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What Really Matters? An Interview with Rebecca Goldstein. Raised in a Jewish Orthodox family, philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein gave up on the idea of God in her teenage years, after she read Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian. She then became ‘a quiet atheist’, so that she wouldn’t upset her religious parents. Meanwhile, Goldstein has become a vocal humanist. She found solace in philosophy and philosophical fiction, having a particular soft spot for Plato and Spinoza – her twitter account name is ‘PlatoOnBookTour: Plato reacts to the 21st century.’ She is one of three philosophers who ever got the US National Humanities Medal.

A visiting Professor at New York University and New College of the Humanities in London, Goldstein will be giving a talk on Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, and discussing post-truth at HowTheLightGetsIn Festival in London on 22nd September. You’re currently working on a book on mattering. What do we mean when we say that something, or someone, matters to us?

Only to some extent. I do. Finding my voice. Happiness is for animals; Meaning is for humans – The Polymath Project. I’ve raved several times about Happiness by Design, a book on happiness by economist Paul Dolan. The book taught me to separate happiness and meaningfulness when thinking about human well-being. In Visualizing the Meaning of Life: The Drip Coffee Model, I explored the idea that meaning-in-life comes from having enough meaningful activities in your life. But I didn’t explore questions like “Where does meaning come from?” Or “What makes an activity meaningful?” That’s what I want to do in this essay. Poor = Meaningful? One way to try and understand meaningfulness is to look at a bunch of countries and see how they differ. The first study that does this is a 2014 paper by Oishi and Diener. A chart from the paper, for intuition: It’s not just that high-meaning countries tend to be poorer, though.

This is cool, because we tend to think that happiness & meaningfulness go hand in hand. From the authors: Of course, we shouldn’t leap to the conclusion here that prosperity destroys meaning. The Creative Life and Well-Being - Scientific American Blog Network. Future - The secret to living a meaningful life. Brian Little, one of the world’s leading experts on personality psychology, is renowned as a public speaker.

If you watch his recent TED talk on personality, as millions of others have, you will see an engaging and witty orator holding his audience’s attention with aplomb. You’d probably conclude that Little is an extravert: he’s not only good at what he’s doing, but he seems to be revelling in the opportunity. In fact, Little is a self-proclaimed introvert. After his talk you would quite likely find him seeking a few minutes of quiet refuge behind the locked door of a toilet cubicle. This is one of the “restorative niches” described in his 2014 book Me, Myself, and Us, which he uses to recover from the exhausting demands of acting extraverted.

Indeed, Little and his colleagues have spent many years studying how we can break free from the constraints of our more permanent personality traits, and live a happier life too. How your projects affect you Reframe your plans. You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question. Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money, and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room. Everyone would like that—it’s easy to like that. If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” And you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous it doesn’t even mean anything. A more interesting question—a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before—is what pain do you want in your life?

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence—but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, and obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. Happiness requires struggle. People want an amazing physique. VIA Survey or StrengthsFinder? How to Be an Optimal Human. What does it take to be an optimal human being? Throughout history there has been much speculation. For Aristotle, the highest human good was eudaimonia. For Carl Rogers, it was the "fully functioning person". For Abraham Maslow, it was "self-actualization".

For Erik Erickson, it was wisdom and integrity. For Erich Fromm, it was about having a "being" orientation (in which you value personal growth and love) instead of a "doing" orientation ( in which you value material possessions and status). But are these theories right? In his scholarly book "Optimal Human Being", psychologist Ken Sheldon does a nice job summarizing and integrating a large number of these studies.

I will summarize some of his science-informed prescriptions here, in the hopes that it helps you in your own journey toward greater health, growth, and happiness. 1. It turns out that Abraham Maslow was pretty spot on with his proposed list of basic needs (although he did miss a few). 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. This Is The Most Inspiring Way To Be Happier And More Motivated. We all wanna be happy, right? But I have a little surprising, unhappy news about happiness — it can be selfish. Here’s what one study showed: Our findings suggest that happiness is mainly about getting what one wants and needs, including from other people or even just by using money… Happiness went with being a taker more than a giver, while meaningfulness was associated with being a giver more than a taker. So happiness and goodness can be separate. There’s the “pleasure” type of happiness that comes from just eating ice cream but then there’s the warm kind that comes from helping friends.

