Weekend Reading: meaning vs. happiness, real talk about high achievement, and the social cost of teens’ tech

Weekend Reading is a weekly collation of 3-5 articles that have caught my attention, published on Saturday mornings. Previous editions can be found here.

1. Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness (The Atlantic)

Cole and Fredrickson found that people who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives — proverbially, simply here for the party — have the same gene expression patterns as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. That is, the bodies of these happy people are preparing them for bacterial threats by activating the pro-inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is, of course, associated with major illnesses like heart disease and various cancers.

“Empty positive emotions” — like the kind people experience during manic episodes or artificially induced euphoria from alcohol and drugs — ”are about as good for you for as adversity,” says Fredrickson.

2. Tell your kids the truth about achievement before it’s too late (penelopetrunk.com)

Achievement means always wanting more. A lot of people who meet a big goal find that they want more. Because recognition is like money and we always want 20% more. Startup founders think they have to have multiple wins or else it was just luck. Artists who are in a gallery want to be in a museum. Writers who are published in the New Yorker want to get a book deal. Rock stars want to be rock legends.

Do you see how recognition is like money and you can never feel like you have enough? You always feel like if you get the next thing you’ll be happy. But you won’t. Because public recognition, like money is not something that is inside you. You can’t base your identity on something you can’t control.

3. What Really Happens On A Teen Girl’s iPhone (Huffington Post)

Not having an iPhone can be social suicide, notes Casey. One of her friends found herself effectively exiled from their circle for six months because her parents dawdled in upgrading her to an iPhone. Without it, she had no access to the iMessage group chat, where it seemed all their shared plans were being made.

“She wasn’t in the group chat, so we stopped being friends with her,” Casey says. “Not because we didn’t like her, but we just weren’t in contact with her.”


2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: meaning vs. happiness, real talk about high achievement, and the social cost of teens’ tech

  1. Hi Christine,

    Thank you for these thought-provoking articles. I really enjoy your summaries of what you’re reading. You always give me interesting things to think about. I decided to follow your blog after I came across your MLM post, which was fantastic. I’m so glad I did. Keep up the good work!



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