Earlier this week, a royal marriage occurred in Bhutan between a forward-thinking, down-to-earth young King and a naturally gorgeous, young student. I love their ultra-colorful, vibrant wedding filled with meaningful traditions.
Upon researching Bhutan, I found that they do not measure Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but rather Gross National Happiness. What an amazing, refreshing departure from how many ‘modern’ civilizations operate. What an even more progressive, holistic way to view a country’s goals and place in the world.
They currently rank as the 8th most happiness nation in the world, and are committed to protecting their environment and rich heritage.
“The Bhutanese grounding in Buddhist ideals suggests that beneficial development of human society takes place when material andspiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other. The four pillars of GNH are the promotion ofsustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment ofgood governance. At this level of generality, the concept of GNH is transcultural—a nation need not be Buddhist in order to value sustainable development, cultural integrity, ecosystem conservation, and good governance. Through collaboration with an international group of scholars and empirical researchers the Centre for Bhutan Studies further defined these four pillars with greater specificity into eight general contributors to happiness- physical, mental and spiritual health; time-balance; social and community vitality; cultural vitality; education; living standards; good governance; and ecological vitality. Although the GNH framework reflects its Buddhist origins, it is solidly based upon the empirical research literature of happiness, positive psychology and wellbeing.”
The above was taken from a Wikipedia article that is based off of many well-documented sources. It goes on to discuss the flaws inherent in the GDP-model and suggests seven better ways to discuss a country’s well-being (economic, environmental, physical, mental, workplace, social and political).
Bhutan may be small and technically ‘weak’, but it looks like the U.S. could learn a lot from this spiritually powerful, culturally rich and colorfully diverse little country.