Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 27/2016

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

Wall Street Journal: Why good storytellers are happier in life and in love by Elizabeth Bernstein


Psychology Today: The Perils of Pursuing Pleasure by Michael Bishop


Guardian: How to stay happy when the sky is falling in by Oliver Burkeman


CityLab: The Price of Happiness in Cities by Richard Florida


Atlantic: 7 Ways to Find Meaning at Work by Uri Friedman


Harvard Business Review: Everyone Suffers from Imposter Syndrome — Here’s How to Handle it by Andy Molinsky


Psychology Today: Why Is There Hardly Any Purpose, Trust or Joy at Work? by Dan Pontefract


Fast Company: Scientific Proof That Buying Things Can Actually Lead To Happiness (Sometimes) by Dinsa Sachan


New York Mag: Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships? by Bethany Saltman


New Yorker: A Better Kind of Happiness by Will Storr


CNBC: A psychologist says this is the formula for success by Marguerite Ward

Mappalicious - Positive Psychology news Digest

Top 10 Positive Psychology Articles for the first Half of 2016

 Top 10 Positive Psychology ArticlesCherished reader, as it has become a tradition, I’m sharing with you those articles that your fellow readers liked the most over the first half of the year. Maybe, there’s something that you’ve missed and want to read again?

Looking at the selection, it becomes clear that readers were strongly interested (and willing to share) blog posts that contain infographics. I’ll try to keep that in mind when thinking about future directions for Mappalicious.

  1. Great Infographic on Self-Compassion: How not to be Hard on Yourself
  2. Fabulous Infographic: Why People become Unhappy
  3. The Meaning of Life according to different Philosophers [Infographic)
  4. Do you want to find more Meaning in your Work? Here´s where you should look for it – according to Science
  5. Strengths gone astray: The real mental Illnesses?
  6. Explaining Character Strengths to Children: Meet the Dynamos
  7. Surprising Finding | Mental Illness vs. Mental Health: Continuum or Matrix?
  8. Infographic: How to be Wise – as an Entrepreneur (and in Life)
  9. The 3 Layers of Meaningful Work
  10. Meaninglessness at Work: The 7 Deadly Sins [Infographic]

Honorable mentions

These two articles are not blog posts, they are permanent pages on my site. But as people like them so much, they typically show up in the top 10 list every year. For that reason, I’ve taken them out of the regular top 10 but still present them here:

3 Questions for Angela Duckworth, Author of “Grit”

Angela_DuckworthA few weeks ago, Penn professor Angela Duckworth has published her first book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. And while she´s typically busy shipping exceptional research, giving TED presentations, or talking to the New York Times, it says a lot about her character that she also takes the time to answer some questions for my little blog thingy. So, thank you, Angela!

What are you up to these days? Just kidding… What does it feel like to have published a bestseller? And what part did grit play in the process of writing up “Grit”

I’m devoting myself to Character Lab, a nonprofit I founded with educators Dave Levin and Dominic Randolph three years ago. The mission of Character Lab is to advance the science and practice of character development. This includes helping children develop intrapersonal strengths like grit and self-control but also interpersonal strengths like gratitude and pro-social purpose and, finally, intellectual strengths like curiosity and open-minded thinking.

While I’m thrilled with the success of the book, I can also tell you that my attention is entirely on the future and new challenges. And, as for grit while writing Grit? Writing this book is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I almost quit many times. So, yes, I used my grit to do it, and I learned a lot about grit in the process!

You´re incredibly successful as a researcher, but also as an educator, first via your TED talk, and now with the book. Clearly, a lot people are intrigued by the concept of grit. Still, I’ve read a couple of articles that give pushback to the concept for allegedly ignoring the socio-economic factors that lead to success in school and life in general. What’s your take on this?

At a recent conference, I sat down next to a sociologist. She knew my work, and it didn’t take long for her to express extreme disdain—even anger—for what she called the grit message. “What’s that,” I asked? “Well, put it this way,” she said. “I happen to think that poverty and inequality matter a heck of a lot more than grit.” I thought for a moment. Then I said, “I see your point.”

If you pit grit against structural barriers to achievement, you may well decide that grit is less worthy of our attention. But I think that’s the right answer to the wrong question.

