The conceptual framework for a man's search for meaning

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Part 3: The pursuit of happiness

May 10th, 2011 by dimpledbrain

We talked about how consciousness determines our level of happiness with the good news that we, for the first time, can control the input, i.e. our attention. (Click here for Part 1).  That our attention can be invested in either enjoyable activities or pleasurable activities (Click here for Part 2). By definition, only enjoyable activities can stretch our capabilities and thus necessarily transform us into complex beings. This in turn will determine the level of happiness in life.

Now we can achieve this optimal experience (or flow) as proposed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his wonderful book Flow in all aspects of life:

  • Physical – music, sports, martial arts, yoga etc
  • Mental – via words & memories. Suggested domains to invest our attention – history, science and philosophy.  
  • Social – in all our relationships, i.e. in solitary or in the company of others.
  • Work – via finding a purpose
  • During hardship/tragedies – via a clear sense of purpose/ meaning
  • A lifetime – via a consistent life theme. It is relatively easy to achieve ‘flow’ in only one aspect of life. For example, businessmen who make a lot of money but at the expense of their private lives. The greatest of all must be he or she who achieves flow in all aspects of life.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

And I think the same must be true for experience as well. Mihaly spent 25 years researching this book so we can either pick his brains and avoid the common pitfalls or spend another 25 years guestimating our life away.

p/s: However, compared to my chosen framework, there is this one glaring void, i.e. the spiritual realm. We shall attempt to tackle this aspect some time in the future.

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