Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why are We Rich and Unhappy?

Becoming rich is one thing but getting happiness is entirely different ball game. World economy is growing but not happiness. People are becoming better off but feeling worse. This is a very common problem. It has always been a challenge to find the exact reason. The reasons are being searched in this article.

Once upon a time, the results of market capitalism was generally agreed to make people better off. Nowadays that is not clear. A number of economists and politicians think that it ought to be doing something else: making people happy, says The Economist in an article titled Happiness (and how to measure it).

I as a technocrat feel that the reasons of happiness can not be easily traced by economist, politicians or other professionals. Earlier technologies and inventions were not impacting the society in a big way at one time. But, the inventions of last few decades have changed these old beliefs. The changes which have taken place around the world in last few decades are mainly due to electronics and Information Technology. So, the reasons of happiness can only be found by some technocrats who have seen the growth of electronics and IT. The world will have to accept this new dimension.

Growth Charts

With an annual growth rate of 3.2% per head since 2000, the world economy is heading towards notching its best decade ever. So, in this situation, 6 billion people of the world will have to face a different world order. The changes are new. The resources available are different. The accessibility is different. The connectivity is different. The borders, languages and regions are becoming irrelevant. The quests and means to find job, earning money and making social circles are changing.

Now David Cameron, the latest leader of Britain’s once rather materialistic Conservative Party, has espoused the notion of general well-being (GWB) as an alternative to GDP. In the US, meanwhile, inequality, over-work and other hidden costs of prosperity were discussed in mid-term elections. In India on the name of common man, government tries to find the reasons why prosperity not spreading widely. The developing world is struggling to provide basic amenities. The reasons of finding happiness amidst prosperity remain a burning issue.

There has always been a good discussion among the people of developing world to talk about the unhappiness of the people of developed world. People again got a point when a survey data reveals that affluent countries have not got much happier as they have grown richer. The same thing may happen or is already happening even in developing countries. Luxuries have become the necessity. Management of richness remains a challenge. In addition, it remains a challenge to bring the masses what elites have always enjoyed. Once, you get the most starved things take for granted. The process is unending. In all these different situations, the questions remain that how to achieve happiness?

In Search of Happiness

In my point of view, happiness becomes very complex in the midst of growth. As growth becomes exponential, the situation becomes explosive. In these circumstances, there is a need to look at things differently. That is what I am going to do here in this article.

There are various books on human psychology and managerial philosophy. There are plenty of write-ups on how to learn the important characteristics which all successful people possess or are supposed to possess. There are books on thinking, dreaming, meditation, yoga and so on ….there are volumes written on these aspects of human activities and personalities. But are there any books written on what you need not do. What you should not learn? What you should not work on? There is hardly any research on these aspects of human complexities to understand what you are supposed to UNLEARN if you want to belong to the category of successful and happy people?

Everybody talks about one or other trait to be developed. How to acquire characteristics of successful people? How to learn lessons from the success? People join various institutes to learn these traits. There are many teachers or so-called preachers who are willing to enhance your capabilities to learn more and learn fast. They are ready to teach you some more human traits besides what you already have. They are also ready to tell you what are the most necessary qualities that you lack. They teach you how to develop positive attitudes. They do not feel shy in telling that the only thing you ever lacked in life is a positive attitude. She becomes a big failure in spite of her great learning. How the happiness will emerge amidst lacking?

Even with the sharp rise in social and economic growth in the poorest parts of civilization, the growth has never been homogeneous; rather, a huge benefit has gone to few individuals or families and meager benefits to the remaining individuals and societies. Is it any surprise if the world’s 500 richest people have as much wealth as the poorest three billion put together? Even in the developed nations, if the changes are not monitored on a regular and constructive basis, the society or even the country could suffer and would suffer more in future. Such suffering has occurred at the individual level. This has been witnessed in the life of an organization. This is being observed in the nation build-up. Fast changes taking place in various aspects around the world have to be integrated into our policymaking process to harness the benefit for the human being, organization and nation. That is what Microsoft did. In the 1997, in the first CEO summit, they declared the objective for the next ten years as ‘friction free-capitalism’, in the 2006; they changed to ‘friction free-innovation’. Individual, society, organization or even nations have to keep ‘unlearning on a regular basis’ to reap the benefit of civilization.

