This was originally published by the American Psychological Association as a chapter in a volume titled ‘A Psychology of Human Strengths’ edited by Aspinwall and Staudinger.
This chapter addresses how human strengths can be understood from the perspective of lifespan psychology. One of the emphases of the field of lifespan psychology has been the search for the optimal human mind or the optimal or ideal person. One exemplar of the notion of the optimal human mind is the idea of wisdom (P. B. Baltes & Smith, 1990; P. B. Baltes & Staudinger, 2000; Kekes, 1 995; Sternberg, 1998). Another emphasis is the search for optimal strategies of life management, one exemplar of which is the strategy of selective optimization with compensation, referred to as the SOC model ( P. B. Baltes & Baltes, 1 990; Freund & Baltes, 2000; Marsiske, Lang, Baltes, & Baltes, 1 995 ) . Using work on these two concepts as the guiding theoretical framework, we propose to view the orchestration of wisdom and selective optimization with compensationthe theoretical knowledge about the good and right life (wisdom) and its practical implementation