Did you know that March 20 was International Happiness Day? Guess which country ranks as the world’s happiest…

Every year, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network releases the World Happiness Report on March 20, the International Day of Happiness. In 2024, for the seventh consecutive year, Finland ranked #1. Meanwhile, the United States dropped out of the top 20 for the first time ever. What other interesting trends emerged? The report identified marked differences among generations, and young people in the US and Canada registered lower rates of happiness than they had in the past.

What “happiness” means is a subject of some debate, as is how to interpret a global study that must deal with significant cultural variation and nuance, as a NY Times article highlighted last year. Nevertheless, Scandinavians overall, and Fins in particular, consistently respond to surveys in ways that distinguish them them as happier than the rest of the world. Why? Finns prioritize leading sustainable lives and understand financial success as meeting basic needs, according to Arto O. Salonen, a professor at the University of Eastern Finland. “When you know what is enough, you are happy.”

The happiness report is having a moment! You can read the full document, watch a 2-minute BBC video, or check out a CNN feature on how Denmark is dealing once again with placing a close second to their near neighbors.

What does any of this have to do with DavisConnects? Our mission is to help you discover the path that’s right for you. You may decide to prioritize rapid career advancement, altruistic service, geographic location, or whatever unique combination of factors that reflects your own values. In any case, we hope you’ll consider happiness in your calculus.

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[Not a regular NYT reader? Keeping abreast of career-related news is a good practice, especially for interviews! Remember that students, staff, and faculty have access through the Colby Libraries.]

By Damon Yarnell
Damon Yarnell Dean of Student and Global Advancement