Is the Best Way to Achieve a Happy Life Through a Meaningful Life?

Meaningful lives tend to be happy, but there is no guarantee. Some ways to make life meaningful do not bring happiness. Terrorists, missionaries, and various international development workers may derive immense meaning from their work but probably fewer joys and pleasures than many other lives.

Still, the pursuit of happiness that ignores meaning is likely to fail. Happiness without meaning tends to focus on short-term and even selfish pleasures. Deeper sorts of satisfaction require integrating past, present, and future, and for that you need meaning.

Roy Baumeister is a professor of social psychology at Florida State University.

Category: Q&A


2 Responses

  1. Ramesh Raghuvanshi says:

    Most difficult thing in the world is to find out meaning in life. After all each individual is unique so his meaning ful aim also different.Find out which aim is subtable that responsibility automatically fall on each one. Who accept gladly his destiny and love it wholeheartedly I think he is happy

  2. Randy Hain says:

    Is the best way to achieve a happy life through finding meaning? This is a great question, Roy and you’re right—we all derive meaning in unique ways and from different aspects of life. Still, we all are in search of this kind of life at some point in our existence. I couldn’t agree more with your statement that the pursuit of happiness that ignores meaning is likely to fail. We all must take the time to really find out what is missing in life and what we want and need to feel more fulfilled.

    I discuss some of these points in my new book titled, “Something More: The Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life,” a roadmap to a better life ( – Randy Hain, Bell Oaks Executive Search

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