In a world that revolves around hustle culture, pursuing hobbies and interests is often not a priority. Now, a new study shows that choosing career goals over freedom and fun might not make life better.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Essex, found that people who prioritised achievement over enjoyment were less happy the next day. According to the university's press statement, people who aimed for freedom said they had a 13% increase in well-being as well as better sleep quality and life satisfaction. Furthermore, the respondents who tried to relax and follow their hobbies recorded an average well-being boost of 8% and a 10% drop in stress and anxiety.
“We all know the old saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and this study shows it might actually be true,” said study author Paul Hanel in the statement. “There is no benefit to well-being in prioritising achievement over fun and autonomy,” he added. The study, Value Fulfilment and Well-being: Clarifying Directions Over Time, examined more than 180 people in India, Turkey and the UK.
The findings showed that there are real benefits to maintaining work-life balance focusing on following individual goals and engaging in hobbies. The study indicated that people are more successful when they are more relaxed, happier and satisfied. The findings were published in the Journal of Personality.
While achievement and conformity values did not impact happiness, according to researchers, achievement could impact happiness when linked to satisfaction or the number of days worked.
In a society where people spend most of their time working on work-related goals, daily income, and studies, this study shows that there are benefits to prioritising freedom and self-direction and maintaining balance.
Today, young workers are choosing work-life balance, flexibility and mental health over career goals and money. Previous studies have shown that many are struggling with job burnout and rather spend time shaping themselves as individuals than cling to the capitalistic obligations of the hustle culture.
Speaking to journalist Reem Khokhar for a Lounge article, Tanuja Agarwala, human resource management and organisational behaviour professor at Delhi’s Faculty of Management Studies said, “They [young workers] want to work in places that do not impose strict hierarchy; balance career achievement with personal goals; provide autonomy in constructing their work day; and clearly communicate company values and culture, particularly related to social relevance, diversity tolerance, and inclusivity.”