The four levels of happiness are interconnected and there is a natural progression moving up the four levels. However, one of the four levels is going to be most dominant in your life. The choice you make reveals which level of happiness is your priority. As you repeatedly resolve conflicts of desire in favor of one particular level, that kind of happiness becomes your meaning in life. You start living for it and the other levels fade into the background.

The desires of Level 2 motivate us to pursue many good things. It is very good to achieve a lot with our lives—to further our education, to have status, security, self-esteem, and the power to get things done. But people who get caught up in the “comparison game” can find themselves trapped. Moving on to Levels 3 and 4 becomes necessary if they are to avoid unhappiness.