Interview with the Dutch Dalai Lama

A couple of months ago during the 3rd edition of Start Your Business on a Boat I met Asha Lalai of Action for Happiness, a movement of people taking action to increase happiness and wellbeing across society. It is backed by leading experts from psychology, neuroscience, education, economics, social innovation and business — and has an online community of over 100.000 people. In this blog I will interview Asha, the Founding Director of Action for Happiness The Netherlands, of which Bohemian Birds is a proud partner.

Who is Asha Lalai?

I am founding director of Action for Happiness Nederland. As part of this role I facilitate groups how to bring happiness to the people and how to work with the science based course ‘Exploring What Matters’. I also advise organisations of all sizes on issues relating to happiness and wellbeing and regularly speak on related topics at events.

Asha Lalai

I’m also founder of Customer-Happiness as part of this role I aim to re-shape your thinking about doing business. It’s all about simplifying choices and multiplying happiness. So people can flourish and can fulfill the highest, truest expression of themselves as a human being.

What is Action for Happiness all about?

Action for Happiness provides evidence-based ideas and materials to enable practical action to create happier homes, workplaces and communities. This includes running public engagement activities, providing advice and training to organisations, supporting a network of local action groups and promoting wellbeing in schools.

The global movement Action for Happiness, is coming to the Netherlands. Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. A movement of people taking action to promote mental wellbeing and create a happier society.

How do you achieve this goal?

We do this by raising the level of consciousness, sharing the knowledge of science, wisdom and experience based happiness. We give you the tools to set pro-active goals and share pragmatic ways how to create a happier home, workplace and society. “The future of the world is the happiness of the people within and their ability to share this with all beings” ~ Asha.

How do you launch your movement in The Netherlands?

We will launch our movement with The International Day of Happiness event in the De La Mar Theatre. Say what? This campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations.

A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.

March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

Ban Ki-moon endorses UN International Day of Happiness

In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”.

In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

First ever UN conference on Happiness and wellbeing

How does the course “Exploring What Matters” look like?

The course consists of 8 modules:

Module 1: What really matters in life? Lots of things are important in life, but how should we decide what really matters to us? This session explores whether a greater focus on happiness and wellbeing might be better for all of us.

Module 2: What actually makes us happy? We’re told that happiness comes from having more and earning more, but is this really true? Does happiness come from our circumstances or our inner attitudes? And can we learn how to be happier?

Module 3: Can we find peace of mind? Life can be highly stressful. In this session we’ll explore how to deal effectively with life’s ups and downs and cope with adversity. And we’ll look at some skills which can help us be more resilient.

Module 4: How should we treat others? Our society appears increasingly individualistic and competitive. Is this just human nature or are we naturally altruistic too? How should we behave towards others — and can we learn to be more compassionate?.

Module 5: What makes for great relationships? We’re a social species and most of us know that our connections with others are vitally important. But what really affects our relationships and are there practical things we can do to enhance them?

Module 6: Can we be happier at work? Work is a huge part of our lives, but many of us find our work to be stressful and frustrating. Do happier organisations get better results? What makes us happy at work? And what can we do about it?

Module 7: Can we build happier communities?What does it mean to live well together — and why are some communities or societies much happier than others? In this session we’ll explore how to create communities that are more caring, connected and happy.

Module 8: How can we create a happier world? This session brings together everything we’ve covered during the course. It aims to inspire each of us to live in a way that contributes to a happier world, not just for ourselves but for others too.

Join the movement: www.actionforhappiness.nl and buy a ticket for the event :-)