Positive Psychology: What would you like to read about?

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I´m not sure if this has happened before – but I feel I´m in a kind of “creative slump” these days. I want to write but all the exciting ideas are evading my mind.

So, I thought I´d reach out to you, cherished reader, to provide me with some input. You know that Mappalicious is mostly about translating original Positive Psychology research into a layman´s format. So here´s my question to you:

What should I write about over the next weeks? Are there any (special) topics in Positive Psychology and adjacent that would like to know more about? Anything, that has not been covered enough over the past three years?

I´d love to see your input. Please leave your suggestions in the comment section.

Thank you!

 

Why they did it: How successful Entrepreneurs found their Breakthrough Idea

Here´s another fantastic infographic by Anna Vital. It displays when and why exceptionally successful founders had their eureka moments, when they discovered the product or service that would ultimately become the backbone of their business model. As you will see, most of them experienced a certain lack of something, they wanted a (better) product for their own lives but couldn’t find it – and so they created it…

the-aha-moments-of-entrepreneurs-infographic

If you´re Happy and you Know it, write a Blog

Dr. Nico RoseMost weeks, I put something between five and ten hours into bringing fresh Positive Psychology content to Mappalicious. Sometimes, people ask me about my motivation or my goals for the blog – which more or less translates to “Are your earning any money with this?”

The answer is: No, I don´t – and I don´t intend to do so. They pay me a heck of a lot of money in my management job which grants me the freedom to pursue Mappalicious as a delightful hobby.

Maintaining this blog is an autotelic activity: The journey is the destination.

Curiosity and love of learning are among my signature strengths according to the Peterson/Seligman typology. And my favorite way of learning new stuff is to read and then write about it. So, I´d probably keep on writing even if nobody ever read it – but it´s all the more fulfilling to hear that people actually enjoy and profit from my writing efforts. Funny thing: Wherever I go in the (Positive Psychology) world, a lot people feel they already know me – even though we´ve actually never met before.

Other than that, I just receive a lot positive feedback, mostly from students who share how, by way of example, my list of eminent Positive Psychology articles has helped them with finishing a paper or something like that.

Just over the last weeks…

  • I was informed by the academic director of the MAPP program that people actually read my blog to prepare for their applications to UPenn.
  • One of the top researchers in the field analogously said Mappalicious is one of the best free resources on Positive psychology on the net.
  • Mappalicious was included in a list of noteworthy happiness blogs along with top-notch sites such as the blog of the Greater Good Science Center and FulfillmentDaily.com.

Oh, and then I received this beautiful piece of feedback via Facebook – and I have permission to share it with you:

I feel grateful and lucky that your posts appear in my homepage every day, I think you might want to reorganize your signature strengths and put zest/energy above all of them! I´ve never seen that much discipline to post everyday a well thought and evidence based posts. Very good combination or as I like to call it “orchestra” you have there playing your character, the melody is inspiring.

Maybe you deserve to be paid, if not in hard currency, definitely in emotional currency, and hear that from someone: I usually save your posts to read them later while I´m cycling. Your posts have a great impact on people´s day.

Thank you!

22 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be Happy. No. 17 will Totally Shock You

  1. Blah.
  2. Blah blah.
  3. Well.
  4. Maybe.
  5. Really?
  6. I mean, really?
  7. Of course.
  8. Of course not.
  9. Nah.
  10. Duh.
  11. C’mon.
  12. WTF?
  13. Nevermind.
  14. I don’t care.
  15. Get a life.
  16. Um?
  17. Stop falling for clickbait headlines.
  18. Yada yada yada.
  19. Oh my.
  20. Irrelevant.
  21. Yeah, right.
  22. Nope.

Double Face-Palm

Make Donald Drumpf again – or: Why I´ve just reread Harry Frankfurt´s Essay “On Bullshit”

I’m well aware that this is off-topic. And I´m also aware of the fact that some people will think or even say “Shut up! Being German, this none of your business…” But living in a globalized world, and seeing crisis situations such as in Syria or the South China Sea, I definitely do care who will be the Commander-In-Chief of the most powerful army in the world – even when our nations are on friendly terms.

I´m pretty sure Donald Trump (if he gets to be the GOP nominee) will lose against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or even Michael Bloomberg, for that matter. But then, you never know…

Here´s the thing that scares me the most. The following is an excerpt from an article on politico.com – where a scientist analyzed the demographics and attitudes of Trump´s supporters:

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated? You’d be wrong. In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism.

