Some Key Differences between a Happy Life and a Meaningful Life

I saw a earlier today from , who’s a Professor of Marketing at Stanford’s , that linked to a she was a contributing author to: “Some key differences between a happy and a meaningful life.” When I clicked over to see the , it got me pretty excited or a couple of reasons.

The first, it’s going to be published in the . It was during my senior year of undergrad when I first came across  — what I think is a rather brilliant subject. In fact, I was even a of the for a brief time. The second, the lead author: . During my time at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now called, ), I remember reading a lot of . In fact, one of the papers I wrote on “transpersonal belongingness” relied on a .

Anyway, below is the abstract to the paper that Prof. Aaker linked to. If you find it interesting, I hope you take the time to read the whole journal .

Being happy and finding life meaningful overlap, but there are important differences. A large survey revealed multiple differing predictors of happiness (controlling for meaning) and meaningfulness (controlling for happiness). Satisfying one’s needs and wants increased happiness but was largely irrelevant to meaningfulness. Happiness was largely present-oriented, whereas meaningfulness involves integrating past, present, and future. For example, thinking about future and past was associated with high meaningfulness but low happiness. Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker. Higher levels of worry, stress, and anxiety were linked to higher meaningfulness but lower happiness. Concerns with personal identity and expressing the self contributed to meaning but not happiness. We offer brief composite sketches of the unhappy but meaningful life and of the happy but meaningless life.

Published by Jeremiah Stanghini

Jeremiah's primary aim is to provide readers with a new perspective. In the same vein as the "Blind Men and the Elephant," it can be difficult to know when one is looking at the big picture or if one is simply looking at a 'tusk' or a 'leg.' He writes on a variety of topics: psychology, business, science, entertainment, politics, history, etc.

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