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Goals, Character Strengths and Happiness

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Vijay and Ravi are fruit selling brothers whose lives differ on only 1 aspect: They both have different reasons for not cheating customers. Vijay thinks: “If I cheat, soon someone will catch me leading to loss in reputation and business”. Ravi thinks: “I want to live a life of integrity”. For the same job, Vijay’s motivations are extrinsic and Ravi’s motivations are intrinsic.

So, who’s happier?

Motivation theories tell us that the more one does things for self-determined “intrinsic values” versus for “extrinsic metrics”, the happier one gets. And not just that. Having intrinsic motivation also helps improve performance. In one of Yale’s noted researches conducted by Amy Wrzesniewski, hospital cleaners who identified intrinsic work motivations such as “love to help people” were much better performers compared to the ones who “love the job benefits”. Further, research by the VIA (Values in Action) institute also suggests that the more character strengths (i.e. in common parlance, intrinsic values) we are able to bring to our work, the more satisfied we are with what we do. When one such high-performing staff was asked about how she felt about her job, she mentioned ‘what I do is not about my job, but about me’. Be it the Bhagavad Gita telling us “Let not the fruit of the actions be your motive” or the 3 Idiots’ Baba Ranchoddas saying “Don’t run after success, run after excellence”, they are perhaps telling us the same thing. Which is to pursue not ends but rather do things with the right intrinsic motivation. For therein is both happiness & success.

This may be true but how does one practically realize this?

In our Workshops and Academic Courses, we bring together:

  1. Learnings from positive psychology that help identify the unique values (referred to as “character strengths”) each individual closely identifies with

  2. Easily applied design thinking principles to creating a framework for designing one’s life

  3. Prototyping to help participants initiate the life they design for themselves on paper

With a purposeful career that is in line with intrinsic values, a participant initiates their journey not just to a successful self but also a happier self.

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