Here´s how the author explains the concept of authoritarianism:

While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.

With my German heritage, I’m especially wary when I read stuff like that. :-/

I readily admit that The Donald can be entertaining and funny at times. I´d probably even tune in once in a while – if we were the host of a talk show or something like that. But he´s not trying to become that. He´s trying to become the POTUS.

A lot of people have wondered and written about the following question:

How does he do it?

How does he pull off the stunt of gathering all those supporters behind him – while being a blatant liar (frequently), ignorant (very frequently ) and outright mean and ostracizing (practically at all times)? One intriguing answer – that also fits with the analysis of his supporters´ attitudes stated above –  is given in this Forbes article. The author links Trump´s ongoing success to his skillful use of dominant behavior, especially body language:

What Trump does prove is the observation of evolutionary psychologists that humans worship the projection of authority in much the way that animals do.

BullshitPersonally, I always wonder how somebody can portray such a high level of confidence while making bogus arguments (if you want to call it arguments at all) nearly 100% of the time. Then, I remembered philosopher Harry Frankfurt´s fabulous essay On Bullshit. Here´s the important part:

It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.

In light of this, I probably have to correct myself: Trump is not a liar, but rather the biggest (and unfortunately: best) bullshit artist currently living on this planet. Literally, my only hope is that, on the day when he is elected to be the nominee for the GOP, he walks up to the lectern, shows one of his awkward smiles, and says something like: “Sorry folks, this was meant to be a joke. It´s all bullshit. Actually, I just wanted to show the world what a pathetic bunch of bigots most of you are.”

In the meantime, if you´re unsure who to vote for, you might want to watch this hilarious excerpt from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Let´s make Donald Drumpf again!

Invitation: Study on Leadership Behavior

For my German-speaking readers:

I´ve initiated a study that seeks to better understand the perception of certain leadership behaviors. If you currently work somewhere and report to someone (= have a boss) you are eligible to participate.

Participation takes just 7-8 minutes. Please click here:

https://de.surveymonkey.com/r/fuehrungsstudie

You can also forward this link via e-mail or share it on social media etc.

Thank you very much!

Nico

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Picture via gratisography.com

10 more Blogs on Positive Psychology and adjacent You Need to Know

IMG_2317A while ago, I posted a list of 10 blogs on Positive Psychology and adjacent I frequently visit. Back then, I already said it was hard to limit the selection to only 10 sites. Therefore, here´s another curated list of cool Positive Psychology blogs. Share and enjoy!

Eric Barker writes Barking Up The Wrong Tree. He brings you science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life. His content has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine and Time Magazine.

The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley (co-founded by Professor Dacher Keltner) “studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society”. They frequently publish articles by their own staff as well as guest articles by eminent researchers.

In their own words, The Creativity Post (co-founded by Scott Barry Kaufman) is “a non-profit web platform committed to sharing the very best content on creativity, in all of its forms: from scientific discovery to philosophical debate, from entrepreneurial ventures to educational reform, from artistic expression to technological innovation – in short, to all the varieties of the human experience that creativity brings to life.”

The Center for Positive Organizations (staff includes Professors Jane Dutton, Kim Cameron, Robert Quinn, and Gretchen Spreitzer) based at the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) seeks to “inspire and enable leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people. We are a catalyst for the creation and growth of positive organizations.” They regularly publish articles by the aforementioned researchers and scholars in Positive Organizational Scholarship.

Paula Davis-Laack is a fellow Penn MAPP alum and writes a regular column called Pressure Proof about “strategies and stories for busy, complicated lives” on Psychology Today.

In their own words, The Pursuit of Happiness is a “group of psychologists, philosophers, educators, and web professionals dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge about happiness and depression prevention. We provide science-based information on life skills and habits needed to enhance well-being, build resilience against depression and anxiety, and pursue a meaningful life.” Professor Todd Kashdan is one of the contributors.

Happiness by Design is a column on Psychology Today by London School of Economics´ Professor Paul Dolan. It doesn’t update very often by the posts are cool to read.

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. Sir Richard Layard is among the founders. They publish compelling pieces by top-tier Positive Psychology researchers and experts in their news section.

To my mind, Michael Tomoff is one of the few people who write stuff worth reading on Positive Psychology in German. His blog is called Was wäre wenn? (What if?).

The last one is a sort of honorable mention. The late Professor Christopher Peterson published an immensely insightful and oftentimes very funny Positive Psychology blog via Psychology Today called The Good Life. Even though it has not been updated ever since 2012 (for obvious reasons), I revisit it frequently for inspiration.

