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Innovative Maps – How To Find The Shortest Path to Happiness


Do you feel like your phone is robbing you of something? I do. I feel like it is happening in a million little ways. Lately, I feel like the phone adds as much stress and anxiety as it once relieved.

About a year ago, I uninstalled the facebook messenger app from my phone. It don’t miss it. Then I turned off notifications on a whole bunch of other apps. That felt better too. I don’t miss the constant intrusions that were competing for my attention with my family and life.  I’m constantly hunting for new ways to assert myself over the device. The more I change the dynamic with the phone, the better I feel. I feel like an addict that has to take many consistent and tiny steps before they regain a balance that allows them to make healthier choices. It is, and will continue to be, an ongoing battle.

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, its deadly.”

Those aren’t my words – they are actually the words of Daniele Quercia when he is slightly misquoting the words words of Paul Coelho. Take a look at this Ted Talk by Daniele about his happy maps and how we might live in a world fabricated for efficiency.

Daniel’s ideas are very much inline with my current desire to re-examine my habits. And I love the idea of happy maps, quiet maps, beautiful maps and memory maps can take us on new routes that enrich our lives. 
Do you remember when we would print directions from mapquest? That you could enter two addresses on a webpage and get a smart route between them was amazing! Paper maps couldn’t do that. But I also recall the stress I had trying to follow those printed instructions to get me from my office to a client’s home. I was always late because I would inevitably end up lost with out the context of a bigger map. It was a contractor friend introduced me to early GPS devices that could be used in your car. Then in lightening speed, technology advanced and we all were suddenly using google maps all the time.
My revolt against the directions lady started by purposefully taking turns that she did not advise. It still feels stupid rebellious. With her at my side, I miss the accidental discoveries of losing my way. Instead I join the road more travelled.  
I think Google maps is an insanely good tool. But it also adds deadly routine and I’m increasingly finding that I need rhythm not routine. I need to restore the power of my brain to draw my own lines.
Are you finding the same?  What steps have you taken to harness the power of your technology and restore your own creative senses?


If you would like to be part of Daniel’s research, head over to Urbabgems.org where you can weigh in on what you think is appealing (or not) and help to create a better understanding of where we collectively find joy and beauty.

Also – check out these – Shortest paths to happiness (in Berlin, London, Boston, Torino, Italy)

Image:  omegas via 123RF

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Innovative maps - how to find the shortest path to happiness.

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