Positive Psychology News Digest | No. 16/2017

My favorite news and blog articles covering Positive Psychology and adjacent Topics from (roughly) the last seven days.

Positive Psychology News Digest

Quartz: The world’s largest assessment of teenage students suggests happiness is crucial to learning by Jenny Anderson


Greater Good Science Center: Confessions of a Bad Meditator by Christine Carter


Quartz: Silicon Valley executives are hiring philosophers to teach them to question everything by Michael Coren


Psychology Today: Are You the Pursuer or the Distancer in Your Relationship? by Lisa Firestone


Washington Post: Introverts tend to be better CEOs — and other surprising traits of top-performing executives by Jena McGregor


Huffington Post: You Don’t Need Good Grades To Get An A+ In Resilience by Bowman Nixon


Psychology Today: Why Speaking Less is the Secret to Powerful Communication by Emma Seppälä


Psychology Today: 7 Must-Read Books to Change Your Life This Summer by Emma Seppälä


Quartz: Our need to feel special is making us lonely by Emma Seppälä & Peter Sims


Quartz: What is the evolutionary purpose of happiness? by Oliver Staley


BBC: Prince William says keeping a stiff upper lip can damage health, no author

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…

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3 “Original” Questions for Wharton´s Adam Grant

Adam Grant is a professor at Wharton Business School and also teaches in the Master of Positive Psychology program at Penn. His new book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World has recently been published. It´s about creativity and how we all can bring daring ideas to life.

 

Adam_Grant_Quote_1Adam, you’re a scientist. According to philosopher Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shifts it’s particularly tough to be original in this domain because your own community might be incentivized to hold bold ideas down. What’s your (give and) take on this?

When I first read Kuhn as a freshman in college, I was stunned by his argument that major scientific advances don’t take hold until a generation of old scientists clinging to old theories literally dies out. At the time, I believed him, but now I think he was only partially right. In many scientific fields, it’s extremely difficult to publish work that doesn’t challenge the status quo. We want to discover new knowledge, not replicate existing knowledge. There may be a small group of gatekeepers who are invested in their pet theories, but the larger scientific community favors fresh insights. Why, then, do so many scientists face opposition to their oppositional ideas? Building on what I wrote in chapter 2 of Originals, my bet is that it’s less about incentives and more about cognitive entrenchment: scientists become so convinced of prevailing theories that they literally have a hard time seeing alternative possibilities. Look at Einstein: after ushering in his revolutionary ideas about relativity, he resisted the quantum revolution in physics. “To punish me for my contempt for authority,” Einstein reflected, “fate made me an authority myself.”

Adam Grant - OriginalsCultures may vary significantly as to the extent they value non-conformism and standing out. I´m German – we´re a decidedly Western society but still, I feel, the general public adheres to “being sensible and staying with the flock”. What´s your advice here for the “dreamers and the doers”?

The more a culture values conformity, the more important it becomes to master the art of tempered radicalism.

First, make your unfamiliar ideas more familiar by connecting them to things that people already understand – like pitching The Lion King as “Hamlet with lions” or Warby Parker as “We’re going to do for glasses what Zappos did for shoes.”
Second, instead of trying to convince other people to change their values, show them how your idea appeals to values they already hold.
Third, reframe following you as an act of conformity by leveraging the power of social proof: show them that other people like them are already on board with your idea.
And fourth, don’t forget that there’s often more variance within cultures as between them. Find the bright spots, as Chip and Dan Heath say in Switch.  Then, to borrow a term from Jane Dutton, build a micro-community of people who embrace originality.

Adam Grant - QuoteFrom the author´s perspective: What´s the most original chapter in “Originals” – and why?

In form, I think chapter 3 is the most original. I had great fun building in a surprise that I will not spoil here. In content, I’d say the most contrarian ideas are in chapter 5, where I argue that common goals drive groups apart instead of binding them together (this helps to explain why vegans hate vegetarians even more than they dislike meat eaters) and revealing your purpose can make you less persuasive (this is why Elon Musk didn’t start SpaceX by telling people he wanted to go to Mars).

 

Thanks a lot, Adam – and best of luck with your new book!

3 Questions for Emma Seppälä, Author of “The Happiness Track”

Emma_SeppäläEmma Seppälä, Ph.D is Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of the recently published book The Happiness Track. She is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business ReviewPsychology TodayHuffington Post, and Scientific American Mind.

Emma, if you had to describe your book in a short analogy (“We’re the Uber for x…” or something like that): What would it be?

The hack for success without stress.

I’m a manager and reaaaaally busy. If I had time to read only one chapter: Which one would you recommend – and why?

Read the second chapter on how to build your resilience. We believe we need high levels of adrenaline to get things done – so we over-caffeinate, over-schedule ourselves, and wait until the last minute to get things done. The result is not productivity, it’s burnout which is why we’re seeing 50% burnout across industries, 80% of doctor’s visits due to stress, and 75% of the American workforce disengaged. You can’t talk yourself out of stress but there is something you can do at the physiological way that will help you manage your energy, be more productive and emotionally intelligent, and be resilient in the face of the pressure and demands coming your way – cultivating physiological resilience. 

In all these years of studying Positive Psychology: What is the one scientific finding that intrigued you the most?

The finding that has intrigued – and inspired – me the most is that the best kept secret to happiness is to give it away. By uplifting others, supporting them, helping them and living a more compassionate life, not only will you be making everyone else happier, you will be happier, healthier and live a longer life too. It’s win-win!

Thank you very much and best of luck with The Happiness Track!

New Book: 10 Keys to Happier Living (by Action for Happiness)

IMG_8218Last year, I shared with you information on UK-based non-for-profit organization Action for Happiness. Now fellow MAPP alum and AFH board member Vanessa King has authored a book which draws on AFH’s GREAT DREAM acronym: 10 Keys to Happier Living. Congrats, Vanessa!

From the book cover:

In this book, Vanessa King of Action for Happiness has drawn on the latest scientific studies to create a set of evidence-based practical actions that have been shown to increase happiness and wellbeing – at home, at work and in the world around you.

It will help you connect with people, nurture your relationships and find purpose. You’ll get ideas for taking care of your body, making the most of what’s good and finding new ways to stimulate your mind.


9 Ways to Learn [Infographic] – I prefer No. 2 & 5

This is another cool infographic by Anna Vital (featured her work on Mappalicious here, here, here, and here in the past. I definitely prefer No. 1 (doing), 2 (searching inside), and 5 (reading). How about you?

Share and enjoy! 

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What´s your Favorite Positive Psychology Book? (Poll)

Today, I´d like to know which Positive Psychology Book you like best. I´ve provided a list with 10 of the most popular books (from my point of view). You can pick up to 3 books – or list other books that you prefer. Thanks a lot for your participation. Please share this post so others will vote, too!

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