Planting Seeds Of Happiness The Danish Way | Malene Rydahl | TEDxINSEADSingapore

Translator: Zsófia Herczeg
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Now, most of us dream
of the perfect paradise. I’m going to start
by taking you to my paradise. This is what the weather looks like
when you wake up in the morning. (Laughter) This is how you get to work. (Laughter) And once you’re done working … this is how much you pay in income tax. (Laughter) Well, then again, you’re thinking, “Paradise? It can’t all be about work!” So let me take you to a day
at the beach – in paradise. (Laughter) Something is missing? Friends? Right? This is probably what your neighbors
are going to look like. Because in this place,
there are more pigs than people. (Laughter) Now, if you’re thinking, “My God, if this is paradise,
I don’t want to go,” let me tell you something about this place that might make you change your mind. The paradise is called Denmark. It is the country I was born in and where I lived
for the first 18 years of my life. It also happens that the Danish people are amongst the happiest
people in the world. Yes. Despite the bad weather, the high taxes and the many pigs, the Danish people express
being very content in life. They have what we call
a good base of well-being. The economists started measuring happiness
more than 40 years ago, and ever since, Denmark has come
on the top of the list of the happiest places
to live in the world. When United Nations came out
with the first World Happiness Report in 2012, Denmark was again number one. So what makes the Danes so happy? Well, there are many reasons, but I’m going to talk to you
primarily about three things. I am going to try and give you
actionable things that you can do and ways to plant seeds that can actually grow into the happiness
as the Danes know it today. I insist on planting seeds
because as we all know, change takes time. And it is actually planting seed
that will start that process. Now, sometimes when I talk
about the Danish happiness, I get the reaction from people saying, “That’s great, but I’m not Danish,
and I do not live in Denmark.” Even Hilary Clinton said it
recently in a debate: “I love Denmark, but we are not Denmark.” So, let me tell you something. I am Danish, but I have actually
been living in Paris for the past 20 years. But more importantly,
I’ve received letters from people who read my book,
from all over the world – Japan, Korea, Taiwan, France – telling me that they also
live by these values and they live good lives. These are not Danish values. They are human values. They are owned by each one of us. So I am going to talk to you
today about trust. I’m going to talk to you
about the freedom to be you and about finding purpose. Now, trust in Denmark
is a full grown oak tree at around 80%. Eighty percent of Danish citizens
trust each other. In most countries in the world,
it’s not even a sprout, at around 5% in the worst cases, and on average in Europe at 25. In Denmark, it gets
summed up in one image: babies sleeping outside a restaurant. Now, you would say,
“Well, nobody is watching the babies!” Well, I would say, “Everyone is.” In Denmark trust is so high that you can actually leave
your baby sleeping outside while you’re having lunch. A Danish lady tried
to do this in New York. She got arrested. (Laughter) Now … Trust … really comes down to something
quite elementary. If we want to live in a world
of more trust in a community, have a group of friends we trust, it is going to have to start with you. The first seed that you can plant
is to be a trustworthy person. And as much as you can
to show trust in others. This actually starts
at a very elementary place. It starts by simply doing what you say and saying what you do. So what do I mean by that? Well, I mean that when I say
I’m going to so something, I do it. And if I don’t, I say it. The root of trust is as simple as this. Now, I have travelled
to some of the counties in the world with the lowest trust. And I always say, if you want
to live in a community or a world of more trust: be a trustworthy person; show trust in others. And this applies in tons of ways
in our everyday lives – from telling your friend that you’re going to help him
with something and actually showing up. Or agreeing with a colleague
that you are going to do something and actually doing what you agreed on. And if you change your mind, say it! I can take this to an even bigger scale and talk to you about
the Noble Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who created Grameens Bank in Bangladesh, a country with 5% trust. He gave loans to thousands
of people, without guarantee. Ninety-five percent
of them were paid back. If he can do it under these circumstances, it should be an inspiration to all of us. Trust is actually a choice
made by each one of us every day. Saying that this
and that person is not doing it is in my world not a reason
not to apply it to yourself. We can actually choose
to be part of the team fostering a world of more trust. Now the second seed
is the freedom to be you. This is actually also about trust. It’s about trusting yourself to be you. In Denmark, the main purpose of education is
to develop the personality of the child. We teach or children
that no matter what they are good at, it’s important to society. You are not rated a better human being
because you are good at math or foreign languages. You can actually be top of the class
in creativity or cooking. No matter what your talent is, it’s important; we value it. Now this gives the young Danish people
an extraordinary base of actually choosing a life
that corresponds to who they are. Because they are taught at an early age that no matter what that role is,
it’s important to society. Now, let me tell you a little story. A few months ago, I had dinner
with some friends in Denmark, and a lady looked
particularly happy that night, and she explained to me
