Rocío Fuentes: Final Essay
“There’s more to life than being happy"
Smith, Emily Esfahani
by Rocío Fuentes
Before we came to Finland, we were told a couple of things about this culture, how much you love sauna and coffee but also everybody made it pretty clear that we were coming to the happiest country in the world (Top in 2017 and again this year). And what a good topic to talk about, the happiness you do not find in your own country, but where does that come from? how is it possible? Is it entirely true? So, from the beginning I knew what my topic was going to be, and my goal was to find out more about this fact.
The reports say that this happiness is due to 6 facts like, GDP per capita; social support; life expectancy; freedom to make life choices; generosity; and corruption levels. But none of these facts are easy to be seen in real life.
Throughout the process and working with my team, I learned a whole lot more about Finnish culture. For example, people here a far more organized, when you arrange something you take out your calendar, in whatever device or planner you have and by that, you find the space in your calendar, and organize the events by colors. But despite it all, I realized that the more important thing is that everyone cared about each other in a sense that you accept the fact that you are not the greatest of friends outside of the team work, but you know it directly affects the team strength. And as our coach Tinna said, “The team is as strong as the weakest member”. During our stay here, we read a book that supported that, “Theories and experiences on team learning” by the Proakatemia coaches stated a couple of processes that we done to build team trust and commitment.
One of them, and to me the most important, was the learning contract, which is done twice a year with your team, in order to gain trust and get to know them.
I researched more about this topic but there was one thing that made sense to me. Chasing and valuing happiness, the way our culture, encourages us to do so, can actually make people unhappy.
Emily Esfahani Smith the author of the book “The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness” is my guide for this paper mostly because of the Ted talk “There’s more to life than being happy” I heard, in which she mentions that this unhappiness is due to the lack of having a meaning to life.
Finding the meaning of life comes in four fundamental pillars. These four pillars can also be the pillars to the activities done in Proakatemia but mainly about the learning contract.
The feeling of being in relationships where you are valued for who you are, relationships based in love. There are some relationships where you are valued for what you wear or what you hate but not in Proakatemia, learning session are made to build trust and team environment, but when you actually do the session you feel everyone hear what you have to say, then you feel valued and loved in your team.
Purpose is about what you give and the key to purpose is to use your strength to help others. The more the group does their learning contract, the more they get to know each other, in that sense, they know their strengths and weaknesses. This, in a practical way, means that when you do a project, your team mates know what you can do better and help you in what you can’t.
Transcendence is a state you reach when an event makes you feel above yourself, there’s ore to what there actually is. When you do something you love, for example, seeing art, or listening to music. In this case, everything the “student” or entrepreneurs do is because these projects make them feel that there is more than there actually is. They have a passion.
As funny as it looks, storytelling is the fourth pillar, but it’s about how you are able to tell your own story. It helps you to see who you’ve become, and how you’ve achieved it, but it also makes you see yourself from another perspective, a new angle, and how you interpret the things that you have been through. This step happens when you sit down and think about what you writte in your learning contract.
The hardest part was to put every event in order to understand who you are now.
In Proakatemia you can find an environment where you have all those pillars, but besides these steps to finding a purpose, first of all we are human beings. So, I also learned that even though we are in the happiest country in the world it is fundamental to know your own state. The “Where are you now? “question is key in order to be happy. This means that even though you are committed to the team and to the project, you have to be committed to yourself. Self-care and metal health are the most important steps, and in Proakatemia you can find the support and the freedom to do so.
My reference is a TED talk, this is the link to it