The Happiness Spectrum

By Leo Gura - February 24, 2015 | 68 Comments

The best and worst kinds of happiness

Video Transcript

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This is Leo for Actualized.org, and in this video I want to talk about understanding happiness. I am going to share with you my happiness spectrum.

Happiness is a topic that we need a better and deeper understanding of as we are going through the self-actualization process and as we are doing personal development. What do we need to know better? What kinds of happiness are good for us and what kinds of happiness are bad for us?

In this video, I am going to be talking about this. I am going to be making a distinction between two fundamental types of happiness. This distinction will help you in your personal development journey to go through and identify which happiness is the one that is the most right for you.

I am also going to share with you my happiness spectrum, which is this large list that I created and which takes you through all the fundamental categories of happiness that you can have in your life. Then, we kind of rank them. We’re going to show you which ones are the lowest quality happiness and which ones are the highest quality happiness.

I am going to tell you the most high quality happiness, the number one activity that you can do to attain the highest quality happiness. So, stick with me. The basic distinction that we need to make here is between what is called pleasure, on one hand, and then gratification, on the other hand.

Pleasure VS Gratification

If we go back 2000 years into antiquity and we take a look at what the Greeks and Romans were talking about when they were talking about happiness, which was a favorite topic of theirs, we can take a look at Aristotle. He makes this distinction as well. He calls it hedonic happiness versus eudaemonic happiness.

What does this actually mean? Hedonic happiness or pleasure is the most obvious and typical form of happiness. This is the stuff that titillates your senses or raises your emotions in some sort of pleasurable way. It’s stuff like drugs, food, sex or excitement of any kind.

This is basically thrill seeking. This is what we call hedonism. This was contrasted with the eudaemonic happiness. That is what we are calling gratification here. It’s gratification versus pleasure.

What is eudaemonic happiness? This is a little bit more difficult to capture. It is not immediately obvious why you would want to pursue eudaemonic happiness, but I will talk about that and I will make a case for it as we go forward.

Eudaemonic happiness is all about living a virtuous life. The Greeks and Romans were really big into this thing called virtue and living a virtuous life. What that really meant for them is the same thing that it is going to mean for us now, which is embodying your greatest strengths, living up to them, living a life of integrity and noble purpose and living with higher consciousness and wisdom.

That is basically what eudaemonic happiness is. The Greeks and the Romans have this term called arte. Arte basically translates as living excellently. That is the same thing as living virtuously. You see, we are kind of contrasting.

We’ve got the pleasures of the body, senses and emotions on one hand, and then this kind of wisdom and virtuous and noble living on the other hand. This is the fundamental distinction we are making. Now, I want you to already start asking yourself this.

How much of my happiness currently, if I graphed it out, if I took all the stuff that I do in my life and I graphed it all out in a given week, all of my activities, how much of them would be about hedonism and how much of them would be about eudemonia? The degree to which you’ve got this ratio is what? Is it 50/50? Is it 90% here and only 10% here?

Maybe you’re doing well and you’ve got 90% here and only 10% there. Basically, in all of personal development, what you are going to be doing is you’re going to be increasing the ratio of eudaemonic and decreasing the ratio of hedonic. That is what you should be doing with all of your personal development goals and everything that you are trying to achieve.

I will talk more about that as we go forward. This ratio is important. Ask yourself where you lie. You are also going to start asking yourself how you can move the ratio more towards the eudemonia. They have actually done a lot of research on this now, with positive psychology.

They are finding more and more that the stuff we think makes us happy, which is all the hedonic stuff, isn’t so. The hedonic stuff seems like it’s going to make us happy because it is the most thrilling and exciting in the moment. It’s the most thrilling and exciting if you don’t really think long term too much.

This is stuff like awesome food, taking great vacations, getting a huge bonus at your job, having a cushy career, having fame, acclaim and prestige in your career, sex and any kind of chemical drugs that you take that make you happy. It’s all of this easy stuff. This stuff is easy.

The problem is that the eudaemonic stuff is much harder. It’s not immediately obvious that it’s going to produce the same levels of satisfaction as this stuff here, the hedonic stuff. Actually, with all the research they have done, I will talk about this a little bit more as we talk about my spectrum. The hedonic happiness is like a hollow and shallow happiness. You think that it’s going to make you happy.

You chase it and you chase it and you chase it. You are probably going to spend a good 10 to 20 years of your life, if not more, caught in the trap of chasing hedonic happiness. But, what you’re going to find, after all that chasing and all that hard work, is that it’s going to make you unfulfilled and unsatisfied on the inside.

When that starts happening, you then start scratching your head and wondering this. What’s going on here? Why is my life not really improving, even though I’m doing all this stuff in my life? I am accomplishing all of these big goals. Well, that is what is going to hit you. You need to turn from the outside more into the inside and start to live this nobler and more virtuous type of life.

When you start doing that, then that is when you’re going to start to see the fulfillment come into your life for real, rather than this hollow happiness that you were getting over here. It’s an interesting point that eudaemonic happiness is gratification. It cannot be chemically induced.

There is really no shortcut for it. It also takes hard work. It doesn’t come naturally and it doesn’t come easily to most people. If you just do the average thing that most people do, then what happens is that you always drift towards heavy hedonism.

If you want to move towards eudemonia, then you have to work a lot. That is where personal development comes in. It is also curious to me that you cannot chemically induce eudaemonic happiness, because what is eudaemonic happiness?

Ultimately, it’s this feeling of strength, inner integrity and nobility that you have. How are you going to buy that? You can’t buy that with money. You can’t create a magic pill that will do it for you. All the shortcuts towards happiness end up being hedonic happiness.

