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.

—————

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

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow

TED bio:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: “When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” He is the architect of the notion of “flow” — the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.

Csikszentmihalyi teaches psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, focusing on human strengths such as optimism, motivation and responsibility. He’s the director the the Quality of Life Research Center there. He has written numerous books and papers about the search for joy and fulfillment.

“You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi — on experiencing ‘flow’

“A man obsessed by happiness.”
Richard Flaste, New York Times

about this talk:

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has contributed pioneering work to our understanding of happiness, creativity, human fulfillment and the notion of “flow” — a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.

Here goes…

 

Flow is “oxy­gen for the soul”
-Dan Pink

My view:

rating: 5/6

  • 3/6 on delivery
  • 6/6 on content

Srikumar Rao: Plug into your hard-wired happiness

Ted bio:

Srikumar Rao was an executive at Warner Communications and McGraw-Hill before he created his celebrated MBA course, “Creativity and Personal Mastery.” The course — the only business school course that has its own alumni association — shows students how to discover their unique purpose, creativity and happiness, through group work and a philosophical perspective. Its popularity has led to write-ups in The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and Business Week.

Rao is also an adviser to senior business executives, whom he helps find deeper meaning and engagement in their work. He’s the author of Are You Ready to Succeed: Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life, and has been a contributing editor for Forbes. His latest book is titled Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful – No Matter What. 

About the talk:

Srikumar Rao says we spend most of our lives learning to be unhappy, even as we strive for happiness. At Arbejdsglaede Live! 2009, he teaches us how to break free of the “I’d be happy if …” mental model, and embrace our hard-wired happiness.

The Talk:

Part1:

Part2:

 

Please then remember to:

Invest in the journey/Process, not the outcome

This principle is strongly related to ancient Stoic principles of “The Dichotomy of Control”

EPICTETUS’S HANDBOOK OPENS, somewhat famously, with the following assertion: “Some things are up to us and some are not up to us.

My view:

rating: 5/6

  • 4/6 on delivery
  • 6/6 on content

 

Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness

Bio from ted.com:

Graham Hill (@GHill) founded the eco-blog and vlog TreeHugger.com, to help, as he says, “push sustainability into the mainstream,” with a design-forward style and an international, wide-ranging team committed to transforming complex issues into everyday concepts. It’s been called “the Green CNN.” The TreeHugger team was even asked to join the Discovery Communications network as a part of their Planet Green initiative, and Hill now makes appearances on the green-oriented cable channel.

Before Treehugger, Hill studied architecture and design (his side business is making those cool ceramic Greek cups). His other company, ExceptionLab, is devoted to creating sustainable prototypes — think lamps made from recycled blinds and ultra-mod planters that are also air filters.

Hill is the author of Weekday Vegetarian, available as a TED Book on Amazon and Apple’s iBooks.

See all the entries in the Life Edited contest on TreeHugger >>

“You should be allowed to be a modern city dweller and still care about the environment.”

Graham Hill

About the talk:

Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

My view:

Short, but effective talk. Love the message.

ratiing: -> 5/6

Shawn Achor @ ted.com

ted bio:

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.

He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers — people who are well above average — to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is also the author of The Happiness Advantage.

His talk:

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

My grade: 6/6