Happiness As A Hindrance How Happiness Acts As A Hindrance Peeling Back Pleasure Cultural Noise Happiness's Role In Anxiety, Depression, & Addiction Trap 1: Happiness We Chase Trap 2: Happiness We Settle For Trap 3: Happiness That Satisfies Overcoming Happiness As A Hindrance Happiness As A Hindrance Practice & Exercises Happiness As A Hindrance References & Resources

We have a number of exercises aimed at digging into the lemons and bananas of your life. If you haven’t read through what those stand for, read The Yellow Fruit Metaphor or just the gist below.

Lemon: Symbolizes something that contributes to meaning. When we squeeze i.e. engaged with lemons, we get juice. With enough lemon juice, we can make lemonade.

Lemonade: We can think of a life rich with meaning as a life that is as satisfying and refreshing as a glass of lemonade on a hot day. Lots of lemon juice allows us to drink deeply from our glass of lemonade.

Banana: Symbolizes something that does not contribute to meaning. When we engage with bananas, we get mush. Bananas are not ‘bad’ just because they do not provide meaning, we can enjoy our bananas for the pleasures they are.

If we have a deep thirst for a satisfying life, lemons will quench that thirst. The right amount of bananas can make it a smoothie, but too many will overpower the juice.

Printable Exercises for Identifying & Sorting Sources of Meaning

Intro Exercise – Identifying Lemons & Bananas

Goal
Introduction to parsing what in your life is a…

  • Lemon (strong source of meaning)
  • Small lemon (weak/moderate source of meaning)
  • Banana (not a source of meaning)
  • Lemon left on the table (source of meaning not tapped into)

Length
2 pages, 15 minutes

Recommended Reading

Digging-In Exercise – Sorting Lemons, Banana, and Small Lemons

Goal
Mulling over the sources of meaning in your life in response to deeper prompts. Option to extend the exercise and explore one of your small lemons by following along with on-page exercises

Length
1 page, 25 – 35 minutes

Required Pages

  • Read through the Forms of the Question page for prompts to help conjure up ideas for what does and does not contribute to meaning in your life. Note: The ‘forms of the question’ refers to different forms of the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’

Recommended Reading

Deep Dive Exercise – The Lemon & Banana Audit Pt 1

Goal
Explore multiple elements and aspects of your life and sort them into lemons, bananas, and small lemons. You will generate a list of over 50 elements and relationships to further dig into.

Length
1 page 25-45 minutes
2 supplemental pages (printable or online)

Required Pages
Follow along with The Lemon Banana Audit for steps and nuance to consider along the way.Part 1 of the audit takes you through the sub-sections ‘Getting Started’ and ‘Sorting Lemons and Bananas’

Recommended Reading
Understanding the different forms of happiness under How Happiness Acts as a Hindrance

Supplemental Pages

Deep Dive Exercise – The Lemon & Banana Audit Pt 2

Goal
From your list of lemons, bananas, and small lemons, compile a worksheet that you can use as a reference point for strong sources of meaning in your life, source of meaning that could potentially become more, or bananas that may be hindering meaning to varying degrees. Hang it on your fridge as a reminder of where you want to pour our time and energy.

Length
2 pages, 45 minutes

Required Pages
Follow along with The Lemon Banana Audit for considerations regarding lemons, bananas, and small lemons, including some optional banana-management practicesPart 2 of the audit takes you through the sub-sections ‘Examining Aspects of our Lives’ and ‘What Next?’

Recommended Reading
Explore the three happiness traps

For an exercise in digging into ‘lemons left on the table’ i.e. areas of meaning that have not been tapped into, the following exercise is a great entry point. However, we highly recommend checking out our assessment center for a deep and robust dive into your meaning strengths and growth-zones.

Intro Exercise – Lemons Left On The Table

Goal
Discovery sources of meaning that have gone untapped in your life. Use this worksheet as a jumping-off point to explore new pathways to meaning.

Length
2 pages, 10 minutes

Recommended Reading

  • Explore Trap 3: Happiness That Satisfies, including its section, Looking Back on a Happily Hindered Life
  • When you have completed the worksheet, the lemons are labeled with pages to read that dive deeper into each source or enabler to meaning

Printable Exercises For Identifying & Managing Pleasure-Seeking

Fridge Sheet – Stepping Off The Hedonic Treadmill

Goal
This is designed to be printed out and hung up in a place where you can see it regularly (like a refrigerator). The tips laid out are intended to help you step off the hedonic treadmill. When we step off the hedonic treadmill, we aren’t eliminating pleasure from our life, rather, we aren’t looking for it to sustain our well-being i.e. we can enjoy life’s pleasures without being beholden to them

Length
1 pages

Recommended Reading

Dig Deeper – The Adaptive Relationship Strategy

Goal
This is a tool to help determine whether or not a difference or point of contention within a relationship is enough to end a relationship. While this may seem like an odd addition to Happiness as a Hindrance, sometimes our relationships are hindered by the happiness we feel or cling to that arises from Cultural Noise.

Length
4 pages, 30 minutes

Recommended Reading

Dig Deeper – Happiness Traps Exploration

Goal
This worksheet explores the needs we meet with bananas and ways to meet those same needs with lemons. Tease out different forms of happiness and follow prompts to formulate ideas for meeting our needs AND adding meaning to our life.

Length
2 pages, 20 minutes

Recommended Reading

Happiness As A Hindrance How Happiness Acts As A Hindrance Peeling Back Pleasure Cultural Noise Happiness's Role In Anxiety, Depression, & Addiction Trap 1: Happiness We Chase Trap 2: Happiness We Settle For Trap 3: Happiness That Satisfies Overcoming Happiness As A Hindrance Happiness As A Hindrance Practice & Exercises Happiness As A Hindrance References & Resources