Looking for Happiness? Try Purpose Instead
Amy Cuddy: It’s most likely the case that the relationship between sense of purpose and the “outcome” variables is bidirectional — they are mutually reinforcing. But collectively, across hundreds of thousands of participants from widely varied cultures, in studies that have systematically controlled for other contributing factors, the evidence is compelling: Finding purpose and living a meaningful life certainly seem to contribute to the quality of our mental and physical health. All of this is not to say that we should quash our desire to feel pleasure; joy ought to be savored. But research shows that we should slightly relegate happiness as the transcendent goal and prioritize finding, feeling, and acting on our sense of purpose.