Our Mission, Values & Philosophy

At Focus On Happiness we believe the most important things you can have in life is health, love, happiness pictures and memories. We value things like kindness, happiness, connection, openness, creativity, positivity, support, empathy, well-being, inclusivity, freedom and authenticity.

” Our mission is to be the most inspiring photography community online that is motivating the world to see, share, and focus on their happiness every day ”

Happiness Throughout History

Modern day positive psychologists and happiness researchers draw massive parallels between studies on modern day happiness and ancient wisdom and philosophies. Quite a lot of the ancient teachings still stand the test of time today and apply very well to modern day Positive Psychology & Happiness.

4th century BC


Zhuangzi (Zhuang Zhou)

Both of these philosophers are the first documented writers about happiness.

Aristotle believed in living a life of virtue to the best of your abilities. He believed that ”Happiness is the major goal of human existence”. His teachings say that any learning or goals that we search for in our life, is coming from our innate desire to be happier. He also stated that ”Educating the mind without educating the heart, is not any education at all” Aristotle believed that any learning we do in our life should always have happiness and well-being at its core. Meaning happiness should be the real goal for anything we are learning or doing in our life. 

Zhuangzi believed happiness was something that he called wu-wei. Wu & Wei literally translates to ”No Action”. However Zhuangzi did not mean taking no action.

He wrote of a force in the universe which he called the Tao and how it is the natural force of nature. He believed happiness comes from taking no action against the natural law of nature and the universe. Going with the flow instead of working against it with large scale planning and scheming, which he believed was just people trying to get stuff they didn’t really need as a temporary pleasure for their senses.

There were many other writers and philosophers who wrote and spoke about happiness throughout history, and their teachings seem to have a lot in common :- Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, al Ghazali, Viktor Frankl, William James, Abraham Maslow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Martin Seligman, Ed Diener, Barbara Fredrickson to name just a few.

Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs – 1940’s

The first modern day psychologist to develop theories on Happiness was a man called Abraham Maslow in the 1940’s – Click Here to learn more.

Maslow was the first person to say that psychologists could go further than what they were teaching. At that time it was said possible to be able take someone suffering from depression back to a neutral state of mind. Maslow was the first person to say you can take these people even further. Something which is far beyond and above a neutral state of mind.

Maslow’s theory worked in a pyramid shape. The aim would be to achieve the top which he called self-actualisation. ”Realisation of self and who you really are”

The level below had to be met before a person could focus on the the level above.

    • The first level is PHYSIOLOGICAL. This is the basic needs we must have to live. Food, water and sleep etc…
    • The second level is SAFETY. This includes health, employment, morales and sustained safety for their body. People need basic food, safety and shelter before they can attempt to accomplish any more.
    • The third level of need is LOVE & BELONGING. These are psychological needs. Once you are ok yourself you can try to belong with others. Relationship’s and connections with family, loved ones, friends and aquaintances.
    • The fourth level is ESTEEM. This is achieved when people feel comfortable in what they are doing and what they have accomplished. They will then have a need to be competent and recognised for being so.
        • Then there is a COGNITIVE level, where individuals intellectually stimulate themselves to learn and explore more.
        • After that is an AESTHETIC level, which is a need for harmony, order and beauty in their life.
    • The fifth level, is the need for SELF-ACTUALIZATION. This occurs when an individuals reaches a state of harmony and understanding because they are engaged in achieving their full potential. Once a person has reached the self-actualization state. They focus on themselves and try to build their own image. They may look at these improvements in terms of feelings such as self-confidence or by accomplishing a goal.

” To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail ” – Abraham Maslow

Maslow’s idea of living a life to the best of your abilities while constantly evolving is similar to Aristotle’s description of happiness.

Mihaly Chiksetmihalyl & Flow – 1980’s

The next big thing to happen in the realm of happiness came from a man called Mihaly Chiksetmihalyl and his studies on flow in the 1980’s Click Here to learn more.

