Did you know that the research interest in meaningful life made a reemergence again in the early 2000s after it was abandoned for more than 30 years? Purposeful life and sports are complex topics that researchers have struggled to define empirically.
Our guest on the show today is Matteo Luzzeri. He recently completed his doctoral dissertation in the field of sports psychology from Florida State University. He is also a professional water skier, a coach, and has a very popular water-skiing podcast.
Matteo conducted his doctoral research on meaning in sports and its relationship with athlete burnout. During his master’s studies, he was able to convince his professor to set up a well-crafted seminar about existential psychology. He then got involved in the research ‘meaning in life’ which he toyed around with to come up with the idea of a sense of purpose and meaning for athletes that goes beyond mere motivation.
According to many empirical studies conducted over the years, human relationships seem to be the most prevalent source of meaning of life for many people. It, however, appears that during younger years things like personal growth, leisure, etc. seem to provide more meaning in life than some other sources. On the other hand, giving back, spirituality, etc. seem to be sources that provide more meaning in life in older generations.
Listen in to learn the similarities between sports and work with an example being professional sports. You will also get to hear why sports could be selfish and sometimes a lonely career.
What you will learn:
- [1:00] He explains why the completion of his doctorate degree is the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.
- [2:48] Existential psychology: how the idea of purpose and meaning for athletes that goes beyond motivation came about.
- [7:08] How the idea of a purposeful life reemerged in the early 2000s despite a gap that was caused by the failure of understanding meaning in life empirically.
- [10:14] The difference between sources of life’s meaning across lifespans.
- [12:51] The meaningful work literature – the commonality between work and sports and why some people dedicate a huge part of their lives to sports even though not professionally.
- [17:58] Why professional sport could be a selfish career that does not support relationships.
Quotes from Dr. Matteo:
- “It appears that cross-culturally despite ages human relationships seem to be the most prevalent source of meaning of life.”
- “Looking at sources of meaning seems like a viable and sensical approach; where would someone draw meaning from?”
- “There are a lot of similarities between work and sports. Some people even happen to have their job whether it is because they make money out of it and sustain themselves, whether its professional athletes or they’re collegiate athletes (think more of the US system) where they might not be receiving money, but they receive advantages like in education by virtue of their athletic performances.”