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!

Vision Y: Is true Progress possible? Some German Kids think the Answer is: Yes!

Nico Rose - Munich Leadership ConferenceTwo weeks ago, I had the great honor of attending the first Munich Leadership Conference, organized by the Munich Leadership Institute – and hosting brilliant speakers such as Prof. Barry Schwartz, Prof. Barbara Kellerman, and Prof. Franz-Josef Radermacher. The overarching motto of the conference was: “How to achieve true progress”.

I had an active part in the conference, being part of a panel discussion on the question of “What attitudes drive true progress? The other panelists were Thomas Sattelberger, former CHRO of Deutsche Telekom, Kerstin Bund, a journalist who works for the Zeit, Germany´s most popular weekly newspaper, and the aforementioned Prof. Radermacher.

The highlight of the conference was the first public presentation of the so-called “Vision Y” – a framework for a peaceful, more egalitarian, and sustainable future – which a group of students envisioned after having interviewed thought leaders such as Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, scientist/author Nassim Taleb, and German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

A lot of the things that were presented reminded me of what Martin Seligman told us in the last MAPP class of 2013 about his personal vision for the year 2051. If you are interested in the “Vision Y” (and you should be…), please watch the following short clip that provides an audio-visual summary.

Additionally, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was awarded with the “Deutscher Vordenker Preis 2015” (German Thought Leader Award).

Beautiful Short Film on the Ripple Effect of Kindness and Gratitude

We all know the warm feeling of gratitude in our hearts when we’ve been the beneficiary of an act of kindness. And the really good thing is: in return, we typically want to be kind(er) to others, too. E.g., a recent study by the name of The Social Contagion of Generosity finds that receiving help from strangers prompts us to be kind to other strangers, thereby creating a ripple effect of gratitude and kindness.

This mechanism is beautifully depicted in the following short film from Turkey. Enjoy!

There´s a Negativity Bias in your News. But not, if you follow these People on Twitter

A couple of weeks ago, I pusblished a list of 77 Positive Psychology People and Institutions to follow on Twitter which has grown by now to more than 90 accounts and was also picked by the friendly folks at Fulfillment Daily.

Today, I thought it would be a good idea to check my blog stats to see who profited the most from this. All in all, the post resulted in +4,500 klicks on people´s Twitter accounts. Here´s the Top-10 (excluding the Twitter list I created to follow all of those people):

Positive Psychologists on Twitter

So congratulations to Robert Biswas-Diener, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Paul Bloom, Dan Gilbert, Amy Cuddy, Robert Emmons, David Cooperrider, Jane Dutton, Emilia “Queen of Sisu” Lahti, and Jon Haidt. I hope those clicks converted to a lot of new followers for you!

A Positive Psychology Ancestral Portrait Gallery

The modern age of Positive Psychology started with Marty Seligman being elected APA´s president in 1998. But as the biblical saying goes, “there´s nothing new under the sun”. In very different ways, Positive Psychology is standing on the shoulders of giants – it draws upon a rich history of sages, philosophers, psychologists, and other lucid thinkers. For a short overview, please read this article: Positive Psychology: Standing on which Giants` Shoulders?

To make that point, I´ve created a visual Positive Psychology ancestral gallery (click on the image to enlarge) for a recent talk I´ve given for HR professionals. What do you think of it? And even more important – from your point of view: Who should be on there that is not right now?*

Positive_Psychology_Ancestors_Gallery

 

* E.g., I sense a slight absence of women…