In principle, yes. In practice, many external circumstances modify perceived and factual autonomy :-)
Thank you so much! I’m exploring here, so thank you for your input.
Still, I would not say I have reached some maximum; I still want.
Oh, definitely! I mean “maximum” in the sense of increasing well-being, not in the sense that there is a limit.
Another aspect that I wondered about was that bit about journeys versus end points
This fits incredibly well into SDT, but I agree that I did not specify it in the article. One of the most competence-satisfying things is optimal challenges, challenges where you’re stretching your abilities but still likely to succeed.
How would we evaluate things, or even should we, in a retrospective view?
I think this is a much larger causal question on counterfactuals, and it’s often very hard/impossible to meaningfully do that. But we can still make clear answers to prospective questions, and to specific retrospective questions: If a choice A is more likely than B to satisfy competence, relatedness and autonomy, then it is the better choice.
To conclude, I agree with basically everything you stated. The goal is no the goal in the to-do sense, rather in the compass sense. Was that a satisfactory explanation? :-)
A lot to unpack here! Three statements catch my eye:
Autonomy: making decisions and taking responsibility for these decisions? The most stressful thing in life.Autonomy: the choice to say ‘no’ to one’s decision? Something that we always have, only the results vary depending on the circumstances and will not always make us happy.Autonomy: financial and physical ability to own and do what we want? Something that we have little influence on.
Autonomy in the SDT-sense is not defined by whether we’re making decisions, nor whether we can own what we want. To make it as specific I can, it’s scoring high on the BPNSFS which contains the following items on autonomy:
I feel a sense of choice and freedom in the things I undertake
I feel that my decisions reflect what I really want.
I feel my choices express who I really am.
I feel I have been doing what really interests me
Most of the things I do feel like “I have to”. (R)
I feel forced to do many things I wouldn’t choose to do (R)
I feel pressured to do too many things. (R)
My daily activities feel like a chain of obligations. (R)
Where (R) items are reverse scored.
As you can see, every item contains “feel”. Autonomy is about whether you feel like you can do what you want to do.
It’s really amazing how happy we are to give up our autonomy when we feel safe to do so.
Having the ability to give up autonomy and take it back at will is, in itself, incredibly autonomous! It also satisfies relatedness.
Is stress what we need to be happy or how much stress do we need to feel happy?
I highly doubt that stress has an independent effect on happiness, but I find it extremely likely that many of the activities that satisfy competence, relatedness and autonomy to the highest degree are also stressful :-)
I think that phenomenologically, you’re right. Other-directed goals (need for relatedness, in SDT terminology) feel like they’re essentially other-directed.
I think that the evolutionary cause for having other-directed goals is directed at your own genetic proliferation, and I also think that autonomously holding other-directed goals improves your own well-being, even above and beyond the benefits you get because they like you for it. Eg. Gore et al. 2009.
Stated differently, even if you’re optimising completely selfishly, you’ll have to be unselfish. We care about others simply because they are important to us, not because they make us happy. They are a terminal value. If they are instrumental, we don’t get the benefits to well-being. But caring for them terminally also carries benefits to ourselves. I think that’s wonderful!
Nice post Chris! For an empirical approach to this question I highly recommend Self-Determination Theory.
I wrote a short post on my thoughts here.
Not when it is based on the above preconditions, no.
If happiness was defined as “experience maximum pleasure” then yes, I’d be afraid that I would end up in abject hedonia. But when it is based on things that lead to meaning, as SDT has shown that autonomy + relatedness + competence do, then that is not currently a fear of mine.
Does that make sense? Or did I miss your point? :-)
Oh, I completely agree! I simply labeled things “action” when I thought they were sufficiently specific for me to act on.
I hadn’t seen how-laddering before, so thanks for that!
Since there’s essentially unlimited ways of having things one finds important, I use these more as heuristics to decide between different options – ie. do I currently feel constrained on time, and if so, is option A or B best for me.
I’d say that
doing something due to social norms to improve your life through prestige
is caught by “I have integrated motivations” in the chart – subjectively it feels much different from integrated motivations, at least it must for the SDT questionnaires to have predictive power, which they do 👍
Thanks! Skepticism is exactly what I asked for, so thank you for providing it!
I think I agree with you. If we mean happiness in the “at peace” sense, and not the “feeling joy” sense, then happiness is probably my terminal goal. I don’t think maximising for joy is possible without trading off a lot of peace, so joy becomes a sub-goal. But thank you! I’ll adjust it in my graph.
As I see it, at the action level it makes little difference. Do you agree? :-)
Good question! I haven’t been very clear on my definition of well-being; to me, it is reacting in the optimal way to life circumstances. That does not mean happiness in all cases – when my family faces hardships, it makes sense for me to worry.
Another example is the manic patient in the psych ward. He may be experiencing maximum happiness/joy, but I don’t call what he experiences well-being.
I completely agree that maximum energy and meaning lead to maximum happiness! It looks ugly in the software I use – not adding the arrows was an entirely pragmatic choice.
I agree, that was counterintuitive to me as well! Empirically, though, at least for most people it seems that being sensitive to the needs of others is even more important than others being sensitive to your needs.
Furthermore, giving autonomy support to a friend predicted the givers’ experience of relationship quality over and above the effects of receiving autonomy support from the friend. When both receiving and giving autonomy support competed for variance in predicting well-being, giving, rather than receiving, autonomy support was the stronger predictor.
I read your comment as “I don’t mind that my emotions are sometimes not considered, as long as I can depend on my friends and family”. I’d argue that that’s sensitivity to your needs as well – they satisfy what matters most to you :-)
Does that make sense?
Hi pjeby, thanks for your comments!
Just to be clear, I have no affiliation with Roam nor am I part of their development. I’m a user just like everyone else.
I use Workflowy for mobile capture and can copy to/from it just fine. I use Chrome on macOS for Roam (through Nativefier), so I don’t know why that isn’t consistent. I’ve added it to their bug-report (which currently lives on Slack, very alpha!)
The interface scales really well, so if you want larger text (as I did), I highly recommend simply zooming in the browser.
The reading may be a subjective thing, I quite like it. I’m sure interface customisations are going to be in the works.
Linking to/from bullet-points and having backlinks show up is a large part of the draw for me.
Hi Jordan! Sorry about that, you can find it here: http://roamresearch.com
I’ve added a link to the post as well.
Thanks a lot for this! I used paper to elaborate on a math proof, and it was tremendously productive.
For more fact-based research, it was too slow for me. Instead, I’m completely enamoured with Roam.
Just added a post on it: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/BHp82PvqCDayFpefg/implementing-an-idea-management-system
1. I plan to take a sabattical next year. Wrote an impressive researcher in a field I’m interested about to hear about any research opportunities in the pipeline.
2. Formalised my morning-routine in a document to decrease time spent reading about other’s meditation before I start my own. Reviewing notes from last session, finding a relevant passage in my book.
3. Set up a routine to stay in touch with a far-away friend. Asking kindly about thoughts on a subject, and about what I can help him with.
4. I’m often distracted in my long study sessions by a desire for food. Made a routine to ensure snacks are in my room, not in the dorm-kitchen, without them spoiling.
2. consisted of many sub-items, so I count it as 2 separate items ;-)
It seems this method is very useful for meaningful tasks with some negative affect that I’ve been putting off without any good reason. Thanks for this!