that she was so happy because her son finally figured out
what he wanted to do in life. And I said, “Well, so … really?” “He’s jumping out of bed,
going to school every morning. It’s wonderful.” I said, “What’s your son studying?” She said, “He’s studying
Techniques and Logistics.” I said, “Well, that’s great.
What will he do after?” And she looked at me,
and she said – and she smiled – she said, “He’ll be a garbage man.” (Laughter) Now, admit that some of you
might be thinking, “What parent would really be happy
that her son wants to be a garbage man?” But guess what? This is actually where a part of the key
to this whole big question lies: When you’re free to choose
what you want to do in life without other people judging you. And this includes,
by the way, parents, who very often project
their own ambitions on their children. What could possible bring more value
to your own person than to have your child being
a mirror effect of yourself: the Mini Me. Now, some people might argue, “Hm, well, the educational system
doesn’t work that way in my part of the world.” Maybe not. But you are still free
to choose how you react to other people’s choices
of being themselves. It is still your choice not to judge
but to encourage and support other people’s choices
of being themselves. When it comes to your choice
and your freedom to choose your life, I’m going to go back
to my seeds of happiness. Because sometimes, and I would say
actually most of the time, we are not free. We have tons of responsibilities:
paying rent, school fees, having committed to a big project
that we need to finish. Now, I know this because most of the choices
that I’ve made in my life have started with me
actually planting a seed that has gradually grown into something
that I could choose. The only reason why I am here
in front of you today is that I planted a seed
two and a half years ago when I started writing my book. After 18 years in the corporate world, I only left my job three months ago. And to be honest,
while this seed was growing, I didn’t know where
it was going to take me. But knowing, thinking
about that I planted it made me feel happy. The point is that
if you don’t plant any seeds, you’re sure that nothing will happen. It doesn’t actually matter
how long it takes for your seed to grow. What matters is that you have come
closer to becoming you. This alone will actually add
significant well-being to your lives. So, what can we do? Well, we can spend time figuring out
when we stop being ourselves. Find that dream and plant that seed, and we can make sure that next time we see somebody fighting the battle
of being free to choose their life, we do not judge. We support and we encourage them. The last seed I am going to talk
to you about is purpose. So what do I mean by purpose? I mean this. So, you wonder, maybe, who is behind that? Let me introduce you to Ali. Now you might see a dishwasher, but if you ask any of Ali’s colleagues, they would say
that he is part of the team running the best restaurant in the world. When Noma won the prize
of the best restaurant in the world, René Redzepi, the chef, decided
to take the whole team to London to receive the prize on stage. Ali, due to some paper
problems, couldn’t go, so the whole team ended up on stage
wearing a T-shirt with the photo of Ali. For the people working at Noma,
it’s about living a dream; it’s about living their passion. It’s about being part of a common project. So what can we learn from them? Well, this is of course closely linked
to the second seed of actually doing something
that you feel passionate about. Planting the seeds of your dreams
gives you a feeling of purpose. Doing something that you love
gives you a feeling of purpose. So, if you project this
on a country level, what does that look like? Well, in Denmark, seven
out of ten Danes like paying taxes because they feel individually
responsible and committed to the common project
of the welfare state. It gives them purpose, and it is part of what makes them
feel content in life. They’re not victims of the system. They’re part of it. Lack of purpose can come from two things. It can come from not doing
what you like in life, but it can also come from
not feeling part of anything – just basically executing
what you are told to do, being a sort of victim
of your own existence. So what can we do about it? Well, we can find
that passion inside of us. Find that dream and plant that seed and make it our individual
responsibility to take care of it so that it grows into something
that we can actually choose. Planting the seeds of our dreams
gives us purpose, it gives us hope, and it makes us feel happy. Now, I’ve talked to you about trust,
the freedom to be you, and finding purpose. But it’s actually not
what is given to us in life that really matters, it’s what we do with it. Who cares if you are born in a country
with high trust, the freedom to be you, with greater purpose if you take this for granted,
if you don’t use it the right way? It is for us to choose
to live by these values, little by little, as well as we can. It is our individual responsibility to make sure that if we want to live
in a world with more trust, that we are a trustworthy person, that we show trust in others. Don’t be sitting around waiting for someone else
to come with that solution. Be that solution. Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution. These values are owned by all of us. They are for us to choose, and I hope I have illustrated
that you do not need to be Danish nor to immigrate to Denmark
to find happiness. It is within each one of us
and the choices we make to plant these seeds of happiness and to be and to choose to incarnate the change
that we would like to see in the world. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Planting Seeds Of Happiness The Danish Way | Malene Rydahl | TEDxINSEADSingapore”

