Pleasure machine versus purpose engine

Dolan’s positive psychology research found that experiences of happiness
fell under two broad categories, those that felt pleasurable, i.e., joyful, content, excited; and those that felt purposeful, i.e., worthwhile,
meaningful, fulfilling. 

The secret, he says, is finding balance between bing a
pleasure machine or and purpose engine. Because while it’s possible for life to
be meaningful but not happy, few people manage to be happy if their lives feel
meaningless. Human beings simply have too many existential needs to strike that
kind of balance. 

When I was just out of college, I experienced significant
amounts of pleasure, but hadn’t yet cracked the code on purpose. Not that my
life felt meaningless and unfulfilling, it’s just that my relationships, both internally to my identity, my body, my mind
and my spirit; and externally to my friends,
to my family, to my work and to my community, hadn’t quite matured yet. 

But as I take more laps around this race called life, I’m starting to understand the difference between pleasurable happiness and purposeful

Both are available. Both are necessary. But the latter is more

And we tip the happiness scale in our favor if we major in purpose
and minor in pleasure. 


Would the five people closest to you think of you as pleasure machine or a purpose engine?


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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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