The world of the happy is quite different from the world of the unhappy.

It´s always a crime to divorce a Wittgenstein quote from its context – but I´ll do it anyway:

Wittgenstein - HappyWhat we can definitely say today is that happy people see the world differently – and I mean literally, not metaphorically. When looking at the same visual information, happy people seem to see more of the scenery, they have a different scope. And this scope, in turn, seems to enlarge their mental scope, thereby transferring the broadening quality to the metaphorical level – which, at the end of the day, makes happy people e.g., more creative. If you´d like to know more, please have a look at these articles.

On Purpose: I will not die an unlived Life

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this beautiful poem which teaches us about the power of purpose. Frankly speaking, I hadn’t heard of the author before. But there is a book by the same name (I will not die an unlived life) which I’ve just ordered – so maybe, there’s more to come here…

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So, you´ve got a Bucket List. But what about your Fuck-it List?

I-dont-have-a-bucket-list-I-have-a-fuck-it-listOver the last two years or so, bucket lists have become really popular – a lot of people shared theirs via Facebook etc. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a bucket list is a “number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime”. It´s based on the term “to kick the bucket” as a synonym for dying. The term was popularized by a 2007 movie feat. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. So basically, people write down on a list the places that they want to see, things they want to do, and goals the want to achieve. By now, there are specialized internet communities evolving around this topic.

And while I fully endorse goal-setting and following through with them (as long as they are self-concordant goals), having too many too aspirational goals can also be a burden in our life. That´s why I was pleased to stumble upon a sort of countertrend very recently:

The Fuck-it List

It´s a list (in this context) where you put all those things that once may have been on your bucket list – but then you’ve realized that you are too old (or rather: grown-up), too lazy, or simply too “different” compared to the time you put it on the list – to follow through with a specific goal.

With my own personal development, but also with some of my coaching clients, I´ve come to realize that old (outdated) goals can suck up a considerable part of a person´s (mental) energy – which than lacks in the process of pursuing current ones. People sometimes feel as a failure when they have to admit to themselves that they are never going to “climb that mountain” – or whatever it is that they´ve put on their bucket list.

But the truth is: we grow older and life moves on. It´s completely normal to have different priorities in different phases of our lives. When I became a father 2.5 years ago, this totally changed my priorities and my internal value system. And by all means, this also meant erasing some things from my bucket list and putting them on my fuck-it list.

But there doesn´t even have to be an incisive event such as becoming a parent. As I´ve said: sometimes, life just moves on. And if that is so, it can be a liberating experience to consciously let go of some of our childhood or teenage dreams. I´ve dreamt about becoming a professional athlete well into my twenties. But I wasn´t good enough (and probably too lazy as well). Still, goals like that can linger in the back of our heads (and dark corners of our hearts), causing trouble, in the form of regret, disappointment, anger, and most of all: putting energy where it would be desperately needed elsewhere.

Truth be told: when I decided to let go of my dream about becoming the next Boris Becker or Roger Federer, I did not just write it down on a piece of paper; I tried to find something more appreciative. If something truly significant and valuable like a childhood dream has been with you for most of your life, I advise you to “bid farewell” to that goal via a little ritual.

Back then, I wrote my dream on a piece of paper. Then, I put it into a small metal bowl. After that, I sat down on my porch, and took an hour or so to remember all the good things that came out of pursuing that goal: the tournaments I had won in my youth, the friends I had made, and simply all those countless hours of dedicated practice during most of my childhood – which surely have taught me a lot about diligence and resilience – therefore helping me to achieve whatever success I have now in my life as a business man and psychologist.

Then, I set fire to the paper, watched in burn down –  and finally scattered the ashes in the evening wind.

 

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The 10 most Valuable Positive Psychology Resources on Mappalicious

Ever since the beginning of Mappalicious about 20 months ago, I´ve not only shared my own take on Positive Psychology with you – I´ve also tried to compile valuable resources that help to spread research (and knowledge in general) on all things Positive Psychology. Based on feedback, such as shares via social media, these 10 resources have been the most useful pieces of information so far:

Please share this if you like…

Positive Psychology Resources on Mappalicious

Nothing is as painful as being stuck where you don’t belong.

I think there´s a lot to this quote. Oftentimes, people prefer to experience “familiar misery” to an “unknown happiness”. We have to learn how to overcome this barrier. But where are those places “we belong”? Self-Concordance Theory has a lot to offer here…

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How can the Apple Watch be a true Piece of Positive Technology?

The internet is going mad about the soon-to-come launch of the Apple Watch. After checking out what it actually can do. some people think it´s a useless marketing fad, other feel it´s the best thing since sliced bread. Via Twitter, Wall Street Journal writer Geoffrey Fowler asked:

For me, the true challenge would be turning it into a piece of positive technology. Here are my three ideas:

  1. As far as I know, the Apple Watch can check my pulse. Then a fine-tuned app could very well detect irregular patterns or longer breaks to a pretty high degree of certainty. As such, it could possibly detect symptoms of an impending cardiac arrest – and then send a emergency SMS using GPS data.
  2. As far as I know, the Apple Watch can record my speech (the iPhone can). As such, it could be used to prevent depression. There is some evidence that usage of certain words, but also certain speech characteristics (e.g., prosody) are predictive of depressive symptoms. If a person is prone to this kind of disorder, a speech recorder could automatically capture sound bites at random intervals over the day. If the elements of “depressive speech” increase over several days based on appropriate algorithms, the Apple Watch could notify the owner – or his/her doctor.
  3. As far as I know, the Apple Watch can mow my lawn. Oh wait, it can´t? Well…

What are your ideas?