Eric Greitens says that there are three primary forms of happiness:
1. The happiness of pleasure
2. The happiness of grace
3. The happiness of excellence.
The happiness of pleasure is like a good meal when you’re hungry, the smell of the air after it rains, and waking up warm and cozy in your bed.
The happiness of grace is gratitude. It’s looking over to see the love of your life sleeping next to you and whispering, “thank you.” It’s when you speak to something greater than yourself, expressing humility and awe.
The happiness of excellence is the kind of happiness that comes from the pursuit of something great. It is meaningful work. It is flow. It is the purpose that sears identity and builds character. It channels our energy toward something greater than our fleeting desires.
Happiness is not only how we can astound our senses, but also the peach of mind that comes from knowing we are becoming who we want and need to be. Not accomplishment but identity. A sense of self that we carry into everything else in our lives. A technicolor pigment that make the entire spectrum come alive.
(Brianna Wiest, 101 essays that will change the way you think)