Working to “redefine normal" through simple challenges, particularly in my case as an empty nester, can help you consider and make small changes that make a big difference in how you approach or simply view your “life” going forward. Our Love What’s Next Free Project participants are seeing this first hand as they get their feet wet in the series of daily and weekly challenges that they are participating in.
While on my journey to uncover my “what’s next", I explored a variety of approaches and perspectives. In doing so, I came across an interesting study that enlisted participants to help answer this question (this is how I defined the question) ” Which is a better way to approach life... to have that extra brownie with ice cream and feed ones self indulgence for an immediate degree of happiness…. Or refocus energy and efforts on things that would lead one towards long term happiness?” I appreciate the fact that Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and colleagues who study on well being (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ) helped answer this question but deep down...I suppose I knew before reading it, that the answer would be something that didn’t include warm brownies and ice cream.
Yep, I dug around a bit and found there are some fancy ways of saying “brownies and ice cream“ (hedonistic) and long term happiness (eudemonic) but no matter what name you apply to them, Dr Fredrickson’s, (and other studies) show that adults who reported greater focus on a sense of purpose (as opposed to self indulgence) were much happier and healthier in the long run.
Is It Ok to Agree… And to Disagree?
To a degree, respectfully, Dr. Fredrickson, I think so. Read on…
Yes, I do believe that these studies share a truth that we all know is largely accurate. Having a sense of purpose long term has enormous value to us as human beings. As a matter of fact, I feel that this is so important that this is the pinnacle pursuit within the six pursuits that the Love What’s Next Project is built upon. We call it Limitless Spark (feeling like you are doing what you were meant to do). But, in my opinion (as well as in the Love What’s Next Project) I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive. As many of the participants of our Love What’s Next Projects know, we have a variety of challenges that tie back to what we call “Simple Bliss”. These are in fact “self indulgences” but we believe that they are small, simple, inexpensive yet significant steps that help us not only be grateful for the simple things in our life but to also fuel us with a few simple pleasures that help us stock up for endless pursuits as we explore “what’s next”.
So here’s to the occasional warm brownie and ice cream as fuel for the journey towards Loving Whats Next!!!
Nicole Cavey is the Chief Pursuit Officer of Love What's Next. Through her personal journey to uncover what was next for her, she discovered that you can love where you are no matter what stage in life you are in... as long as you know how. Her mission is to show YOU how!