Obama at the Gate: Freedom, Happiness and Well-Being

 Values, Standards and the American Way – a Crossroad of Paradigms

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Good leaders evolve. Great leaders consciously evolve. Dr. Joni Carley

Media, PA July 02, 2013

“We may enjoy a standard of living that is the envy of the world, but so long as hundreds of millions endure the agony of an empty stomach or the anguish of unemployment, we’re not truly prosperous. We are more free when all people can pursue their own happiness.” – President Obama, Brandenberg Gate, Berlin, June 19, 2013

“A standard of living isn’t the road to happiness when it accommodates so many empty stomachs, such staggering lack of purpose, and historically severe divergence of prosperity. This gets at the essence of just about every issue that faces us as a nation,” says Dr. Joni Carley, founder of Essential Commons. “As the world inches toward what the UN calls a New Economic Paradigm based on happiness and well-being, we need deep systemic changes in standards.

“Complacency is not the character of great nations,” said the president. Yet, don’t we all share complacency with an economic paradigm that’s hard wired for restricted freedom, insecurity and compromised dignity? “…we can say here in Berlin, here in Europe: Our values won,” he said to cheers. “Openness won. Tolerance won. And freedom won.”

The news isn’t that values triumphed – they pretty much always do. Wise ancestors have told us that forever and the data’s in from decades of research: when values are clearly accounted for and consciously developed, the results are highly significant increases in sales, profits, innovation, stakeholder loyalty and more.

Values are just values, they can’t win or lose. In the domain of values it’s rarely so cut and dry as win/lose. It’s the degree to which we fulfill on our values or not that matters. Experts worldwide have drawn the line in the sand between the Old Economic Paradigm that hasn’t been able to walk the walk of liberty and justice for all and a New Paradigm – an emergent, as yet a bit fuzzy way forward that’s clear on wanting to better accommodate and account for happiness and wellbeing.

Essential Commons provides thought leadership on values in the workplace and in the world including values-driven cultural and policy development, leadership development, and executive coaching.