This is why you can’t really buy yourself happiness because you go out there and you try to spend your money doing it. But, you realize, after a while of trying that, you’re just kind of spinning your wheels and you’re not getting that deeper fulfillment that you can get in life. This can only happen through the hard inner development that you do to move yourself more towards eudemonia.

That is basically what the ancient philosophers were about. Ancient philosophers weren’t just disputing abstract theoretical ideas about metaphysics and stuff. They were doing that as well. Mostly, they were just interested in how to live the highest quality life.

What they ultimately discovered is that it’s through excellence, wisdom and embodying a lot of these self-help principles that you see in my videos. Basically, it is self-actualization. It is the process of self-actualization. They just had different labels for it.

What I want to do now is this. I want to get into my spectrum and tell you a lot of details about the different types of happiness that we can be engaged in and hopefully how good and bad they are. Before I do that, there are three factors I want you to look out for when you’re thinking about an activity that provides you with happiness.

Number one is this. How long does this happiness last, in its duration? Does it last for five seconds, 5 minutes, an hour or a day? How long does it last? That is an important consideration as you’re strategizing it.

The second important consideration is this. What does this cost to produce? How much does it cost you to create this form of happiness? Does it cost you a lot? Does it cost you a little?

The third thing is this. What are the consequences of engaging in this form of happiness? What does it cost me long term if I keep doing it again and again and again? Does it make my psychology weaker or does it make my psychology stronger? This turns out to be a really key consideration.

The Happiness Spectrum

So, let’s talk about the spectrum. The spectrum is going to go from this side here, which is going to be pure hedonic happiness, to this extreme side over here, which is going to be pure eudaemonic happiness. It’s going to gradually just kind of move in this direction towards eudaemonic happiness.

I am splitting this spectrum up into three chunks, the first third, the second third and the last third. The first third is going to be the stuff you really want to avoid. This is pure hedonic stuff.

The stuff in the middle is going to be moderately okay types of happiness. The stuff on this last third is going to be the best. As I’m telling you this stuff, I want you to already start thinking about how you can be moving away from the first third and moving towards the last third.

As you can probably guess, what is the most obvious hedonic happiness? It is drugs. So, you’ve got drugs. After drugs, you’ve got food, partying and drinking. After that, you’ve got beauty.

Now, beauty is an interesting one. What that means is trying to make yourself physically look better and more attractive. A lot of us get hung up on this, on how we look. So, we try to look better. This goes for both women and men.

It’s probably a worse situation for women because women are judged more on their appearance. Men get caught up with beauty too. This is worrying about your hair, worrying about how you look, worrying about how you dress, trying to impress people with your beauty, getting plastic surgery, obsessing about makeup and all of this kind of stuff.

You might think that doing beauty and improving your appearance is going to make you a lot happier. Actually, they have done studies on this. What they find is that people who obsess about beauty are not happy. They are more miserable.

They have also done studies and found that people who are more physically attractive, objectively speaking, are no happier than the average or even below average attractiveness levels of other people. So, beauty is really a trap. You’re not really going to make yourself more fulfilled just by working on your beauty.

The next thing is money. Money is huge and money becomes a trap for many people. Many intelligent people get trapped by money. Many business people, many entrepreneurs and many CEOs fall into this money trap, chasing money. They think that money is going to do it for them.

But, it doesn’t do it. In fact, they have done research on this as well. They found that people who have primarily money based goals in their career and their life are the most frustrated people. They are not happy. Even if they achieve their money goals, they are still not happy.

Hopefully, you are already wise enough to see that money doesn’t directly buy you happiness in any meaningful way because all that money can do is buy you more of this hedonic happiness. It can buy you drugs. It can buy you food, drinking, partying, beauty and some other stuff that we are going to get into here. Ultimately, all of that stuff is very shallow and unfulfilling by itself.

So, money is not going to do it for you. In addition to money, there is also shopping. Shopping can basically be a form of addiction but I don’t think most of us are addicted to it. We tend to think that shopping or buying something, whatever it is and whether it’s a new TV, a new house, a new car or anything else for your house or however lavishly you want to set up your place, somehow is going to do it for you. This also goes if you’re shopping for clothing.

Of course, it’s very hollow. The amount of happiness you get is very short and it doesn’t produce that kind of higher level of fulfillment that you want in life. The next thing is media and entertainment.

This includes television, internet, social media and video games. All of this entertainment is so cheap now. A lot of it is totally free that you can get with the internet now. The really dangerous thing about it is that it can consume so much of your time. It can literally consume hundreds, if not thousands of hours of your time every single year.

What I find the biggest problem here is that this creates an opportunity cost. This means that if you’re heavily engaged in entertainment, like video games, internet and television, you’re missing out on so much more that you could be doing with your life because you are wasting that time. Then, that time is not available for you to do the more eudaemonic types of happiness.

Here, you could potentially make your biggest gains right here, by eliminating some of this stuff. Again, they have done studies on this. Basically, what they find is that people who watch lots of TV go around like this. In fact, if you watch lots of TV for long periods of time and if you measure the mood, what they discovered is that the average mood of someone watching several hours of television is mild depression.

It’s not happiness. So, it might seem like you’re getting lots of pleasure from this stuff. Actually, it’s kind of rotting your soul from the inside out. That is the problem.

The next thing is gossip and idle socialization. When you kind of mindlessly hang out with your friends or you have a social circle, you like to gossip about stuff and talk about politics and all of this kind of nonsense, it can seem like that is rewarding. Really, it’s not. That is very hollow.

The next thing is pursuing fame, public image and “success”. These are like external signs of accomplishment. Do you pursue these? If you’re really busy chasing fame and status, it is basically equivalent to chasing money.

If you’ve ever gotten any fame or status, it’s hard to initially believe, before you have it, that it wouldn’t make your life better. Once you get it, you realize this. Well, people know me now but what does that do for me really? On the inside, it doesn’t do much for you at all.

