Raj Raghunathan of Happy Smarts teaches others to nurture well being and happiness. His recent courses, A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment and HEROIC (Happier Employees and Return-On-Investment Course), guide people in measuring happiness levels in the determinants of happiness.
His story first began in 2007. In his seventh year as a marketing professor at the University of Texas, Raj had a chance to go to India, where he is from, and meet with old friends from way back. Questions about life and purpose came to his attention.
“I noticed that career success does not translate into life success. So, you could be really doing well in your career, earning a lot of money, you may be famous, you may be powerful, you may be at the top of the ladder, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a great life.”–Raj Raghunathan
One question Raj asked himself: “What is the purpose of education?” He suggests that education is meant to give students the skill sets and tools to “enhance the well being” of themselves and people around them, including society as a whole. From there, he moved towards teaching about happiness.
Attaining happiness is a goal most people think of at least once. Raj discussed how happiness, or the lack of emotion, feeds a person’s experience of life. Happier people are healthier, make better decisions, and tend to lead better lives overall. He used an example of how an employee being happier results in that employee being more productive, which can also help the employee secure higher payment. Then, Raj expressed how he found it as no surprise that things affecting happiness in life also affect happiness in the workplace.
Raj breaks down his learning through a model called BAMBA, what he describes as the five determinants of happiness: Basic Needs, Autonomy, Mastery, Belongingness and Abundance Orientation. “It takes two to BAMBA”, Raj says, and he emphasizes that “you” are the lead dancer. Happiness level maintenance, much like communication, is a two-way interaction both sides have ownership in. People should not shy away from their ownership, but take the initiative to engage.
You are responsible for your happiness, and so it doesn’t make sense to pin your happiness on other people, then blame them when you’re not happy. Your happiness is your responsibility.
“You can’t shirk your responsibility.”— Raj Raghunathan
There’s no doubt of Raj being knowledgeable about happiness. He mentioned a few philosophy and science aspects around the human condition. Such as non-energetic joy, mood congruence, and the power behind meditation.
I asked Raj on his perspective of society in the next ten years. He talked through a great list naming protecting the environment and more of what he thinks are the basic essential aims of the world. Then, he went a step further. Almost as if having a spontaneous epiphany. Raj suggested a “prioritization of well being at an individual level by a critical mass of people” He predicts doing so would be the better, faster way of addressing all other problems. Raj shared that if the individual is not well, they can’t really help others.
If you would like to learn more, you can engage with more content on the official website, Facebook, or Youtube. And do check out his recently launched Happier Employees and Return-On-Investment Course!