The Volcano Innovation Summit 2023 has proven to be a remarkable opportunity to gain insights into the trends and outlooks of leaders in various fields. In this dynamic setting, CAFI and ILBMetrics engaged in a conversation with Luis Gallardo. He graciously shared his expertise on "Shaping the Future of Learning and being," drawing from his extensive roles as the Founder and President of the World Happiness Fest and the World Happiness Foundation. Luis Gallardo is also the accomplished author of "The Exponentials of Happiness" and a pioneering advocate of "Happytalism." His remarkable journey extends beyond the realm of happiness.
You can read the entire interview here.
How can we be happier?
The key is to realize what activates our happiness because there is a very clear difference between happiness and what activates happiness. Happiness is what is inside a seed. Imagine that we have a rose bush inside a seed, when you see the seed you don't know that there is a rose, but the seed does know because it is a rose bush seed. Each human being is like a seed and has something inside, it can be a melon, a cactus, it can be a rose, it can be a pine, but the first thing the human being has to do is first explore what it is, if it is a rose bush. , a pine or a tree and that exploration is not done outside and that is what everyone does, making me happy by having things from outside, I have more success, power, fame, money and that I think is going to bring me happiness.
But happiness is like the rose inside the seed, it is inside us. So what does the seed have to do to grow and be a rose, it needs soil, earth, water and light, those are the activators of the seed until it is activated. That is the happiness of human beings, happiness is within us, and we have to activate it. There are people who activate their happiness by being in nature, breathing deeply and being calm, there are people who activate their happiness by being on the move. We all have to find what activates that rose or that cactus that we have inside us, that is the key.
What makes Latin American nations stand out in happiness indices versus other regions?
Costa Rica is one of the countries that has contributed the most to creating conditions: water, land so that people can develop their fullness and potential. And how has he done it? They have a lot of nature, it is pure life, and it is a concept that works. They have been able to come up with the concept of nature-aligned purpose because nature is so important.
Another thing they have done is not have an army. They have relieved themselves of a tension, all the money they have been able to spend on the army, they have dedicated to education. They have decided to try to create conditions of security, since it is very important for human beings to feel safe and also create conditions of opportunity. But they also have many challenges, and they continue to work on them, however, these are two important ingredients, betting on nature and non-violence.
We have a program at the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica and there we help create those conditions in their own countries, but Latin America in general terms with respect to other countries, the values of nature and non-conflicts are key, But the key is also to create relationships between us that are as qualitative as possible, we don't need many people, two or three friends with whom we can share is fine. And then socialization, creating communities, being social, but social that benefits us. Not social in entering groups where you look bad if you don't go, you have to choose those groups well. But that is something that is highly appreciated in Latin America, such as the theme of music, eating well, the folklore theme is something that helps a lot, everything that is art and music helps us raise our consciousness and subconsciously be happier.
At the foundation, we have three strategic programs:
- Cities of happiness
- Happiness companies
- Schools of happiness
Employee happiness activators. The important thing for governments is that they realize that the policies that are carried out are going to activate or dry the seed, that is the key, knowing what activates or what deactivates and that is what takes a lot of work because we do not know which It is the soil, the light, the water that we need to grow. People have not realized it, so what governments have to do is provide adequate water, adequate land and light so that we can all develop. Happiness does not belong to the government, happiness belongs to the citizens who live in those places.
What is the most important thing when starting and looking for a startup?
Startups are very important because when someone wants to start a business, the first question they have to ask themselves is: why do I want to start a business? Do I want to start a business to make money, regardless of the business I start? Do I want to start a business because I need to do something, to be a leader and lead, or is what I want to do is solve a problem?
At the foundation we encourage entrepreneurs to look for a cause, a purpose in which they can really put their passion and energy, and the purpose can be: end poverty in the world, end poverty in my neighborhood, improve people with disabilities can move around. We have to identify why we want a startup, it is not to sell more things to make money, because if that is what it is, those companies will disappear in a very few years because there is no passion and there is no purpose that is really going to solve the problem of human beings or that other species have.
You have to choose very carefully for which company and if it is only because I want to earn enough money to live, it is a conceptual error. At the foundation we talk about “happytalism”, my book happytalism is based on creating more happiness and less suffering, capitalism is more focused on generating more money, the principles of capitalism are: fame, power and money, that's how it measures success. In Happytalism what we measure is: how free I am, what is my freedom, how free do I feel, what is my level of consciousness and what is my level of happiness. Look how different a system is, you have to decide what system you want to play, if you want a capitalist system where the rules are fame, power and money, if that is your goal, go ahead. If what you want is to play in the Hapyytalista system, you know that what you have to think about is freedom, conscience and happiness. Then think about how your startup is going to create more freedom, awareness and happiness, then your business model changes because in the end you are going to measure if people are happier, more aware and more free.
This is a reflection that I ask all entrepreneurs: what league do you want to play in?
Some people think that the new generations live more depressed or frustrated. What could you advise them?
I think that generalizing is not good, generalizing that a country is happy or sad is not good at all. Because within a country there will be happier people and very sad people. That all young generations have depression or anxiety is a mistake, there are groups of people. There is a study in the United States that indicates that 57% of adolescent girls have no hope for the future, and that 30% even think about committing suicide. These are very serious data, but we are talking about a very specific niche, girls in a country, but in some cities it is more than another. But I see very happy people, I see people who undertake, who want to change the world, we must keep in mind that all of humanity is going through a moment of ecological anxiety, generalized anxiety because we have been traumatized for more than two years by a pandemic, then people cannot forget that grief and pain, both physical and emotional, the brain does not differentiate.
Humanity has hurt us a lot in this pandemic because many people have died, we have separated, we have lost our jobs, so all this must be taken into account. Everyone is having a bad time at a certain time, but they are also having a good time at other times. You have to recognize the good and the bad, and you have to focus on building the positive and with optimism.