It is just exciting when you get it. After you get acclimated to it, your fame, prestige, all of this stuff and all of your public image, public status and all of your ability to impress people with accomplishments, it really doesn’t mean much for your internal levels of fulfillment. This can be a huge trap and you can waste a lot of time chasing this stuff.

The next thing is validation from other people. How much of your time and how many of your goals are centered around getting people to like you, to approve of you and give you compliments? This is a huge and pointless activity, to be doing this.

The next thing is porn and sex. How much time and how many goals do you have on your “to do” list that are about getting more sex and chasing after sex? With porn, you don’t need to chase after it. It is so easy to get. It can also be a big diversion from the things you should be doing in your life.

The last piece on this first third of the spectrum is going to be romantic infatuation. This is the first six months or so of a new relationship, a new intimate relationship. You are all excited, it feels great and you like falling in love. It’s that feeling.

This is really a chemical romantic infatuation and it’s not sustainable. It always dies off. It feels great, but then the fulfillment it brings you in the long run isn’t really high. So, that is going to be the first third.

Now, if you’re engaged in any of this stuff, first of all realize that anything in this first third can become an addiction. You can develop an addiction to anything here. It’s to chasing money, to drugs, to food, to validation, to fame, sex or even romantic infatuation. Watch out with that because all of these things are very addictive.

Also notice that all of these things give you a big spike in excitement in your life, but then that spike quickly comes down and when it goes up again, it always comes down lower. You kind of get left with this feeling of emptiness after you engage in some of these behaviors and activities. You should start thinking about how you can get the goals that you have, that are centered around all of this, to move over to what we are about to talk next.

The next thing is going to be the middle third. You’re going to have hobbies, any kind of hobbies that you have. Those are mostly alright, no problem there. It is also pretty good to have physical exercise and physical growth as part of your routine. That is a healthy type of thing.

Don’t confuse that though with beauty. Some people do this with physical exercise, especially guys at the gym. I see them doing this. They are into physical exercise and they tell you they do physical exercise. Actually, what they are doing is they are obsessing over beauty. Don’t think that if you’re a guy, you’re immune to this beauty thing.

You are not immune to it at all. The next thing is friendships and strong relationships. You can have shallow friendships and gossipy types of friendships, or you can have deeper, stronger and more intimate friendships. Those are the ones you want to be going after.

That can be a good source of fulfillment in your life if you can develop a couple of really solid friends. We’re not talking about Facebook friends, but face—to—face and real friends. Also, family is good.

Relationships that you build with your family and strengthen with your family are going to give you higher quality of happiness. Lastly, in this middle third, there is going to be companion at love. A companion at love is the love that you have in a relationship after those first six months pass and some of the chemicals and excitement wear off.

Then, you develop this kind of deeper bond with this person. That can be quite good. That is the middle third. The middle third is quite healthy, so if you can just move yourself from the bottom third to the middle third, that is already going to be a huge improvement in your fulfillment levels in life.

I think that it’s really the last third, which I’m going to talk about right now, that is the most exciting for me. This is what Actualized.org is talking about. It’s all this stuff that you could do with your life if you move yourself to this third right here. That starts off with learning and education.

How much of your time are you spending on learning and educating yourself, especially after you get out of college? Are you still keeping up with your education? Are you not only educating yourself, but actually savoring it and taking pleasure and joy from it? If you’re not, you’re missing out on some really good eudaemonic happiness right there.

After that come excellent work and flow states. Do you really value your work? Do you do your work excellently? Do you proud yourself on your work? Does your work produce flow for you?

Flow means these periods when you lose self-consciousness and you’re in that zone where everything is flowing and everything is effortless. You’re totally engaged and absorbed in the activity. Does your work do that for you? If not, you need to create that.

The next thing is inner development and self-acceptance. By inner development, we mean any kind of personal growth activities that you do, whether it’s therapy, coaching, exercises, journaling, meditating, seminars or workshops. There are a million different ways you can do personal development.

Also, this means any kind of work you do to accept yourself exactly as you are, and not worrying about your beauty and trying to be different. It’s not worrying about who you should be as an ideal, but instead just accepting yourself exactly as you are. There is work you can do. I have videos on self-esteem and how to build your confidence.

It’s anything you can do to build your self-esteem and confidence levels, and just be happy with who you are right now, how you look, how much money you have and what kind of friends you have. The more you can accept all of that stuff, the truer fulfillment you will have in your life. You can’t really be fulfilled in life if you’re not accepting of yourself.

Do you understand this? You’re always going to be frustrated inside, no matter what kind of external circumstances you can create for yourself. The next thing is kindness. They have done research on this.

They found that in the laboratory, one of the greatest chemical pleasures that you can have is by doing kind things for other people. They have actually done experiments on this. They found that if they give people money, 5 or 10 dollars that they can use to spend on themselves and buy something nice, the person is happier if they use that money to do something kind for somebody else rather than spending that money on themselves.

Our brain is literally wired for doing kindness towards others. The problem is that most of us haven’t figured out how to integrate this happiness into a consistent and systematic way into our own lives. It is really not a part of our daily routine, and that is doing kind things.

It is also not really natural to some of our work, to be doing kind things. That is an alignment that you could create for yourself though, to be doing more kind actions. The next thing is gratitude. Gratitude is huge.

They have done lots of research on this too. They found that, basically, if you’re not grateful for what you already have, then you’re not going to be satisfied. You tell yourself this. I will be grateful when I get that cool thing that I want, that money, trophy wife or whatever.

But, if you can’t be grateful now, then when you do get that thing that you really want that you think is going to make you happy, you’re not going to be grateful for that either because your brain will just ratchet it up. Hedonic adaptation will happen. Then, you’re going to be out and chasing the next greatest and flashiest thing.

