Monday, April 09, 2012


After reading the books on shame, I started reading a book called, "FLOW:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience."  It seems to me that it's about how to be happy.  No airy, fairy philosophy stuff - evidence-based (research) on what makes people happy. 

One of the ways they researched was, they had all kinds of people carry pagers around, and the researchers paged them at random times.  Then the folks filled out forms on what they were doing and how they were feeling.  From that information they extrapolated what seemed to be consistently useful in making people happy.  It turned out that pleasure and leisure were not the answer to happiness.  What was the answer is a lot more complicated and harder to describe.

The psychology consistently showed that people start out in life working on getting their basic needs met - food, shelter, health, relationships, work, etc.  Lots and lots of people stay in the framework for their whole lives and lots of those folks are quite happy there.  Others are not satisfied in that framework and move on to a larger framework - that of religion or some other spiritual practice that guides their decisions and their lives or some other framework that connects them to a larger community such as community service, politics, etc.  Last but not least, there are some people who move on to a much larger framework - that of self-actualization - meaning that they develop their talents and capabilities.  The happiest of all the folks studied were those that were living in all three frameworks simultaneously.  There was almost no "leisure" or "pleasure" type activities in those folks lives because their joy came from their spiritual and creative activities. 

Interesting.  More on this later.  Haven't finished the book yet.

No comments:

Blog Archive