Home » Planting Seeds of Happiness The Danish Way: Malene Rydahl (Transcript)

Planting Seeds of Happiness The Danish Way: Malene Rydahl (Transcript)

We have tons of responsibilities: paying rent, school fees, having committed to a big project that we need to finish.

Now, I know this because most of the choices that I’ve made in my life have started with me actually planting a seed that has gradually grown into something that I could choose.

The only reason why I am here in front of you today is that I planted a seed two and a half years ago when I started writing my book. After 18 years in the corporate world, I only left my job three months ago.

And to be honest, while this seed was growing, I didn’t know where it was going to take me. But knowing, thinking about that I planted it made me feel happy.

The point is that if you don’t plant any seeds, you’re sure that nothing will happen. It doesn’t actually matter how long it takes for your seed to grow. What matters is that you have come closer to becoming you. This alone will actually add significant well-being to your lives.


Well, we can spend time figuring out when we stop being ourselves. Find that dream and plant that seed, and we can make sure that next time we see somebody fighting the battle of being free to choose their life, we do not judge. We support and we encourage them.


The last seed I am going to talk to you about is purpose.

So what do I mean by purpose? I mean this. So, you wonder, maybe, who is behind that? Let me introduce you to Ali.

Now you might see a dishwasher, but if you ask any of Ali’s colleagues, they would say that he is part of the team running the best restaurant in the world.

When Noma won the prize of the best restaurant in the world, René Redzepi, the chef, decided to take the whole team to London to receive the prize on stage. Ali, due to some paper problems, couldn’t go, so the whole team ended up on stage wearing a T-shirt with the photo of Ali.

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For the people working at Noma, it’s about living a dream; it’s about living their passion. It’s about being part of a common project.

So what can we learn from them? Well, this is of course closely linked to the second seed of actually doing something that you feel passionate about.

Planting the seeds of your dreams gives you a feeling of purpose. Doing something that you love gives you a feeling of purpose.

So, if you project this on a country level, what does that look like?

Well, in Denmark, seven out of 10 Danes like paying taxes because they feel individually responsible and committed to the common project of the welfare state. It gives them purpose, and it is part of what makes them feel content in life. They’re not victims of the system. They’re part of it.

Lack of purpose can come from two things. It can come from not doing what you like in life, but it can also come from not feeling part of anything – just basically executing what you are told to do, being a sort of victim of your own existence.


Well, we can find that passion inside of us. Find that dream and plant that seed and make it our individual responsibility to take care of it so that it grows into something that we can actually choose.

Planting the seeds of our dreams gives us purpose, it gives us hope, and it makes us feel happy.

Now, I’ve talked to you about trust, the freedom to be you, and finding purpose.

But it’s actually not what is given to us in life that really matters, it’s what we do with it. Who cares if you are born in a country with high trust, the freedom to be you, with greater purpose if you take this for granted, if you don’t use it the right way?

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It is for us to choose to live by these values, little by little, as well as we can. It is our individual responsibility to make sure that if we want to live in a world with more trust, that we are a trustworthy person, that we show trust in others.

Don’t be sitting around waiting for someone else to come with that solution. Be that solution.

Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution. These values are owned by all of us. They are for us to choose, and I hope I have illustrated that you do not need to be Danish nor to immigrate to Denmark to find happiness.

It is within each one of us and the choices we make to plant these seeds of happiness and to be and to choose to incarnate the change that we would like to see in the world.

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