So, gratitude will never happen. If gratitude never happens, you’re not going to be fulfilled. Gratitude is again one of those things that you can practice. You can develop it as a ritual for yourself. This is something that needs active development.

The next thing is integrity. Integrity is really huge. It goes to the core of what the Greeks and Romans were after, and that is living a life of integrity. This is kind of an old school value.

You might wonder this. Integrity is something that my parents or even my grandparents would value. Yeah, and that is for a good reason. Even though integrity is not flashy, it is important. You cannot be really fulfilled in life if you’re living a life that is disintegrated.

What we mean by integrity is this. Are you living up to your greatest values? Are you doing the things that are actually meaningful to you in life? Are you honoring commitments to others and to yourself? Of course, this means not lying, not cheating, not stealing and not harming others.

Even more subtly, it means this. How good are you to keeping your own commitments to yourself? Do you tell yourself you’re going to do something and then you don’t do it? Do you set a goal for yourself, but then you quit? If you keep doing that again and again and again, you preach at people but then you don’t walk your talk, you’re then not in integrity.

You are going to be miserable. No matter who you are, human beings need that integrity in order to feel fulfilled. So, working on integrity is really huge. That is something that I actually identify with myself just recently. I can make some big gains in my fulfillment levels if I just buckle down and fix a couple of areas in my life that are a little bit out of integrity.

That is something that I want to be working on in the near future. The next thing on this list is contribution. I think contribution is one of the biggest things that people I see in American society are just totally missing out on. Contribution is what your work does for the betterment of humanity and the world.

What kind of impact does your work have? Is it contributing in a meaningful way and that you believe is meaningful? It’s not that other people believe it’s meaningful, but you. You have to believe it. This one I think I’m pretty good on because I spent the last few years of my life really working hard to position myself with Actualized.org.

It’s my business. I knew that, to be really fulfilled in life, I needed to have this contribution component. So, I worked really hard to put it into place. That means that when I release a new video, I know that it is having the impact that I want in the world. To me, that is a really huge source of satisfaction.

I see that most people don’t have this because they haven’t taken the time to make the alignment. Right now, I am actually starting to work on a life purpose course. It’s going to be a video course for you guys. This is if you really care about contribution, you really want to have a big impact on the world, you really want to have that fulfillment in your life every single day, of knowing that you are doing great for humanity or society in some way that is unique to you.

It’s not just ladling soup in a soup kitchen somewhere, but actually producing great work and great art that moves people and changes the world. I am going to have that ready pretty soon here. Then, we go to the last piece on this spectrum.

This is the one activity that is going to produce the highest source of happiness in your entire life. Can you guess what it is? It is being. It is to be, simply being and existing. That is it.

The best way to practice this is through meditation. Meditation teaches you how to be and how to enjoy the moment of being. This one is tricky because someone listening to this might say – “Well, being sounds like it’s kind of boring.”

“You’re basically saying that I should just sit there, exist and just enjoy life, and be maximally happy just doing that without anything else?” That is exactly what I am telling you. Yes, you should be able to do that. That should be your greatest source of satisfaction in life.

This means that you should not need any stimulation of any sort, not even the stimulation of reading a book, the stimulation of doing personal development or the stimulation of doing something kind for somebody. Those things are still fundamentally activities. You’re still doing all of those things to get like a kick.

If you’re just able to be in the moment, just right now and focused in the moment, totally enjoying yourself, that is what ultimate peace of mind means. All the greatest and wisest sages throughout the last 3000 years of human history have recognized this. This is why meditation is such a fundamental aspect of practice for all of these sages.

They meditate a lot because they know that it’s the most important thing for them to be doing. That is the greatest source of satisfaction. If you think back into your past about some of the most satisfying moments of your life, you are going to notice that they were just moments of being and not necessarily moments of doing. You weren’t meditating, but you were maybe sitting around the Christmas tree.

It wasn’t even that the day of Christmas was exciting for you, or the gifts. Let’s say everyone already opened all of the gifts and you already partied out. The day is winding down and you’re just sitting there with a few folks around the Christmas tree. You notice a sense of fulfillment inside of you.

This fulfillment is just a moment of being. You’re just enjoying it. You’re looking at the tree and you’re looking at the fireplace. You’re looking into someone’s face and you’re just being. You feel complete.

You feel like you don’t need anything at that moment. It is not because there is a loved one near you. It is not because there is a Christmas tree. It is simply because, in that moment, you were able to just be very present. The problem is that most of us are not really good at making ourselves present and fulfilled in the moment, just by ourselves.

What we need is all of this external nonsense, just to put us in the right circumstances so that we can just get this sense of peace and being. Then, as soon as those circumstances change, we drop out of this being and we are not able to be. This is why when you go hiking and you watch a beautiful sunset, you’re just watching that beautiful sunset and it’s winding down, just about to set, you have got this sense of peace just washing over you.

That sunset provided an excuse for you, just to be. You tell yourself this. Well, it’s the sunset that is so beautiful and putting me in this mood. Actually, you can create that mood for yourself without the sunset. The problem is that it takes work.

That is the fundamental problem with everything in this top third of the spectrum. It all takes work. It’s not easy, so there is a real cost to it. When you try to position yourself and move yourself from all this stuff in the hedonic zone into the eudaemonic zone, you notice there is a lot of resistance in you.

It does not feel very good. That is mostly because you are addicted to this stuff over here. It’s also because you have not trained your mind and you have not developed your taste for the stuff that is over here. This stuff requires an acquired taste.

It’s not that learning and education are always easy, simple and produce immediate gratification. They do not, nor does doing excellent work. That can be difficult. Neither does doing personal development because that can be strenuous. Neither does living with integrity, which can be challenging too.

