“Liebster Award”: 11 Questions for Dr. Nico Rose

Liebster AwardThis is a little off-topic: I´ve been asked to fill in a questionnaire on myself as part of the initiative “Liebster Award” that is meant to draw attention and to promote interesting blogs. I was nominated by Petra Becker of International Art Bridge. Now I am to answer her 11 questions, then I get to nominate up to 11 bloggers with my own 11 questions. So here we go:

Why did you start a blog?

Because it´s the greatest things about the internet: you´re a nobody from somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Germany, you get the chance to broadcast your (or other people´s great) ideas, and suddenly, people start to read. Literally, all over the world – even if it´s just a couple of hundred people per day. That´s the best thing since sliced bread.

How much time do you spend on your blog?

A couple of hours per week.

What do you expect of other blogs?

Relevance.

What do you like most about your friends?

That they are and will remain my friends – even though I regularly tend to disappear from their lives for prolonged periods of time.

Who´s your favorite author?

Used to be Nick Hornby, currently, I basically read non-fiction only.

Who´s your favorite artist?

My almost three-year-old son.

Bild Mika

Who are your everyday heroes?

Currently, I do admire the social media editors who run the Facebook account of the German Federal Government. They´re doing a darn good job (considering the severity and complexity of their topics) and have to put up with a lot crazy sh.t in return.

What´s your earthly bliss?

The gorgeous Indian food at Restaurant Maharani in my hometown.

What´s your favorite pastime?

Cuddling with my son. And writing. And speaking. And then a some more cuddling…

How and where do you want to live?

I am very content with what I have here and now.

What´s your motto?

Before you go out to change the world, walk three times through your own house. (from China)

And my “Liebster Award” goes to…

Here are your 11 questions … auf Deutsch 🙂

  • Was ist aus Deiner Sicht Dein bisher bester Blog Post?
  • Dein bester Tipp für wirklich gute Blog Posts?
  • Welche 3 Bücher sollte man 2015 auf jeden Fall lesen?
  • Flugzeug oder Bahn?
  • Was wolltest Du werden, als Du 8 Jahre alt warst?
  • Wäre Dein jüngeres Ich heute stolz auf Dich?
  • Wem möchtest Du gerne mal in der Sauna begegnen?
  • Wem möchtest Du auf keinen Fall in der Sauna begegnen?
  • Wunschlos glücklich: ein erstrebenswerter Zustand – oder nicht?
  • Wenn ich ein Tier wäre, dann ein/e…
  • Was ist der Sinn vom Leben, dem Universum und dem ganzen Rest?

Positive Psychology at the Movies: Character Strengths in “Love Actually”

Positive Psychology at the MoviesOne of the central concepts in Positive Psychology is the framework of 24 character strengths that have been outlined by Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman in their 2004 tome. It was the foundation for the VIA Institute on Character – where you can take a test (for free) to find out what your top strengths are.

Ryan Niemiec, VIA´s Education Director, has published the book Positive Psychology at the Movies. It examines nearly 1,500 movies with regard to their display of the 24 character strengths throughout their plots. Frankly, so far I did not have the time to watch all of those movies – but considering general life expectancy, I will be able to so until I´m grey and old (don´t know where Ryan finds the time, considering how many books he publishes).

Anyway, I had an idea: instead of trying to find all of the character strengths throughout a ton of movies – would it be possible to find them all in just one? Therefore, I picked one of my all-time favorites, romantic (Christmas) comedy Love Actually, watched it for the hundredth time (or so…) – but for once, looked through the eyes of the VIA taxonomy. And tadaaa: I was able to spot all of them, even though I have to admit that two or three of the attributions may seem somewhat debatable.

Here´s what I´ve found:

  • Mark displays creativity when having arranged the special version of the Beatles´ “All you need is love” for Juliet and Peter´s wedding.
  • Karen displays perspective and humor when cheering up Daniel as he mourns for departed wife.
  • Mark displays creativity when having arranged the special version of the Beatles´ “All you need is love” for Juliet and Peter´s wedding.
  • Harry the Boss displays social intelligence and leadership when confronting his employee Sarah about her being in love with co-worker Carl.
  • Little Sam displays honesty and bravery when telling his step father Daniel about being in love with Joanna.
  • Little Sam displays spirituality when he tells his father about how he believes in love and that there’s one true love out there for each and every one of us.
  • Prime Minister David displays humor when he tries to cheer up Natalie after she told him how bad she has been treated by her ex-boyfriend.
  • The Prime Minister displays prudence and judgment when, at first, he does not want to confront the U.S. delegation during the meeting with U.K. ministers.
  • The Prime Minister displays leadership, humor, and bravery when confronting the POTUS at the press conference.
  • Jamie displays love of learning and perseverance when trying to learn Portuguese in order to be able to talk to Aurelia.Love Actually - Billy Mack
  • Colin displays zest, curiosity, hope, and bravery when deciding to leave the UK for Wisconsin.
  • Mark displays kindness, great honesty, love, and bravery when meeting Juliet at her house on Christmas Eve to confess his love, but also his approval of her living with Peter. (By the way, this is probably my all-time favorite movie scene).
  • Karen displays self-regulation and judgment when pulling herself together on Christmas Day after having found out Harry has cheated on her – in order not to spoil Christmas for their kids.
  • Sarah displays fairness and (the capacity to) love (and be loved) when spending Christmas together with her mentally ill brother.
  • John displays gratitude after having been kissed by “Just Judy” for the first time.
  • The school orchestra/choir displays teamwork when performing at the Christmas concert.
  • The whole audience displays appreciation of beauty and excellence when witnessing young Joanna sing “All I want for Christmas” at the school’s Christmas celebration.
  • Little Sam displays perseverance, and bravery when running to say good-bye to his love Joanna at the airport.
  • Jamie displays hope, bravery, and love when he leaves his family’s Christmas party to spontaneously board a plane to ask Portuguese housemaid Aurelia to marry him.
  • Billy Mack displays humility and gratitude when deciding to return to Joe, his ugly manager, instead of spending Christmas Eve at Elton John´s party.
  • Karen displays forgiveness when she consolingly welcomes her husband Harry at the airport after he has betrayed her.

