Martin Seligman: The new era of positive psychology

From TED bio:

Why you should listen to him:
Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. It’s a fascinating field of study that had few empirical, scientific measures — traditional clinical psychology focusing more on the repair of unhappy states than the propagation and nurturing of happy ones. In his pioneering work, Seligman directs the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developing clinical tools and training the next generation of positive psychologists.

His earlier work focused on perhaps the opposite state: learned helplessness, in which a person feels he or she is powerless to change a situation that is, in fact, changeable. Seligman is an often-cited authority in this field as well — in fact, his is the 13th most likely name to pop up in a general psych textbook. He was the leading consultant on a Consumer Reports study on long-term psychotherapy, and has developed several common pre-employment tests, including the Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ).

Here it is:

Some important points:

The pleasant life: a life that successfully pursues the positive emotions about the present, past, and future.

The good life: using your signature strengths to obtain abundant gratification in the main realms of your life.

The meaningful life: using your signature strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are.

The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living. The meaningful life adds one more component: using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power, or goodness.

Just as the good life is something beyond the pleasant life, the meaningful life is beyond the good life.

Pleasure is the least consequential… engagement and meaning are much more important.

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So we need to aim for the good & meaningful life. The pleasant life has lowest priority, but will be the icing on the cake.

My view:

rating: 5/6

  • 5/6 on delivery
  • 6/6 on content