Contributing to the world can be challenging too. It’s with meditation too. If you’ve ever sat down and done a full hour of meditation, that can be one of the most difficult things you can do in your entire life. It’s just sitting there and doing nothing for a whole hour. But, this is a personal development channel.

We are here to work on ourselves and develop ourselves. We have kind of already taken on the mission to work towards improving our conditions in life. Therefore, as part of the mission of self-actualization, what I want you to do at the end of this video, which is right now, is this.

I want you to identify what your goals are, your top goals for the next year. I want you to ask yourself this. Are they hedonic goals or are they eudaemonic goals? Are they mostly about money, fame and success or are they more about gratitude, contribution, being, learning and self-acceptance?

All the goals you have that are hedonic, I want you to ask yourself how you can change them into goals that are eudaemonic. Then, go ahead and reengineer your goals because this is where the real personal development happens. It’s when you can actually say to yourself – “How can I be wiser about the things that I pursue in my life?”

Then, you actually change your objectives based on the wisdom that you get from a video, from a book or from anywhere else.

Wrap Up

This is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead and post me your comments down below. Click the like button to like this video. Share this video with a friend on Facebook.

Lastly, come and sign up to my newsletter right here at Actualized.org. It’s a free newsletter. I release free new videos every single week about self-actualization topics. All the videos that I am excited about releasing are mostly going to be focused on helping you to improve this eudaemonic component of your life.

We are going to be talking about how to do more excellent work, how to get more flow state activities, how to do more inner development, how to gain self-acceptance, how to build your integrity, how to develop contribution, how to be and how to meditate.

If you’re interested in all of these kinds of topics, I have a lot of ideas to share with you and a lot of important concepts that will transform your life if you just act on them a little bit, every single week. Sign up and you’re going to be all set.

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Comments
(68)
tank says:

i hate reading can you help me with that

Me again says:

tank, I recommend reading this warmly to you :)

So, cool… I just was searching sth for a friend in another video, just clicked somewhere in the timeline of the vid and BAM found the perfect point!

Some info that is also beyond price! (up to now I have to remember it more often for myself)

Keyword: MINDSET

tank! Mindset! Before you start something!!! Get yourself in a good mindset for the action you are going to do! E.g. in your case ‘reading’ – you will HAVE TO READ stuff again and again and again in your entire life!!! when you hold on hating it you do yourself no favor!!!

Do yourself a favor and work on your mindsets and your beliefs about reading. :) Ok… now I let you be :)

Mario says:

Audible and videos like this if u hate reading a lot of content. Reading puts me to sleep

Kathy Germany says:

Important and nice one! ThX!

That burnout end of the year where your videos empowerd me to get myself out caused some ‘loss’ of time for my master thesis and now it’s in the ‘hot phase’ and while I do enjoy my education and for my integrity I do my best for it.

On purpose I skipped the last 3 videos ;) (for later view after my deadline ;)

But this one I love again. =) You manage to put some new contents for me arranged in a circle of all my previous knowledge. So it keeps me on track and left a smile on my face. (‘the real face to face friends not like face-book’ – eh, wait, man, how nifty they choose it’s name to keep it all up – hehehe ;)) GN8

tank says:

i hate some of my subjects in school

Kathy again says:

Hello again, tank! ;)

I think everyone knows that feeling in school! ;) And what did you learn about all the videos you saw until this point? Let us cut down to just 3 points:

1. accept – yourself with hating something (ground yourself in yourself)
2. move on – babystepping to your goals (don’t be a victim be a creator)
3. focus – on what you love (meditate, affirm and visualize individually what’s good for you)

tank says:

its really good information to know in this video

Kurt Peifer says:

Excellent video. I’m happy to realize that many of my interests and activities fall into the middle third of the spectrum, and I have interests that fall into the final third of the spectrum. Of course I recognize areas in the first third, but happy with my “balance.”

raajrufaro says:

This world needs you ! And sure I will make this world wants me !
By doing 3rd part !
hey I’m 1 month old meditator ! congrats !

Todd Hirsch says:

where are you going? Tell me that….. the hard work… the better feelings of real happiness… then what?

Arun says:

Hey Leo, From the past 3 videos of yours, Audio quality is High,
Thank you for that, nice to hear.

Valentin says:

Great video Leo! It really helped me. Keep going, you are changing the world :)

Muka says:

awesome, I’ve always been humble enough. Coming from a 3rd world country, Nepal. You’ve helped me so much, it’s unreal! Amazing videos Leo! :) take care!

Mathieu says:

Hello Leo, you are awesome! Thank you so much for sharing this! This is very surprising and a bit creepy for me.

When you started saying and started explaining the things in the last third, I felt like the intensity of surprise is intensifying. From Learning & education to Contribution, I can’t stop sighing with happiness and I couldn’t agree more. Then, when you stated the very last which is the “Being”… well, I can’t sit anymore, this was very strange. It was taught to us before but I didn’t get it. You are absolutely true! Now I know. Thanks for explaining it all. Thank you so much for putting these all in spectrum and for all your advice. This is a real eye-opener for what I have been doing for the past two years.

God bless, Leo.

RTM says:

Leo, Does Enlightenment not fall in to the third category? or by doing meditation did you mean that?
I really appreciate what you are doing here…
no words to thank
Good luck

Leo Gura says:

Enlightenment is the epitome of being.

RTM says:

I see , but Leo you said “you are not existed” in Enlightenment intro video.
So how I am gonna be happy about being if I’m not existed…
what do you mean…
I think I got confused cuz English is my second language : D

Leo Gura says:

Technically you will not be happy because there is no you to be happy. There will just be existence without you. And, interestingly enough, that produces ultimate happiness: pure being. Imagine if you will, being a raindrop or a rock or a tree. They are perfectly “happy” so to speak simply because they are not creating their own suffering. Happiness is actually simply the absence of suffering.

