Cooking up a recipe for flourishing


Since May 2011 we’ve been telling the world that we like to help people flourish. But until now we’ve kept the recipe for flourishing a closely-guarded secret. Today we are happy to share what we’re doing. SPOILER ALERT: IT IS NOT CHEESY AND YOU CAN’T EAT IT.

We’ve launched an awesome little microsite where we have put the flour into flourishing: Recipes from brilliant, real-deal chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Delia Smith and Prue Leith are all there. As well as some in-house family secrets from Spark+Mettle people. They WILL make you feel great. If you haven’t checked them out yet, go go go. And then come back here, and find out what flourishing means and how you can get some.

Hello again! Ta da! What does flourishing even mean? Well, now that is a question. Here are some answers:

  • A dictionary definition: to thrive and prosper. Or to grow luxuriantly; to achieve success; to be in a state of activity or production; to reach a height of development or influence.
  • A poncy definition: the purpose of life, according to Aristotle. His notion of eudaimonia (living well or flourishing), is underpinned by his idea that the human task is undertake lifelong activities that actualize the virtues of the rational part of the soul. He also adds that friends, wealth and power help out too.
  • Our definition: being able to fulfil our potential, and to feel engaged, to feel upbeat and to feel good about what we do. Boom. It’s a core belief of ours, and one that we adhere to through all our work.

Some clever folks at Cambridge University have usefully broken down the concept of flourishing into nine different components that we’ve been using in our programmes so far. They also (I think rather neatly) use the concept of ‘languishing’ to counterbalance  it.

Their definition includes three core ingredients and 6 additional ones that they believe you need in order to flourish.


  • Positive Emotions
  • Meaning or Purpose
  • Engagement or Interest


  • Optimism
  • Resilience
  • Vitality
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-determination
  • Positive relationships.
Their research has found that in the UK only 11% of the population have all nine (and therefore are fully flourishing). They also found that people from the poorest families in the UK are half as likely to flourish as people from the wealthiest.

We’ve played around with their ingredients. The first thing we did was to mash them up with an equal measure of Franklin’s self-improvement programme. You can check out all about that method right here:


We’ve just finished one term of our ‘flourishing’ training. A test bake. And we’ve figured there are some things we’d like to alter. We’ve merged ‘optimism’ and ‘positive emotions’ into one. The researchers’ premise for inserting ‘positive emotions’ in the core was, presumably, because they were simply inverting the components of languishing, mental disorders or depression.

We also have found that it is a key component for us to consider creative thinking as a distinct element to flourishing. There has also been talk within the team to introduce another component around awe or wonder. We haven’t done that yet though. But seeing as founder Eugenie uses the word awesome a lot, maybe it’s a no brainer.

Our revised version currently stands at:


  • Meaning/Purpose
  • Engagement/Interest
  • Positive emotions


  • Resilience/Mettle
  • Creativity
  • Vitality
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-determination
  • Positive relationships
  • (Wonder/Awe)

This has been a very long preamble. But, in the spirit of our flour-ish campaign, here is our fresh new recipe for flourishing.


Tell us what you think! And find out all about some free, fun ways to flourish right here too.