Mihaly discovered that people find genuine satisfaction and joy during a state of consciousness which he called Flow. He used something he called a flow chart to measure his findings. See above. Flow happens when people are completely absorbed into an activity` ”especially an activity which involves using their creative abilities” and when they are challenging themselves just the right amount. Not too easy or too difficult for their current level of skill. Mihaly was similar to Maslow with some his beliefs. He stated that….

”Happiness does not simply happen. It must be prepared for and cultivated by each person, by setting challenges that are neither too demanding nor too simple for ones abilities” – Mihaly Chiksetmihalyl

The experience of “flow” is very similar to Zhuangzi’s description of happiness. When you are using a process and not going against the natural law of nature and the universe. We have all heard the expression ”Going with the flow”.

Martin Seligman and The Perma Theory Of Wellbeing - 2000's

Scientists have known of the unusual increase of things such as depression and anxiety since the 1980’s and have worked hard to study and understand what it takes to make people authentically happy.

Because of this, there was an explosion of happiness research in the 2000’s. A man called Martin Seligman, who was one of the leading psychologists who benefitted from this research. He was the pioneer of modern day ”Positive Psychology”. Click Here to learn more.

Martins teachings may be a little more than theory because he was able to use a scientific method to explore why happy people are happy? He was author of the book Authentic Happiness and he penned his theory which he called. The PERMA theory of Well-being.


Martin’s Perma theory used 5 important building blocks which can enable people to ‘’Flourish’’ or live happier in life.

The 5 building blocks: –

    1. P – Positive Emotion = Feeling positive emotions.
    1. E – Engagement = Being completely absorbed in activities. ”Flow”.
    1. R – Relationships = Being authentically connected to others.
    1. M – Meaning = A purposeful existence and some meaning added to the experiences you have.
    1. A – Accomplishment = A sense of accomplishment and success.

The PERMA model can help to increase people’s awareness. When a person is able to focus on the combination of all of PERMA’s elements at once, they will experience more happiness and well-being in their lives than people who have not managed to do so yet.

Martin believed there was 3 different types of happy lives and you can grow and progress through each one.

The Pleasant Life – would be lived by a person who has the ability to experience life in the present moment, who works on having a positive attitude and has the ability to understand, acknowledge or guide any negative emotions they may be experiencing.

The Good Life – would be lived by a person who has all the aspects and abilities of the pleasant life, but also goes on to discover what their strengths are. Once they understand what their own strengths are, they decides to use them to help enhance and enrich their own lives.

The Meaningful Life – would be lived by a person you has discovered and used their strengths to enhance and enrich their own lives and now decides to use these same strengths to help enhance and enrich the lives of other people. One important thing to note in The Meaningful Life, is that it is always important for the person to continue to use these strengths in their own lives.

'' More recent scientific studies show that there are thousands of ways that people make themselves happier. There isn't any one way that is guaranteed for all. However, there were some very common things that a lot of happy people share. And these 7 things are always at the very core of everything Focus On Happiness shares or creates ''

7 things that popped up consistently in studies!


1 – Close Relationships – Happy people have other people in their life that they connect with. Believe it or not, we don’t need loads of close friends to be happy. Friends are great to have, but you really just need one person to have a close relationship with in your life. Human connection is actually a basic human need that we all have. We need people in our life that we share activities and goals with, and this is actually one of the best way to develop close meaningful relationships with people.

Close relationships are built by listening to people intently as they share their feelings and experiences. We then have to respond to them in constrictive ways. For it to truly be a close relationship, the person also has to be able to give us this back in return. It doesn’t change if its an acquaintance, a friend or even family member.

” Use the community to connect and build friendships and relationships with like minded people. Anyone in here will have similar interests and you will all be taking part in shared goals and activities together ”

2 – Kindness – Kindness and being kind has a drastic impact on our happiness and well-being. Scientists say that this is one of the biggest secrets to happiness. Performing random acts of kindness that come straight from the heart and are not calculated. Being kind makes us much happier, but watching other people being kind is another way to get even more happiness in our life.

