Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happiness Theory 2 & 3 – Activities & Authenticity

Having previously looked with Dr. Mike Pratt at the first step of choice in happiness, the second step has to do with activities. There are two types. First, activities that provide gratification. This comes through progress towards meaningful personal, work-related and also altruistic goals.

The second kind of activities are ones that simply bring pleasure. This is about creating time for and being engaged in things that you really enjoy doing, and a variety of them too. Steer clear of the toxic polar points of these two types of activities, workaholism and hedonism. A single-minded pursuit of work can bust up social relationships, A single-minded pursuit of pleasure can be addictive.

The third happy step, along with choice and activities, is about authenticity and personal purpose. This is where signature strengths (a concept developed by Martin Seligman) are developed and applied to gratifications. When we use unique signature strengths and virtues towards a higher purpose beyond our own needs or desires, the ‘meaningful life’ comes into play. Knowing your signature strengths can enhance performance, make life more fulfilling, help you tackle difficult situations more easily and provide a basis for developing your personal purpose.