In Part 1 you learned about your nine elemental WE PROMISE needs of Wellbeing, Environment, Pleasure, Relationships, Outlook, Meaning, Involvement, Success, and Elasticity.
Today I want to show you how can you convert that knowledge into action and greater happiness, into a Happiness Plan.
Let’s start with the bird’s eye view your plan:
3 Steps Towards Happiness
These are the broad steps I’ll be discussing next.
Step 1: Discovering Your Path to Happiness
The first step in any plan of action, and your Happiness Plan is no different, is to understand what needs to be done.
Everyone has the same basic WE PROMISE Elements but the details, exactly what you have well under control and what you don’t, vary greatly from person to person. What you need is to dive into the details and see what your needs are.
You are already taking the first action in the Discovery Step by learning about your WE PROMISE needs but each WE PROMISE need is only a high-level grouping of several related specific needs, the Happiness Essentials.
Your Happiness Essentials: Diving Deeper into What You Need for Happiness
Within each of the WE PROMISE Elements are specific details, the Happiness Essentials. There are about 60 Happiness Essentials spread over the nine WE PROMISE Elements.
Each Happiness Essential is needed by everyone but exactly how much you need each one varies greatly.
Take the WE PROMISE Element of Success as an example. Within Success are these five Happiness Essentials:
- The Experience of Learning Something New
- The Sense of Accomplishing Your Goals
- The Sense of Doing Things Well
- A Legacy to Leave Behind
Some of these markers of Success will be more important to you than others. Fame is a great example. Do you wish for Fame? If so, how much?
Some people really want to be famous. Others truly prefer to be anonymous. And some who are famous would prefer to be a little less. (Prince Charles comes to mind as a likely example, though I haven’t asked him personally.)
Since there are almost 60 Happiness Essentials, to make your plan for happiness sensible and successful you will need to discover exactly which of your Happiness Essentials are most important to you.
Sixty Happiness Essentials seems like a lot to handle, doesn’t it? You are probably asking yourself how you’re going to deal with so much information. Let me answer that and shed a little light on the matter of complexity.
There are two reasons this process works:
First, you have a computer to help sort out the data (something our Happiness Planner does for you, taking about 30 minutes of your time to answer some easy questions).
Second, much simpler processes don’t adequately cover the complexity of being you.
In subsequent articles in this series we will go in depth into each WE PROMISE Element and gain an much better understanding of the Happiness Essentials within. For today, I want to focus on the big picture and go into detail about how you can use those Happiness Essentials to achieve lasting happiness.
Let’s keep going with Step 1: Discovery.
Measuring Happiness: Your Happiness Index
Happiness is a state of mind so you might think that it can’t be measured. That’s not exactly true. While we can’t measure your emotional happiness as simply as measuring your weight on a scale, there are ways.
The hard way involves blood tests and fMRI scans to measure your current mood. To my mind, I don’t see how you can be feeling very happy while someone sticks you with needles or the claustrophobia-inducing MRI scanner deafeningly pounds away.
The easy way to measure happiness is with a questionnaire. By assessing how close you are to meeting your personal goals for each Happiness Essential it is possible to get an excellent sense of your overall happiness level. A measure of your happiness not quite so subject your current mood.
This measurement is what we call your Happiness Index.
Your Happiness index is calculated by taking the difference (use a scale of 1-100) between where you aspire to be and where you are presently for all of your Happiness Essentials. Average the differences and you get your Happiness Index.
Again, your computer can make all this easier and our Happiness Planner does this for you without any extra effort on your part (including break outs into each WE PROMISE Element).
While knowing your Happiness Index isn’t critical, it gives you a big-picture sense of where you are now and goals to work towards. For those of you with a business mind-set, it provides metrics.
Learning About Yourself: Your Personality Style
Knowing a bit about your personality type and how that affects your interaction in the world can help you greatly in understanding the choices you make.
Applying what you learn about your Personality Style is especially helpful when it comes to being confident that the choices you will make in the Planning Step are right for you, why they might be wrong for someone else with a different Personality Style, and why what works for some people might not be right for you.
Let’s take two opposites as an example: Jennifer, a Rational with extroversion and flexible planning vs. Robert, a Guardian with introversion and emotional thought processes.
|Rational ENTP (Jennifer)||Guardian ISFJ (Robert)|
|Religion:||Secular (Science)||Traditional (i.e. Catholic Church)|
|Orientation:||Past, present, and future||Past|
|Energizer:||Other People||Being Alone|
As you can see, the way Robert, our Guardian, approaches life is very different from Jennifer, our Rational. Neither approach is necessarily better or worse.
Where you run into problems is when you try to find happiness out of alignment with your type.
Say our Rational, Jennifer, trying to use her feelings to tap into the highly structured framework of the Catholic Church where Robert feels completely at home.
Or, likewise, our Guardian, Robert, trying to work only with the flexible and logical concepts surrounding the current secular theories of the origin of the universe where Jennifer finds her solace in Meaning.
To discover your Personality Style, you can use the very quick questionnaire built into our Happiness Planner or any of the Jungian personality testing sites. My favorite is at Keirsey.com, though an even better value is to buy Dr. Keirsey’s book, “Please Understand Me II” which not only includes the test, but provides deep insights into the various personality types – and it’s less expensive, too at only $9.99 for the ebook vs. $14.95 and up for the full online results (overview results are free).
At this point in your plan you know what your Happiness Essentials are, have measured your Happiness Index, and have a basic understanding of your Personality Style.
Next Time…Planning Your Happy Life
In the next article we’ll talk about how to take what you learned in Step 1: Discovery and use that to set goals you can take action on.
In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to drop me a note.
Wishing you complete happiness,
Kenneth Benjamin and the Happiness International Team
P.S. If you’re impatient to get started and actually start changing your life to better meet your needs, you might wish to check out our Happiness Planner which makes the process we’re talking about much simpler.
P.P.S. Know someone who might want to be happier? Why not share this article with them?