How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The need for: Challenge
Think about a time when you were happy. There is a good chance that it was something to do with achieving something, maybe something that took some effort, where you were not sure of succeeding.
When we get engrossed in an interesting situation, we often lose track of time. Time flies when you're having fun, as they say. What is also interesting is that we even lose track of our selves. This is the state known as 'flow'. The paradox of this situation is that when we come back to ourselves, we feel particularly happy. It is as if getting away from our selves is good for us.
In Csikszentmihayli's study of flow, he discovered a personality type that always seemed happy, no matter how poor or disadvantaged they were. What he found about these people was that they were always challenging themselves. They had small challenges throughout the day as well as longer-term life challenges. Throwing themselves into the challenge put them into flow and coming out with success made them happy.
He called these people 'autotelic', from the Greek words 'auto', meaning 'self', and 'telos', meaning 'goal'.
He also found people who found great difficulty being happy. These people were often very self-centered, to the point where they could not bear to give up their attention on themselves and hence could not get into flow.
Challenge people, but not so much they cannot succeed. Help them with their challenges, but not so much that they think you have stolen their success. Praise and recognize them when they succeed through real endeavor.
A common young person's form of challenging a friend starts with 'I bet you can't...'