I’ve written before about Dr. Martin Seligmans’ research into what makes a ‘happy’ life, and indeed the different levels of this, from basic pleasure-seeking, to mindful experience to a life of meaning. Click here to re-read about this in more detail.
Today, I simply want to offer a super simplified version of this, using a lottery winning analogy.
Because I do think there’s a way to hit the lotto jackpot every single day, with the right approach.
So… if your happiness is based around seeking pleasure, the experience is much like 3 or 4 numbers. Maybe it’s a £10 win… maybe it’s £4000, depending on what you did. It’s immediate happiness and it feels euphoric, but the effects don’t last too long because the ‘money’ soon gets spent.
If your happiness is based around mindful experience – of really being in the moment; of appreciating all you have in your life with love and gratitude, this can be likened to winning 5 numbers perhaps. Maybe it’s a £700,000 win, or maybe it’s a million. Whatever the case, the feeling lasts longer, because having this amount enables you to change your job, surroundings and so on, every day. You look at life in a different way; you feel lighter and more optimistic.
And then the jackpot – a life of meaning, whereby you strive to serve and support others. When you pursue meaning and contribution in your job, your relationships, your daily pursuits etc. you’ve essentially hit all 6 numbers, and the bonus ball. Maybe it’s a 10 million win…maybe it’s 78. It’s enough money to dramatically improve not only your own life, but the lives of those you care about; of people in need; of those across the world, who you’ve never even met. When you reach this stage, happiness moves down into your body, becoming part of your very fabric as a person; it’s there to stay.
The great thing is – you don’t even need a lottery ticket to experience these awesome feelings.
All you have to do is explore life a little more mindfully, awakening your senses, and pursue meaning in what you do.
And if something is immediately pleasurable too, great!