Mario Chamorro had good reasons to be very unhappy. He was diagnosed with cancer, his girl friend broke up with him and he lost his job. So what did he do? He started a happiness project and that eventually led to him wanting to generate happiness for people all over the world.
His initial effort was creating a website called the Happiness Post Project, where anyone could post a message about what makes them happy. That grew to the point where it may turn out to be useful in Colombia to potentially help people there whose lives were impacted by the civil conflict between the FARC rebels and government forces. (This conflict has been going on for decades with many lives lost and people injured.)
The President of Colombia even mentioned Chamorro in a speech. “I wanted to exalt the son of Pasto. And he’s thinking about coming to Colombia to do this process in the regions most affected by the violence,” he said. (Source: MyHappyPost.com) The President also shared a Tweet about the happiness work with about one million followers.
How did all this happen? The whole story is not clear yet, but part of the answer appears to lie in the belief that happiness is contagious. As Mario said,” One, happiness is contagious; two, happiness empowers people; and three, happiness creates social change.” (Source: ABC NEWS)
Often the focus in the workplace is on getting things done, and it should be. However, there may be things to do to generate more happiness there as well, which can have beneficial side effects such as better communication, cooperation and more community.
For example, joining in and submitting your own Happy Notes to their website on this page, might be a way of sharing an uplifting experience. Another idea is to create a similar happiness board on your company’s intranet site and have employee’s post very short notes about what has made them happy recently as it relates to their work. Research has indicated our minds like helping groups more than helping ourselves, so exercising compassion with co-workers could be a way of creating and sharing happiness.
Image Credit: Eleanor Silvers, Wiki Commons