While transitioning from the corporate PR world and grieving the death of his father, John C. Havens ‘91 found himself asking, ‘What is the measure of my life?’ He began investigating what truly leads to not just the euphoric mood of happiness, but rather an intrinsic sense of well-being.
Through his nonprofit the H(app)athon Project, Havens works with leaders from organizations like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum to help people discover their values and find their sense of purpose. The ultimate goal: to connect happiness to action and help people find worth beyond wealth. Havens does this through free workshops and an online values survey that challenges participants to consider and prioritize their personal values. After several weeks of assessing personal happiness in light of their expressed values, the survey then suggests an organization where the participant might find further fulfillment through volunteering.
Havens argues by knowing one’s values and using passive data gathering (such as apps on a smartphone or a device like a FitBit) to track our own data (such as heart rate, emotions, etc.), we can proactively take measure of our own lives, and in turn, can begin to learn what truly makes us happy.
“It’s not about finding your ‘happy place’; It’s about giving yourself permission to evaluate what brings you meaning and purpose,” says Havens. “We’re giving people a free tool to recognize their individualized awesomeness not focused on money so they can change the world and Get H(app)y at the same time.”
Havens' resume includes:
- Professional actor for 15 years in NYC performing on Broadway and in television and film
- Executive vice president for a top 10 global PR firm
- Writer for Mashable, The Guardian and The Huffington Post
- Author of Hacking H(app)iness
- Speaker and consultant