RTM says:

Wonderful explanation as usual… thanks a lot

Alex says:

I really appreciate your thoughtful videos. They are helping me tie together what I’m reading in self-development.

Eve says:

Amazing video Leo! Truly life changing. Thank you!

Elaine says:

Thank you Leo

Miguel Duran says:

Hi Leo,

Just wanted to share that after I saw this video, I had a slightly better taste when I meditated, kind of weird, but great. I was thinking about hobbies, that some of them are locate on the firs third, for example “Video Games”, probably not important but sometimes hobbies can become addictive.

Best

Lisa says:

Hi Leo,

Would you explain why you feel being virtuous is hard to achieve? It seems to me it is merely a choice.

Thank you,
Lisa

Mikael says:

I think this is your most important video so far, Leo. Deep, meaningful, and organized information. Great!
/ Mikael

annie laurie says:

Hi Leo, thanks for this video. Really enjoyed it and has consolidated what I have personally been working on. Mindfulness, meditation and the power of now have certainly all started to have an impact so beginning to release depression and find happiness state of mind (glass half full). Introspection has been effective and acceptance of self. When driving to work, turning off the radio, opening the windows and listening to birdsong has helped (sounds cheesy but effective). Daily burnings of any anger issues have been written and lit (need to buy more matches) but has greatly diminished road rage in traffic jams.
Certainly experimenting with oneself and one’s reactions is worthwhile, as well as sharing to compare causes and effects with others.
The final third of happiness vid was interesting and what was suggested regarding having integrity with oneself is interesting. Will go deeper into.
Thanks again for your support and precise research. :)))

Teeren says:

Leo, this video is truly fantastic. Thank you for the contribution you are bringing to this world.

Dawn says:

This is by far the best video you’ve ever done, Leo! I’m sharing this with my family and friends. Going to reach and aim for my higher self now :). Thank you for being the guiding light in my path :)!

Much happiness to you :) always!

Rob says:

Hi Leo,

When do the transcripts released for your videos?

Mark says:

Hi Leo,

I have started meditating for 20 mins every morning and now it seems like something I know I have to do when I get up in the morning. I find it hard sitting still when meditating, am I doing something wrong?
I find it hard to be in the zone and present moment which is why I am giving meditation a go. Is it just a case of persistence?

Liz says:

I “found” Leo a few weeks ago and all I can say is whew! I started my “journey” out of my super conventional hedonistic life a few years ago but until now, I have been pretty much stagnant, if not in reverse. I know there are so many paths to self-development but what I find I get from Leo is a lot of easy, no-nonsense practical methods I can practice instantly and daily to help achieve whatever it is I want to work on. I’ve listened to about a dozen or so of his videos and until this one, did not find one thing offensive (although referring to a woman as a “hot chick” I let slide). When he was talking about his new life purpose course (which I am looking forward to) and performing meaningful work, he said, “Not just ladling soup in a soup kitchen somewhere.” Although I get the analogy, I did find it slightly offensive because there are probably people who for them, participating in such an activity may just bring them great purpose, especially if they are just starting on their own journey. Just stating my opinion because hearing that statement moved me enough internally to actually type this comment on an i phone with a shattered screen even though I am a little late for work. Leo, you rock and I can only hope to aspire to one day be able to provide for others what you are providing to so many. You my friend are making a tremendous positive addition to existence… peace.

JC says:

Hi Leo!

Thank you for sharing this video about happiness.
I realize that I must find or create my true purpose in life to take part of the true happiness you talk about. I’ve seen your videos and your material on the life purpose but I still can not understand what I want to accomplish in life. Without my purpose in life, I find it difficult to take the next step. I’ve been stuck in this stage for many years now. Do you have any ideas that might be helpful?

// Jonas

talley sagot says:

How would you feel about me paraphrasing what you’re saying here?

I want to start a type of blog (Not about anyone else’s personal development, just mine) and love the outline you’ve made here. I find it easy to understand a happiness spectrum and incredibly informative. I would change minor details like how porn is really an opportunity cost as well as watching any other media. Maybe even more detrimental as it gives the viewer a skewed outlook on sex and intimacy (There’s a great TED talk on this). I’m sure I’ll write an entire post on the many relationships I’ve had that suffered from porn obsession and how. I’d also add graphs and charts and pretty pictures. That’s it I think. I will site you and attach a link to this video. What do you think?

Eelco says:

Hi Leo,
how do you categorise religious people? What is your opinion on religious people in this light? I am not religious, but I see that religious people do not drink, party, do drugs, do not pursue sex and fame, do not gossip. Instead, i think through religion they are in category 2 and 3: friendships, family, helping others, kindness to others, contribute to humanity. Do you agree that in this specific light religion does work to get you away from hedonic happiness?

Leo Gura says:

That’s exactly one reason why religion is popular. For all of its faults, religion does get you to focus more on Eudaemonia. The problem is that religion closes up your mind and it often attempts to coerce you into blindly pursuing Eudaemonia (with fire and brimstone). Self-actualizing people do not need to be beaten and coerced into pursuing the greatest good. They do it of their own innate wisdom. I like the model of the ancient Greek and Romans. They pursued virtue in a largely secular way.

ceza says:

Hey Leo,
Got a lot from this post – and perfect timing!
Thanking you for all the insight and inspiration, always!
Ceza

Mark says:

Agreed, this video made me happy – Im learning and it looks like Im well aligned with the happiness spectrum.

Surprisingly, Im finding meditation easy Leo, and not boring!

