Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Pursuit of Meaningfulness

"Happiness," that elusive prize. Yes, what makes people happy differs on an individual level; my idea of a happy night is a good book and a pre-warmed bed. Ah, sweet joy. Oh, yours is different?
Emily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer L. Aaker clearly break down the concepts into digestible parts in "Millenial Searchers." Are millenials a bunch of selfish brats, as trends like the "selfie" would attest?

It would seem not. Yes, while most youth hunger for a job that would make them happy, they are really searching for meaningful employment. "Meaning" and "happiness," however, are not the same thing.
"Meaning" means devoting oneself to others, giving of oneself, whereas "happiness" is about the "me," taking. Happiness is fleeting; meaning isn't. For instance, take child-rearing. It is a messy, exhausting, often thankless gig, so while a parent may not necessarily be happy in the point of time when sharing a house with a three-year-old, meaning rules the day. Happiness is based on little things; meaning focuses on the big picture. 

Sadly, it would seem that young people are more self-centered in "good times," and more concerned about others in "bad times." It is a shame that comfort and ease brings out the worst in humanity, whereas if the stock market goes belly-up . . . 

It has always worried me how people suddenly "get it" when "it gets" tough. Do we really have to wait until we are tested?  

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