Ways people with a purpose live differently
January 17, 2017
Having purpose in life - an underlying sense of meaning that guides what you do - boosts self-esteem and self-worth, finds Anthony Burrow, co-director of the BCTR's Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). A recent Huffington Post piece examined the ways people with a purpose live differently, using Burrow's recent research into Facebook likes as a test of the effects of purpose on self-esteem:
What motivates you is entirely up to you. But understanding your own priorities, knowing what you are working to accomplish and being committed to meaningful causes can help balance your sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
“It’s not really about what the content of a person’s purpose is, but the strength of it ― how much they’ve committed to the idea that there’s something that they’re pursuing,” study author Anthony Burrow, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, told The Huffington Post.
It’s important to note that having a sense of purpose is different from having goals, Burrow added. Goals are pursuits you can accomplish, he said. “Purpose is sort of an overarching direction for which you use to organize and align your goals.”
What the study revealed about people with purpose
Burrow and team wanted to investigate the way higher levels of purpose affected self-esteem, so they conducted two experiments. In the first, they surveyed Facebook users about purpose, self-esteem and average number of “likes” their posts typically received, finding the more likes people tended to receive, the higher their self-esteem tended to be. Except that for the individuals who reported having a high sense of purpose, there was no relationship between self-esteem and number of “likes.”
For the second experiment, the researchers created a fake social media site (to confirm that the results of the first experiment weren’t Facebook-specific). Plus, using a fake site allowed the researchers to manipulate the number of likes a given user received ― and then measure how that number (above-average, average or below-average) affected an individual’s reported level of self-esteem.
Self-esteem was higher in general if the individuals were told they had received a high number of “likes” and lower if they were told they had received a low number of “likes.” But, Burrow added: “There was no relationship between the number of likes people received and their self-esteem if they had a high sense of purpose.”
7 Ways People With A Purpose Live Differently - Huffington Post