Purpose vs. Pleasure

Are you pursuing a purpose-centered life? Having a really good time? Doing both? Neither? Here, we explore the apparent tensions that exist between our pursuits of purpose and pleasure, and the ways they can live in harmony. We offer insights on how both purpose and pleasure shape our life experience, and we suggest creative ways of discovering the balance that works best for you.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Purpose vs. Pleasure — the apparent tensions that exist between our pursuit of those aims, and the ways they can live in harmony.

We offer philosophical and biological insights on the roles that both purpose and pleasure have in guiding human experience.

We share how we’ve come to discern the difference between cravings and longings while honoring the real value of both.

Finally, we offer you some experiments to help you find the proper place for purpose and pleasure in your own life.

“Purpose vs. Pleasure” Episode Highlights

  • Dallas and Pilar consider how the goal of “finding” our purpose is often set up as being in opposition to the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures
  • Dallas’s take on cravings vs. longings — the role that modern processed food, digital stimulation, technology, pornography, and social media plays in shaping our appetites
  • The intersections of pleasure and purpose — how they can complement, conflict with, and inform each other
  • The potentially false dichotomies around purpose vs. pleasure, and the different sorts of gratification that come from each
  • Pilar shares the story of her friend Cindy Joseph, who used her commitment to pleasure-centered living to guide her evolution of a successful purpose-driven business
  • How being socially connected and supported can moderate cravings and give you an advantage in pursuing your deeper longings, including your exploration of purpose
  • “Failure to launch” syndrome  — how lacking role models for balancing purpose and pleasure is hamstringing a generation
  • Our society’s moral prohibitions against pleasure, its enticements to hedonic excesses, and the art of finding the sweet spot between the two
  • Pilar makes a case for tuning into how you feel about your pleasure/purpose balance and allowing your deepest appetites and intuitions to guide you
  • Some suggestions on purpose-centered navigating, and the importance of enjoying that quest

Reflect on the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” and read the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia. Spend some time ruminating on what you love, what the world needs, what you can get paid for, and what you’re actually good at. If you’re a visual person, draw a venn diagram representing the intersection of these areas, and take time to do some introspection around this.

Watch and do the exercise suggested in the “How to Discover Your Purpose in Less Than 5 Seconds” video by Brian Johnson. 

Healthy, Happy Goodness

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