It occurred to me over lunch today that happiness can be summed up to the following: doing what you find meaningful, being around people you love, and having good mental and physical health. Following this, every decision should be evaluated by these three criteria – does it help you do what you find meaningful? does it bring closer to further from the people you love? how does it affect your physical and mental well being?
I like this framework because a) it’s easy enough to remember and apply, b) it’s broad enough to capture virtually all aspects of life, and c) it’s general and flexible enough to fit different individuals.
This is not a “solution” to happiness, though. This model won’t help you figure out what is “meaning” work, find love, or figure out how to achieve the optimal level of physical and mental well being. What I hope this achieves is providing an effective and straight-forward standard against which we measure our decisions: does the decision move us closer to happiness?