Changing Values - HAPPINESS.
by John Powderly FRSA

Welcome back to this series of writings dedicated to the work and worldview of Cultural Dynamics Strategy and Marketing. Here I start to explore the concept of Happiness and how people's perceptions and values influence their search for an enjoyable life.

Valuing Happiness

Happiness comes in many flavours, ranging from the short rush of the vodka shot, through the refined taste of a well-executed consommé, to the deep comfort of a full-flavoured, slow-cooked piece of meat. It can be passive, like watching your young child playing with their favourite toy, or more active, such as landing on the ground after an exhilarating parachute jump. And underlying all these experiences are your core values and beliefs, which nurture or suppress your experience of happiness.

Looking through the lens offered by Cultural Dynamics we can see that there are three fundamental ways to cultivate happiness: the Values Modes of Settler, Prospector and Pioneer.

Happy Settlers

In simple terms, as Settlers, we feel happier when we feel safe, and we feel safe when we know what is happening tomorrow, next week and the rest of the year. We are even happier when we know what we have to do, know how to do it and know the people who we are doing it with. As we grow older and take on more responsibilities, our need for security also extends to our family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, where we get a strong sense of supporting each other.

Happy Prospectors

As Prospectors, we are happier when others like what we do and we know that other people like what we do. We try to enjoy particular activities for their own sake, but deeper satisfaction comes from the praise, respect and rewards that we receive in response to what we do. In consequence, there is a persistent need to make a good impression, to ensure that we are on-trend and—ensuring that our internal Settler needs continue to be met—to not stray too far from what is deemed to be acceptable and valued by people around us.

Happy Pioneers

As Pioneers, we need to feel that what we do, think and feel is in line with our personal identity. Abraham Maslow called this self-actualisation, where the internal sense of self and the visible self-expression sing from the same song sheet. This is when we feel comfortable with our internal Settler and Prospector needs, as well as our dominant Pioneer drivers.


So, most of the time, we find the roots of our happiness within one of these primary values-based sources; however, I believe that moments of joy and more sustainable satisfaction emerge when we honour, internalise and express all three sets of needs simultaneously.

CDSM note: see this in support of what John has just said.




N.B. All views and opinions expressed through these writings are solely my own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Dynamics.

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