“Happiness” means many things to many different people, but there is a framework for happiness, which I call the “Happiness Triangle” that, when maximizing each of the three aspects of this triangle, you’ll find yourself living an amazing life.

Based on twenty years of therapy, a ton of personal struggles, and finally landing on a repeatable, successful model for how to live my life, I’ve decided to share this model with the world, as it’s an excellent model through which to see your life, your job, your friends, and anything else that matters to you.

The happiness triangle consists of three components:

  1. Pleasure: Hedonistic things, e.g. chocolate, adrenaline, sex, etc.
  2. Meaning: The greater sense that you’re contributing to something beyond yourself, e.g. helping others, serving your higher power, etc.
  3. Flow: This is the concept of Flow from positive psychology, aka being “in the zone” — it’s when the level of difficulty of the things you do matches your level of expertise. Some call this being in a “good mood” and the two are often closely related, although not always.

If you’re lacking one of the above components, you’re likely experiencing, respectively:

  1. Anhedonia: A lack of enjoying the things you used to joy, i.e. a challenge or inability to feel pleasure as you have in the past.
  2. Apathy: A lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern, i.e. you don’t feel passion and there’s a general sense of meaninglessness in your day-to-day that has you saying, “Is that all there is?” or “There’s no point in anything I do, as nothing I do will ever matter. All things come to an end, so nothing really matters.”
  3. Ennui: A feeling of listlessness and/or dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. Feeling bored, disengaged, and a feeling that you’re “not really living”

Experiencing all three of the above at the same time is, essentially, depression.

At any given time during the day, when I’m not feeling amazing, I assess which of these three areas I can improve upon. I assess how I am on the Anhedonia-to-Pleasure scale, the Apathy-to-Meaning scale, and the Ennui-to-Flow scale. Based on this approach, I’ve found myself with a set of tools that enables me to catch myself when I’m not feeling great, identify what area to focus on to feel better, and make changes in a specific area so that I can live a wonderful, happy life.

I’m hopeful that this simple framework will work for you in living your fullest life as well! If you’d like to learn more or explore how you can apply this concept to your work, life, and anything else that matters to you, feel free to reach out to me at the link below!

~ David Isaac Murray