Pleasure, Gratification, Strengths & Optimism

The pursuit of happiness is indispensable to achieve a pleasant, engaged and meaningful life. The sustained feeling of wellbeing within oneself is fundamental to our ability to be with the others and to contribute to the society to which we belong in a meaningful way (Kahneman, 1999). According to positive psychology, as outlined by Martin Seligman (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), every human being is endowed in varying measure with a number of virtues and strengths. The six time-honored and universally endorsed virtues are wisdom/knowledge, courage, love/humanity, justice, temperance, and spirituality/transcendence (Seligman, 2002). They are assumed to be cross-cultural. They represent the more abstract component of Seligman’s classification of the human traits that are relevant to positive emotions and to happiness. On the more concrete side, 24 strengths have been identified that transcend specific social, cultural and temporal contexts. Every healthy individual possesses all these strengths and virtues, but what distinguishes each individual is the predominance of some of these as compared to the others (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005).