What kind of happy do we want to be? One researcher found out and he did it in the craziest way possible: he started by studying what disgusts us. Go down this rabbit hole with me, won’t you? Elevation Isn’t Just For Elevators NYU professor Jonathan Haidt was studying moral disgust. He found we all seem to be wired for moral disgust. From Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived: Sum Up. When Your Calling Seems Vague and Unclear, You’re on the Right Track. When Your Calling Seems Vague and Unclear, You’re on the Right Track Most people don’t know what to do with their lives. And that’s okay. “We see in order to move; we move in order to see.” —William Gibson These days, there’s a lot of talk about discovering your dream.

More and more people are unwilling to exchange their ideals for a paycheck. I’m sure there are people who know exactly what they were born to do, who have had a vision of their life since they were six years old. So where do you go from there, if all you’ve got is an itch, a vague premonition of an un-lived life? That was the question I sought to answer in my book, The Art of Work. Lesson 1: Don’t wait for clarity “I have never had clarity. The other day, I was on a call with a young woman who was passionate about getting involved in social work — she just didn’t know where to start. As the discussion continued, she confessed that she didn’t know what her calling was. Takeaway: Clarity comes with action. So where do you start? What is better – a happy life or a meaningful one? —... Parents often say: ‘I just want my children to be happy.’

It is unusual to hear: ‘I just want my children’s lives to be meaningful,’ yet that’s what most of us seem to want for ourselves. We fear meaninglessness. We fret about the ‘nihilism’ of this or that aspect of our culture. When we lose a sense of meaning, we get depressed. What is this thing we call meaning, and why might we need it so badly? Let’s start with the last question. To be sure, happiness and meaningfulness frequently overlap. The difference between meaningfulness and happiness was the focus of an investigation I worked on with my fellow social psychologists Kathleen Vohs, Jennifer Aaker and Emily Garbinsky, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology this August.

As you might expect, the two states turned out to overlap substantially. The first had to do with getting what you want and need. The second set of differences involved time frame. Social life was the locus of our third set of differences. Viktor Frankl’s Meaning-Seeking Model and Positive Psychology - Dr. Paul T. P. Wong. I. Introduction I. 1. The Socio-Political Milieu of Frankl’s Logotherapy I. 2. The Positive Bias of Positive Psychology I. 3. Positive Psychology Research on Meaning I. 4. The Positive Psychology of Meaningful Living I. 5. The Positive Psychology of Meaning Seeking I. 6.

II. III. IV. V. Appendix. In recent years, there has been growing interest in meaning research. However, in spite of the central role of meaning, we still do not have a comprehensive theoretical framework that is capable of incorporating most of the empirical findings on meaning research and logotherapy (Frankl, 1985, 1986). Although both logotherapy and positive psychology are concerned with how to live a meaningful life, they seem to function in parallel universes, divided by vast differences in language, worldviews and values. I emphasize Viktor Frankl’s approach for three reasons. I. 1. Another contributing factor was the concept of the “man machine,” which had been prevalent since the industrial revolution.

I. 2. How to hack your passion. Doing what you love’ is a sentiment that I grew up surrounded by. My parents led by example, starting their own business from our converted garage when I was just a kid. But that home business was only one of many career paths my dad tried out. Along with hobbies ranging from playing guitar to painting he seemed to always be in the pursuit of something new. For whatever reason, I picked up this tendency to try different paths, but not an acceptance of it. Like so many of us, I’ve always rebelled against my desire to try new things because I was looking for that one thing I loved. I wanted to ‘follow my passion’. I just wasn’t sure what it was. Why ‘do what you love’ is bad advice Figuring out what you love to do, that can also make you a living, is really hard. Case in point: I write a lot. Lately, my focus has switched more to software development. And what if down the road I decide I want to be an actor, illustrator, or lawyer?