Caring about how to grow grit in our young people—no matter their socio-economic background—doesn’t preclude concern for things other than grit. For example, I’ve spent a lot of my life in urban classrooms, both as a teacher and as a researcher. I know how much the expertise and care of the adult at the front of the room matter. And I know that a child who comes to school hungry, or scared, or without glasses to see the chalkboard, is not ready to learn. Grit alone is not going to save anyone.

But the importance of the environment is two-fold. It’s not just that you need opportunity in order to benefit from grit. It’s also that the environments our children grow up in profoundly influence their grit and every other aspect of their character. This is the grit message in my words:

Grit may not be sufficient for success, but it sure is necessary.

If we want our children to have a shot at a productive and satisfying life, we adults should make it our concern to provide them with the two things all children deserve: challenges to exceed what they were able to do yesterday and the support that makes that growth possible.

So, the question is not whether we should concern ourselves with grit or structural barriers to achievement. In the most profound sense, both are important, and more than that, they are intertwined.

I’ve pursued and completed a Ph.D. but the truth is: I entirely lost interest in the topic after the first year. Still, I hung in there for another 3.5 years for reasons that the founders of Self-Determination Theory, Ryan and Deci, would probably call “externally regulated”. And while I suffered emotionally during that time, I now do enjoy the upsides that having a Ph.D. entails at times. Was that grit? Or “stupid grit”? Or just stupid?

Good question. I might have asked myself, “Why am I pursuing this Ph.D.?” And in response, what would you have said? The answer gives you a higher-order goal—the “why” that gives meaning to the Ph.D. Was there a way to pivot in terms of your topic or research to achieve that higher-order goal?

And, in terms of pure interest, is there an adjacent topic to the one your pursued that you would have enjoyed more?* Interest and purpose are the drivers of passion, and I think if there is really no interest and no sense of purpose, you need not feel the compulsion to finish what you started.

Thank you, Angela – and best of luck with your book and the Character Lab!


Grit_DuckworthDr. Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies non-IQ competencies, including self-control and grit, which predict success both academically and professionally.

Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Angela was a McKinsey consultant and, for five years, a math teacher in several public schools. In 2013, she was selected as a MacArthur Fellow. Very recently, Angela has published her first book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance with Scribner. It was an instant New York Times best seller and remains on the best seller list today.


* The truth is: When you don´t want to work on your Ph.D., you start to put a lot of time and energy in other things, just to have your calendar really, really stuffed as an excuse. For me, this led to discovering Positive Psychology in the first place, which then led to studying at Penn, which led to meeting Angela.

This is one of my learnings: Whether something is truly good or bad for us should probably not be judged in the moment. It often takes a couple of years to connect the dots and see the real value of our life´s episodes.

Return On Flourishing (ROFL): A Keynote given at the Fifteen Seconds Festival in Graz/Austria

For my German-speaking readers:

About two weeks ago, I gave a keynote on Positive Psychology at the Fifteen Seconds Festival in Graz/Austria. It covers a short introduction to Positive Psychology, some scientific facts on the relationship between treating your employees exceptionally well and the financial returns of a company (based among other things, on the research of Prof. Alex Edmans), and a model of exceptional leadership based on ideas of Prof. Michael F. Steger.

Share and enjoy!

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Positive Psychology News Digest April – June | +130 Articles 

Did you miss any of my weekly Positive Psychology news digests over the last three months? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Here are all the news articles I collected over the last 120 days. Share and enjoy!

Center for Positive Organizations: Understanding positive business: Learning how to lead by Sue Ashford


Economist: Your employees wish you were emotionally intelligent by Natalie Baker


Center for Positive Organizations: Respectful engagement cultivates higher levels of creativity by Jane Dutton et al.


