Whether or not you’re aware of it, the need for your life to have meaning is at the roots of the motivation that makes you uniquely human. Positive psychologists, beginning with the writings of the likes of Abraham Maslow, Viktor Frankl, and Carl Rogers, recognized that it takes more than satisfaction of our body’s basic needs to give definition to our lives. Today, the central focus of positive psychology remains one of defining and understanding these higher-order motivations that often take us far out of our immediate comfort zone and into the challenges of realizing our potential.
The ideas behind so-called “humanistic” psychology are now becoming accepted as part of the mainstream in the field. Although, to be sure, creature comforts can be highly motivating from time to time, a life filled with nothing but the hedonistic search for feel-good experiences can leave people feeling empty.