36343 Topic: The happiness of pursuitNumber of Pages: 1 (Dou…

36343 Topic: The happiness of pursuit Number of Pages: 1 (Double Spaced) Number of sources: 1 Writing Style: APA Type of document: Essay Academic Level:Undergraduate Category: Psychology Language Style: English (U.S.) Order Instructions: Attache



The pursuit of happiness has been a topic of interest and study for psychologists and philosophers for centuries. The ability to achieve happiness and maintain a sense of fulfillment is a fundamental aspect of human life. However, the question arises: how can individuals find lasting happiness in a world that is perpetually changing and evolving?

This essay aims to explore the concept of the happiness of pursuit, focusing on the idea that happiness is not merely derived from the attainment of goals, but rather from the process of pursuing those goals. By examining psychological theories and empirical research, the essay will argue that the journey towards achieving personal goals and the experiences derived from that journey are integral to individuals’ overall happiness.

The Pursuit of Happiness

In Western cultures, the pursuit of happiness is often associated with the achievement of specific goals or the acquisition of material possessions. However, recent research suggests that the long-term satisfaction and well-being individuals experience do not solely depend on achieving these external markers of success, but rather on the whole process of pursuing those goals (Kashdan, Biswas-Diener, & King, 2008). This mindset shift from outcome-oriented to process-oriented pursuit of happiness has gained traction in recent years and has important implications for individuals’ well-being.

Psychological Theories

Psychological theories provide insight into why the happiness of pursuit is more fulfilling than the mere attainment of goals. The Self-Determination Theory (SDT), developed by Deci and Ryan (2000), suggests that individuals have three basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. These needs are important for individuals’ self-motivation and well-being. According to SDT, when individuals engage in activities that align with these needs, they experience autonomous motivation and greater life satisfaction.

The process of pursuing goals allows individuals to exercise their autonomy by making choices that feel authentic and meaningful to them. This sense of autonomy is vital as it gives individuals a sense of control over their lives, enhancing their overall well-being. Similarly, when individuals are engaged in goal-directed activities, they have an opportunity to cultivate and enhance their competence, leading to a sense of personal growth and accomplishment (Sheldon & Elliot, 1998). Finally, the pursuit of goals often involves social interactions and connections with others, thus fulfilling individuals’ need for relatedness. These social connections contribute to individuals’ happiness and well-being by providing support, fostering a sense of belonging, and promoting positive emotions (Froh, Emmons, Card, Bono, & Wilson, 2011).

Empirical evidence

Empirical research also supports the idea that the happiness of pursuit is more fulfilling than the attainment of goals. A study conducted by Kashdan et al. (2008) examined the experiences and well-being of individuals engaging in different types of activities. The researchers found that individuals who were engaged in personally meaningful activities, referred to as “engagement,” reported higher well-being and life satisfaction compared to those who predominantly pursued pleasure-seeking activities. This study suggests that happiness is not just a passive state or a result of external circumstances but can be actively cultivated through meaningful engagement and pursuit of goals.

Furthermore, in a longitudinal study, Emmons and McCullough (2003) investigated the relationship between gratitude and well-being. They found that those who engaged in gratitude exercises, which involved reflecting on and expressing gratitude, experienced increased happiness and life satisfaction. These findings support the idea that the process of being mindful and appreciative of the pursuit of goals contributes to individuals’ overall well-being.


In conclusion, the happiness of pursuit lies in the process of pursuing goals rather than the mere attainment of those goals. Psychological theories, such as SDT, suggest that engagement in goal-directed activities fulfills individuals’ basic psychological needs, leading to greater life satisfaction. Empirical research also supports this idea, demonstrating that individuals who engage in personally meaningful activities and cultivate gratitude experience higher levels of happiness and overall well-being. Therefore, understanding and embracing the happiness of pursuit can lead individuals to a more fulfilling and satisfying life.