Psychology Today: The Shortcut to Finding Pleasure from Pain by Todd Kashdan


Huffington Post (Lifestyle): Simplicity, Free Time and Pursuing Your Passions by Taylor Kreiss


The Positive Organization: The Power of Self-Change via Robert Quinn


Vox: How scientists fell in and out of love with the hormone oxytocin by Brian Resnick


New York Times: The Keys to Happiness by Victoria Shannon


Forbes: Living Life With Renewed Energy: The Purpose Of Purpose by Brett Steenbarger


Huffington Post: 6 Quick Steps for Finding Your Company’s Authentic Purpose by Vic Strecher


Bakadesuyo: How To Be More Confident: 3 Secrets Backed By Research by Scott Barker


Fast Company: The Secret To Making Anxiety Work In Your Favor by Amy Cuddy


Sisu Lab: What’s Your 4-Minute Mile? by Emilia Lahti


Washington Post: Why this Wharton wunderkind wants leaders to replace their intuition with evidence by Jena McGregor


Fast Company: How to identify and get rid of the hidden beliefs that could be holding you back by Gwen Moran


Washington Post: The surprisingly easy way to reduce your anxiety by Amy Ellis Nutt


Guardian: Forget mindfulness, stop trying to find yourself and start faking it by Michael Puett & Christine Gross-Loh


New York Times: Angela Duckworth on Passion, Grit and Success by Julie Scelfo


Harvard Business Review: Good Bosses create more Wellness than Wellness plans do by Emma Seppälä


Forbes: Becoming The Kind Of Leader You Would Want To Follow by Brett Steenbarger


Science Daily: Can money buy happiness? maybe, if you spend it according to your personality type, no author


Sydney Morning Herald: The pursuit of happiness (at work) by James Adonis


Quartz: Schools are finally teaching what kids need to be successful in life by Jenny Anderson


Quartz: Happiness is the new GDP by Livia Gershon


Today: Happiness fueled by relationships, work, something ‘larger than self’ by Susan Donaldson James


WEC: Is “Psychological Danger” killing your team’s performance? by Lauren Joseph


Fast Company: Here’s why your idea of success might be making you miserable by David Mayer


Psychology Today: What the Best CEOs on Earth Do Better by Emma Seppälä


Psychology Today: The Kafka Effect by Nick Tasler


Atlantic: Is Grit Overrated? by Jerry Useem


London Business School: Non-financial assets key to 100-year-life, no author


Guardian: How less stuff could make us happier – and fix stagnation by Katie Allen


New York Magazine: How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of Running by Melissa Dahl


Psychology Today: 7 Stress Relief Strategies You Can Do in 10 Minutes or Less by Paula Davis-Laack


PsyBlog: The Emotion That ‘Vaccinates’ Us Against Impulsiveness and Poor Self-Control by Jeremy Dean


Atlantic: Harvard Just Launched a Center for Happiness by James Hamblin


Fast Company: The three rules of behavioral economics that can lead to success by David Hoffeld


Harvard Business Review: When economic Growth doesn’t make Countries happier by Selin Kesebir


Atlantic: The Three Types of Happiness by Olga Khazan


Atlantic: Why so many smart people aren’t happy by Joe Pisnker


Inc: Want to Be Happier? Ask Yourself This Question Every Morning by Chris Winfield


Bakadesuyo: What seven factors make companies more productive and employees happier? via Eric Barker


New York Times: ‘Grit,’ by Angela Duckworth by Judith Shulevitz


Guardian: How to be happy: follow these five easy steps by Emma Cook


CNN: Why millennials struggle for success by Angela Duckworth


Fast Company: Why innovative companies like Google are letting employees craft their own jobs by Vivian Giang


Greater Good Science Center: How Positive Media Can Make Us Better People by Sophie Janicke


Ideas.TED: 7 lessons about finding the work you were meant to do by Kate Torgovnick May


Positive Psychology News Daily: How to Have a Good Day by Lisa Sansom


Forbes: The Solution Focus: Turning Positive Psychology Into Your Positive Psychology by Brett Steenbarger


Fast Company: Four myths most bosses believe about employee engagement by Stephanie Vozza


Guardian: Is grit the true secret of success? by Paula Cocozza


Quartz: The key to happiness at work isn’t money–it’s autonomy by Bell Beth Cooper


New York Magazine: Don’t Believe the Hype About Grit, Pleads the Scientist Behind the Concept by Melissa Dahl


NPR: How To Teach Children That Failure Is The Secret To Success by Tara Haelle


Scientific American: Review of ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’ by Scott Barry Kaufman


