The Inspiration: In America, when we meet people for the first time or when we gather with friends, we tend to ask questions like: What do you do for a living or how's work? Are you married or how are the kids? In other words, we reinforce the American mindset that worth, identity, and life satisfaction are tied to your tangible circumstances. Meanwhile, in other countries, you are far more likely to be asked, are you happy?
This difference is significant only if the person answering makes the distinction as well. This is not to say our tangible circumstances are not linked to our happiness, it simply means they might not be and they don't have to be.
The Commitment: Ask people if they're happy? And equally as important, listen to their answer.