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Shadi Bin Shahar model; How to achieve more happiness and success in life?

Study guide

Many of us have grown up believing that if we get good grades in school, get a good degree from a good university, and then find a good job, then we will be happy. You know this way of thinking, don’t you?

The problem is that sometimes having these conditions and benefits does not make us happy. Some of us may have wonderful families, good jobs, and lovely homes, but we are still unhappy with life and looking for something else. No matter how hard we try and how much money we make, we may still not feel satisfied.

However, the moment we humans experience true happiness, our lives take on a different color. In what we do, we feel satisfied and productive, we achieve our goals, and our lives find meaning and purpose.

But how can we achieve this true happiness? According to Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, a leading researcher and author of Happier, we must learn how to live both today and tomorrow. If we strike the right balance, we can achieve our goals and live the life we ​​have always dreamed of.

In this article, we will look at Tal Ben Shahar Happiness Model and explain how you can use this model to bring more happiness to your life.

Model description

According to Ben Shahar model, people manifest four characteristics in their lifestyle:

  • Absurd
  • Hedonistic
  • پُرکار
  • شادی‌گرا

As you can see in Figure 1, this model is divided into four quarters. The horizontal axis represents the “current” benefits and harms and the vertical axis represents the “future” benefits and harms. For example, “working late” is a practice that is harmful at the moment (physical fatigue, not eating dinner with family and spending less time with them), but you hope that this hard work will benefit in the future. As such, this feature is specific to the upper left quadrant.

Each quarter represents one of the four characteristics that Ben Shahar lists for people’s lifestyles, and each of these characteristics reflects different parts of present happiness and future benefits.

Let’s look at each of these features in more detail.



Absurdism is in the lower quarter, to the left of the happiness model.

Absurdists are those who have given up hope of finding meaning in life. Absurdists do not enjoy the joys of the present, nor do they have a goal or hope for the future; As a result, they have surrendered to their destiny.

Example: Haleh has worked all her life somewhere as a supervisor. He does not enjoy his job and is not happy. At this point in his career, he has given up hope of the possibility that his salary may increase again in the future.

Hale is not only unhappy with the current situation, but also does not believe that the situation will probably change in the near future. As a result, he is reluctant to work hard to change the situation.


Hedonism is in the lower quarter, to the right of the happiness model.

Hedonists focus only on the happiness of the present and do not think much about the consequences of the future. They think “hard work” is painful and tedious, and they probably prefer not to throw themselves hard.

Thus, hedonists in life do not feel challenged and are often dissatisfied.

Example: Soheila has worked as a temporary secretary for many years. He moves from one organization to another. He is successful in learning a new role and meeting new colleagues. But as he gets used to the new organization, he quickly gets tired of his work and colleagues. Therefore, it requests a transfer.

Although Soheila’s life seems fun and comfortable, she herself does not feel happy, because in fact she never finishes her work. He has no purpose for his future, nor for his life.


The fullness is in the upper quarter, to the left of the joy model. In a harmful way, the procrastinators postpone the happiness of the present in the hope of future benefits, or in other words, sacrifice.

This feature is probably the most familiar feature for many of us. People with this trait are constantly pursuing goals that they think will make them happy. However, when they reach those goals, a new goal (and the stress and anxiety associated with it) immediately replaces the previous goal. Although busy people may experience short periods of satisfaction in achieving their goals, any thought of happiness in the present is quickly dismissed as they pursue their next goals.

Example: In high school, Sadra studied hard and attended advanced courses in order to enter a university (which was his parents’ advice for success). He studied business. However, he preferred to specialize in theater. He gave up traveling and touring with his friends altogether to focus on his studies.

After graduating from university, Sadra received several job offers due to his excellent grades and internship background. He knew he should be happy with these successes, but he was not. He eventually worked for a large company. He also worked hard, but any job promotion or salary increase added more stress and sadness to his life.



Happiness is in the upper right quarter of the model. This trait reflects a good balance between present happiness and future interests.

According to Ben Shahar, we are happy when we are able to enjoy both the path and the destination we are moving towards. We have learned how to purposefully set goals for our lives, but we do not focus exclusively on achieving them to the extent that we sacrifice other aspects of life to achieve those goals. We focus on today’s pleasures as much as our dreams and goals.

Example: Hamid has just moved to a new department at work and is excited. He loves this company and does something that he thinks is meaningful and valuable. Although he has the option of working 80 hours a week, he has respectfully and firmly told his boss that he is not able to spend all that time working. Spending time with family is very important and he is committed to it. His overtime is reasonable (“No successful business has succeeded by relying solely on working hours of 9 to 5”), but overall Hamid is with his family every night for dinner. He has reached a balance in his professional life. She makes time for her family and works in a challenging and rewarding job.

Using the Ben Shahar model

Dr. Ben Shahar says that it is impossible to be happy forever. Sometimes we have to postpone the joy of the present to advance important future goals. For example, sometimes we have to stay up late to finish an important project.

Sometimes, like a hedonist, it is important to focus on the pleasures of the present. For example, to relax and rejuvenate, we need to go swimming or watch a movie. These enjoyable activities can bring happiness.

However, it is important to spend as much time as we can on activities that benefit us both now and in the future.

The most useful thing about the happiness model is that it can be used as a window into life. Take four quarters of a model, for example. Which quarter of this model do you spend the most time on?

Are you busy, pursuing your future goals, and sacrificing the joy of your present time for your goals? Or do you live more like a hedonist and avoid challenging goals so as not to miss out on everyday pleasures?

Do you feel happy? Do you enjoy today and focus on your efforts to achieve longer-term goals?

We can use the happiness model to assess the current state of our lives. If we are not in the right quarter of the model, we can start to change now and give more balance to our lives.

To explain this model, Ben Shahar uses the analogy of eating different types of hamburgers. The taste of nonsense burgers is bad and gives you an unpleasant feeling. The taste of hedgehog burgers is great, but it makes you fat. The taste of full-bodied burgers is boring, but it’s good for us. But happy burgers are both healthy and taste great!

For this reason, Ben Shahar calls this model the “hamburger model”.


Shadi Bin Shahar model; How to achieve more happiness and success in life?

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