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Magnetic points for lifestyle shaping: the contribution of self-fulfillment, aspirations, and capabilities

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Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of self-fulfillment motivation in shaping lifestyles. Gewirth's conceptualization is delineated in which self-fulfillment occurs when one's deepest aspirations and best capabilities are brought to fruition. Design/methodology/approach ? A total of 21 depth interviews were conducted in informants' homes in Sydney, Australia. Informants consisted of males in the mature end of their working life. Age ranged from 49 to 60 years. The interview guide was designed to capture multiple aspects of self-concept, lifestyle and activities. An interpretive analytic stance was adopted drawing on the transcriptions and in-home observations to identify systematic patterns. Findings ? Aspects of lifestyle where self-fulfillment is experienced form focal points for lifestyle adaptation. The experience is energizing and gives meaning to life. However, the choices and direction of fulfillment satisfaction is bounded by specific aspirations and capabilities of the individual. Informants typically found fulfillment from multiples spheres encompassing work and non-work arenas. Each sphere represents a metaphoric ?magnetic point? directed by the match between deepest aspirations and best capabilities of the individual. Originality/value ? The use of self-fulfillment as a tool for lifestyle analysis is illustrated. The learnings contribute understanding of the motivations behind the choice of specific lifestyle activities that an individual pursues.
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Keywords: Australia; Culture; Lifestyles; Self-actualization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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