Balancing Purpose and Pleasure

To be truly happy, you need to feel both pleasure and purpose. You can be just as happy or sad as I am but with a different combination of pleasure and purpose. And you may require each to different degrees at different times. But you do need to feel both. I call this the pleasure-purpose principle–the PPP. Paul Dolan, author of Happiness by Design

Hedonism is the pursuit of happiness via sensory pleasure and comforts. Eudaemonism is the pursuit of happiness through efforts to live a virtuous life and become a better person. There’s evidence to show that living well means balancing these two aims.

If we choose one to the exclusion of the other, we can end up feeling like we’re missing out which can cause anxiety, depression and even chronic disease. One way to obtain balance is to notice when experiences provide a sense of both pleasure and purpose then create more of these moments in our lives.

Affirmation: I have both pleasure and purpose in my life.

Coaching questions: Can you name a time when you experienced both pleasure and purpose? What helps you keep both pleasure and purpose active in your life? What gives you pleasure? What gives you a sense of purpose?

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