Elaine says:

I appreciate this video because we’re encouraged to value pleasure, money, attention, beauty, etc. above all. They don’t last. Why not expend effort towards living an excellent life? We need truth more than comfort sometimes and thank you for asking great questions. I am a meditation/mindfulness beginner. I’m done with chasing “more”. THANK YOU for the video Leo!

annie laurie says:

HI, have practised meditation (of differing forms over a number of years) on and off, using varying types. Best times I found to practise are just before going to sleep and just as you wake up. For me these times are ideal as your mind is clearer and more ready to accept calmness and peace. Try deep breathing, light positive energy in and black negative energy out. Start with only a couple of minutes a day and build up minute by minute. I’ve found it quite effective.
Thank you for your website LEO (only recently discovered ) as it has re-ignited my passion to search for a deeper meaning to life and the HAPPINESS SECTION has certainly made me think about why I am possibly not fulfilled. So off to do more research and everyday experimentation. Thanks again.

Ankit Patel says:

I wished this video never ends and we get more and more wisdom out of this.
You rightly said being in present moment is the key to happiness which is difficult as most of the time people are either floating in past or worry a lot for future.
Hence missing present moment which is a gift and this is a cycle all the time.
Amazing video Leo, bless you.
-Ankit Patel

Patrick says:

Very nice, always great to hear information presented in a different way. Your videos are a wonderful service to me and others. I’ve heard meditation called, “Dropping below thought,” and this and other videos are great motivators to sit and meditate. Thanks so much!

Darren says:

Was a good and thought provoking video, I see where you are coming from, seems to be a good level of truth, the longer the video went on, the more interesting it was.

annie laurie says:

Hi Leo, just wanted advice on how to achieve a work-life balance. Seem to put all energies into work which leaves nothing for me at the weekend ( Just want to sleep) Feel very lazy about myself but will quite happily do things for others.
Why is it that I can put others first and not be KIND to myself? (Strange?)

Thanks Leo says:

I remember i was thourgh half you video,talkin about the hedonic stuff &during your vid i was tempted to just cut you off and watch porn and tv because im on the computer.yet When you were talking about the udimonic stuff it had me realize how petty my thoughts are i thought during half your vid “huh how videogames worst than porn”? That was just an evolutionary construct to reproduce i was running on. Yet when i focos on dropping the puppet strings of sex and wanting to get better with girls, wanting approval from those i admire or envy its just bliss. Thanks for all your videos!!!!!

Denise Gomes says:

Thanks Leo for this video.

It came in the right moment for me, when I am trying to get real and fulfilling goals in my life.

Believe me, you are doing a lot for humanity.

Thanks a lot.

Lin says:

this resonate deep into my heart! Leo your insight change the world. I get it. You are holding back your tears and choking!!! I feel your insight is so beautiful — choking moment Raw emotional core showing. Thank you for what you said about gratitude

John says:

Hi Leo thanks for the video,

What about working with or bonding with animals, should this be treated as the same as strong friendships with humans? I would ask that if like a mothers love to her children being described as ‘unconditional’ so to are some peoples bonds to there pets i.e. Dogs, horses…. I ask this because I am a natural horse whisperer. Whilst writing this I am wondering if ‘unconditional love’ is a state of ‘being’ as you don’t getting sudden spikes of stimulous, it’s more of a constant flow.

Many thanks Leo

annie laurie says:

Hi Leo, just wanted to ask if you have any videos on weight loss?
Thanks :)

Bhavani Shankar says:

Mr.Leo… I have read many books on great sages and their life. I have also read the teachings of Buddha and Swami Vivekananda. Now I realize that all the teachings in those scriptures boil down to your single video on happiness spectrum.

Mireille Clark says:

I can see how the more common pleasures are seen as less worthy.

Yet, let me give a spin on this, since you love paradox, Leo.

When you “be” in the moment, I believe, you float in the now, and allow all to pass by with a quiet sense of gratitude. Therefore, there is pleasure.. at the feeling of the breath going in and out, at the sound, at the feeling of gravity, at the sight, at what flits through your mind..

All of these things are the infinite touching you through the finite.

So.. the hedonistic sweet taste of food for example could transport a person to the heights of happiness when done in the right way, and with the right intention. ( I don’t know much about drugs.. but perhaps that could happen with them too… not that I’m proposing doing drugs that’s why I chose food as my example. I was trying to touch on the thought that the lowest hedonistic thing might be able to bring you to the highest.. )

What do you think?

Leo Gura says:

Things like food, alcohol, sex, the occasional soft-core drug, can be great for those who have climbed up the ladder. The problem is, someone will read this who hasn’t climbed the ladder, and take it mean their bad habits are actually good.

For the conscious individual, sensual pleasures transform into spiritual pleasures. But such people are rare.

Brad says:

Normally when I search for help about what to do with my life, I only find lame quizzes. Thanks for your creation. I easily gave up what I assumed was alcohol dependence this year, but then I could tell it was a symptom and not the cause of my despair. I use the hedonistic pleasures to avoid facing myself. I waste a lot of time on video games as well. It is what I look forward to in all of my spare time, and in lieu of other things that need to be done. It is meaningless, and sometimes I fully believe that while actively gaming. I suppose it all comes down to fear–fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear that my other skills have atrophied…

I have never known my ‘calling’ in life, I am a ‘musician’ with a moderately successful business teaching others how to play. I did not choose, but rather abstained from choosing until I wound up here. I don’t think I am supposed to be a musician, but I have a family now and I can’t just pick up and change everything! It’s a complicated mess, and the only way out is through.

Maggie says:

I’m inspired! Just wanted to get your take on music- listening to it and producing it. Where would this fall on the happiness spectrum?

Lindsey says:

Great video, Leo. So much of my life is on the Pleasure side of the spectrum. I’m ready to move to gratification!

