Do humans need a purpose to be happy?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by robbcayman, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. robbcayman

    robbcayman

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    Sorry, it's a little long.

    I met with a well respected entrepreneur a few weeks ago. He and I were talking about his business and success. He looks me in the eye and says I don't have to work. I figured this, but I didn't really react to the statement, as it caught me off-guard. He said you know.. I sold one of my companies about 6 years ago and I moved to South Beach. He bought a condo overlooking the water and planned on living the good life. Within 4 months he came back and bought into another business. His reasoning surprised me.

    He said his "retirement" gave him no purpose. He wasn't needed and the dream life everyone wants, wasn't a dream. I don't know this guy that well, so I was kind of taken back he was telling me all this. As he continued, he made a slight pause and put his cell phone down on his desk. He clasped his hands and said I want to briefly tell you my life after I sold the last company. He said I frankly didn't have a plan. I would wake up and go to the beach on Monday, on Tuesday would be golf, Wednesday was an errand day, Thursday he would go back to the beach and maybe golf the next day and so on. He looks at me with this dead stare and says honestly how many hours can you lay on a beach? Before I could even think about responding to the rhetorical question he blurts out, it gets boring, golf gets boring.

    As I stood up to leave, he said I hope you always have a purpose, because that is the only path to happiness I know. He said don't misunderstand me, I still have the condo on South Beach and go for a few weeks at a time, but it isn't all I do.

    I thought about it and he may be right. Some of the happiest people in the world have a purpose. I mean, Steve Jobs wanted to continue with Apple even after the fortune he made. The star athlete who can't walk away from the game, because he doesn't want to give up his fame or purpose. Some of the richest people in the world grasp onto a charity to give their time to. I guess if you tried to make your life all leisure you would soon lose your purpose and the loss of happiness would likely follow. What do you think... without purpose are most people really unhappy?
     
  2. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    I totally get your friend. I certainly have to have a purpose to have any real contentment in my life.

    I stopped needing to work when I was very young and I have been very busy since :)

    I have had a few stretches where I did nothing very meaningful and I was miserable in a very short period of time.
     

  3. robbcayman

    robbcayman

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    I guess it's a recurring theme. What did you decide to do to create your purpose, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  4. Paul53

    Paul53 You local friendly Skynet dealer

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    I would say no. Drugs/alcohol seem to work for some.
     
  5. TK-421

    TK-421

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    Not everybody needs a purpose, he just needed more variety. You can't do the exact same thing, day in, day out, and keep the exact same schedule, with absolutely no variation, and expect to not eventually get bored of it.

    Rather than doing the exact same things over, and over, and over, and over, he should've found a different way of spending his time. Go back to school, learn something new, find a new hobby, go on an adventure. Just sitting at home all day and doing nothing with your time isn't going to make you happy.

    But no, you don't need a purpose to be happy, but you can't expect to be happy by doing nothing.
     
  6. Deltic

    Deltic

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    I take more pride in my work history than my leisure history. I am retired now but I was better at work than I am at leisure.
     
  7. Bruce M

    Bruce M

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    I agree with the sentiment that we need some sort of a purpose to be happy. Maybe not all of us and certainly not all the same purpose. I have never met anyone who had drugs or alcohol as their apparent primary purpose who seemed all that happy. Some of the happiest people I have met seem to perhaps have more than one purpose - work and familty, family and travel, family and church.
     
  8. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    Actually, few people have as much purpose as an addict.
     
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  9. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    All kinds of things. Other businesses, education, public service, charities, hobbies, clubs, social groups. travel....

    I also have a family.
     
  10. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    That is finding a purpose, even if it doesnt last long.

    Even the 40 year old playing X-Box all day in his mom's basement has a purpose, his purpose, to beat level whatever. Next week it might be to slay a dragon.
     
  11. TK-421

    TK-421

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    You and I have a different definition of purpose then.
     
  12. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    That is part of my point.

    My purpose drives me, your's drives you.
     
  13. scout1

    scout1

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    I would guess a purpose would definitely help with happiness. Or instead of a purpose could you call it a goal? If you enjoy climbing to the top of a mountain, slip and fall back down, I am sure you will enjoy getting up and climbing again.
     
  14. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head CLM

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    A purpose might not make someone happy, but the lack of one will surely make him miserable. A man's purpose is his rudder. Without one, he just drifts pointlessly.
     
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  15. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    As a slight tangent, I think a lot of people mistake the intensity of those who are often strongly driven for some form of "not happy."

    When I am really into something, I can seem distant, bothered and even nervous. I dont know if I am "happy" but I love it. Content is a good word.
     
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  16. Paul53

    Paul53 You local friendly Skynet dealer

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    Can I qualify it as dysfunctional? Given proper health care they are often found to be self medicating for an underlying condition. Healthcare can give them a legal drug that treats the same symptoms.
     
  17. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

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    There are all kinds of details but again, a guy looking to feed an addiction has a purpose.
     
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  18. silentpoet

    silentpoet

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    Happiness and joy are two different things, though somewhat related. I may not be happy doing some of things I have had to do in life, but I can find joy and a sense of purpose in those tasks.
     
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  19. scout1

    scout1

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    Get high on life!
     
  20. Flying-Dutchman

    Flying-Dutchman

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    Work occupies your time so you do not have to deal with your real problems.

    People need more than just acquiring stuff to be happy.

    As a society people need religion.
     
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