Coming back from a wonderful week in Helsinki, where I met dozens of interesting people and discussed hundreds of amazing stuff related to leadership and humans. I might have a lot to say and it will be distilled slowly in my coming blog posts. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I captured about happiness and balanced life that stroke me and wanted to share.
This relates to yet another possible way to read (and build) our life. During a workshop on motivation, the trainer mentionned a theory, named positive psychology, or the science of trying to understand how people are happy. I will not enter into the details of its founder, Martin Seligman, neither into the details of its theory, that I have not read in length. I will just report what I got and what I felt was making sense to me.
It seems that our life is made of …
Pleasant moments. Moments where our senses and body feel well (eating something tatsy, listening to good music, …). It could be intense happyness, but the pleasure you get from it vanishes quickly.
Good moments. Moments where your activity is in line with your own value, this differs with the previous moments by the fact that your are involved in that moment, by making choices, coming from your desire, your sensitivity, realizing some of the wishes that you have in mind and in heart. For example, preparing and eating some special meal with carefully chosen organic ingredients, or from a country you dream of, or that triggers some good remembers. Using your skills of cooker to reach something. Well, you got it, it is something that link the external world, and your internal world. It triggers some satisfactory feeling, definitely.
Meaningful moment. Moments where you are realizing something with some other people, listening to your value, again. It creates some feeling of aligning your value, with the society (because others are involved) and provides great happiness. For exemple, following up on the idea of food, it could be about creating a restaurant with associates, providing the food you like and you believe peopel should get for good price (if your value is to feed people with good food at afordable price).
My personnal feeling is that in that story of values and moments, no one judges your values, they are yours. To reach a meaningful moment, you just need to unveil those values to the world and embedds others with you.
The theory says that each of us can have either a pleasant life, a good life or a meaningful life. But the reality might be that our life could be made of a patchwork of all those kind of moments. One thing raised from studies is that : the happiest people do have a serious rate of meaningful moments. Those meaningful moments create condition of a sustainable sense of happiness. Disclaimer : don’t ask me to show you the happiness-metering-tool, I have no idea – but you may find more here.
This may be *just* one exotic way of reading our life. But models are interesting because they force us to read our uses in a new way, with a different approach. And I felt that this one was interesting if you apply it in the various fields of work, friendship and love. It appears to me clearly that each of those fields deserves pleasant, good and meaningful moments. The last ones, meaningful stuff, may be complex to reach, because it implies to embed some other people with you, to be collaborative, to open your heart, but it seems that they are the ones that will make our life great and happy… Let’s try to cultivate them !
Some reference :
Poursuit of happiness http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/martin-seligman-positive-psychology/,
Martin Seligman TEDx talk https://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology
Picture : Gary Winograd.