Of course, oftentimes these things yield happiness, so we don’t need to extricate them too much from what we’ve already learned. But there is a subtle difference. We’re just talking different iterations of the same thing: happiness is the patty melt of the well-being hamburger, while eudaimonia is the bacon cheeseburger. (And they’re both real great.)
As always, we don’t care to learn a theory if we don’t have a direct application to our lives. So why do we care about this idea of eudaimonia? Because it gives us a direction: attaining happiness and fulfillment through living up to our highest potential and living a virtuous (read: authentic) life.
In other words, living up to our life’s purposes and values, doing fulfilling work, finding meaning in something. (Anything!)
We’ll discuss this theory in greater depth later when we discuss flow, but eudaimonia directs us to prioritize meaning in our lives. Whether that comes from our work, from our relationships, from our play—we’re putting depth and purpose front and center. This might look like having a job that you love, that challenges you and gives you a chance to use your talents and makes an impact in the (or just your) world. It might look like having deep, connected relationships that provide immense value to your life. It might look like having a hobby that lights you up on the weekends, even if your 9-5 is a little ho-hum. Or, perhaps it’s a combination of all of those things.
So the biggest question when we consider eudaimonic well-being is: how do we cultivate more meaning in our lives? How do we foster movement towards our highest human potential? Spend some time brainstorming and daydreaming on this idea today.
Di Fabio, A., Plazzeschi, L. (2015, September.) Hedonic and eudaimonic well-being: the role of resilience beyond fluid intelligence and personality traits. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01367
Niemiec C.P. (2014) Eudaimonic Well-Being. In: Michalos A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_929
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual review of psychology, 52, 141–166. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.141