Greater Good Science Center: Why Do We Feel Awe? by Dacher Keltner


Atlantic: Self-esteem doesn’t work. Try self-compassion instead by Olga Khazan


Greater Good Science Center: Happy People Don´€™t Need to Feel Superior by Kira M. Newman


The Positive Organization: Adaptive Confidence by Robert Quinn


New York Magazine: You Could Probably Lift a Car, If You Really Needed To by Cari Romm


Harvard Business Review: Creative Job Titles Can Energize Workers, no author, yet feat. Adam Grant


New Yorker: The Glossary of Happiness by Emily Anthes


L.A. Times: Research backs relationship between health, happiness by Patrice Apodaca


Medical Daily: Improving Mental Health And Wellbeing: How E-mail Exercises Boost Confidence, Gratitude by Lecia Bushak


Big Think: Want to Be Your Authentic Self? Get to Know Your Beliefs, Values, and Abilities by Amy Cuddy


Quartz: Neuroscience confirms that to be truly happy, you will always need something more by Olivia Goldhill


Washington Post: Why Angela Duckworth thinks “gritty” leaders are people to emulate by Jena McGregor


Guardian: Five things companies can do to boost employee happiness by Harriet Minter


Time: Your brain will age better if you do this by Alexandra Sifferlin


Greater Good Science Center: Living with a Purpose Changes Everything by Jill Suttie


Quartz: Harvard researchers have isolated a key to happiness, and Iceland is helping them test it by Cassie Werber


Edge: Misunderstanding Positive Emotion by June Gruber


Scientific American: A Self-Improvement Secret: Work on Strengths by Lauren Howe


NPR: MacArthur ‘Genius’ Angela Duckworth Responds To A New Critique Of Grit by Anya Kamenetz


Smithsonian: If grit breeds success, how can I get grittier? by Emily Matchar


Psych Central: When Grit Falls Short by Robert McGrath


Huffington Post: A Quick Daily Writing Practice That’s Proven to Make You Happier by Izzy McRae


Quartz: Scarcity mindset is a great way to suck creativity and visionary thinking out of your life by Camille Ricketts


Guardian: Money can’t buy happiness? That’s just wishful thinking by Ruth Whippman


Fulfillment Daily: The Rise of toxic Leaders and what to do about it by Ray Williams


Center for Positive Organizations: Logitech named winner of 2016 Positive Business Project, no author


Center for Positive Organizations: Time to overcome your skepticism – Positive business is the future of capitalism, no author


PsyBlog: The Advantage of Being Overconfident And Self-Deluded by Jeremy Dean


Live For Live Music: Why Some People Get ‘Skin-Gasms’ While Listening To Music by Kendall Deflin


Seth Godin´s Blog: The possibility of optimism (the optimism of possibility)


Huffington Post: 8 great things that happen when you practice self-compassion by Lindsay Holmes


NPR: Could Thinking Positively About Aging Be The Secret Of Health? by Ina Jaffe


Elle: 10 Countries That Actually Want Their Citizens to Have Better Lives by Michael Sebastian


Harvard Business Review: Happy Workplaces can also be Candid Workplaces by Emma Seppälä and Kim Cameron


Positive Organization: The Emergence of Organization Whisperers by Robert Quinn


Positive Organization: Positive Emotions and Positive Culture by Robert Quinn


Harvard Business Review: Stop Comparing Management to Sports by Freek Vermeulen


Science Daily: Professor’s new study emphasizes the impact of leaders’ language: Top-tier research shows clearly stated company values can have a profound effect on overall success, no author


Sloan Management Review: What Makes Work Meaningful — Or Meaningless by Catherine Bailey & Adrian Madden


Bakadesuyo: FOMO: This Is The Best Way To Overcome Fear Of Missing Out by Eric Barker


Harvard Business Review: How leaders can let go without losing control by Mark Bonchek


New York Times: Graduating and Looking for Your Passion? Just Be Patient by Angela Duckworth


New York Times: Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice by Adam Grant


Fast Company: Poverty can alter your DNA so you’re at greater risk for depression by Jessica Leber


