😄This is the Happiest Place on Earth but it has Less to do with Money than You think! Plus 3 Habits to increase Your Happiness

Every year, for the past 10 years, the World Happiness Report tells us which are the happiest places on earth and which are, to put it nicely, the most unhappy. And for the past 6 years this one country has bagged the top spot as the happiest place on earth. But what makes it so special? 

Before we dig in, let’s first figure out what happiness means. We know happiness is a state of being. A journey, not a destination. Blah blah blah. But let’s be real, we think more money = more happiness. The more we earn, the more money we’ll have and the happier we’ll be. More money means more this more that. A simple equation. Or is it?

Does more = happier?

So we’d think that rich countries must be the ones to rank #1 in the happiness scale. To us, this seems so obvious. But in reality more doesn’t equal better. More money doesn’t translate into better wellbeing and that inner feeling of joy. 

We’ve trained our minds to think that because we’ve been taught to value money but in reality we’ve got it all muddled up. More money for the sake of it isn’t making anyone happy. 

Finland is the happiest place on earth.

It’s been ranked the happiest place for 6 years straight. And it’s not because of the number of 0’s their citizens have in their bank accounts! They’re rich in the best possible sense. 

When it comes to happiness and money, more money = more happiness BUT only up to a point. And then our happiness falls. Some economists say this is around $75k but some say hit’s higher.

Whatever it is, our happiness doesn’t keep going up as our income goes up.  When we earn more than a certain number our happiness kinda flatlines. Which tells us so much about what really makes us happy. 

Income inequality also has a massive part to play in a country’s happiness. The bigger the income inequality, money matters more and people are less happy. The smaller the gap between the rich and the poor, the happier the country will be.

Average levels of happiness (vertical scale) and income inequality (horizontal scale). World Happiness Survey and OECD income inequalities statistics

Looking at the countries in the chart above: the ones that are happiest are the ones with the lowers levels of income inequality. Basically where the top 1% hasn’t gobbled up all the wealth.

According to the World Inequality Database, the highest-paid 10th of people in Finland take home one-third of all income (33%). That same group takes home 36% in the UK and 46% in the US.

This may not seem like much or a big deal but they have a massive effect on a country’s happiness because so much less is left for the rest in the more unequal countries.

For a country in the far north of the world, with a harsh climate, it is the happiest in the world. This is no contradiction. Finns make the most of their time – and outdoors! Getting that natural Vit D that’s so vital rather than being glued to the screen for 7+hrs a day. 

While fair govs and low inequality helps – these aren’t in our control. But you can control a bunch of other things.

Here are 3 things I’m focussing on and you could too… 

#1 Quit the comparison game! 

Oh boy are we all guilty of this. Whether we’re comparing ourselves to someone at work, a friend or even some stranger on the internet, it just makes us feel rotten inside. 

And social media is the killer. It’s basically a highlight of people’s best moments. Giving us the wrong impression – that their life is perfect.

It fuels the mindset of wanting more and doesn’t let us appreciate what we already have. 

Don’t waste your money on stuff you can’t afford to prove to strangers (or people you never liked anyway) that you have money. You’ll just feel empty.

Focus on impressing yourself. Working hard and building a life that works for you. That will make you happy. Not constantly looking over your shoulder trying to impress who-knows-who. 

Take a break from social media. Do things because you wanna enjoy them not so they’ll look great on an insta post. 

There’s a famous line by a Finnish poet: “Kell’ onni on, se onnen kätkeköön.”

Roughly translated, it means: “Don’t compare or brag about your happiness”.

Finns really take this to heart, especially when it comes to material things and overt displays of wealth. That’s what success looks like in Finland: just like everyone else. 

That’s something we could all learn from. Success doesn’t need to be flaunted. The best things are best kept private. 

2. Get outside! 

Nature is a miracle. Honestly. If you’re feeling a bit sluggish, chances are you just aren’t getting enough sunshine. Now that Spring is finally here after what felt like a year of wintery, cold and dark days there’s no excuse!

If you’re strapped for time, why not try walking during your meetings? Especially the boring ones! This way you’re stimulating your brain while getting some activity. A win-win!

What I found crazy is that in Finland, workers are entitled to 4 weeks summer hols! Many of us them that time to hit the countryside and be with nature. A lot of Finnish cities are also densely built, which means that many people have access to nature at their doorsteps. 

So get outside! Walk around and soak up nature. It really is a miracle-worker. And it also happens to be free and 100% accessible.  

#3 Get your balance back 

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the key to unlocking your happiness.

So many people kill themselves to earn more money when they’re not only getting burnt out in the process but missing out on precious moments they can never get back.

Read here why 46% of Americans don’t take all their vacation days. How it’s killing their work and wellbeing! Take that vacation. Work will be waiting for you when you get back. 

In Finland, 50% of employees work 35-40 hr weeks, with just 1 in 6 of them working 50+ hours p/week. Their nights and weekends are free, leaving so much time for what matters: hobbies, socialising + relaxing with friends and family.

Working on the weekend does no one any good. And trust me, you aren’t getting paid enough to do that. 

Carve out time during your day whether that’s going for a walk or indulging in a great book, make time for yourself. Make taking breaks a regular thing. Get into the habit. 

But also make your life something you’re not constantly escaping from. Let’s face it, our 9-5 is where we spend a LOT of our time, energy and headspace. At least make sure you’re somewhat enjoying it (or at least getting compensated!)

Work is a part of your life. It’s not your entire existence. Don’t glue your identity to it. 

There is a Finnish proverb Onnellisuus on se paikka puuttuvaisuuden ja yltäkylläisyyden välillä  – “Happiness is a place between too little and too much”.

You’ve gotta find the balance. Too much and you won’t be happy, too little and you probably won’t be either.

Find that sweet spot.

Remember, money for money’s sake is pointless. Use it to do more of what you love with who you love. Giving you freedom over your time. That will make you happier more than designer shoes and clothes.

And the Finns got that. They’re such non-flashy people. They’re understated and they don’t feel the need to brag, impress others or show off their spending power. 

Let’s get into the groove of doing things for yourself. Not for others. You’ll be happier that way. And no amount of zeros in your bank account should change that. 

Disclaimer: This blog is not investment or financial advice. It is my opinion only. This blog is not a personal recommendation to buy/sell any security, or to adopt any such investment strategy. Always do your own research before you commit to any investment


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