Our Deepest Fear is…

Mann_in_Alu_kleinWe commonly think there are a lot of people out there that battle with a kind of fear of failure. And for a good reason. I assume this definitely is a condition that keeps a lot of people from living up to their full potential, be it in education, sports, business, and even love.

But what fascinates me even more – and has triggered some of my research efforts – is another kind of fear, the fear of success (or fear of happiness, please see this post for more detail on the concept). I seriously don’t know how many people suffer from this, but my estimate is: a heck of a lot of our fellow human beings.

On that note, I was deeply moved to (re-)discover a poem that is often attributed to Nelson Mandela but that was written by Marianne Williamson.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 34/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

New York Times: Growing Older, Getting Happier by Nicholas Bakalar


Wall Street Journal: Why You Need Negative Feelings by Elizabeth Bernstein


Washington Post: Your Instagram feed can tell us if you’re depressed, study suggest by Ariana Eunjung Cha


New York Mag: You’re Not Supposed to Be Happy All the Time by Melissa Dahl


New York Mag: This Study Got People to Make Huge Life Decisions by Flipping a Coin by Flipping a Coin by Melissa Dahl


Psychology Today: Crazy Busy? What Would You Pay for an Hour of Calm? by Paula Davis-Laack


Greater Good Science Center: The Power of Forgiveness at Work by Brooke Deterline


Telegraph: Say hello to hygge: The Danish secret to happiness by Maria Lally


Inc: These 5 Powerful Daily Habits Will Make You a More Positive Person by Jessica Stillman


Fast Company: The Surprising Scientific Link Between Happiness And Decision Making by Laura Vanderkam


Economist: Believing is seeing: New technologies will make society richer by cultivating trust, no author

Mappalicious

Can we teach and learn Charisma?

In past times, charisma was defined as a divine gift. Either, you had it – or you had to live without it. But not anymore. To answer the question from this article´s headline: Yes, we can.

At least, this is what researchers John Antonakis, Marika Fenley and Sue Liechti propose via an article that was published in 2011 in “Academy of Management Learning and Education”.

To begin, we should ask how to recognize a charismatic person. The answer: We probably do not see it in directly when looking at an individual, but rather in the impact that person has on other human beings. Charismatic individuals manage to win other people over, to evoke certain emotions and a willingness to act. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to label somebody a leader when that person resides on a deserted island. Much in the same way, it´s not practical to call somebody charismatic when nobody is there to witness that radiance.

Charisma is process, a product of interaction.

Now, what can we to influence this process, what can we do to increase the likelihood of being perceived as charismatic? Antonakis et al. suggest charisma (at least: being perceived as a charismatic speaker) can be boiled down to a set of 12 specific behaviors – what they denote as Charismatic Leadership Tactics (CLT).

Charismatic speakers…

1) use metaphors;

2) use stories and anecdotes;

use 3) contrasts, 4) lists, and 5) rhetorical questions;

6) demonstrate moral conviction;

7) share the sentiments of the collective;

8) set high expectations for themselves and their followers; and 9) communicate confidence that these goals can be met.

On the nonverbal level, charismatic speakers…

10) use vivid body gestures and 11) facial expressions;

and 12) an animated voice tone.

Using a sample of managers from a Swiss corporation and another one that consisted of MBA students, the researchers demonstrated that these CLTs can be taught/learned in a relatively short amount of time. During a five-hour training session that consisted of several exercises and analyzing movies and famous contemporary speeches, they were able to significantly improve their participants´ post-intervention performance such that they were perceived as considerably more charismatic (and more leader-like in general…) by their peers.

I think this is fantastic news. Not everybody can be a Barack Obama. But we all could be significantly more charismatic than we are today.

Nico_Fifteen_Seconds

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 31/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

New York Magazine: ‘Take a Deep Breath’ Is Advice That Works Physiologically and Psychologically by Drake Baer


Psychology Today: The Neuroprotective Powers of Exercise Should Motivate You by Christopher Bergland


Harvard Business Review: Can You Really Power an Organization with Love? by Duncan Coombe


Psychology Today: The Playful Life by Bernard De Koven


Forbes: The Joy Of Work: Menlo Innovations by Steve Denning


Psychology Today: 4 Reasons Why an Optimistic Outlook Is Good for Your Health by Utpal Dholakia


Guardian: The Happiness Industry by William Davies review – why capitalism has turned us into narcissists by Terry Eagleton


Greater Good Science Center: Is Artistic Inspiration Contagious? by Scott Barry Kaufman


Atlantic: Would you be happier with a different personality? by Scott Barry Kaufman


Fast Company: 4 Ways To Bounce Back When You’re Treated Unfairly At Work by David Mayer


Finnish News: Perceptions of Finnish Sisu – in California by Göte Nyman

IMG_7977-2

On the Intersection of Positive Psychology and Pokémon GO

At the end of July, the Pokémon GO app had been downloaded more than 100 million times. These days, you see people using it literally everywhere. I’m really convinced that playing Pokémon GO has a lot of potential for are you f.cking kidding me?

Please go and get a life. If you want to go out in the park, take a good book with you. Here are some suggestions for you…

giphy