The other day, I talked about the three levels of happiness right? For People. But today I want to talk about the relationship between happiness and business.

Can a business be happy? What is a happy business? And this is what Tony Hsieh talked about in his book “Delivering Happiness”. The lowest level of happiness is pleasure type of happy and that is basically about getting more and more of things, of experiences. In business, pleasure type of happy is about acquisition. It’s about getting sales. It’s about getting deals. It’s about getting clients.

So, I am here to discuss this with you and I want to bring to light the explanation that I found from this book called “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh and he is the CEO of Zappos. In this book, he says that as human beings, we are always in pursuit of happiness. We are always looking for the next high!

This type of happy is usually something that we want more of and it’s been something that we’ve been using to put as our sales target, as our achievement, as our key performance indicator for the company.

The second layer, however of happiness is about “Passion Happy” and “Passion Happy” according to him is about ‘people’. It’s about ‘Orang’ (Malay term), it’s everyone. It’s the employees, it’s the clients and “Passion Happy” is about when people are happy, they want to stick with you. They are engaged with you and these type of happiness in business is usually driven by the culture and the values that the company has. These cultures, these values define how the company behave. It becomes the compass for how the company makes a certain decision.

Now the third layer of happiness is about “Higher Purpose” in people. It’s about attaching yourself to something that is greater than yourself. I gave the example of doing charity the other time. But in business it’s basically just about putting meaning behind everything that we do. Everything.

Having a reason for the purpose or a reason for a campaign or a launch, what decision made and that reason is what connects. That’s the higher level of happiness and usually this is the long lasting one.

Let me just share with you a snippet with you from this book; Tony said; “What I find interesting is that many people go through life chasing after the pleasure type of happiness thinking that once they are able to sustain that, then they will worry about the passion, and if they get around to it, look for the higher purpose.”

Base on the findings of research, however, the proper strategy would be to figure out and pursue the higher purpose first since it is the longest lasting type of happiness and then layer on top of that, the Passion and then add on top of that, the Pleasure type of Happiness.

The second level of happiness is that something that is called “Passion”. Passion is the type of happiness that is flowing because it keeps you in that space and this is what sports people call “being in the zone”. When you are doing something that you are passionate about, you want to be in the zone, you want to keep doing it because it gives you such satisfaction. So that passion drives the happiness.

So, maybe it’s about the time that we look at what we set as targets, as KPIs, as the mandatories for our company. Are we chasing the Pleasure Type of Happy, The Passion Type of Happy or the Higher Purpose Type of Happy in our company. Pretty interesting, right? In my next articles, we will keep discovering more and more about on these kind of topics.

Idea step:

  1. Lowest level: ‘Pleasure Happy’ attained via experience.
  2. Second level: ‘Passion Happy’ is about people.
  3. Highest level: ‘Higher Purpose Happy’ is putting meaning behind everything.