ALB says:

Well, just want you to know how much I value your work and what amazing impact you have on people’s lives. Ever since I started to grow up I always had a feeling that I was missing something in my life but couldn’t defy what it was. I tried all sorts of therapies, tried hypnotherapy, behavioural therapy, tried angaging in religion, blamed all sorts of circumstances and people for my inability to understand myself. It all were coming back to the same question: what it is that you want girl? And I didn’t know what I wanted! But I’ve never stopped looking. And then I came across your video on YouTube. You’ve named it for me Leo, you’re my doctor and I really feel like I owe you big time. Because all I wanted was to grow and I wanted that happiness you’ve talked about and it was there in front of me but yet I didn’t see it. And even though I am at the begining of my journey and I have lots of hard work to do and I’m in second third of my life I ‘m finally calm -I see clearer where I’ m going wrong and most importantly I know where I’m going now. You showed me the way to find myself and that is something I can never repay you for, without you it would have taken me another decade to figure out what I’ m after. Thanks again for your.diagnosis doctor …And tools to get myself better. Apologies for language mistakes, it’s not my mother’s tongue.

Dionne says:

brilliant!!!! Three kinds of happiness: pleasure, moderate level, virtuous and being.
Relistened to it. I got it!!!
Keep listening to it again and again!
Thank you is not enough to express my gratitude!

Brandon says:

Here are a couple things that I’ve read according to the Dalai Lama about happiness.

1. “Happiness can be achieved through training the mind. By gradually, over time, eliminating those factors which leads to suffering, and cultivating those which lead to happiness. That is the way. By bringing about a certain inner discipline, we can undergo a transformation of our attitude, our entire outlook and approach to life.” The art of happiness by Howard C. Cutler, M.D. And the Dalai Lama.
2. “Personal happiness can manufacture as a simple willingness to reach out to others, to create a feeling of affinity and goodwill, even in the briefest of encounters.”
3.

Jenasus says:

Attitude,
If you take the letters a through z in the English alphabet and assign the numbers 1 through 26 to each letter of the alphabet with the letter a being number 1, the letter b being number 2, and so on and so forth to the letter z being the number 26 than assign the corresponding number to the letters in the word attitude and add them up they equal 100. It is the only word in the English alphabet that adds up to 100. Attitude is a huge part in living a fulfilled life of happiness.

Jenasus says:

Leo, Another amazing video. I fell in love with a cam girl. I am going to try to enlighten her with the information that you enlighten me with in your videos.
There is a difference between doing a job and doing a job right.
You do your job right.
Thank you for being you and all you do.
Have an enlightened day.
Jenasus

Lea Mickle says:

What about those of us who aren’t pursuing pleasure/happiness but trying to escape/avoid pain? That is, those who only aspire to higher degrees of ‘happiness’ because the lower types have caused hardship/illness/loss? Perhaps the intention behind the pursuing is also important? For example, no matter how I try, every time I reach a ‘higher’ level of happiness my ego kicks in and compares the ‘me’ of now to the ‘poor me’ of before. The only thing that has ever worked for me has been to let go of being guided by my mind and instead be guided by my body. I taught myself to seek out chronic tension (that is real right here and now) and self-treat it away. The consequence – with barely a thought – has been increased happiness! My ego hates that cause it belittles its value so it keeps trying to find a way.. but it never has. Maybe true healing has to be away from thought??? Just thinking out loud. Thanks Leo.

Rajan says:

Leo, how to overcome the fear of dropping the hedonistic pleasures (first third of the spectrum)? I know the fear exists due to social conditioning. Secondly, I fear ending up lonely and unsociable if I pursue eudaemonic goals.

Leo Gura says:

First, drink in what you yourself just said, “I know the fear exists due to social conditioning.” If that’s true, ACTUALLY know it! Drink it in!

Secondly, just do it. Fear isn’t a brick wall. It’s just a fog. Step through the fog. Enjoy the fear. You’ll be glad you did.

If you do lots of personal development, your loneliness issues will melt away.

Kaz says:

Leo, you’re a miracle :)
Recently I became homeless, jobless, friendless, penniless; got arrested, my mum died and my family disowned me – all in one month. I was doing pretty shit till I discovered you this week…family still don’t want to forgive but hey it’s all upwards and onwards from here.
I’m incredibly grateful to you and to the person that passed me your website.
Thankyou!

Tom says:

I think a lot of this is tongue and cheek. Studies have happened constantly that show happier people are ones with family relationships and also religion. Despite your opposition to religion, your spirtuality or whatever you refer to it, is a leap of faith as much as Chrisitianity. To not recognize the studies that have shown this because you don’t believe in it’s truth, is doing a disservice to individuals. I think the removing one from being dogmatic is important, however dismissing any possibility of a higher being that creates these scenarios is showing the exact lack of open mindedness that hurts us. The idea that an intelligent human being couldn’t possibly believe in a higher power is actually not radical at all, it’s just another spiritual belief that resembles buddhism, taoism, etc, and is in itself dismissing others beliefs. I like your videos because they offer a perspective, but I think more emphasis on prefacing each that this is your opinion and each should work with it, research it, and that it does not reflect an absolute fact.

Mike says:

Hi.I have only just watched this video which is why I am am commenting rather late on the previous comment by Tom.
I don’t think that Leo has said anything to exclude the possibility of a higher power.I think that what he says is that you have to be totally open minded to all possibilities.
When an opinion becomes a belief it denies the possibility of any alternative.

Joan says:

Hi Leo,

Just want to tell you that I’m starting to watch your videos since a few months now, I think I watched about 2/3 of all your videos at this point and I just want to tell you that you opened my eyes a lot. Love your vision on life. Because of you I actually made self development a big self study now and I’m more motivated to educate myself than ever before. Thanks for spreading and sharing your wisdom, I’m sure you’re an inspiration for many people!

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