Last week I wrote about the problems of measuring success at all levels with the amount of money that a country, an enterprise or an individual amasses. I questioned whether we are doing many entrepreneurs a disservice by not recognising the contributions made by those that don’t amass great fortunes.
In particular, I referred to the Gross National Happiness measurement as a way of measuring success. In looking at this it is important to understand the difference between happiness and pleasure.
Pleasure is a temporary creation such as that sensation that is created by a piece of music, a nice meal or some other isolated event. However, happiness is a continuous state and cannot be achieved simply by isolated incidences of pleasure.
Imagine that a piece of music by Mozart gave you a period of pleasure while it was playing, continuing to play it 24/7 would not induce happiness, and may well see the pleasure diminish pretty rapidly!
What the Gross National Happiness Index does is to define the nine areas of people’s lives that affect happiness and then it uses this list as a way of deciding things such as government policy. In other words, actions by governments should positively influence one or more of the nine parameters.
These parameters are:
1. Psychological wellbeing
3. Time use
5. Cultural diversity and resilience
6. Good Governance
7. Community vitality
8. Ecological diversity and resilience
9. Living standard
The other new measurement that I mentioned was that of Genuine Progress Indicator where good income generation is counted as positive, whereas bad income generation is counted as negative. Again, there are a list of things that should count as negative in this methodology.
If we really want to harness the abilities of the countless potential entrepreneurs within our midst, I believe that we should be encouraging the more ethical and positive individuals by recognising their positive contribution to society through similar sorts of measures such as Gross National Happiness or Genuine Progress Indicator.
Surely the true heroes of entrepreneurship are those people that don’t climb higher by generating great wealth at all costs and who don’t damage the potential happiness of others for their own gain.
Wouldn’t it be great to replace the Forbes Rich List with the Ethical Income List or lists that show the best performers in each of the nine happiness areas? My strong suspicion is that, not only would it encourage those people that have those higher ideals; it may well generate better support for the ethical entrepreneur.
Of one thing I am absolutely certain, and that is that such an approach would encourage the generation of ideas that would help to close the wide gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’ and may well be done in time to stop the appearance of the pitchforks!