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. Six Habits Of Ambitious People. Ambition gets a bad rap. The trait that pushes someone toward success can sometimes turn into a game where winning isn’t about achieving; it’s about beating the other person. Channel it correctly, however, and ambition can bring great results. "On average, ambitious people attain higher levels of education and income, build more prestigious careers, and report higher overall levels of life satisfaction," says Neel Burton, psychiatrist and author of Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions. "Many of man's greatest achievements are the products, or accidents, of their ambition. " The key is to pursue healthy ambition: "People with a high degree of healthy ambition are those with the insight and strength to control the blind forces of ambition, shaping [it] so that it matches their interests and ideals," says Burton. 1. 2.

Ambition takes a willingness to step into fear and anxiety, says Burton. 3. "Talk with and learn from people different from you," suggests Ma. 4. 5. 6. There's More to Life Than Being Happy. "It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness. " In September 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished -- but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived.

In his bestselling 1946 book, Man's Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who had lived and those who had died came down to one thing: Meaning, an insight he came to early in life. When he was a high school student, one of his science teachers declared to the class, "Life is nothing more than a combustion process, a process of oxidation. " Frankl jumped out of his chair and responded, "Sir, if this is so, then what can be the meaning of life?

" Viktor Frankl [Herwig Prammer/Reuters] Peter Andrews/Reuters. Why Are Hundreds of Harvard Students Studying Ancient Chinese Philosophy? - Christine Gross-Loh. Picture a world where human relationships are challenging, narcissism and self-centeredness are on the rise, and there is disagreement on the best way for people to live harmoniously together. It sounds like 21st-century America. But the society that Michael Puett, a tall, 48-year-old bespectacled professor of Chinese history at Harvard University, is describing to more than 700 rapt undergraduates is China, 2,500 years ago. Puett's course Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory has become the third most popular course at the university. The only classes with higher enrollment are Intro to Economics and Intro to Computer Science. The second time Puett offered it, in 2007, so many students crowded into the assigned room that they were sitting on the stairs and stage and spilling out into the hallway.

Harvard moved the class to Sanders Theater, the biggest venue on campus. The smallest actions have the most profound ramifications. Decisions are made from the heart. A Life Beyond 'Do What You Love' How to Find Your Life Purpose: An Unconventional Approach. By Leo Babauta Let’s say you’re feeling unmotivated, unsure of yourself, aimless, can’t find your passion, directionless, not clear on what your purpose in life is. You’re in good company — most people are in the same boat. Now, there about a million things online telling you how to find your passion in life, and that’s a good thing. It’s a search worth undergoing. I’m not going to give you a fool-proof method, or a 5-step method, nor share my passion manifesto with you today. I’m going to give you a one-step method. However, that one step is a doozy. The One Step to Finding Your Purpose It’s simply this: learn to get outside your personal bubble. Your personal bubble is the small world you live in (we all have one), where you are the center of the universe.

This is the bubble we all live in most of the time, and people who say they don’t are trying to prove something. When someone tells you you look fat, this only hurts because you’re in your personal bubble. How to Get Out of the Bubble. 8 Signs You've Found Your Life's Work. This month marks the nine-month anniversary of the most natural and obvious, most joyful and energizing decision of my life: to fully commit 100% to my life's work. I've spent every day falling more madly in love with how I live my life and spend my time, the contributions I'm making to society, and the discomfort and growth that I feel each day.

My journey getting here was both arduous and enthralling. It was not at all straightforward. I had numerous experiences that collectively brought me here, teaching me what I'm capable of and showing me what does and does not resonate. Though I've known for many years that my purpose is to unlock human potential, it took me some time to fully embrace my intuition, to figure out how to actualize this vision, and to build the courage to lean into my fears. I've made the mistake of plunging headfirst into a business commitment that wasn't fulfilling, spending more time trying to make it work than actually getting stuff done. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Our Survival Skills Become Our Talents. How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love. 5 Profound Insights On Success From A Wharton Prof Devoted To Understanding It. How Will You Measure Your Life? The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and The Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long.

Purpose Can Not Be Rationalized. The 3 Most Important Questions | Mindvalley. 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose. Free VIA Character Strength Survey. Which Character Strengths Are Most Predictive of Well-Being? - Scientific American Blog Network. 340_ways_to_use_character_strengths.pdf (application/pdf Object) Self Motivation Quiz (Free) -- How to Motivate Yourself. Personality test based on Jung and Briggs Myers typology. Personality Junkie: Type Tests, Profiles, Careers, & Relationships.