Each question was followed by a 5-point scale: “1 – very much unlike me‚” “2 – unlike me‚” “3– neutral‚” “4 – like me‚” and “5 – very much like me.”
Life of Meaning
§ My life serves a higher purpose.
§ In choosing what to do‚ I always take into account whether it will benefit other people.
§ I have a responsibility to make the world a better place.
§ My life has a lasting meaning.
§ What I do matters to society.
§ I have spent a lot of time thinking about what life means and how I fit into its big picture.
Life of Pleasure
§ Life is too short to postpone the pleasures it can provide.
§ I go out of my way to feel euphoric.
§ In choosing what to do‚ I always take into account whether it will be pleasurable.
§ I agree with this statement: ‘‘Life is short – eat dessert first.’’
§ I love to do things that excite my senses.
§ For me‚ the good life is the pleasurable life.
Life of Engagement
§ Regardless of what I am doing‚ time passes very quickly.
§ I seek out situations that challenge my skills and abilities.
§ Whether at work or play‚ I am usually ‘‘in a zone’’ and not conscious of myself.
§ I am always very absorbed in what I do.
§ In choosing what to do‚ I always take into account whether I can lose myself in it.
§ I am rarely distracted by what is going on around me.
Sample Questions from the VIA-IS Signature Strengths Questionnaire
(Peterson & Seligman‚ 2004)
Each question is followed by the choices: “very much like me‚” “like me‚” “neutral‚” “unlikeme‚” and “very much like me.”
Creativity: When someone tells me how to do something‚ I automatically think of alternative ways to get the same thing done.
Curiosity: I am never bored.
Open-mindedness: I make decisions only when I have all of the facts.
Love of Learning: I always go out of my way to attend educational events.
Perspective: People describe me as “wise beyond my years.”
Bravery: I have taken frequent stands in the face of strong opposition.
Persistence: I finish things despite obstacles in the way.
Integrity: I always keep my promises.
Vitality: I want to fully participate in life‚ not just view it from the sidelines.
Love: There are people in my life who care as much about my feelings and well-being as they do about their own.
Kindness: I am never too busy to help a friend.
Social Intelligence: I always know what makes someone tick.
Citizenship: I never miss group meeting or team practices.
Fairness: I am strongly committed to principles of justice and equality.
Leadership: In a group‚ I try to make sure everyone feels included.
Forgiveness and Mercy: I always allow others to leave their mistakes in the past and make a fresh start.
Humility and Modesty: I am proud that I am an ordinary person.
Prudence: “Better safe than sorry” is one of my favorite mottoes.
Self-regulation: I am a highly disciplined person.
Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence: I have often been left speechless by the beauty depicted in a movie.
Gratitude: I always express my thanks to people who care about me.
Hope: I always look on the bright side.
Humor: Whenever my friends are in a gloomy mood‚ I try to tease them out of it.
Spirituality: In the last 24 hours‚ I have spent 30 minutes in prayer‚ meditation‚ or contemplation.
What is the Good Life?
A Place for Positive Psychology
Distinguished Majors Thesis
University of Virginia
Advisor: Patricia Llewellyn
Second Reader: Jonathan Haidt