Updated: Mar 19, 2020
Happiness is surprisingly subjective and often is centered around finding one’s purpose and fulfilling one’s potential. American psychologist Abraham Maslow is often sited when it comes to understanding happiness and an individual’s needs. His hierarchy of needs is an excellent diagram that shows what must be fulfilled in order to find self-actualization – fulfilling one’s potential. At the bottom of the pyramid are basic needs – food, air, water, and health. Next comes shelter and safety. Then comes what most people associate with happiness – love, inclusion, acceptance, belonging, self-actualization, self-esteem, power and recognition. The bottom half of the pyramid, our physical needs, must be adequately met before the top half – what's commonly associated with happiness - can be obtained. These “happiness” factors can’t be bought by money, but food, shelter and safety can.