What Brings about Happiness?
Arkansas Baptist College
There are numerous ways to define the word happiness; however, according to Webster dictionary, the word happiness in best defined as enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy. People generally associate happiness with simply having a good feeling inside whether it is from monetary or financial gain, finding a potential soul mate, getting a promotion at work, self employed, the birth of children, and so on. These are all different ways in which people generally associate the happy feeling with. Many people express their happiness in different ways; ...view middle of the document...
It can be said that individuals can gain happiness from simple pleasures of life such as: buying a new car, Blue-ray DVD player, watching television, vacations, and more; however, there are also advanced pleasures such as: marriage, job promotion, childbirth, or a prosperous and fulfilled life. Dr. Seligman, who is a well known psychologist, spent most of his career studying positive psychology (Seligman, 2012). Positive psychology studies happiness in depth. He identified three types of happiness: pleasant life, engaged life, and meaningful life. The “pleasant life” is defined by “aiming to have as much positive emotion as possible around and learning the skills necessary to amplify life” (Seligman, 2011). The “engaged life” is characterized by identifying your greatest strengths and or talents to work at remolding life as a partner, employee, friend, parent, sibling, and more leading to pleasure (Seligman, 2011). Lastly, the “meaningful life” refers to using your gifts, talents, and skills to work toward a greater good outside of the self (Seligman, 2011). Although Dr. Seligman states, in his research, that the top forms of happiness are “meaningful life” and “engaged life”, it can be perceived that “pleasant life” happiness is just as note worthy as “meaningful life” and “engaged life” happiness combined.
Aristotle and Happiness the Good Life
Aristotle defines personal happiness through the existence of practicing virtues, in life, where both the desire and the pursuit of wealth is kept in balance. According to Aristotle, virtue reaches its height with the exercise of the intellectual virtues of prudence and wisdom – the first manifest in the leadership of organizations, and the second in the philosophic search for truth (Bragues, 2006). Some scholars would argue death brings about happiness; however, it is noted that Aristotle did not believe the dead was either happy or unhappy (Pritzl, 1983).
Two studies were conducted involving groups of undergraduate and graduate students. The study was designed to test Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment related to thoughts of happiness. The studies consisted of combined samples of college age students. These studies showed a positive relationship between personal expressiveness, known as eudaimonia, and indulgent enjoyment. “This analysis showed significant differences between the two ideas of happiness experienced in coincidence with certain activities for the different variables such as: opportunities for satisfaction, cognitive-affective factors, level of challenges, level of skills, and importance” (Waterman, 1993). It can be said that the two conceptions of happiness are related; yet, they are different in the idea that personal expressiveness, but not hedonic enjoyment, is a form of prosperity in the process of self-fulfillment (Waterman, 1993).
Humans tend to have a need to achieve goodness and eventual happiness, in accordance with Aristotle’s...