Two central motivations in life: happiness and meaning - Deepstash

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The Differences between Happiness and Meaning in Life

Two central motivations in life: happiness and meaning

Two central motivations in life: happiness and meaning

Happiness and meaning are two main motivations in life. Research suggests that happiness and meaning are strongly correlated and often feed off each other.

But, an increasing body of studies shows that there are trade-offs between pursuing happiness and pursuing meaning in life. For example, in parenting; parents often report that raising children increased meaning but decreased happiness. Revolutionaries often suffer through years of violence for a larger purpose that can bring great satisfaction and meaning.

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The Synergy Of Good And Bad

Intense experiences of both kinds, good and bad, are helping build meaning in life to the same degree, and are complementing each other, according to research.

If a person has mostly good experiences, or mostly bad ones, his life cycle, in a way, is still incomplete. To truly get the meaning of life, both negative and positive life experiences are required.

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These new findings on the synergy of good and bad experiences in our lives go against our usual ways of ‘compartmentalized’ thinking and give us a glimpse of the integrated and dual nature of reality.

They also explains why we seek out unpleasant, or even dangerous experiences, like watching horror movies, going on thrilling rides which can be risky, or just being exhausted.

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Eudaimonia is a term which comes from Aristotle’s work called ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ and means individual well-being and happiness. It combines the prefix eu (meaning good) ...

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Having an intention to be virtuous was an important factor for eudaimonia.

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