I am fascinated with this story from Quartz Media. It proposes a reason why Denmark usually ranks near the top of the happiest countries in the world. Go ahead -- Google "happiest country in the world" and see what you get. (One of the things you'll find is this cool Wikipedia story, but I've already given you links to two interesting articles and I'm not even to the second paragraph yet.)

Turns out a term from a satirical book in the the 1930s is pretty close to the truth. (And it sounds an awful lot like something Garrison Keillor might write!) The secret is called the law of Jante -- which basically means the secret to happiness is to aspire to be average.

Here is the list of the law of Jante:

  1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
  2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You’re not to laugh at us.
  9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

Shocking list -- sure, but something to consider if you are searching for the secret to happiness.