Unlearning Past to Achieve Happiness in Present

Learning is not at all a solution but many a time, these are the big problems, because you will have to unlearn, whatever you have learnt, if it is not good for your future. Unlearning will be more difficult than learning. But you do not have any choice. You will be forced to Unlearn. So Stop Learning, Rather UNLEARN or LEARN TO UNLEARN before it is too late to unlearn. It is time to concentrate and know more about your Unlearn Quotient (UQ). (UQ is based on the critical factors. These factors work as a theory of human growth.)

Your UQ will take you ahead more than others. Your UQ will pave the way for your better future. Your UQ will reduce the contradictions and ambiguities of your life. Your UQ will show you the path to achieve next generation of time management. Your UQ will be the measurement of your happiness.

The beginning of the 20th century was the year when the major emphasis was on learning, while by the end of the century, the year could be defined as ‘How fast and how much can you learn’. But the 21st century has started with the critical need of unlearning. The years could well be defined as ‘How fast can you unlearn’. Unlearn was not found in earlier dictionaries, however in the recent ones, it has been explained and elaborated on in detail. As per Encarta, Unlearn means discard something previously learnt like an old habits, try to forget, put out of one’s memory or knowledge. Oxford English Dictionary writes, Unlearn - verb - aim to discard (something learned) from one’s memory. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines it very suitably to meet the present day requirement of understanding unlearn. It says that unlearn is to make an effort to forget your usual way of doing something so that you can learn a new and something better way.

19th century - Limited Learning
20th century - More Learning
21st century - Unlearning

Learning and Unlearning Dilemmas!

I define unlearning as an extension of learning. Unlearning means to remove, discard, forget, and leave undesirable things from minds. Unlearning means keeping mind free from unwanted information, deleting irrelevant data from memory and having more free space in minds for future thinking. Unlearn is the process of removing something from your priority list of doing things. Unlearn is the way or path to move from self-defeating methods of performing something to different methods, leading to the road of success. Unlearn is the method to prepare a list of parameters to discard from life for a better life. Unlearn is the preparation of futurist steps for a successful life. Unlearn is the challenging age old traditions and customs which are keeping a human being away from even basic amenities. Like you put up efforts to learn something good, you need to put efforts to unlearn something bad. Learning can be done through various methods, similarly unlearning can also be done through some other methods. It is important for all of us to learn more about unlearn to live a better life in the 21st century.
Irrespective of the country or place, individuals will have to unlearn to have more happiness in life. There are few factors which are essential to achieve the tough task of happiness.

Theory of Human Happiness

The necessity of unlearning is basically to satisfy the various needs of human beings. However it is necessary to know seven critical factors (SCF) to achieve the objectives. I have personally experienced and implemented these factors since the last thirty years. With critical observation of self, family, developing society, reading and seeing the developed and developed world, I have concluded that these seven critical factors as ‘theory of human happiness’. In the first instance, the factors may not appear as critical as any postulate in the development of scientific theory, but once critical analysis is done then the importance and effectiveness can be understood and appreciated. The seven critical factors are -

1. Thinking and Action – In search of truth. How could you think and act correctly? Is it easy to find truth?
2. Aspirations – Goal of life! Are you capable enough to decide about your goal?
3. Sex – Human Relationship. Relationships are the most complicated aspects of human growth. Sex is at the core of all the human relationships.
4. God – Ethics and Behaviour. God makes you a gentleman or gentlewoman otherwise you remain a demon. Understanding God is essential for human growth.
5. Parents – As you sow so you reap. Parents are responsible to sow a seed of growth. Are you sure of your correct seed for growth?
6. God Father – Sense of security. Th human is a fearful creature. Always look for a godfather for your growth.
7. Wisdom Domain – Knowledge Source! Life without knowledge is hell. Create wisdom domain (WD) in this world of Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

The details of all these seven critical factors have to be monitored on regular basis. It is important to know that how these are keeping the human progress restricted. Once these critical issues are clear, we would be in a better position to understand and analyze happiness.

No amount of money or position can make us happy. Life needs few basic things for smooth journey. Unlearning has potential to bring normalcy and contentment back to anybody’s life. Posted by Picasa