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The Pleasant Life, the Engaged Life, and the Meaningful Life: What about the Balanced Life?

Abstract

Martin Seligman, in his very popular book Authentic Happiness (Seligman 2002), argued that authentic happiness is derived from three major sets of experiences in life, namely experiencing pleasantness regularly (the pleasant life), experiencing a high level of engagement in satisfying activities (the engaged life), and experiencing a sense of connectedness to a greater whole (the meaningful life). In this paper, we maintain that balance in life contributes significantly to subjective well-being. Balance contributes to subjective well-being because of the satisfaction limit that people can derive from a single life domain. People have to be involved in multiple domains to satisfy the full spectrum of human development needs. Different life domains tend to focus on different human developmental needs. More specifically, balance contributes to subjective well-being because subjective well-being can only be attained when both survival and growth needs are met. High levels of subjective well-being cannot be attained with satisfaction of basic needs or growth needs alone. Both needs have to be met to induce subjective well-being.

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Correspondence to M. Joseph Sirgy.

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Joseph Sirgy, M., Wu, J. The Pleasant Life, the Engaged Life, and the Meaningful Life: What about the Balanced Life?. J Happiness Stud 10, 183–196 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-007-9074-1

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Keywords

  • Balanced life
  • Life satisfaction
  • Subjective well-being
  • Happiness
  • Balance
  • Need satisfaction
  • Survival versus growth needs