The idea for this blog post came to me gradually, as I have been quite busy observing people’s attitudes and behavior over the summer and during this election campaign for president.
I have to be honest: I have found the increasing polarization in our society to be noteworthy for at least the last five years, when I detected it as an issue. And from some of my recent travels, particularly a long weekend in Panama a few years back, I saw and felt firsthand how different the prevailing mood can be in another country, another place. Since I mentioned Panama, my take on the people was unmistakable: a joyful pride by almost everyone I met in Panama, and a general level of happiness and lack of polarization I can only dream of for the United States.
Not surprisingly, other Central and South American countries often come up in surveys of the happiest people in the world (countries like Colombia and Mexico, too), with the other group usually from Scandinavia. I have never seen a survey that lists the United States as having the happiest people in the world.
This deserves some thought, because we are one of the richest countries in the world materially, and for sure, the people of Panama, Mexico, and Colombia are not amongst the richest people in the world, monetarily: but it is clear that those countries possess some critical elements that create happy people. And it is pretty clear that these citizens are, for the most part, unentitled, meaning, they don’t have a sense of entitlement and don’t expect so much from everyone and every life situation.
And to add another wrinkle to this discussion, if I was to generalize (which I am about to do), I would say that some of the happiest and most generous people I have recently met or observed in the United States, are also those who lack a sense of entitlement, the unentitled
Could it be that just being unentitled creates joy, happiness, and appreciation for what exists, and just that attitude of not expecting more, can make you happy?
It is certainly an interesting thought, because some of the most unhappy people I have met in the United States are the entitled; people who always want and expect more……of everything.
I would love your feedback on this question.