Reasons to be cheerful: how putting other people first makes you happy

Reasons to be cheerful: how putting other people first makes you happy

via the Guardian by Dan Ariely

Given that motivation is so central to our lives, what do we really know about it? What do we truly understand about how it operates and about its role in our lives? The assumption is that it’s driven by a positive, external reward. Do this, get that. But the story is much more intricate and complex.

One of the most striking aspects of motivation is that it often drives us to achievements that are difficult, challenging and even painful. You may think that you would be happy to spend all your time sitting on a white-sand beach drinking mojitos (feel free to replace with a different activity of your choice) and that as long as you get to fill your days this way, you would be happy forever. But while a few days of hedonistic bliss might be fun from time to time, I can’t imagine that you would be fulfilled by spending your days, weeks, months, years and even your life this way.

You wouldn’t be fulfilled spending your life in hedonistic bliss

Research that examines the differences between meaning and happiness finds that the things that give us a sense of meaning don’t necessarily make us happy. Moreover, people who report having meaningful lives are often more interested in doing things for others, while those who focus mostly on doing things for themselves report being only superficially happy. Of course, “meaning” is a slippery concept, but its essential quality has to do with having a sense of purpose, value and impact – of being involved in something bigger than the self…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE