Paula Francis: The 8000 Mile Walk Toward Making Happiness Our New Bottom Line [Ep. 90]

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If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.

Paula is a co-founder & Vice President of Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA), and chief Happiness Walker. She has been enamored with the idea of an economy grounded in happiness since first learning about the concept in 2008. Soon after, she became one of the original organizers of Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA) and traveled to Bhutan to witness GNH in action.

In 2014, she committed to The Happiness Walk full-time to further the goals of GNHUSA and to ignite a national conversation about what matters most in life. Influenced by the Peace Pilgrim and her unrelenting quest to share goodwill while traversing the country on foot, Paula likewise leans on her strong spiritual foundation to create social change: one-person, one-step at a time.

This Happiness Walker also applies her learning in values clarification, compassionate communication, appreciative inquiry, community organizing, peace building, and positive psychology to inspire local action around creating a world that works for everyone – and the planet! Prior to this, Paula offered organizational services to social-profits through her business, Inspired Consultation. As her two grown daughters have set out to create their own happy lives, Paula has made the road her new home.


Some highlights from Andrew’s interview with Paula include:

  • The benefits and challenges of Paula’s experiment in making the road her home and how it’s been a window into seeing and understanding people who are often invisibilized

  • A comparison of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with Gross National Happiness (GNH)

  • Contrasting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with Gross National Happiness (GNH) and how such metrics inform our behavior

  • How Paula’s groundtruthing process during her over 8,000-mile Happiness Walk takes a data-driven, people-centered approach in order to inform policy and expand our set of metrics to be more indicative of what really matters in life

  • GNHUSA’s nonpartisan, all-inclusive public engagement and the increase over the past 5 years in public awareness of the state of our societal health

  • How we can get stuck and feel helpless if we focus too much on the problem and how we might instead balance awareness of our social ills with seeing the goodness in people and focusing on aligning our lives with our values

  • Actions you can take to begin prioritizing what matters most in your life






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Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can email Andrew at