Eudaimonic Growth: The Development of the Goods in Personhood (or: Cultivating a Good Life Story)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Source

Handbook of Eudaimonic Well-Being


Eudaimonic growth refers to the development of the varied goods of personhood over time. This chapter summarizes a theory of eudaimonic growth in three parts. In the first section of the chapter we consider a model of a good life that focuses on personhood and its development. In this model, eudaimonic well-being is defined as the wellness of ones being. Hedonic pleasure and eudaimonic meaning are explained as two, irreducible features of a good life. The term “meaning” refers to the canonical goods of eudaimonia, such as wisdom, moral virtue, meaningfulness, self-actualization, and growth. In the second section we examine the idea of eudaimonic growth specifically, distinguishing eudaimonic, humanistic, and organismic value orientations as well as distinguishing growth valued from growth attained. In the third section we consider relations between eudaimonic growth and self-identity. The person who identifies with the idea of eudaimonic growth has what I call a transformative self. I take a narrative perspective on meaning-making and self-identity over time. The person constructs a transformative self in his or her life story, forming a narrative self-identity that features eudaimonic growth as a central theme. Such a life story borrows from cultural master narratives of eudaimonic growth, both reflecting and fostering cultural ideals of the good within the person’s life. We consider limitations of the person’s physical and social conditions that hinder one’s actualizing these ideals for eudaimonic growth. Finally, self-actualizing is presented as the development of self-authorship from independence to authenticity in a process of psychosocial maturation.

Inclusive pages





Chapter appears in the book Handbook of Eudaimonic Well-Being, Joar Vitterso, ed. Tromso, Norway: Springer (2016).


Springer International Publishing

Place of Publication

Tromso, Norway


Happiness, Wellbeing, Eudaimonia, Eudaimonic growth, Meaning, Self Identity