  1. Thank to Melene for this video. Though, to be pioneer of this values is so hard in surrounding of mistrust and abusement

  2. I'm the product of one danish and one Norwegian parent, and I live in Arizona. Very hard to find hygge when it's 120°F.

  3. Wow! What an amazing speech. This has really made me really happy. I've always wanted to be a writer and a gardener. Fiction and flowers are like my favorite things. I graduated as the salutatorian of my class and I could feel the tension and wonder on other people's faces when I told them I liked horticulture and I want to be a writer. This speech has really empowered me to strive for what I truly want and not be shaken by people who think I'm silly. Doing what you love is really one of the best ways to be happy!

  4. Thanks for this talk. It is awesome to know that there is a place where trust is the normal way to act.

  5. Great video, loved what she had to share. It is in all of us to choose how we want to live . I needed to hear this and put to practice is what I will do. Self is no good at least got me . I want to grow towards our creator not away from Him. Thank you

  6. I live in the city of hull in England and my Nanna has told me that women would leave there children in prams outside of shops etc specifically down a locally famous street called Hessle road that was close to the fishing dockside.
    But you would never leave a pram outside a shop now never mind a pram with your baby in it! Drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes and asylum seekers (young men engaged in crime sorry this is fact many of them are)

  7. Sjældent har jeg set en forsamling, være så fokuceret på taleren. Jeg har fokuceret på folks udtryk gennem videoen. Det er fantastisk, at se hvor engagerede puplikum er i hendes tale.
    Hun taler om små simple ting i hverdagen. Ting som i Danmark er en selvfølge, men som i den store verden, er et ukendt begreb. Hun har visioner, hun er indivisualist.
    Hun pakker ikke noget ind, hun siger tingene ligeud. Livet er som det er, spørgsmålet er kun, er vi parat , til at acceptere det. Det må forblive det store spørgsmål.

  8. Build a wall without cement between the bricks. When someone pushes against this wall it will fall down. Now build the same wall with cement between the bricks. When someone pushes against this wall it won't fall down. It is the cement that holds the bricks together. Trust in interpersonal relations is like the cement that hold the bricks together. Trust holds the people together and therefor holds society together.

  9. I would love to have pigs as my neighbors. They are so precious! I know that’s not the point of this video. Thank you for sharing these values. I am going to try what you said.

  10. This danish lady is very good to speak english👍🏽 in fact, there's 5,749M people living in whole Denmark and over 110% of danish people can't speak english or undestand it. That's because they dont care about school and teaching. Young people only thing about party, smoke and drink every day. School is terrible YES!

    This young lady has been studying english and sociality in english in years, and now she's crazy speaker in english👍🏽 good Tedx Talk✅

  11. Denmark is not the most besutiful country i've visiting, but it's the most cheapest country i've been at. Field's shopping center, FiskeTorvet, Amager Center, Frederiksberg Center and H&M, and last Magasin Center.

  12. I was in Copenhagen this weekend (weekend trip)🇩🇰🇩🇰🇩🇰, people where absolutely kind and talkfull, and taught full. The only thing that did me annoyed was the young people, insted looking at the road where they where walking, looking down to their cellphone. I stunt into alot of pople, and then i had to say sorry because they did'nt see my 😶😶 that's the only thing that annoy me when i travel, so if you're a danish view, please for godsake, take care of the walker on the street.

