The Recipe for a Happy Life

Image of a recipe book with the title of the blog post: The recipe for a happy life

The recipe for a happy life consists of three ingredients. The ingredients are important, but so is how you mix them together. Brought to you by

We discussed the recipe for a happy life on The BIGG Success Show today. Here’s a summary of that discussion.

This show was inspired by a research paper on the recipe for a happy life. We’ll talk about the three ingredients as well as instructions on living a full life and avoiding an empty life.

3 ingredients in the recipe for a happy life

1) Pleasure

We often think of this as a negative, and it can be. But we found its origin interesting. Aristippus said hedonism (the psychological term for the pursuit of pleasure) means keeping control in times of adversity or prosperity.

One usually doesn’t think of pleasure and adversity in the same sentence. But the point is to extract the most enjoyment from every circumstance. In other words, you don’t let circumstances control you. You control how you feel about them.

2) Meaning

Aristotle is credited with this theory that a person’s happiness is a result of his or her pursuit of meaning (or eudemonia in technical terms).

It probably sounds familiar: Identify your values, cultivate them, and live alignment with them.

3) Engagement

While the first two theories about man’s pursuit of happiness are centuries old, this one is relatively new. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the father of flow, the relatively modern term for engagement.

You’ve experienced flow. You may or may not know it. Think of a task where you just lost yourself. Time was immaterial. You were hyper-focused. Afterwards, you felt invigorated.

That’s flow! Performing activities which engage your whole being makes you happier.

This Podcast Episode is Sponsored by:

Do you feel doubt when making money decisions? Let the Financial Freedom Tool be your decision-making guide, twenty-four-seven, three-hundred-sixty-five days of the year. So you can make your next money moves with confidence and clarity. Learn more at

The sum is worth more (or less) than the parts

Not surprisingly, participants who scored simultaneously low on all three pursuits had less satisfaction with life, i.e.. an empty life. If you find yourself feeling life is empty, it’s probably best to get some professional help.

Those who scored simultaneously high on all three pursuits ranked high on their satisfaction with life. These people are living a full life.

Your recipe for a happy life calls for a custom blend

We don’t like the word “balance” for situations like this. We prefer “blend”. “Balance” implies equal. “Blend” means customized.

Think of Meaning as the meat, Engagement as the potatoes, with Pleasure as the spice.

Note that Pleasure is not irrelevant. It adds or subtracts from a life full of Meaning and Engagement.

But we’re programmed for a certain amount of Pleasure. So, target Meaning and Engagement, and incorporate pleasing activities.

What does all this mean to our money?

For most people, it’s best not to wait your whole life waiting to enjoy it. Yes, you need to plan for a time when you no longer make money from your labor. But it’s also important to live now, if for no other reason than to recharge so you can perform those tasks which can give you the choice to retire sooner, rather than later.

If you blend pleasurable pursuits with meaningful and engaging pursuits, you’ll be happier, according to research. For example, spending money on experiences makes people happier.

So, instead of buying some thing, DO something – preferably with people you care about. That’s BIGG success!

BIGG Takeaway

Fill the better part of your days with meaningful and engaging activities, toss with a pleasurable pursuit, and your heart will be filled with happiness.

Here’s to your BIGG success!

George “The Professor” & Mary-Lynn
signatures: George & Mary-Lynn
Co-Founders, BIGG Success

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast: