What would you rather have: a happy life or a meaningful life?
You can both be happy and lead a meaningful life, of course. But most of us, consciously or not, choose the pursuit of happiness over the pursuit of meaning. “Happy holidays,” we wish each other; “Happy New Year,” we say. If you’re like 45 percent of Americans, you are setting New Year’s resolutions with the aim of leading a happier life: One of the most popular, according to Nielsen, is to “enjoy life to the fullest.” In surveys, most people list happiness as their top value, and self-help books and life coaches make up part of a multibillion-dollar industry.
But should happiness really be the only goal that motivates us?
Research by the two of us shows that the happy life and the meaningful life differ — and that the surest path to true happiness lies in chasing…
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