… the self determination theory which holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered “intrinsic” to human happiness and far outweigh “extrinsic” values such as beauty, money, and status.
– Sebastian Junger in Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
Each and every day , from when we wake up to when we go to bed at night, what do we do to satisfy these – our three basic intrinsic needs? How many do we satisfy everyday? One? Two? All three?
Does catering to these needs truly make us happier? The theory says so. But to know at a personal level, it is definitely something to experiment with, monitor and analyse.
This would also be one explanation for our hesitation with learning (especially adult learning). How often does our need to feel competent at what we do, hold us back from exploring new opportunities, from learning new things, from risking?
What to do about it? Maybe one trick is to have areas in our lives where we feel competent, and expose select other areas where we experiment with short-term risks.