Giving makes us much happier than receiving. This even includes the money we make. It’s not the amount of money that we give away that results in the feeling of happiness. It’s the act of kindness that counts. Check out the ‘’Money can buy you happiness, but only if you give it away’’ study here – Click Here

“ Kindness can come in simple every day things. A nice inviting smile, a genuine compliment, a listening ear, giving your time and even a like or comment on a social media post that can make a person feel better about themselves. Something from your heart with the intention to make a person feel better 

3 – Physiological Factors – Exercise, movement, physical fitness, diet, experiencing nature, being close to water and exposure to light are now been proven to have huge effects on peoples mental health, happiness and well-being.

According to the Cochrane review. Aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate 3 times a week for 20/30 mins over a long period of time can have an impact on happiness and well-being up to the same amount as anti depressants. – Read Here

“ By exploring in nature with your camera you are fulfilling a bunch of physiological factors. Exercise, movement, physical fitness, experiencing nature, being close to water and even light exposure. Make taking pictures your intention or goal and you will be surprised where this may lead you to 

4 – Flow – Flow is a state that we experience when they are completely absorbed into an activity. Especially an activity that involves our creative abilities. Challenging ourselves just the right amount. Not too easy or too difficult for our level of skill. This type of creative process is shown to have drastic effects on happiness and well-being.

This is down to something called ”flow”. Flow is a gratification. A gratification comes when you earn something and it has longer lasting effects on our joy and happiness levels when compared to simple pleasures we can simply buy or obtain. Positive emotions are increased during flow and remain even after the activity is completed.

”Flow is what we aim for every time we go out with our camera. We do this by following the Focus On Happiness Method with our camera or smartphone. We also aim to live a life of flow by following the core features of the practice every day of our life”

5 – Positive Mindset – How we think, determines the reality we see and how we see stuff is directly linked to our health, happiness and well-being. Scientists have now proven that our physical health is hugely influenced by our mental state and vice versa. There is no separation between the mind and body. These things are both connected and working in unison with one another. Find out more on this from Hungarian-Canadian Physician & Author Gabor Maté – Click Here

An unhealthy mindset will consistently lead us to stress, fear and worry and it will also lead us to the health issues that arise from living in these states of mind. Positive Mindset’s help us to create a healthier perspective on life and it gives us the ability to have a better attitude towards the difficult situations that we will inevitably encounter in our journey through life.

” This community is a practice of ”Unconditional Positive Regard”. This is the basic acceptance and support of a person, regardless of what they may have said or done in the past. Every action a person takes has positive intentions for them at that time and they are usually operating at the best of their abilities. People develop awareness over time through introspection and self reflection ”

6 – Discovering Strengths – Discovering your strengths is about understanding your own abilities and the type of person that you are. Start by develop the ability to calm your mind and experience your emotions without judgement. From there you can take time to understand what your true strengths and values are. The happiest people in life are the ones who have discovered their strengths and values and used them for a meaning that is far greater than their own goals.

“ If you are here, then you are taking pictures in ways to improve your happiness and well-being. Photography is a lifelong journey of learning about you and your strengths. Nobody is ever going to learn everything there is to know about photography, every day you can choose to learn something new or find fun and creative ways of thinking about you and your pictures ”

7 – Meaning – Meaning is a deeper kind of happiness. Understand and find meaning in experiences you have every day through the Focus On Happiness Method. It’s simple to say – More Meaning = More Happiness. Having meaning for something is a deeper sense of knowing and it helps to keep us motivated. Instead of getting pushed around by our natural instincts and the way the human mind has evolved, we can choose to be pulled by things which can bring value and meaning to our lives and experiences. The more we do this, the better we feel

” Members are here to focus on happiness in their lives. As an extension of this, they are creating a positive environment that can inspire others to do the same. Find meaning in your own happiness journey and motivate others to do the same ”

Studies and theories on happiness will always expand and grown. It takes a variety of different things to make a person happy at any one time. This Focus On Happiness method and community is laid out for members to explore. Scientists say that we only need a combination of a few of these things at any one time to be authentically happy or ”well”. Think of it like a stew or a soup. You work with the ingredients you have available to you at the time to make the most of what you have.

Learn how Focus On Happiness was created – Trevor’s journey.