5 Things We Should Import From Around the World to Be Happier
by DOMINIQUE FERRARI
While Passport takes a break this week, we wanted to reflect on some of the best lessons we’ve learned on this journey so far.
The world is full of amazing stories and it’s also full of some deep, deep wisdom. And as we’ve taken in some of this international wisdom, we’ve come to the notion that maybe it’s time for us to change the way we think about importing. Maybe importing shouldn’t just be about stuff. Perhaps it’s time to consider importing ideas and outlooks and practices from around the world that can make our lives and our societies better.
This week, a walk down memory lane to the places, episodes, and stories that have left us with wonderful bits of wisdom.
One of the keys to happiness is resilience. Life is full of ups and downs and an absolute slew of things you can’t control. So if your plan for happiness involves being successful in all you do, being surrounded by harmony, and always getting the things you want – happiness will certainly elude you. The one thing most happy people have in common is the ability to adapt and bounce back when the inevitable curveballs come your way. And when Passport went to Taiwan to explore a wild story about an alleged vegan cult leader, Supreme Master – we stumbled across the story of a tiny Taiwanese village that mastered the art of resilience and rebuilt itself and its future on… CATS.
Words have power. And in Finland, they have a word so powerful that it’s become ingrained in their national character. It’s a word that seems to possess an almost mystical power to reframe any situation from a negative one into a story of fortitude and pluckiness. When Passport went to Helsinki to explore the underground bunker being constructed beneath it, we expected to find a story about preppers and wars and paranoia. Instead, we found the story of a people who, challenged with said wars and 9 months of cold and darkness, have created a word to help them find the strength of spirit required to survive it all.
We didn’t expect to find wisdom in elves, but then Iceland happened. When Passport sat down for an episode of Misinfonation about Iceland, we discovered that more than half of Icelanders believe in elves. It sounded a bit silly. And if the story had stayed only clickbait deep, it would’ve been. But when we dug deeper into where that belief came from and why it has endured for so long in Iceland, we discovered that sometimes, it’s not what you believe in – but that you believe in something so strongly at all – that matters.
In a thousand readings of a poem, there can be a thousand meanings. Reading poetry is a deep, personal, and meditative practice far older than the written word. In America, this ancient practice is a dying art. But when we sat down for an episode of Misinfonation about Iran, we learned that poetry is very much alive for Iranians. There, the soaring words of Persian poets like Rumi and Hafez still resonate through the centuries. The words of these poets have the power to inspire, to transport, to calm, and to truly see us. And some of them might even portend the future.
Capping it all off, we’re going back to the beginning – to our very first episode of Passport. In it, we traveled to Belfast to explore how a city mired by war and conflict has rebuilt itself with the help of a show about war and conflict – Game of Thrones. And what we learned was that sometimes, the story a place tells itself can have the power change the actual story itself. So what story will we tell about the times we’re living through?
A New Day in Heaven by Robert Murray on Unsplash
Gray Tabby, Photo by: Carlos De Miguel on Unsplash
Pines Against the Northern Lights by Vincent Guth on Unsplash
Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash
Whirling Dervishes at Hodjapasha, photo by Kemal.kubbe (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The Dark Hedges by Trevor Cole on Unsplash
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