"Be the change you would
like to see in the world"
2017: a new year, and six new editions of my book Happy as a Dane
In 2017, my book Happy as a Dane will be published in five new European countries: The United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. It will also come out in Turkey.
Danish happiness is best when shared; it is thus a great pleasure for me to imagine that new readers will, in their own countries and languages, discover its principles and, hopefully, take inspiration from it.
I wish you all a happy and meaningful 2017.
Women’s Forum for Economy and Society – In Deauville to talk about the sharing economy
This event — one of the five most influential forums worldwide according to the Financial Times — has counted among its guest numerous leading personalities among which Simone Veil, Viviane Reding, Joseph Stiglitz, Angel Gurria, Queen Rania of Jordan and, this year, former French Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron. It was thus a great honor for me to be invited to the 2016 meeting, focused on the theme of the sharing economy.
I had the pleasure to take part in two conferences, which gave me the unique opportunity to exchange ideas with very interesting speakers, among whom Laurence Fischer, two-time karate world champion and seven-time European champion.
In Seoul for the Global HR Forum 2016
3 November – Early this month, I was in Seoul for the Global HR Forum, invited by the South Korean Ministry of Education.
I had the pleasure of taking part in a conference entitled “The working population, are they happy?”, together with my fellow Dane Meik Wiking, author and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute.
Quality of life and its future – conference at Sodexo’s 50-year anniversary
October 4th – On the occasion of the French company Sodexo’s 50-year anniversary, I had the pleasure to host a conference on quality of life and its future. I was looking forward to it, especially since Sodexo is an advocate of the idea that well-being at work is a key factor of business performance.
Following my introduction on the relationship between happiness and quality of life, I had the opportunity to exchange perspectives with three distinguished experts: Sugata Mitra on education, Isaac Getz on management and Laurent Alexandre on biotechnologies.
Happiness as a driver for excellence – EFQM forum in Milan
September 2016 – On September 30th, in Milan, I took part in the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) forum. The 2016 edition of this event was a special one: the EFQM celebrated the double 25-year anniversary of its Award Circle and its Excellence Model.
During my speech, I explained the role of happiness in the development of excellence. This international event was a great opportunity to prove that the organizational models which stimulate performance and success in Denmark can inspire initiatives anywhere in the world.
The Danish network of Goodwill Ambassadors is 10 years old
August 2016 – Denmark does its best to recognize its citizens who share the passion for their country abroad. Ten years ago, it created a network of “Goodwill Ambassadors”. The network has grown since, and now includes 80 people settled in more than 30 countries.
When my book Heureux comme un Danois / Happy as a Dane (Grasset, 2014) was published, I had the honor to become one of the “Goodwill Ambassadors”. I take this mission very seriously, and do my best to accomplish it in France, my country of adoption, but also in every other country I visit for my work.
At the end of August, all 80 ambassadors met in Copenhagen for the annual seminar. We discussed about the perception of Denmark all over the world, and thought about opportunities to share the values we all feel connected to.
This year was a special one: after the seminar, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of this initiative at the Amalienborg royal castle with Prince Joachim (patron of the project), Princess Mary and Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
New translations of my book
On the 3rd of May, the book was launched in Russia (56th on the recent World Happiness Report).
On the 6th of May I signed my contract with US publisher Norton (the US are 13th on the report) which works with Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, and former Fed director Ben Bernanke. America, here I come!
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, FEMALE LEADERS AND WESTERN AFRICA
I have been invited as guest speaker for a 4-days seminar centered on female leadership. The attendees were all female civil servants from Benin, Mali and Ivory Coast.
The focus of my speech was on the notion of individual freedom for women, under the title “I feel free to choose my role in society”. I greatly appreciated the quality of the discussion and the questions following my presentation.
My speech at the OECD
February 24, 2016, I was the guest of Secretary of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), Mr. Ángel Gurría.
The “Coffee with the Secretary-General” is an event organized three times a year intended to expose inspirational work from outside the organisation. Amongst the recent invitations figure names such as the economist Thomas Piketty, George Soros the American business magnate, as well as the Italian astronaut
I had the opportunity to expose and discuss the solutions of personnel and collective happiness/well-being proposed by the Danish model. My speech was followed by a session of Q&As where several experts from OECD subjected me questions about the Danish vision of happiness and well-being.
My sincere gratitude to the OECD and the Secretary General Ángel Gurría, for the invitation and the warm welcome they gave me. The debate with an impressive number of participants was both inspiring and enriching for my further work.
Do you have time to be happy? – Keynote talk at the Napoléons
14-17 january 2016 – “Do you have time to be happy?” This is the question I asked the 250 attendees of the talk I was honored to give at the latest Napoléons event at Val d’Isère (France). Among the audience were several founders and managers of successful startup companies, the CEO of Image Sept Anne Méaux and the CEO of Orange Stéphane Richard. The Napoléons is a French network of the leading actors in creation and communication who meet twice a year to share innovative ideas. It is supported by the French Ministry of Culture and French Tech.
I was pleased to share my thoughts with the public on the connections between time and happiness. Looking at it from a long-term perspective I suggested that the way we spend our time is actually the way we spend our lives! I also shared the inspiring findings of Australian nurse Bronnie Ware (1) who during 8 years studied and interviewed dying patients about their regrets when time has run out. Indeed, they did not have second thoughts about not having made enough money or lack of success and fame.
They expressed regrets about not having lived the life they really wanted, due to pressure and expectations from others. Having worked to much, not leaving time to doing things to make yourself happy like seeing your friends more often. They also regretted not having had the courage to express their feelings in relationships and in society in general.
Based on the Danish model that I know particularly well, I shared a few tips from one of the countries in the world where people actually have a general feeling of living the life they want. Work-life balance (2) is of course an essential element in order to leave time to ourselves and our passions in our private life. I also discussed the importance of guiding children yearly in their lives so that they actually end up doing something they feel passionate about and not what parents or society decided for them (3). The freedom to be you and choose your role in the Danish model is also linked to gender equality where not only women have been liberated… but also men! Indeed, men in Denmark have the right to express their feelings, and feel comfortable leaving work early to pick up their children. Being true to yourself and having the courage to pursue a life with purpose is not easy, but it is the choice I made, and I believe that choice is accessible to everyone.
These few insights seemed to find echo in the audience, and I felt that we shared the spirit of my favorite quote from Oscar Wilde: “Don’t try to add years to your life, rather try to add life to your years”.
2. The Danes spend on average one extra hour per day with their family or at leisure when compared with other OECD members: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/
3. Young Danes are among the Europeans who feel the most free to choose their lives : Survey “les jeunesses face à l’avenir” – Fondation pour l’innovation politique, 2008