01 Jun Why real happiness requires living a meaningful life.
A Stanford research project explored the key differences between lives of happiness and meaningfulness. While the two are similar, dramatic differences exist – and one should not underestimate the power of meaningfulness. "The quest for meaning is a key part of what makes us human," the researchers concluded.
BY CLIFTON B. PARKER
While lives of meaningfulness and happiness overlap, they are distinctly different, according to Stanford research.
In a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Jennifer Aaker of Stanford Graduate School of Business, along with colleagues, found answers about life in how people spend their time and what experiences they cultivate.
"Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker," Aaker said.
The researchers surveyed 397 people over a month-long period, examining whether people thought their lives were meaningful or happy, as well as their choices, beliefs and values. They found five key differences between meaningfulness and happiness:
• Getting what you want and need: While satisfying desires was a reliable source of happiness, it had nothing to do with a sense of meaning. For example, healthy people are happier than sick people, but the lives of sick people do not lack meaning…
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