127: How to Be an Optimal Human

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By Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

“The happiest person is the person doing good stuff for good reasons.”

— Kennon Sheldon

Dr. Kennon Sheldon is a psychologist at the University of Missouri who studies motivation, goals, and well-being, from both a self-determination theory and a positive psychology perspective. He has authored or co-authored multiple books, including “Optimal human being: An integrated multi-level perspective”. Dr. Sheldon has been cited more than 30,000 times, and in 2010, he was named one of the 20 most cited social psychologists.

In this wide-ranging episode we discuss:

  • How Ken went from aspiring musician to leading research on goals
  • Whether the pursuit of happiness is worth it
  • Is happiness in your genes?
  • The link between goals and happiness
  • The what and why of motivated goal pursuit
  • The basic needs of self-determination theory
  • Deprivation vs. growth needs
  • Self-concordance theory
  • The link between values and happiness
  • How much can we use science as a guide to values?
  • Are there some ways of being more conducive to happiness than others?
  • How to get in touch with your OVP (organismic valuing process)
  • Marrying positive psychology and humanistic psychology
  • The relationship between personal goals and personal projects
  • How to know when to change your goals
  • The good life: well-being or well-doing?

184 episodes