The Psychology of Everyday Life: Motivation and the Search For Happiness

Positive Psychology

How do Seligman’s findings accord with other happiness research?

Seligman’s findings that the pleasant life is least predictive of overall happiness compared to the engaged and meaningful life helps explain some of the contradictory findings in happiness research. It seems that pleasure, what we feel after we achieve a desired goal, is most likely to be short-lived. This is consistent with the notion of the hedonic treadmill, which presumes that any satisfaction derived from an achieved goal is bound to be temporary. Our way of engaging with our life, however—whether we are involved with other people in a meaningful way or meeting our own potential for growth—appears to have significant impact on our general happiness. Thus, if we want to increase our level of happiness, we are better off considering the way we live our life rather than solely focusing on the pursuit of pleasure.


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