Positively Disruptive: 2019 World Happiness Summit


By Dyan Brasington, Executive Vice President, Economic Development, Miami-Dade Beacon Council

I embarked on a new adventure just a day or so ago and had the opportunity to attend the World Happiness Summit, held on the gorgeous campus of the University of Miami.  My quest for this adventure was to learn about the science of happiness; positive psychology.  After all, as a professional economic developer for Miami-Dade County, I feel quite positive about my chosen “hometown” and wanted to make sure that this happiness thing wasn’t just about the job.

Typical of many promotional agencies, we tout our rankings and Miami—among many other impressive rankings—is #1 among the Happiest Cities to Work, according to FORBES. Well, I was about to put that ranking to the test.

The 2019 World Happiness Summit (WOHASU) was attended by over 1,000 participants hailing from 30 different countries.  The room was packed with positive energy and excitement, so much so that in these divisive and adverse times, I felt no less than part of a happiness revolution.

So, what defines happiness?  What makes you happy?  In business and government, we often use the term “well-being” when referring to happiness.  Well-being, of course, is both physical and mental.  (I’ll mention another Miami ranking here: #1 city for Healthy Lifestyle Choices, according to Livability.com.) When you combine the fact that we have a diverse, culturally-rich community that is used to welcoming new people and a location and climate that encourages mobility and healthier choices, it’s no surprise that we are among the lucky that can foster both our physical and mental well-being if we make that a priority for ourselves.

We learned through the experts and the research that, to feel happy, people need to feel like they matter and are valued. We need social connections and relationships to be happy.  Happiness is a serious business.  If we are serious about it, we need to build a wellness movement and change the culture of stress.  To construct a wellness movement means living our values and demonstrating acceptance as change inevitably happens. We learned about the connection between happiness and morality, and those things that lead to happiness: taking time, being honest, and giving. Delight, hope, passion, love, gratitude, joy, kindness, and curiosity. Practice these and you “feed the good wolf”, as the Cherokee legend goes. 

Finally, the Action for Happiness organization recommends ten keys to being happier that I will share here: Giving, Relationships, Exercise, Awareness, Trying Out new things, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance, and Meaning. For more on each of these: www.actionforhappiness.org.

My latest adventure encapsulated all the keys to happiness through sharing with the many positive people I met from all over the world, as well as from my local tribe who attended WOHASU with me.  What place is better equipped to host the World Happiness Summit® than Miami, the #3 Most Fun City according to Career Bliss. The weekend workshop left no doubt that my happiness doesn’t just stem from my job, but from the community that I feel happy to call home.   #WOHASU


The World Happiness Summit® is a 3-day event that unites the world’s leading experts in the science of happiness and well-being with a global audience to learn practical tools for a happier life. To learn more how to choose your happy as you plan for next year’s summit, log on to: www.WorldHappiness.com