Project Happiness: A Conversation With Randy Taran
Happiness. It’s something we all have within us. And something the world so desperately needs.
I have never been so inspired as when I watched the documentary, “Project Happiness”. In the film, youth (our future) from three different continents interview George Lucas, Richard Gere and neuro-scientist Richard Davidson on what their ideas of happiness are.
The group then takes that knowledge with them on a journey to India and an unforgettable encounter with the XIV Dalai Lama. Through their eyes, they gain a new perspective on how to expand happiness and live a more meaningful life.
I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Project Happiness founder Randy Taran about the movie and latest initiative – Hunger For Happiness. In just our brief conversation, her enthusiasm inspired me to believe that true happiness really is within our grasp. We all just need to look inside ourselves and take the first step. And then, spread the word!
goJimmygo (gJg): How did Project Happiness get started?
Randy Taran (RT): I started the project because I really didn’t have any answers for my own daughter who was going through a period of stress. She really wanted to be happy, but didn’t know how. I had been working with The Dalai Lama Foundation and have always been interested in these types of topics. but nothing I offered could resonate with her. I just thought, if only I had something she could relate to and grab onto, but I couldn’t find it. I asked myself, what‘s the best way to this? My background is in film so I said, let’s start with that!
gJg: How did the film come together?
RT: It happened organically. The fist challenge was to find some kids here in the U.S. who could grasp the message that we wanted to give, which has to do with opening up to the possibility of “What is this thing called happiness and what’s the nature of lasting happiness?”
I interviewed several different schools and kids and finally found Mt Madonna school. It was perfect. We were able to get a great group of kids and a teacher, Ward Maillard. The next step was to get a cross-cultural perspective to see if it was the same across cultures and religions.
We soon found out about Emmanuel Ivorgba from Nigeria. He came from a very Christian background but was very open to the universal truth that we were wanting to explore.Continued on the next page