“Happiness is a skill”. This is the conclusion offered by Eiji Han Shumizu when asked about his lessons from the making of the documentary Happy. That happiness is a skill also implies that some people are better at it that others, and more importantly: It is trainable.
“Happiness is a skill”
– Eiji Han Shumizu, producer of the Happy movie
The same uplifting conclusion can easily be made when watching the award winning film. The Happy movie premiered in 2013 following a six-year journey round the world by Eiji Shumizu and colleagues. The moves is a collection of their best and most insightful findings, and this viewer found it fascinating from start to finish. In the editing the producers used the time-honored technique of mixing expert interviews with real-life stories from common folk around the world. The faces of those profiled in this manner serve beautifully to exemplify the scientific finding, of which there are many.
On the scientific side of things, the movie stands on solid ground. A host of the worlds’ leading researchers from positive psychology were interviewed for the movie, including:
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, father of Flow and author of the book by the same name
- Ed Diener, author of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
- Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness
- Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
Next to these figures of authority, His Holyness The Dalai Lama makes an entrance, along with a large selection of common folk from around the world. We meet the happy residents of the small Japanese island of Okinawa (home to the worlds’ biggest concentration of centennials), the vibrant and close-knit Blanchard family from the american south, the single mom from the danish co-housing community, the dirt-poor but happy rickshaw driver from Bangladesh and many others.
I met the man with the idea to the movie, producer Eiji Shumizu, at a seminar on happiness. The location: His island home on Bali, Indonesia. Here I got the chance to ask about his motivation to undertake the project as well as what lessions he himself took from traveling the world in search of happiness. See the interview in the clip below.
I highly recommend the movie, and it is suitable for viewing in a range of situations. At workplaces it is fitting for a socialt event and debate, and families will find if thought provoking and an inspiration for actively creating an even better family life.
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