The thing that we found . . . in our business, and I think for most businesses, you have to have better ideas than other people. That’s basically what it comes down to. We’re competing against everyone in the markets. The market price is a weighted-average view of what’s going to happen in the future. The only way you can know something better is to have a better understanding of what can happen in the future. So, it’s a perfect form of idea meritocracy. And for us the building blocks of that, of creating an idea meritocracy, is having a shared, transparent set of principles, so that everybody understands the roles, the constitution of the place . . . We have this notion about the constitution of the company that these are the principles. So that every decision, we are reflecting on, “What principles are at play? And how do you take this decision with respect to those principles?” . . . When we change our views, we’ll change it there, so that people can keep learning from that compounding understanding and thirty-five years of running this business . . . If you disagree with the principles, you gotta fight like hell. There’s no behind-the-corner talk.
But what is happiness? The definition most in vogue, fueled by the positive psychology movement, is one of happiness as a state, characterized by pleasure; a banishing of pain, suffering, and boredom; a sense of engagement and meaning through the experience of positive emotions and resilience. This is the dominant version of the new incomes sought and paid in the most widely celebrated “great places to work.” Think of flexible work hours, pool tables and dart boards, dining areas run by chefs serving fabulous and nutritious food at all hours, frequent talks by visiting thought leaders, spaces for naps, unlimited vacation time. However, the research literature on happiness suggests another definition, one that is overlapping but significantly different. The second definition sees happiness as a process of human flourishing. This definition, whose roots go back to Aristotle and the Greeks’ concept of eudaemonia, includes an experience of meaning and engagement but in relation to the satisfactions of experiencing one’s own growth and unfolding, becoming more of the person one was meant to be, bringing more of oneself into the world.