I love coming upon TED talks that are eye opening.
And this one certainly was.
Why? Well several things, but Martin Seligman talks about that certainly some of the happier people he knows, were extremely social and had good relationships.
Now for those of us with social anxiety and/or struggle to have relationships, of course this makes sense. But Martin says, still its not enough.
I’m guessing here what Martin is getting at, though he’s not specific about it in his limited time, is that having a life full of busyness and external pleasure can bring fulfillment.
The Buddha has said this 3000 years ago, and yet still we constantly study this and try to heal it. Fascinating.
Martin talks about three types of lives people live or seek out.
1) The Pleasurable Life – semi-satisfying, but at the whims of always seeking pleasure, which involves a lot of suffering. Seeking that state of pleasure which is very transient.
2) The Good Life – not pleasure focused but “flow” focused. Pleasure is a distinct feeling which you realize that it is happening at the time, and can have specific thoughts about it.
Whereas with “flow” you get lost in the experience, merge with it, pretty much losing all thought and feeling of what you are immersed in.
Seems to be a level up from the pleasurable life, yet still there is a certain amount of seeking involved, because you want to get into that flow state, though it is more about internal than external as with the pleasurable life.
3) The Meaningful Life – the most “venerable” of them all. Where one does service for others, putting their attention outside of themselves and feeling they are doing something for the greater good of humanity.
I think the sense of gratitude is the most powerful in this type of life, though I think it applies to the flow or good life as well.
Of course to have a meaningful life as defined by Seligman, and help others, you have to be social. No you don’t have to be the life of the party, but you do have to be social.
Certainly there is a balance, because those of us with social anxiety have some things to overcome to feel normal at all around other people.
Just a few thoughts for you as you watch the video, comment below and let me know what you think!
Watch this TED Talk now:
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