What´s your favorite movie – and are you maybe going to see it with different eyes in the future?

Do you want to find more Meaning in your Work? Here´s where you should look for it – according to Science

Feeling that your work has a deeper meaning or purpose has many positive consequences, for yourself as well as your organization: For instance, higher levels of engagement, job satisfaction, and (individual) performance. Therefore, researchers as well as practitioners have tried to find the antecedents of meaning in work for quite some time. Yet, it turns out that it´s a pretty complicated issue. A job that yields a lot of meaning for one person might feel totally meaningless for another individual.

Where should we look for the source of meaning in work? Is it something that can be found within ourselves? Does it depend on the type of job? Or is it determined by some characteristics of the organization? The answer is: very likely, all of those factors do play their role – and in part, meaning depends on the interaction between the characteristics of the person and those of the job.

In an empirical study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Tatjana Schnell and her colleagues surveyed some 200 people from different occupational backgrounds. In short, here´s what they´ve found:

When looking at all factors in a single model…

  • the strongest predictor of meaning in work is job significance (= the perceived implications one’s deeds have on an organizational, societal or even global level);
  • the runner-up is the organization´s socio-moral climate (= a culture that fosters a) open confrontation with social conflicts and problems; b) reliable appreciation, care, and support; and  c) participative collaboration);
  • third place goes to the organizations´s self-transcendent orientation (= commitment to a higher purpose, combined with a concern for ethics and integrity);
  • and the last (but not least) impact comes in the form of work-role fit (= a perceived match between personal identity and actual job activities).

All in all, those attributes are able to predict almost 50% of the variance pertaining to participants´ level of perceived in meaning in work (that´s quite a lot in the context of psychological research). To put in everyday language:

We find meaning in our work when we frequently have the opportunity to perceive the (positive) outcome of our individual contribution, when our organization promotes a culture of fairness, trust, support – and authentically commits to some “greater good”, and when we feel that our job provides us with lots of opportunities to use our unique talents and matches our personal values.

In another fascinating article, Brent D. Rosso et al. try to provide an integrative model that compasses (more or less) all known factors that influence perceived meaning in work. Personally, I think it´s a very insightful (and: beautiful…) piece of research – and I will reread it frequently. I think, it is pretty self-explanatory, so I´ll leave it up to you to make the most of it.

 

Study: To Belong is to Matter: Sense of Belonging Enhances Meaning in Life

Nico Rose - Meaning in LifeOne of the central tenets in Positive Psychology goes as follows: Other People Matter. It was coined by the late Christopher Peterson as the shortest possible summary of research on human wellbeing. Peterson wanted to make the point that having healthy relationships with family, friends, and coworkers turns out to be the strongest predictor of happiness (and oftentimes: health) in most studies on human wellbeing.

A recent study by Nathaniel Lambert et. al titled To Belong is to Matter: Sense of Belonging Enhances Meaning in Life sheds additional light on this relationship. Here´s a shortened version of the article´s abstract:

We found correlational, longitudinal, and experimental evidence that a sense of belonging predicts how meaningful life is perceived to be. Additionally, we found a strong positive correlation between sense of belonging and meaningfulness. Furthermore, we found that initial levels of sense of belonging predicted perceived meaningfulness of life, obtained 3 weeks later. Furthermore, initial sense of belonging predicted independent evaluations of participants essays on meaning in life.

In short, what they are saying is:

Belonging = Meaning

Or, more precisely: If I matter to other people, my life matters.

Nine requisites for contented living – according to Goethe

If Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived today, I´m sure he would be a Positive Psychology evangelist.

“Nine requisites for contented living:
Health enough to make work a pleasure.
Wealth enough to support your needs.
Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith enough to make real the things of God.
Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.”

Goethe - Contentment

Do you know “Action for Happiness”? Well, you should!

Action for Happiness - GREAT DREAMAction for Happiness is a Positive Psychology-infused movement based in the U.K. It was started, among others, by LSE professor Richard Layard (author of the book “Happiness: Lessons from a New Science”; see his TED talk here) and the organization´s patron is the Dalai Lama. What do they do? In their own words:

Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life – where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.

We bring together like-minded people from all walks of life and help them take practical action, drawing on the latest scientific research. We are  backed by leading experts from diverse fields including psychology, education, economics and social innovation.

Members of the movement make a simple pledge: to try to create more happiness in the world around them. We provide ideas and resources to enable people to take action at home, at work or in their community. Many of our members form local groups to take action together.

Here´s their introductory video on YouTube:

If you are interested in all things Positive Psychology, you should definitely check out their website; and of course, they share great content on Facebook and Twitter.

P.S.

There´s a similar, albeit smaller, movement here in Germany: HeartLeaders. The focus is on bringing Positive Psychology to organizations and workplaces, sharing great advice and tools, e.g., for employee recognition and appreciation.

7 wonderful TED Talks related to Positive Psychology (Self-Motivation, Body Language, Positive Stress… and more)

Here, I present to you seven (more or less…) recent TED talks related to Positive Psychology. Enjoy!

Here´s an older list of 20 TED talks based on Positive Psychology. And by the way: I firmly believe that my own TEDx talk needs to have a least one million views. That´s just 996.783 to go. Are you going to help me out? 🙂