New York Magazine: To Get Happier, Focus on What Makes You Miserable by David Marchese


Fast Company: Resilient teams can deal with challenges because they have built these skills by Gwen Moran


Harvard Business Review: Why Rich People Aren’t as Happy as They Could Be by Raj Raghunathan


New York Times: Using Meditation to Help Close the Achievement Gap by Norman Rosenthal


Psychology Today: In Defense of Authenticity and Being Yourself by Mark White


APA Excellence: Workplace Well-being Linked to Senior Leadership Support, New Survey Finds, no author


Psychological Science: Genetic Variations Linked with Social and Economic Success, no author


Wall Street Journal: Steps to turn off the nagging self-doubt in your head by Elizabeth Bernstein


PsyBlog: 4 Personality Traits That Affect How Long You Will Live by Jeremy Dean


Psychology Today: How Trauma Can Lead to Positive Change by Susanna Halonen


ERE Media: Building A Positive Culture In An Atmosphere of Fear by Derek Irvine


Psychology Today: Can Too Much Meaning at Work Be Harmful? by Michelle McQuaid


Inc: This is the Secret Sauce for Happy Employees by Shawn Murphy


The Positive Organization: On Being Other-Focused by Robert Quinn


The Positive Organization: The Power of Authenticity by Robert Quinn


Atlantic: How Kids Learn Resilience by Paul Tough


Harvard Business Review: Lessons from Companies That Put Purpose Ahead of Short-Term Profits by Andrew White


Psychology Today: What Would a Happiness Potion Do for You? by Michael Bishop


Positive Prescription: 7 Ways to make your Day a little bit better by Samantha Boardman


Guardian: The secret to happiness is all in your head by Julianne Chiaet


Greater Good Science Center: What Are Your Happiness Strengths and Weaknesses? by Tchiki Davis


Fast Company: You should probably compare yourself to others more, not less by David Mayer


Time Money: Empathy is the hottest trend in leadership by Denver Nicks


The Positive Organization: The Transformative Power of Purpose by Robert Quinn


The Smart Set: The Positive Psychology of Metal Music by Christine Ro


Time Health: Forgiving other people is good for your health by Alexandra Sifferlin


Greater Good Science Center: Can You Incentivize Generosity? by Jill Suttie


Penn LPS: Alumni Stories, no author


Wall Street Journal: Why Doing Nothing Is So Scary–and So Important by Samantha Boardman


BPS Research Digest: What makes our work meaningful? Do bosses really make it meaningless? by Alex Fradera


Harvard Business Review: Stop Making Gratitude All About You by Heidi Grant Halvorson


London Entrepreneurship Review: Sisu – The Hidden Driver of An Entrepreneur by Terence Mauri


Guardian: Referendums are supposed to make people happy. Why are even leave voters upset? by Anna Petherick


Psychology Today: What Would Democratic Socialism Mean for America? by Benjamin Radcliff


Atlantic: Why Managers Are So Bad at Recognizing Good Ideas by Rebecca Rosen


NPR: Personality Can Change Over A Lifetime, And Usually For The Better by Christopher Soto


Greater Good Science Center: How Music Bonds Us Together by Jill Suttie


Psychology Today: The Making of a Mindful Leader by Ray Williams

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Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 26/2016

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

Wall Street Journal: Why Doing Nothing Is So Scary–and So Important by Samantha Boardman


BPS Research Digest: What makes our work meaningful? Do bosses really make it meaningless? by Alex Fradera


Harvard Business Review: Stop Making Gratitude All About You by Heidi Grant Halvorson


London Entrepreneurship Review: Sisu – The Hidden Driver of An Entrepreneur by Terence Mauri


Guardian: Referendums are supposed to make people happy. Why are even leave voters upset? by Anna Petherick


Psychology Today: What Would Democratic Socialism Mean for America? by Benjamin Radcliff


Atlantic: Why Managers Are So Bad at Recognizing Good Ideas by Rebecca Rosen


NPR: Personality Can Change Over A Lifetime, And Usually For The Better by Christopher Soto


Greater Good Science Center: How Music Bonds Us Together by Jill Suttie


Psychology Today: The Making of a Mindful Leader by Ray Williams

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