The surprising and simple Definition of Coaching

There are lots of definitions on coaching – what it is, and what is not. Most of them are rather long and circuitous. When I try to explain the process of coaching to my new clients, I oftentimes used this visual metaphor.

Coaching = Recognizing, understanding, and changing patterns.

What do you think?

Positive Psychology is gaining ground in Deutschland: New Associations and Conferences

Flag - German SmileyAbout two years ago, I uttered an outcry via Mappalicious: Positive Psychology in Germany – where are you? In the meantime, someone answered, as the movement is gaining some traction in Germany. Here´s an overview of Positive Psychology Associations and conferences taking place this year:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Positiv-Psychologische Forschung (DGPPF e.V. – English: German Association for Research in Positive Psychology)

The DGPPF is an association of scientists from all academic backgrounds who conduct research on and teach positive psychology. It is an interdisciplinary research and teaching association which seeks to promote and disseminate the science of positive psychology. Over the next years, they plan to host congresses, promote publications, create empirical instruments, collect data, create a journal, and much more.

DGPPF will host a conference at University of Trier from May 19-21, 2016: “State of the Art – Zum Stand der positiv-psychologischen Forschung im deutschsprachigen Raum” (Info)

Deutschsprachiger Dachverband für Positive Psychologie (DACH-PP e.V. – English: The German-speaking Association of Positive Psychology | GAPP)

GAPP’s goal is to bring the concept and methods of Positive Psychology to the attention of a broader public in the German-speaking countries. GAPP supports the practical application of PP in areas such as coaching, psychotherapy, counseling, school, business and politics. GAPP wants to serve as a communication platform for initiatives which are rooted in academic application of positive psychology.

GAPP will host a conference at Freie Universität Berlin from September 17-18, 2016: “Erste Konferenz des DACH-PP – Positive Psychologie für die Praxis” (Info)

The German Chapter of the European Network for Positive Psychology (ENPP)

The European Network for Positive Psychology (ENPP) is a collective of European researchers and practitioners with shared interests in the science and practice of positive psychology. Researchers and practitioners from other disciplines like economics, sociology, philosophy or biology are also invited to participate.

The website www.positive-psychologie.org is currently under construction. In the meantime, you might want to check out the general ENPP Homepage.

ENPP will host the “8th European Conference on Positive Psychology” at Angers (France) from June 28-July 1, 2016. (Info)

Positive Psychologie Tour 2016

Additionally, you might be interested to hear that some of the spearheading figures in Positive Psychology will be coming to Germany and Austria over the summer for several conferences and workshops, among them Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson, Roy Baumeister, Tayyab Rashid, and Kim Cameron. All information can be found here.

 

Picture source

A Mappalicious Thank You to 2015

Every time a year draws to a close, people start saying something like “My, how time flies…”. Mostly, it is used in a slightly sniveling fashion – as if they might have missed something. I guess that´s why they show all those year-end retrospectives on TV. But then, they invite all these VIP and VEP (Very Exceptional People) – and at the end of the day, one´s own life might seem insignificant in comparison.

So in 2013, I´ve started to create my own personal year-end retrospectives to keep track of what really happened in the last 365 days. Ever since, I understand quite well where time went.

One year consists of 8760 hours!

Big Chunks

I´ve…

  • slept +2,400 hours (again, less than intended);
  • worked some 1,850 hours in my main job for Bertelsmann (weekends and holidays etc. are subtracted already);
  • travelled +110.000 km, visiting New York (several times), Boston, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco area, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, the South of France, and Lanzarote.

Speaking my Mind

I´ve…

Anything else (interviews, citations etc. can be found here on Pinterest.

Working with People

I…

  • gave 25 speeches/keynotes. On that note, I have to say I was scared for the first time in a very long while before giving a talk. I gave a dinner speech on Positive Psychology for 50 CFOs at a conference. Me, being a non-finance guy, talking about a “fluffy” psychology topic, for these high-profile business leaders. But it worked out quite well;
  • coached about 40 hours.

 Personal Stuff

  • bought a house and moved in in March;
  • said “I love you” +365 times (not every day, but several times on some of the days);
  • cuddled with my son approx. 300,000 times;
  • read some 95 good-night stories (definitely not enough, please refer to kilometers travelled);
  • had approx. 700 cappuccinos and 4.5 kg Chicken Tikka;
  • been to 5 heavy metal concerts (not enough).

 It´s been a good year…