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H is for Happiness

Food hall, Gothenburg, April 2023.

How happy do we feel? If miserable has a score of 1, fantastic is 10, where on the scale are you? We probably vary, depending on our individual circumstances.

The Nordic countries always score highly in any ‘Best country to live in’ surveys. That is despite generally having a higher tax rate than the UK. Social care is considered good, and great work life balance appears achievable. They are not without some difficulties. The northerly latitude of Scandinavia leads to particularly long winter nights, which brings with it some real challenges.

I had the pleasure of visiting Sweden in April, and in Gothenburg on a particularly warm spring Friday afternoon, it seemed as though the whole city was outside the many cafes and bars enjoying a drink together in some much welcome sunshine.

A waiter (from France) told us it was partly down to the good weather, after a long dark winter the population would always make the most of sunnier days.

For Christians familiar with the writing of the Apostle Paul, he wrote in the book of Philippians “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”. He gave the reason for this contentment to his Faith.

True contentment often requires certain minimum requirements. In recent blogs I have looked at three areas where in the UK, at times we seem to struggle. The last winter showed how delivering effective heating can be very expensive. It's hard to be happy if you are cold.

Many are facing financial challenges. With the increase in interest rates, paying for a house through a mortgage or rent has become a burden. Its hard to be happy if you are unsure of having a roof over your head.

When it comes to healthcare, some of us will have experienced excellent treatment to release us from pain or illness. For many, however, there is a long wait. It's hard to be happy if you are unwell, such as suffering from chronic pain as an example.

Happiness involves a number of factors, which when in place help us to be more content. We often look to the Government to sort out some of these problems. We can do a little ourselves.

One of my favourite business books is entitled “Hidden Champions of the 21st Century” by Hermann Simon. He looked at the success of many smaller companies globally, ones you might not hear of everyday, but are champions of their specific products or markets.

Some of the common attributes they possess can apply to any enterprise; ambitious goals, narrow market focus, closeness to the customer. Whatever you do, do it well and look to succeed and innovate as you go.

Today on the BBC website is an article from 1977 about an attempt by British Rail to improve customer care, and is quite illuminating:

No one seemed to notice. The article may have picked a bad example. Going to work for some is never happy, so even the best smile will rarely raise a response from an unhappy commuter. Nevertheless, working with your customers over time, enhancing the delivery of product or service, striving to be the best you can be, will raise the happiness score. It will also hopefully deliver a more profitable business, which in turn helps the community.

Everyday Business Support was created to help the business owner build a better business and up that happiness score. Get in touch to discuss how we can help if your happiness score is not as high as you would like.

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