A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five notes per octave. Apparently it is very common and found all over the world. The brilliant Bobby McFerrin (of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ fame) illustrated the universal nature of the pentatonic scale in this delightful little experiment at the World Science Festival 2009. I highly recommend that you watch it. Three minutes of your time, it is informative and it will make you smile.
Bobby McFerrin at the World Science Festival
Speaking of making you smile and being happy, recently I watched (am I beginning to sound like I spend all my time watching online presentations?) a fascinating TED talk by statistician Nic Marks on the Happy Planet Index. Essentially, he is looking at alternative measure of progress which measure how happy people are and how happy the planet is, i.e. alternative to measures such as the GDP which arguably measure everything except that which makes life worthwhile.
However what really captured my attention was Nic talking about the project he undertook a couple of years ago for the U.K. Government Office of Science and their evidence based Foresight programme. Basically his organisation, the New Economics Foundation, was asked to come up with 5 positive actions you can do to improve your life. Not, as he says the secrets of happiness, but the things that he thinks happiness will flow out the side from.
And they are…
Connect. With your loved ones. Invest time in your social relationships.
Be active. Go outside and walk. Get up and dance around the room.
Take notice. Are you aware of the seasons changing? Are you aware of your self?
Keep learning. It doesn’t have to be formal. Be curious.
Give. The fact of the matter is, we feel good if we give.
So, as I finish writing this just before the stroke of midnight and the beginning of Friday, I have five questions for you:
How have you connected with the people you care about this week?
Have you gone for a walk? Danced? Skipped?
What have you noticed? Been aware of ? Outside and within?
Have you learned something new?
How have you given?
Five things we can do from which happiness may flow. Five notes on a happiness scale.