SUCCESS Materials – English

Meaning of Life – Theoretical Background – Finding & Developing Meaning

Finding & Developing Meaning

Dik and collaborators (2014), suggested that the purpose and meaning in work can be developed through six sub-fields:
(a) strong elements of character
positive emotions and flow

(c) hope and optimism
(d) gratitude
(e) job crafting
(f) understanding and calling realization (calling)

Professional life is one of life fields where individuals expresses their potentials, and apply the meaning and purpose which was previously set. (Dik, Duffy, Allan, O’Donnell, Shim, & Steger, 2014). When an individual sets professional goals then five points needs to be taken into serious consideration: identity, self-efficacy, metacognition ability, culture, and services. Through the above, young people can recognize their potentials in what they define as meaningful career development (Kosine, Steger, & Duncan, 2008). Carefully selected activities from the field of positive psychology, such as Best Possible Self (BPS) (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006), contribute to psychological well-being, while encompassing a purpose, meaning, direction and interpretation of life (Schmuck & Sheldon, 2001). Furthermore, focusing on enhancing youth’s self-efficacy is considered important as it affects achievement motivation (McLeod & Conway, 2005). Self-awareness is important for young people to seek a target, and in in interventions it connects purpose and action. Self-efficacy helps teenagers to develop expectations and to regulate emotions and behaviour in order to achieve their goals. The VIA (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) and the Personal Values-Card-Sort (Miller, C’de Baca, Matthews, & Wilbourne, 2001)  were also used in interventions in order to determine the results from the knowledge of the strong traits in relation to hope, prosperity, and quality of objectives.

Research data demonstrate that optimism, hope, flow and gratitude are linked to prosperity, activate positive emotions and aspirations for positive results, and help people in dealing with difficulties. The subjective well-being is increased according to the feelings one has for his/her gifts, achievements and acquisitions. Emmons (2003), suggests that these benefits are transferred to the working environment creating a positive climate, improving productivity and job satisfaction.

Emmons & McCullogh’s, suggested that by applying graditute in career counselling can help the employee in the process of finding meaning, purpose, positive re-interpretation, focus on the positive aspects of work, create positive working relationships, and to manage effectively the workplace stress (Dik et al., 2014).

Optimism relates to positive predisposition for the future. It incorporates durability and adaptability protecting against depression and despair.  The ”Building Hope for the Future” (Marques, Lopez, & Pais-Ribeiro, 2011) program was designed in order to empower hope , but also self-esteem, mental health, and school performance. Increased life satisfaction comes as a result of hope and achievement of goals. Increasing hope within a professional context, is associated with greater certainty (Hurley, 2004), targeting, and effectiveness (Betz, Hammond, & Multon, 2005).

In addition, hope was found to be associated with sustainability when entering the labour market, better performance, greater job satisfaction, and positive work related results (Sumsion, 2007). In a research of Lapan (2004), 132 students, were asked to relate their abilities according to the Integrative Contextual Model of Career development (a model which emphasizes on the professional development through the development of positive expectations and identity development) and to measure hope and its role in their professional development. It was found that hope motivates students to achieve their goals. Furthermore, it was found that the preexisting knowledge and skills in professional development along with hope and commitment to achieve a goal, are important factors for a successful outcome.

Similar results are suggested from other research data, as it was found that hope and optimism are directly related to goals achievement expectations (Massey, Gebhardt, & Garnefski, 2009). These data, also suggest that goal setting and goal achievement methods are skills which can developed with practice and can relate to self-esteem and self-directed decisions