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Fame, fortune and looks undermine well-being

A study published in the June issue of the Journal of Research in Psychology shows that students who set and attain goals which involve becoming rich, famous or good looking are less happy, less satisfied with life and more angry and anxious than those who follow intrinsic goals, such as helping in the community or personal growth.

The study carried out By Edward Deci, Psychology Professor at the University of Rochester, shows that focusing on extrinsic goals undermines well-being and leaves people feeling empty.  For example a student in the study said that “ The whole process of being so on the treadmill to wealth, fame and image leaves me feeling like a pawn or a puppet in life.  

The study highlights that the achievement of goals does not always end in a positive result.  This is because extrinsic goals, for fame say, do not meet peoples basic needs for autonomy, competence and relating to others and in fact undermine these basic needs. Focusing on intrinsic goals, on the other hand, meets basic needs and contributes to well-being. You can read about related research in our Values section of the new Flourishing part of the website here. To access the journal click here

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