For years humans of been scratching their heads trying to work out the answer to a very simple question: “what makes us happy?” It almost seems to have overtaken “what is the meaning of life?” as the most posed question in society. Netflix documentaries, books, seminars and blog posts highlight what we are missing as individuals: the ability to be happy. With buzz expressions like “loneliness epidemic” and studies like The World Happiness Report, as a species, happiness has become quite an obsession.
Personally, my journey through life has made me also explore the idea of happiness and what it takes to be in this state. I have used myself as a guinea pig in many ways – I have slept using equipment that monitors my sleep pattern, tried different diets, become physically fit, meditated, traveled the world and launched my own business. But in many cases, I have realized that most of the things that make me happy, are external. It is internal happiness I have been trying to stimulate.
Recently, I spent about an hour on the phone with Dr David Gruder (author of The New IQ). About halfway through the call, I was talking about my next startup Qwerky – a coliving community for like minded people – and explaining how I want to make people who live in the community (Qwerkies) be happier human beings. He then proceeded to blow my mind with a very simple idea: if we are to be in a state of true happiness, we have to be 3-D (three dimensional). Here are the three dimensions that people embody:
1). AUTHENTICITY (1/3 ME) – people who focus on themselves and not other people.
You might hear the person who is always in the gym, at yoga classes or their own business telling you “they are working on themselves”. Well that is exactly what they are doing. Focusing on themselves. This is the first dimension. Example: Donald Trump.
2). CONNECTION (1/3 WE) – people who focus on other people and not themselves.
These people often work in charities or organizations for natural disaster relief. They are selfless and will often sacrifice themselves for other people. Example: Mahatma Gandhi.
3). IMPACT (1/3 ALL) – people who are aware of what they do on a world scale. Example: Nelson Mandella.
If one of these dimensions is more dominant than the others, we have what is known as an “integrity deficit“. This means we need to address the balance so all three are equal and then we will be happy again. My mind was blown because I suddenly realized that so many people I have met who were not happy (and myself included) were focusing too hard on a single dimension. They were effectively one-dimensional people. Some were two-dimensional but very few people I have ever met were three-dimensional. It then dawned on me that although successful people appear to be like deities with superpowers, they are not. They are exactly like everyone else. The only difference is that they have fine tuned their three dimensions to be consistently balanced so to optimize their learning, development and performance.