Thursday, July 23, 2015

A richer model of happiness - Pleasure/Flow/Satisfaction

Happiness is a coarse term, and often leads to cumbersome discussion and confusion. Martin Seligman provides a more granular model of happiness: pleasure, flow and satisfaction.   This model will be useful as we discuss positive computing. 

Pleasure is the happiness of doing what feels good in the moment.  It's the happiness of consumption.  Eating, drinking, buying something.  Pleasure is easy to achieve, but the happiness is lost within minutes. 

Flow is the happiness of being engrossed in a a challenging, enjoyable task.   It's the happiness of production. Making art,  baking cookies, working on a project.  Flow takes effort to get started, but the happiness last the length of the task, often lasting hours.

Satisfaction is the happiness of  being the person you want to be.  It's the happiness of identity.  This happiness is deeply personal, for me it's being a deliberate person who can put a smile on a strangers face.  Satisfaction takes significant effort, but the happiness can be unshakable and permeate your being. 

Positive computing will need to address each of these aspects of happiness to best serve our users. 

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