The Happiness Pinnacle

The Happiness Pinnacle

“The Happiness Pinnacle”© is a model of human happiness that is exclusive to Horizons Life Coaching. Drawing in part on Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” the model proposes that to be truly happy progressive levels have to be achieved before the next level is addressed. At its simplest, the model is based on the principle that it is impossible to achieve inner peace if you have a toothache. You must deal with the toothache first! In this model of happiness, the three levels are called: Basic Happiness; True Happiness; and Transcendence (Beyond Happiness).

Basic Happiness: The “having” level

Happiness at this level is the fulfilment of our five basic human needs:

  • Wealth and Possessions (including food, shelter and clothing)
  • Health and Beauty (especially being free of illness)
  • Respect and Belonging
  • Freedom and Individuality
  • Sex and Reproduction

Because these are basic needs there can be a tendency for people to believe that the more they acquire of wealth, beauty, fame, power and sex the happier they will be. In fact, whilst certain basic minimums are essential (although these will vary from person to person) there appears to be a finite limit to the amount of happiness that any of these basic needs can bring. Indeed, if left unchecked, the desire to meet these needs can lead to genuine unhappiness.

True Happiness: The “doing” level

Because happiness at the basic level appears to be finite – the so called “happiness set point” – many people assume that there is very little they can do about the amount of happiness in their lives, they must just rely on the world (or luck) to treat them better. In fact, there are many things that a person can do to raise their levels of happiness beyond their set point: These include:

  • Changing their environment (in the short or long term) to better suit their needs
  • Practicing random acts of kindness (without seeking any reward)
  • Active involvement in community or family life and in friendship groups
  • Love and intimacy: Giving and receiving love (and proving this in action)
  • Looking after themselves (including hobbies, culture, sport, etc)
  • Enjoying their work more (and doing work they believe to be useful)

For true happiness to occur, it is necessary to focus on most if not all of the above – not just one area. But there are no negative impacts associated with any aspect of true happiness.

Transcendence / Beyond Happiness: The “being” level

Beyond true happiness there is a level of contentment and deep inner peace that is achievable for those who seek it. Aspects of transcendence are open to everyone, even those who do not have every element of basic happiness in place – for example people living in poverty or in prison – but it is certainly easier to achieve transcendence when all our basic needs are being met.

This is the “being” level of human existence, at which it can be seen that ultimately happiness does not come from outside but from within. Elements of transcendence include:

  • Deep feelings of self-respect
  • Having a higher purpose to our life (not necessarily religious or spiritual)
  • Having a sense of wonder about the universe around us
  • True gratitude and thankfulness for the many gifts in our lives
  • Living in the now and recognising that our minds are no more who we are than any other part of our body.

To find out more about the Happiness Pinnacle©, please visit our Workshops and Consultancy page

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it”

Groucho Marx