Series on Meaningfulness at Work – Being Happy

“I just want to be happy.” We have all said it at one time or another. The wish for happiness is one of our most widely held goals in life. But here’s the rub. Recent research suggests that happiness–as the be-all and end-all–isn’t the only ingredient to a life well-lived. As a result, some researchers are cautioning against the pursuit of mere happiness and advocating for the pursuit of its closest cousin: meaning.


At first blush, it may seem peculiar that there is a difference between feeling happy and finding life meaningful. In fact, they are positively correlated–but they don’t always go together. Findings from a recent study conducted by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at University of North Carolina and her colleagues, examined self-reported levels of happiness and meaning, and the results were alarming: a whopping 75% of subject participants scored high on levels of happiness, but low on levels of meaning.

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