(Total Read Time: 5-7 minutes – Total Video Time: 16:30 - Total Time: 21-25 minutes)
I would like to claim credit for such a profound, simplistic saying as the title of this post claims, but such is not the case. Only a person from the land that is home to the happiest people on Earth could utter such a spectacular phrase. That land is not known as one of the world powers, nor is it referred to as the ideal destination for many. However, this land is the home to simplicity and a complete understanding of the important aspects of life. That land is Denmark and it is now at the top of my ideal destinations list.
I saw an ABC News special, here in the United States, a few months back discussing the happiest places on Earth. I think I kind of zoned out during the showing, though I did hear the mention of places like Denmark and Iceland being home to some of the happiest people in the world. Today, I caught a 30 second commercial spot for the Oprah Show teasing their special on the happiest place on earth. I decided to try and catch it and when I did, I was surely not let down. I have embedded the video clips from the show highlighting Denmark. They are about 8 minutes each, but well worth your time. Following the videos, I will provide my reflection…
LS. LT.ML. Part 1
LS. LT. ML. Part 2
Are you as amazed as I?
I am in no way currently a mirror image of the Danish though I now desire to be. I think I probably say I am happy 10 times a day, but, honestly, I am not nearly as happy and appreciative as the Danish.
Simplicity, now more than ever, has become a major part of my excursion through life. I have developed ways to allow for more time, enjoyment, and appreciation for the finer things in my life (i.e. family, friends, hobbies, travel). The Danes have realized that stuff is not that which makes you happy and, in many instances, is the reason for unhappiness.They have captured that which we all desire to have…complete happiness.
Quotes from Clips
I want to recap a few of the quotes I think truly depict Denmark as a nation I am strongly considering spending a large block of my life in…
- Less Space. Less Things. More Life. – Kim Saether
- You think of it as civilized rather than socialist. – Oprah Winfrey
- Happiness is considered a big success. – Nanna Norup
- I believe in humanity. – Nanna Norup
Other than the obvious one I used for the title of this post, I think Oprah’s wording of how the Danish view their lifestyle is amazing. To think, here in the USA, most Americans pay a lot less in taxes than the Danish, who pay roughly 50% taxes and upwards of 63% if they make over the equivalent of $70,000 USD, yet, most Americans I know are not very happy. Most Americans I know who claim to be happy or have heard say they are happy are saying this because they have been told to say so or feel society will look down upon them for not setting themselves up to be so. You can obviously disagree with my take on the happiness level in America, as I am running with my own perspective and experience, but the hundreds of thousands of interviews, polls and surveys that were done to define who are the happiest is proof otherwise. To be fair, here is one take by the New York Times from December 2007 as to the loss of skilled labor due to such high taxes. In my perspective, I have always viewed many socialist-coined countries as being more civilized than socialist in the poor connotation many people I know have placed on the word.
I am not going to sit here and politically argue for higher taxes or lower taxes, but when considering the health care situation, personal and government debt situation, and limited resources situation here in the USA, these types of lifestyles need to be brought into the conversation.
The Reasons They Are Happy
Obviously, Oprah was astonished at the lifestyle these people live (as well as the bread they have), but the key to the entire segment boils down to why they are happy. The following are my conclusions I came to from the clips as to the reasons for their happiness…
- Appreciate family, friends, and life
- Do not carry much (if any) debt
- Do not have stuff or things
- Enjoy living
- Focus is on life and not work
- No Fears
- Stress healthy living
- Priorities in order
- Community Perspective
- A True One for All, All for One Outlook
My Minimalist Outlook
As the founder and editor of The Minimalist Path, I strive to simplify my life to the necessities so that I can live the life that I choose. Just seeing the homes of the Danes that were featured in Oprah’s special made me realize even more how little we all truly need to sustain a happy life. I look around and see stuff I 1) spent money on that I didn’t need or couldn’t afford to, 2) don’t use very often if at all, 3) could have easily done without. Why is that? Because I allow an unhappy society tell me what will make me happy. This is a major issue for many people and such can be addressed by implementing many of the Danish lifestyle practices.
Simplifying our lives is a necessity these days. Resources are dwindling as I type this sentence. Our morals and values are compromised daily by the stuff we consume. We are more unhealthy than the day before. We do not focus on the truly important aspects of life. Even if you disagree with the political aspects of Denmark, ignoring their positive and simplistic principles would be arrogant and ignorant. All I ask is that you sit in a peaceful place and ask yourself if you are really happy. I hope that you are, but I can’t say I am optimistic many people are as happy as the Danes.
I have never been to Denmark, but I now have the same desire to go there as I always had for Australia prior to going there. And you all know how that worked out. Would I give half of my income for complete happiness? In a heart beat. Would you give half of your income for complete happiness? The way you answer that question could possibly guide you towards a Life Excursion that is more fulfilling and focused than ever before.
Well wishes my friends….