3 reasons why we should seek meaning instead of happiness

JP Michel
Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

1. If you aim directly for happiness, you are less likely to get it. 

The direct pursuit of happiness can lead us on a hedonic treadmill. The surge of happiness that's felt after a positive event is likely to return to a steady personal baseline over time. 

Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(3), 222–233. https://lnkd.in/e6u8AaMb

2. Meaning makes room for suffering.

Aiming for happiness can cause us to avoid pain and strain, which are essential to living a fulfilling life. We want to be able to take on challenges, solve obstacles and be resilient as we learn to overcome failures.  

“As much as we might wish, none of us will be able to go through life without some kind of suffering. That’s why it’s crucial for us to learn to suffer well.”

― Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

3. Meaning takes the long view. 

While happiness is mostly focused on the present, meaningfulness involves integrating past, present, and future. To reach our potential, we need to be able to reframe our stories, take stock of where we are and create our aspirational selves. What is meaningful, including our deeply held values, guides us in this process.

Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., Aaker, J. L., & Garbinsky, E. N. (2013). Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(6), 505–516.

How do you create meaning for yourself and for others?

#happiness #meaning #careers

Let's keep in touch