  13. Obviously this is a propaganda funded by the government in order to attract workers.Whoever lives in Denmark , knows that ,90% she is saying , are lies

  14. I came here because I love Danish culture, style and history… I found this lecture one of the best I ever listen to.

  15. Hahaha happinies from Danish haha, first they should find tge reason why they are suiciding, i dont thing doing fency things is helping them and i dont thing they can teach anything about being happy; first they need to have happinies experience, their way not really working fpr themselves

  16. I have two daughters. My 15 year old daughter has for the past 10 years said she wants to be a doctor. I encourage her and tell her that she can be a doctor if she is willing to work hard for it. She gets good grades and she is very self disciplined. Gets up early every morning and gets to school on time without me having to nag her. She does her school work again without help. I do believe she has what it takes to reach her dreams. And as I tell her, if she discover along the way that her dreams have changed, that's alright too.
    My 8 year old daughter doesn't know yet what her dreams are, only that she would like to work with animals. I tell her that she has all the time in the world to figure it out. What ever she chooses to do she will be great! She is a good student too.
    She asked me once after big sister got a top grade if I was really proud of her. I told her that of course I was proud of her sister, but I was proud that she did her best and if she was a student that had a learning disability and got a much lower grade, I would be equally as proud as long as she did her best. It's not the grade, but the hard work I was proud of.
    Love from Denmark <3

  17. Well she just forgot to mention that all this happiness in Denmark really depends on wich skincoulor you got, there is alot of racism in this "wonderful" country Denmark…

  18. Trust is great! But in the US it is impossible to trust. It’s a future built on FEAR. Marketing to Americans is based on fear. Marketers drive us crazy with FEAR because fear sells, and selling feeds the greed and the USA is all about greed.

  19. A lot of people seem to be missing the message that it is up to the individual to spark change in their life.

    In any democratic society, there exists the privilege to enact change within a system. I would argue that even when your life is threatened every day by being born into a society that does not value you – even then you have the ability to control your own actions and perspective. People from every culture like to blame the system that they are in because they want to be valued but they do not want to value others. Attitude is everything.

  20. I love this discourse. I know she means well. I am working on local council development. People are content with misery. Hopeless about their leaders' ability to make signicant changes. Yet, happy to vote for them to serve again. Our culture here is to be miserably happy.

  21. Marlene rhydal . You're a wonderful and beautiful soul . Your words are so simple yet teaches us so much . You're a great ambassador of not just for the Danish people but also for many Scandinavian countries . The rest of the world should now try and learn and adopt some valuable lessons from these happy Scandinavian countries and societies if we are to evolve into a humanitarian society . You're also a great and humane teacher and the world needs more people like you more so today . Hope you continue to impart and spread your humane wisdom and hope you will one day be awarded with a Nobel peace price for all your tireless efforts .

  22. Fox news focusses on the taxes but not the overwhelming benefits that spring from how the taxes are spent and how the consciousness of the nation is affected. Don't hear of people shooting up schools every week in Denmark. Denmark seems the nearest thing to a Christian country!!

  23. it's not trust, it's that every one has enough to eat, a decent house to live in, are healthy and are financially secure. kidnapping a child, like murder is an act that if you get caught pretty much ruins your life. so if you are desperate, starving, and financially insecure then you would probably think about kidnapping the kid to sell it or ransom it.

  24. I like much of what she says… even if you don't live in a high trust, trusting in other can be dangerous… I will however work on my own happiness.. the social welfare system may my brain hurt

  25. Live in peace with nature. Treat animals respectfully, carry spiders outside unsteady of hoovering them away, go for a walk in the forest every day, only speak kindly and look for the good in others, make your house/flat a home, every now and then invite someone in your home, grow some veggies in your garden or some herbs on your balcony, cook and eat together with friends, family or strangers, read the bible, listen and dance to music, get up early to watch the sunrise, go to church and pray – and you will be happy, no matter where you live.
    It's not about living in Denmark or being a Danish person, it's about living in peace with yourself, other human beings, God and the nature and animals. ♡♡♡

  26. nice…for me this points to the power of , collective agreement over values. Living values in moral isolation is heroism, and therefore not a practical social solution. Creating some sort of moral collective support group, is.

