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Description: There is a palpable sense (if you pause quietly and look for it) that we are all very close to getting a restart opportunity. While we will have to wait a bit for the Delta variant to rage, we will be able to get back to things again soon. We could simply breathe a heavy sigh and say Ah, normal returned! BUT it is not really clear that what we move into next WILL be normal. We have a rare opportunity to reflect on what our personal worlds and experiences will, can, or might look, feel and be like in the near future. Wouldn’t some research looking at moments like this be helpful? (Yes, please!). So, if we are all taking stock and reflecting and sorting options for moving forward with our very lives, what sorts of things should we be considering? Well, of course, you can do whatever you like but if you would like some broader options consider this question. Looking forward would you prefer a life that is happy? A life that in meaningful? Or a life that is rich (in experiences but not necessarily money)? I am NOT going to pose this as a research question because I think you should think about you own personal answer to the question first. After you have done that THEN have a look at the wonderfully rich article linked below that will, among other things, suggest a third path for moving forward in your life (that if richness of experiences). And, the research the author discusses provide data of this question!

Source: Perspective-changing experiences, good or bad, can lead to richer lives, Sujata Gupta, Science News

Date: September 1, 2021

Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Article Link: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/good-life-happy-meaning-richness-change-experiences-psychology

So, what do you think of the “Third Road” that you can set out along in life? Happiness is an option but it is tied to many things. Meaningfulness if also tied to many things. Either can definitely be viable life pathway options. But what of a rich life? Many who are trying to understand what is involved in building a sense of personal identity suggest that focusing upon and pursing interests and curiosities can be very productive ways of finding personal pathways forward in times and spaces of uncertainty, change and novelty. If THAT sounds like the way the world is looking like in the near to foreseeable future than perhaps including some, or a LOT, of richness search and focus in your post-Covid game plan would be a wonderful way to move into the new normal (whatever THAT is going to involve)!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are happiness and meaningfulness considered in research looking at life direction choices?
  2. What does a focus on life richness involve?
  3. Of the three pathway options, happiness, meaningfulness and richness which do you think you are most likely to pursue over the next few years? How might you at least dabble in the richness stream?

References (Read Further):

Wilson, T.D. et al. Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind. Science. Vol. 345, p.75. Link

Oishi et al. Happiness, meaning and psychological richness. Affective Science. Vol. 1, June 23, 2020, p.107. Link

Oishi et al. The psychologically rich questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality. Vol. 81, August 2019, p.257. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2019.06.010. Link

Oishi et al. Experiences associated with psychological richness.” European Journal of Personality. Posted December 2, 2020, Link

R.F. Baumeister et al. Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life. The Journal of Positive Psychology. Vol.8, p.505, Link

Sacks, O. (2015)  My own life. New York Times. Posted Feb. 19, 2015. Link

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