Happy Like a Hawaiian

I studied languages with business at university and have always been fascinated by words. When paid due attention, the words we use (both when talking to ourselves and others) are a powerful insight into our minds, into our attitudes, our beliefs and our values.

Over Easter I stumbled across an article on Forbes about wellbeing in Hawaii. Hawaii has regularly featured as one of the happiest places to live in the USA. Hey, Abba even wrote a song about it so it must be true ;).  Weather, landscape and pace of life must have something to do with that sure, but numerous studies have shown that happiness is much more about internal factors (like our mindset and values) rather than what's going on around us.

So if language is a representation of what’s going on internally it makes perfect sense that the language of this consistently happy people contains 5 unique words with really empowering and transformative philosophies that link to happiness and wellbeing and that are applicable & inspiring to us all worldwide. 

Here’s an extract from the original article by Jordi Lippe McGraw explaining the different words, their meanings.

1. Manawa: “Now is the moment of power”

Our lives are broken into three sectors: past, present, and future. The Hawaiians believe the most powerful of three is the present. While they are a culture of tradition and honoring ancestors, they don’t believe the past necessarily determines who you are right now. We often use our pasts as excuses to behave a certain way currently, but your future starts with your next thought. Every second is a new moment of creation, and every habit can be changed. That’s more powerful than anything that’s happened to you in the past.

2. Makia: “Energy flows where attention goes”

This may be a philosophical principle, but it makes total scientific sense to me. Just as a conduit harnesses electricity and allows it to flow in a particular direction, so your thoughts are harnessed and directed by your ability to focus. If you choose to focus on the negative things in your life, those negative feelings will only increase. But, if you choose to focus your attention on being grateful and your passions, those feelings of positivity will only grow.

3. Niele: “Be curious”

The Hawaiians believe everyone has a purpose in life; that’s a given. So, it’s important to be curious and explore different avenues to figure out what that is. This sense of curiosity makes the present moment more exciting as you’re constantly on a journey of finding fulfillment.

4. Mahalo: “Be grateful”

You’ll find locals dropping “mahalo” into conversation constantly. While it is used as a common “thank you,” it has a much deeper meaning of being grateful. Be thankful for every breath, every interaction, every relationship, every opportunity, etc. The Hawaiians are in a constant state of thanks. Feeling grateful for what you already have is the richest we can ever be.

5. Hamau: “Be quiet”

I found this one to be particularly interesting. So often we fill our lives with noise whether form technology or people or even our voice. The Hawaiians believe that your path and your purpose are deep within you and if you don’t take the time to hush all of the extraneous noise, you’ll never be able to tap into that. Only when you are silent can your intuition speak to you.

Brilliant right? Now all we need to do is bring a little Hawaiian magic to our London lives – poké bowl for lunch with that Abba soundtrack anyone?!