Arthur Carmazzi in Sudan – is happiness related to culture?
It is so obvious that the people of Sudan, are happier and treat each other better than most other countries! In the week I was here, I noticed that the average person on the street, smiled more, laughed more and was more connected and helpful to strangers of all levels of society, than in any other country I have visited. Happiness was Very Visible…
I witnessed people in heavy traffic make way for others coming in and out of lanes… perfect strangers helping each other park their cars in chaotic roadsides… people greeting each other on the streets and helping each other when someone is in need.
There is free water provided by different shops in big terracotta vases. No restrictions or even advertising, just a public service by caring people.
When I asked people why are people here so happy, they replied. We are not so happy, since the separation of South Sudan, the cost of living is higher, and life is more difficult…
When I explained what I saw they did not understand the connection between happiness (or how many problems they had) and their smiles and how they treated each other which made them “feel happy”.
The response was usually: how will not being kind to my brothers and sisters help me solve any problems?
While this makes absolute sense, it eludes many cultures (especially in larger cities) where people push into traffic and make sure they are first, or where we do not benefit is helping the other guy since we are so focused on ourselves and our own “Issues”. Many of us connect our problems to how we treat others and how far out of our way we will go to JUST BE NICE.
…and with this distance from our fellow brothers and sisters, we have also lost something!
Human connection has been proven to improve happiness, life quality and life expectancy in multiple studies… in fact, any problems we may actually have are psychologically exaggerated without human connection. So in reality, by ignoring our capacity to be good to each other WITHOUT EXPECTATION, we isolate ourselves and life literally becomes more difficult… perpetuating the cycle.
Happiness and how we treat each other is NOT related to our problems…
…but if goat herders in Sudan can be happier than a CEO of a fortune 500 company… well, maybe we can learn something.
What can you do at work and at home today to make life better?