Youth Spring

Nurturing Youth Well-Being

Q: People say we must find our passion in life and   know the one thing to which we dedicate our life.  Is that   really necessary- to know one thing to dedicate our life to?

There is nothing absolutely right or wrong here. Individuals differ. For some, it could be a single goal /cause that overpowers everything else and to which they dedicate their lives; but for several others   it could be a set ofvalued goals in one or more  life  domains.

Q: Do goals and pursuing goals  really  matter  for  wellbeing? What kind of goals   help in promoting wellbeing?

Ans.

As per research, goals ( and pursuit  of  goals)  do  contribute  to  wellbeing but  it’s the nature of  goals, motives of  goal pursuit and  the  style  (  what,  why  and  how)  that  are  most  important.

By and large   a goal / engagement is likely to facilitate wellbeing when:

  1. a) perceived as owned by self   rather than seen as imposed explicitly/implicitly by others- (Its not always all/none  but a  matter of degree of personal  conviction  and reasons),
  2. b) driven by the desire   for  ”doing”  and  ”being”  rather   than ”having” more  and  more  ( particularly having /acquiring materials)
  3. c)  is in alignment   with one’s deeply held values, is personally meaningful
  4. d) capitalizes on one’s strengths
  5. e) less influenced by  the  need  to   avoid  something  and more  by the  appeal  inherent  in   approaching  towards  something
  6. f)  which may help  us  fulfil  our  basic  needs   for   experiencing a  sense of  mastery, autonomy/relatedness  to  some  extent  and  in some ways..
  7. g) when achieving the end -point is  not  constantly set  as a  precondition  for happiness- (I  will  feel  happy  if/when…)  and when the process is  meaningful to  some  extent
  8. h)  when one is into some regular activities/engagements (not necessarily major goals) that go beyond self/close others

Now I do not mean that a single life goal  /all  these  characteristics  in one’s  goals  in  an absolute  sense are  a  must/a precondition for a sense of satisfaction/fulfillment!

It’s merely that these  are  some  characteristics/processes if  present  to  some extent  in  some  of  our  goals / activities / meaningful engagements – can   contribute  to  our  sense of  wellbeing  in  the long  term!

Dr. Seema Mehrotra

Professor

Dept.  of Clinical Psychology

NIMHANS, Bangalore

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Categories: FAQ