The Three Types of Happiness
I was just in Vegas and took a tour of the Zappos HQ. It reminded me of how drop dead awesome they are and how much we can learn from them. If you haven’t read Tony Hsieh’s (their CEO) book Delivering Happiness already, get on it! Here is one of the best lessons!
Haven’t heard of Zappos? Don’t know how to pronounce Hsieh? Here are the quick bullet points to get you up to speed:
- Zappos started as an online shoe store
- Rather than focusing on profits first Tony and his team took a new approach and decided to focus on two, in their eyes, more important things: making their company the best place ever to work, giving customers over-the-top incredible customer service (delivering happiness)
- Zappos is one of the fastest growing, most profitable, and coolest companies around
- Companies everywhere are beginning to follow this blueprint
- Tony wrote a book about it called “Delivering Happiness” where he talks about his in depth study of happiness. In it he talks about the Three Types of Happiness
- Hsieh is pronounced “Shay”
Cool? Cool – Let’s get to it!
The three types of happiness
When most of us think of happiness we can usually pinpoint a moment or event that just made us feel great. Tony goes deeper and shows that there are actually three different types of happiness. Understanding their nature is hugely important:
“Rock Star Happiness”
Attending an amazing concert, enjoying a fun night out, or eating at your favorite restaurant – this type of happiness is ok (often times great) but is also short-lived. You might experience a spike of happiness but after the concert, party, or meal you’re right back where you started. People who depend on pleasure as their sole resource of happiness often can’t keep up and find themselves always chasing the next high.
“Flow & Engagement”
A project for work, a blog post, your first V-Essay – this is the type of happiness that you feel when you work really, really hard on something you care about, and finish it. This is more intense and longer lasting than rock star happiness (ex: I will always feel a sense of accomplishment and happiness when I think of launching this site).
“Feeling Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself”
Feeling like you’re an important part of a great team, company, group or mission – this is the type of happiness you feel when you truly understand the why behind what you do. You feel needed, appreciated, and that the work you’re doing has a sense of purpose. This is the strongest level of happiness and also the longest lasting.
Do we have a pretty visual that you can use as a reminder? Sure do, here you go!
It’s easy for us to get stuck chasing pleasure as our source of happiness. And that makes sense. It’s the easiest to find and we love that short blast of happiness. However, this strategy just isn’t sustainable or even effective. If you truly want to experience happiness focus on passion and purpose. There is absolutely nothing wrong with short term pleasure, but let that be the seasoning – not the main course.
This approach is changing the way businesses are run and is shown to create happier, more motivated, more satisfied, and more productive employees. My gut says focusing on happiness within our schools and on the playing fields would lead to similar results for our players and students – amaright?