  27. YES !!!! Merci !!! <3 🙂 Et merci à la traduction en français sans laquelle, je n'aurais pas pu entendre toutes ces magnifiques paroles pleines de vérités 🙂 CONFIANCE! …sauf que laisser son bébé dormir au bord de la route , ce n'est pas possible partout dans le monde :-/ malheureusement, vu le nombre incommensurable de disparitions d'humains, d'adolescents, d'enfants et de nourrissons qui disparaissent chaque années, cela n'est pas adéquat à toutes les régions sur la Planète Mère Terre 🙁 …bien que tout est relatif et discutable , dans la mesure où nous sommes créateurs et incarnés dans la matière pour vivre des expériences afin de nous éveiller et nous élèver en conscience… les consciences sont bien différentes d'un endroit par rapport à un autre endroit sur la planète 🙂 Namasté 🙂

  28. Loans without guarantee! Wow🤩😘
    Trust whether the person is worthy of trust or not. I must choose to react right, plant seeds, though change takes time but no matter how long it takes it, the seeds will grow.

  29. Watching this, from the UK, and picturing our nation being this content… Might have helped if we could have aired this to our MPs and citizens before and during the Brexit debacle. I feel like we've lost our purpose a little

  30. Excellent talk and very profound reflection on how the Danish society functions with high level of trust and freedom of being you, unmasked.

  31. Becoming you is one of the hardest things to achieve….planting seeds waiting for germination is what makes purpose so worth while…thank you for this ted talk..reminding us that anything is possible..⭐

  32. what a jingoism ; with her chauvinism she wants to male down any other people i admit denmark is good to live in but it is not paradise it is not even sweden or norway she overstates

  33. Don't be speciecist! There is nothing bad about pigs, they probably hate living with humans too as they abuse them! GO VEGAN! Stop being so rude and putting down pigs.Pigs love their babies and sing to them when they nurse.I'm Danish and it's ok there but people are quite rude and many lack the ability to be polite. Oh and they all get divorced, lol.

  34. If Danes are Germans, well, I believe you. Germans are pretty happy. And you make a good point about trust, it is one of the building blocks to communal happiness.

  35. This sounds like Iowa! More pigs than people. Denmark is on my bucket list… And I'll be moving back to Iowa next year, my mini Denmark.

  36. My father’s youngest sister married a Danish poet. They were lovely people. Had 3 children. I have been in Denmark many times, and loved it.

  37. I work for Danish company from outsource consult company. So I contact with Danish people on daily basis. And it is nothing like described on the video. There are a lot of stress and pressure at work on them and on me as a result, there were no trust to me from the beginning and there are not a lot of it right now even though I did what I promised. I have not seen a lot of self confidence in Danish people when I was kidding a bit salty jokes. And of course on my way I met couple guys with described in a video values but there were only a few of them. So yes, values described in the video are worth to seed but I can't really relate them to Danish people.

  38. As an American who has lived in Sweden for years, I am really tired of surface conversations regarding Scandinavia's "happiness" without explaining demographic or historical background. What is Denmark's immigration history? What is the variation of Denmark's population? How was Denmark plagued by poverty and illness at one point that sent people fleeing to other parts of the world? She mentioned how a woman was arrested for leaving a baby alone in New York. The state of New York is one of the most diverse states in the United States (one could say one of the most diverse places in the world) with a long history accepting immigrants from all over the world, and has much higher criminality compared to Denmark. It also has approximately three million more people than Denmark. What would be the fate of Denmark if it became as diverse as New York? It's ideal to discuss highlights of Scandinavia, but be sure to mention how it is different than many countries in regards to population, immigration, history, religion, etc.

  39. Danes are so happy that they have allowed an existentially dangerous demographic inside their country out of unwarranted confidence that they can deal with them by being nice. It's already FAR TOO LATE to save themselves.

  40. I totally agree with this talk, just the other day my son decided he was to become a drug dealer, he has been working hard sowing the seeds and creating a network locally. My daughter too is also free to live the life she wants, she currently makes $300 a night from seeing clients at night. She says she is sowing seeds to move to a location where the clients pay more.

    I don't judge, I just support and encourage them.

  41. Try to be Danish in any other part of the world and you will end up dead, robbed or taken advantage of. It would be unwise to trust strangers with your well being and the well being of the people you love and care about.

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