This episode is the fifth in a six-part series in which I take you through six different pathways to happiness, to human flourishing, and with each one I’ll provide you with tools that you can use. This is all based on the current research through a framework called PERMA-V. In today’s episode I’ll teach you all about the A – Achievement – and every other week, when I do a solo episode, I’ll be discussing another one of the 6 pathways. After you listen to each episode, I hope you’ll practice the tools I’m providing so you can apply this to your own life.
Here’s a bit of background to help put all of this in context. In the first episode in this series (Episode 30) I discussed a bit of the history of psychology in the twentieth century and the birth of the field of positive psychology, which stemmed from the recognition that we needed to focus on and learn more about wellness, and not just illness. A key idea in positive psychology is that the absence of illness is not wellness. Just because you don’t have diabetes or cancer doesn’t mean you’re healthy, and just because you haven’t been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder doesn’t mean you’re thriving and flourishing. Positive psychology started developing the understanding that, more than the surface happiness, which, while it’s pleasurable, is more fleeting, we should be learning to cultivate a deeper, more fulfilling happiness. I addressed the concept of the hedonic treadmill as part of the reason why the search for more money and a better job doesn’t lead to true, deep, lasting happiness, and what Aristotle called “eudaimonia,” or wellbeing and flourishing.
The field of positive psychology has been studying what it takes to really cultivate our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others, and a recent theory has laid out 6 pathways to flourishing: PERMA-V.
- Meaning and Purpose
- Accomplishment and Achievement
In today’s episode I discuss Achievement. For many – usually women – we were raised being told not to brag, not to talk about our own achievements, that this would sound boastful and unattractive and impolite. Many men grew up learning just the opposite, that in order to get ahead they should be promoting their own successes. This certainly isn’t true for all men and women, but it is for many. Some grew up pursuing achievement with little regard for whether or not those achievements would actually make them happy. So an important question for all of us to consider is this: How do we achieve those things that will actually make us happy?
First of all, we should understand that achievement is correlated with wellbeing, but that’s really when we’re achieving things that are really in our heart, not just things that others have said we should do, or those things we feel that society expects us to do.
Research has shown that there are two main ways in which we can be motivated: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic is when we’re motivated by external forces, be it other people’s expectations or demands, or a salary or other reward. Intrinsic is when we’re motivated by something inside of ourselves, because deep down inside we want to do this thing, we feel called to do it. And research is very clear that intrinsic motivation is more effective in leading to achievement than extrinsic motivation.
A first step towards achieving our dreams is to consider our own beliefs about whether or not we can achieve them. Are we doubtful or hopeful? Research shows very clearly that hope matters. Hope ignites your goals into action, and if you’d like to learn more about this, please check out Episode 18 (https://carinrockind.com/episode18). Basically, having hope that we can achieve something helps us more easily come up with strategies for achieving it.
An important piece of successful achievement is planning for the change. Many people dive right into action, especially around things like New Years resolutions, but they don’t plan for the change. I address the importance of planning for change, including planning for failure.
I also introduce the well-known concept of SMART goals as well as a newer concept, SMART+ goals, as well as the importance of primers and support.
Here are a few resources I mentioned:
Ritual, a fantastic supplement that you can get here: https://ritual.com/purposegirl
The Happy Woman Shop:
Marissa Peer’s book, Trying to Get Pregnant (and Succeeding)
Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit
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May you live purposefully, may you love yourself, and may you love life.
Bye for now!