One of the things Seth Godin said about blogging every day is that it makes him pay attention more to life. It makes him notice things that seem worth sharing.
I’ve been experiencing this same thing with blogging every day. I think I’m on Day 35, I have to check. All I know is that I haven’t stopped yet.
So amidst the swirls of stimulation and thoughts, today there was one thing in particular that stood out to me.
I was listening to the audiobook for Happier, by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, and there was a quick concept I really liked.
The idea that happiness (sustainable happiness) can be found at the intersection of pleasure and meaning. But you must have both.
Pleasure all by itself is a present-moment feeling. Often times we equate happiness with moments of pleasure.
But in the book, he says that one of the keys to real happiness is to not only think about the present moment, but to balance that present-moment thinking with a focus on how your choices will make you feel in the future.
That’s where meaning comes in.
In the book, he considers meaning to be more future-based or thinking longer-term.
Hedonism = focusing on maximizing moments of pleasure in the moment, with no regard at all for the future.
But the understanding that your current activity will also benefit you in the future…according to the book, this will make you the happiest.
His idea is to spend as much time as you can in your life experiencing and working on things that are meaningful and personal to you but also provide those moments of pleasure in the present moment.
This goes for work, relationships, activities…anything, really.
Pleasure + Meaning = Happiness.
I like this concept so much. In fact, I always joke that my favorite kind of fun is “relevant fun.” In fact, I actually own relevantfun.com. I bought it in 2014, around the same time I took a trip to Vegas. Joel had asked me to go to Vegas with him and I didn’t consider Vegas to be “my thing,” so I decided to make it relevant. And it was awesome. Pleasure AND meaning!
I think that’s one of the reasons I love travel so much. The newness and excitement of exploring a new place feels so pleasurable, and the experience of learning about a new culture and a new place feels so meaningful. Gotta have both, yo.
What do you think about this concept? Do you feel a good balance of both pleasure and meaning in your life? What areas of life could you use more moments of pleasure? Where could you use a little more meaning?
Get the book: Happier