Pleasure is not the same as happiness at work

What is the relationship between a lump of sugar and the last time you checked Facebook? The fleeting satisfaction, the desire to go back for more…and the inability to provide true fulfillment.

Pediatrician and neuroendocrinologist Robert Lustig has dropped a bombshell with his latest book, stating that pleasure does not equal happiness. He gives 7 solid arguments for the distinction between the two, including, among others, temporality, meaning, giving, the social condition and neurotransmitters. Dopamine (which controls pleasure) and serotonin (which controls happiness), are localized in two distinct areas of the brain and mobilize two di fferent types of actions. In e ffect, he argues that happiness is not the result of an accumulation of pleasures, and in fact the frenzied pursuit of fleeting pleasures can actually inhibit true feelings of contentment. I liked this book (and the video of it published by BRUT) because it delivers a new perspective on workplace wellness policies that are multiplying everywhere despite not being particularly e ffective.
O ffering foosball, lunch-hour pilates or collective meditation sessions are all fine, but these activities fit squarely in the Pleasure category, and have all the e ectiveness of applying a poultice to a prosthetic leg if they remain disconnected from the real core issue, which is the conditions in which work is being carried out in a profoundly changed global environment. It is up to companies to decide what should be addressed first: inconsistencies in the employee experience, or the pressures of new ways of working.

To learn more: The Hacking of the American Mind, de Robert Lustig (Penguin 2017).
« Plus vous recherchez du plaisir, plus vous serez malheureux », Brut

Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.