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Finland Ranked Happiest Country In The World (Again)

If I asked you what the happiest country in the world is, what would you say? Sunny Spain, perhaps? Or maybe Italy? I mean, after all, how can you be unhappy in a place where there is an ice cream parlor at every corner?

But no, according to the 2021 World Happiness Report, the happiest country in the world is Finland. Surprising, isn’t it?

Now, don’t get…

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If I asked you what the happiest country in the world is, what would you say? Sunny Spain, perhaps? Or maybe Italy? I mean, after all, how can you be unhappy in a place where there is an ice cream parlor at every corner?

But no, according to the 2021 World Happiness Report, the happiest country in the world is Finland. Surprising, isn’t it?

Now, don’t get me wrong. Finland is a true northern beauty, popular for its magical winter atmosphere, its unspoiled wilderness and its lovely people.

However, when we think of Finland, it’s hard to ignore things like the six months of (nearly complete) darkness that the country gets every year and its really cold weather. And yet, despite all of this, this is the fourth consecutive year that Finland has been named the happiest country in the world, which makes me think they must be doing something right.

Why Finland?

In order to establish this ranking, the World Happiness Report looks at six variables — income, freedom, trust in government, healthy life expectancy, social support from family and friends and generosity. And Finland fares well in all of them.

Finland’s happiness might also be intrinsically linked to these factors:

  • Its welfare program — not only can the country count on a very robust healthcare system but they also have one of the best welfare programs in place thanks to its progressive taxation system and wealth distribution.
  • The flat working model (aka flat organization model) — a system that aims at involving the staff in the decision-making process of the business.
  • Its fight for equality — Finland is committed to closing the gender pay gap.
  • Work-life balance — Finland is the only country in the developed world in which the father spends more time with school-aged children and mothers can decide to take several months, if not several years off of work to take care of their kids.
  • Their unique approach to life — many believe the real reason behind the country’s happiness is their stoic approach to life which Finns call ‘sisu’.

“To the Finnish people, sisu has a mystical, almost magical meaning. Sisu is a unique Finnish concept. It is a Finnish term that can be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. […] Sisu is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain that courage.”

finlandia.edu

Are Finns really happy?

Okay, so Finland is the happiest country in the world, we get it. But do Finns know that? As I was researching for this article, I came across this set of interviews from 2020 and what struck me is that many interviewees hesitated to define themselves as happy, they seemed to often prefer another term: content.

And that made me think. Because maybe that’s the key, you know? After all, happiness is a fleeting, more temporary state, something we need to constantly chase but being content? Being content, on the other hand, is more of a stable condition, one of peace, calm and satisfaction. And maybe we got it all wrong and that is what real happiness is all about.

What do you think? Are you happy to be living where you live? Is your country happy?

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