A joyful Life is an individual Creation that cannot be copied from a Recipe.

This powerful quote by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reminds us that we should approach conventional self-help “wisdom” (but also Positive Psychology interventions) with a certain amount of caution.

There will always be gurus who claim to know the way, and Facebook/Twitter are full of posts such as “These are the 7 things successful/rich/happy people do before breakfast”. These people greatly underestimate human individuality – and the power of context and timing.

Positive Psychology researchers also suggests doing certain things (such as being grateful frequently) but, in general, are very cautious when making claims about efficacy. Additionally, there’s a growing body of research investigating so-called fit models, showing that people may profit greatly from some Positive Psychology interventions, but may not do so with regard to other excersizes, e.g., due to individual preferences. If you would like to find out more, I suggest checking out this research article: To each his own well-being boosting intervention: using preference to guide selection.

The Art of Coaching: Making a Leap of Faith

I´ve just moved into a new home – and that means I also had to renovate my coaching office. The new office is slightly larger than my old one – so I had a little more wall space to fill. In a local gallery, I´ve found the picture you can see below. I knew I wanted to buy it right away. Though being rather calm and monotonous, I feel it conveys optimism, confidence, and exuberant strength.

A successful coaching process often involves making a leap of faith, seeing things in a new way, leaving something old behind – sometimes, without knowing exactly what will appear instead. Believing in one´s own strength and resources in crucial when pursuing this trajectory.

I hope the picture will inspire this kind of self-efficacy my clients…

Nico Rose - Positive Psychology

A new fantastic Resource: thepositivepsychologypeople.com

Positive Psychology PeopleFor all of you that just cannot get enough of first-class Positive Psychology content – here’s something brand new for you:

http://thepositivepsychologypeople.com

The site was launched yesterday (UN´s International Happiness Day). All content will be supplied by a truly international team of outstanding researchers and practitioners, among them Lesley Lyle, Sandip Roy (who is a part of Happiness India Project), and Seph Fontane Pennock (who also runs PositivePsychologyProgram).

I wish you best of luck and millions of studious readers!

Great Infographic on Self-Compassion: How not to be Hard on Yourself

For UN´s International Happiness Day, I´d like to share with you this great infographic created by information designer Anna Vital. It´s a wonderful piece of advise on the art (and science) of self-compassion. Additionally, you might want to watch Kristin Neff´s TEDx talk on the same topic that you can find in my Positive Psychology TED suggestions. Enjoy!

Self-Compassion - Anna Vital

 

March 20 is International Happiness Day! Join our virtual Conference feat. +30 Positive Psychology Experts

International_Happiness_Day_2015Ever since 2012, March 20 is UN´s International Happiness Day. All around the world, people will celebrate and host events to educate their fellow human beings on all things happiness, well-being, and flourishing.

And I´m in as well – as part of a Virtual Happiness Conference. 32 fellow Penn Mappsters were interviewed on their favorite Positive Psychology subject, among them a lot of people you might already know because they were featured on Mappalicious in one way or the other, e.g. Emilia “Queen of Sisu” Lahti. All in all, there´s more than 24 hours of video material available.

All content will be online for free until March 26. After that, you can purchase the videos. Every cent will go to the Christopher Peterson Memorial Fellowship which helps future students to afford attending Penn´s MAPP program.

As for my part: I was interviewed by the fabulous Lisa Sansom on the role of Positive Psychology in coaching, the subject of Self-Permission, and the “German way” of Positive Psychology. This is the link to the conference site.

Enjoy – and please share to good news!

International Happiness Day Experts

Do you need an Aristotelian Friend in your Life?

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post highlighting a quote by Greek philosopher Epictetus:

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

This reminded me of a concept we discussed (and also used) in the MAPP classes at Penn. Aristotelian Friendship. While the concept of Platonic Friendship/Love (a non-sexual relationship that is pursued because the other person inspires the mind and the soul) has entered everyday speech, Aristotelian Friendship seems more uncommon.

Plato_AristotleThe ancient Greeks knew four kinds of love: Eros (sexual desire), Storge (parental/familial love), Agape (divine love, also: charity/compassion), and Philia. Now Philia is closest to our modern understanding of friendship. Aristotle described three kinds of Philia: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure and friendships of the good.

Friendships of utility are of a shallow kind; today, I guess we would call that networking – it´s more about being acquainted (and potentially useful reciprocally) in the future. Friendships of pleasure take place on a deeper level. Nowadays, we would speak of drinking buddies, or people who share a passion with regard to the same hobby.

Now, the deepest kind of Philia is a friendship for the good. This means that two people enjoy each other´s company because of a mutual admiration for each other´s characters and personalities. And it can also mean not only admiring, but caring about and strengthening the other person´s character and well-being. Therefore, an Aristotelian friend (for the good) will:

  • listen actively when you have to share something good and advise you on how to get more of that into your life;
  • give you frequent feedback on your strengths and “what´s right with you”;
  • but is also honest with you pertaining to your weak spots. Today, we would say: that friend does not let you get away with your sh.t.

Do you have someone like that in your life? Good for you. And if you don´t? Go and find somebody. Now!