The key to happiness above all else is intrinsic satisfaction. People seeking happiness will try anything to become happier. Some turn to drugs, alcohol and partying. Others will turn to travel, moving to another location or diet and meditation. But according to many psychologists like Tim Kasser, the answer is more simple than many people think. Intrinsic satisfaction.
What is Intrinsic Happiness?
Intrinsic happiness is defined as “The sense of satisfaction that you get from working on a specific task. Intrinsic motivation is the key to creativity, happiness, and the realization of your full potential.”
What does this mean?
What intrinsic happiness means is that people who do things simply because they want to is what creates happiness. This sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it? Well, finding intrinsic happiness is harder than it sounds.Think about your day. Your alarm goes off, you make a healthy breakfast, shower, and get yourself and maybe your children ready. You then head to work, and come home, manage household chores, then maybe get in an hour of television before going to bed.
How much of this day was spent doing things you want to do, rather than doing things you feel you have to do? Is your diet, family and job a burden? If yes, then you are not intrinsically happy.
People often make decisions for extrinsic reasons. They want more money, they want some reward in the future, some reason other than they simply want to do it. People spend their lives doing things they do not like hoping for a future when they can finally do what they want. This is not how to be happy.
How do we solve our existential life problem?
Well, this is where your problems now become easier than you think.
- How many things do you do in life because you simply want to do them?
- What is your motivation?
- Can we combine extrinsic goals with intrinsic happiness?
Well, I have some good news. You do not have to dedicate your life to folly to be happy. What you can do is rethink your actions in life and make a plan to spend some of it doing things just to do it. You can still work a job, save for future rewards and still pursue intrinsic happiness.
Does your job make you miserable? Why? Is it the tasks you are doing? A boss you hate? Customers constantly giving you a hard time? How can we change this? For some, it may be an entirely new career, for others it can be as simple as changing your perspective. What parts of your work give you joy? Focus on those things. Make a list of 10 things you love about your career (not necessarily your current job) and 10 things you do not like. How can we remove some of those negative things to focus on some of the better things?
Some people are lucky, they can simply speak to their boss, assess strengths and weaknesses and retool your position. For others not so lucky, you may have to find an entirely new job.
Intrinsic Happiness in Life
I have not posted to my blog here in months. My blog makes me happy, but I just was not focusing on the things that make me happy, I quickly lost my original focus, which is focusing on things that make my life better and working through them.
What makes you happy? Surely you have a hobby you enjoy that you may have set aside for extrinsic stressors. Focus on what makes you happy whether it be music (Mine is music!), watching sports, or drawing and painting. Spend a little time, even just 30 minutes a day pursuing something that makes you happy just to do it. Stop living a life of constantly doing things for other reasons than the simple fact that they make you happy.
Once you begin to refocus even a small amount of your time on being happy just for yourself, it will spill over into the rest of your life, your work, your family, and your mind.