Affective Prosperity

af·fec·tive (adj): relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions

pros·per·i·ty (noun):  a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition

Affective Prosperity is the principal that all of our authentic emotions and feelings add a texture and richness to life, and can be a creative force to be drawn upon to enhance our engagement, sense of joy and purpose in life.  Welcome humor and play.  Welcome righteous indignation.  Pain and depression are some of our most valuable teachers.  Affective Prosperity is not about being governed by our emotions – it is about actively drawing upon them, from them, and choosing to rejoice in them.Love and Enthusiasm

While doing my graduate work in applied positive psychology, I discovered something. At neighborhood parties, business functions, and other events thick with polite conversation, people would ask what I was studying. I never expected the responses I received. As I answered, I watched the postures of the listeners change. Their faces become a little softer. They would hold eye contact a little longer. All the busyness and chatter that had dominated the room seemed to just fade.

My research and work has focused on how individuals and organizations thrive. I examine people when they are at their best, and find where they get their sense of meaning, purpose and engagement.

We know how to foster rich, deep connections with others. We know why some people cannot wait to get to work every day, and how they can steel themselves against hardship by use of their strengths. In short, by taking seriously the study of those things that make life worth living, you will experience greater happiness and success.

For most people, life is somewhere between “pretty good” and “o.k.” However, so many have a sense that there must be something more. We look back over our lives and recall moments when we were in absolute flow, or when we felt like we mattered and belonged. We remember times that we connected deeply and honestly with another person and we know that life can be more than “o.k.”

I invite you to join me in creating something unique. You can increase your moments of joy, meaning and success  – and you can do it while making a difference in the lives of other people.

It takes vision – A recognition that beauty exists in every moment, and that good resides in each person.

It requires action – Vigorously celebrate the wonder that is everywhere. Listen for the questions that people do not know to ask, and then go out of your way to honor them.

If you are committed, it will also test your endurance and courage – Not everyone will understand you. Not everyone will reciprocate or even notice what you are doing.  Act anyway.  Act because it is the right thing to do, and because it is the swath you want to cut through life.

Sources:  Photo credit to h.koppdelaney who generously made his art available through a creative commons license.


  1. Recently, while walking on the beach, I met an older man who was fishing on a pier. Our entire conversation focused on the moments he had with his wife. (They had been married 50 years and she has recently passed away). It wasn’t his career (he had a long one) that he talked about. It was about his love for her. She clearly had made him feel “that he had mattered” and that he “belonged”. That was his something more. She helped him experience, in your words, “happiness and success.” Thank you for posting some great information.

    • Thanks Melissa. Thanks also for making a difference for that man as well. Not everyone would have taken the time and given him a chance to share the what he found important and essential in life.

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