Which Goals Make Us Happy?

Jun 27, 2020

Based on scientific research which goals can make us happy? So, you want to choose the right career, the right business, and eventually join the top one percent performers in your field. So, what type of goals can actually make you happy? A lot of psychologists have worked in this area. One of them, Richard Ryan, says that the goals that cater to three of our basic needs can actually make us happy.

These basic needs are Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. So, if you choose a goal where YOU choose the goal by yourself, and it's not a FORCED goal from outside; your parents don't choose it, but you choose it for yourself, and it's a goal that is all about personal development and gaining new skills and knowledge along the way and also it's about creating and strengthening relationship with others and especially contributing to other people and the community at large, these types of goals can actually make us happy.

On the contrary goals that are all about external validation, they are all about getting rich and famous and popular can actually make us miserable.

Let me give you an example. For example, somebody enters the field of medicine. They choose this goal themselves. They invest in their personal development. They learn new stuff and new skills along the way and their intention is to create relationships with their audience, their patients and actually help them. Their main intention is not getting rich. These types of doctors are actually the happiest.

On the contrary somebody who enters medicine because their parents have forced them to, and they don't invest in their personal development and professional development and their sole purpose is to make money and become rich, these kinds of medical doctors are usually miserable; and as somebody who trained as a medical doctor twenty something years ago and has a lot of medical doctor friends, I can attest to that finding of positive psychology research.

Another example: Somebody wants to do similar work to me. They want to become a speaker, a coach and a subject matter expert. So, if they choose the area they want to be active in themselves, and if they invest in their personal and professional development, and one of their main intentions is to help people and to contribute to their community, these types of people and these types of thought leaders are the happiest.

On the contrary somebody who enters this field because there is the opportunity to become rich and famous and popular and they don't invest in their own knowledge and their own personal and professional development and their intention is not really to help people but to again get external validation and become rich and popular and famous then these people are usually stuck and miserable and they're not really very happy.

  So my question to you is when you're choosing your career or your business, when you're setting goals for yourself, are you paying attention to autonomy, competence and relatedness as three of your basic human needs?

 

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