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

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.

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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

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Mixing Business with Pleasure

pay-offBigg success is life on your own terms. The five elements of bigg success are money, time, growth, work and play. Today we want to focus on time.

We’re told to never mix business with pleasure. Is that really the best paradigm today?

Our answer: it depends. However, we think that it is a good idea with a few exceptions.



Be careful

There are times when it’s risky to mix the two. One obvious example is getting involved romantically with a co-worker. You really have to be careful here. It can come back to bite you.

You also have to be careful if you go into business with, go to work for, or hire friends or family.


For example, it can really be tough to work with your spouse.



georgeWait a minute, Mary-Lynn. I’m not sure I like the direction this conversation is heading.



marylynnIt works just fine for us, but I can’t tell you how many people have told me they could never do what we do. We’re together almost all the time. It’s great, but it does present its challenges.



georgeYou have to be aware of that and do what works best for you. Mary-Lynn can’t get enough of me so it works out well for her!


Work is play

If your work isn’t pleasurable, then don’t do it. Work can be work or work can be play. If you love your work, it’s like not working at all.

You’ll be more productive doing work you love. You’re more likely to rise to the top of your field if you do work you find pleasurable.

Fun people

If you work with people with whom you don’t enjoy working, work with other people. Life’s too short. Build relationships with people who you like to be around.

You may retort that you can’t control who your co-workers are. We understand. However, if your company is large enough, you can choose who you spend the most time with when you’re not on-task. Hang with people who are positive, forward-thinking, and fun to be around.


We often mix business with pleasure when we travel. Even if it’s just sneaking away for some sight-seeing for part of the day, it makes the whole thing more fun.

Mixing business with pleasure creates synergy – the bigg idea behind bigg success. Keep both worlds at the top of your mind simultaneously and find synergies between work and play. It will help you reach bigg success even faster!

How do you mix business with pleasure?

We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below, call us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mail us at

It’s been a pleasure to visit with you about business today. Thanks for checking in!


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Please join us next time when our good friend, Jim Bouchard – the Karate Guy – talks with us about how to think like a Black Belt. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today’s post by murielle)