change, it can be something as small as walking somewhere instead of driving or performing a random act of kindness.

Psychologists apparently now realise that our concept of ‘self’ is impacted by our work, as well as the people we meet and spend time with. Considering the average adult spends about a third of their life at work, there is huge potential for job satisfaction to have a positive impact on our overall happiness.

There is no doubt that personal happiness and productive work are interlinked. If Boards of organisations are clear about the meaning of the company and the work being done, how much easier it will be for employees to understand and feel more engaged.

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