10 fantastic Quotes by William James that preview Positive Psychology

Philosopher William James is often portrayed as being the founding father of modern (American) psychology. Here, I collected ten of his quotes that show he’s also been an influence for many theories and practices that are among the cornerstones of Positive Psychology.

On self-efficacy and solution-focused thinking

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

On creating habits

To change one’s life:
1. Start immediately.
2. Do it flamboyantly.
3. No exceptions.

On optimism, pessimism, and rumination

If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.

On the value of attention and mindfulness

Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.

On belief systems and disputation of negative thoughts

To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.

On perseverance, grit, and sisu

In exceptional cases we may find, beyond the very extremity of fatigue distress, amounts of ease and power that we never dreamed ourselves to own, sources of strength habitually not taxed at all, because habitually we never push through the obstruction, never pass those early critical points.

On finding purpose and vitality

Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.

On meaning, altruism, and the greater good

The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.

On the value of positive relationships

Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world.

On hope, best future selves, and callings

Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.
 William  James 

Art: Contribute to Society by Inspiring People

Now, here’s a little inspirational post. Slightly off-topic, but not all that much. What you can see below is a piece of art created by University of Texas art student Jasmine Kay Uy. Sometimes, you just need to look around another corner to get the full picture. Beautiful – and very clever. Reminded me of the Holstee Manifesto that I posted quite a while ago. Share and enjoy!

Pointless_Art.jpg

Infographic: How to be Wise – as an Entrepreneur (and in Life)

This is another really cool infographic by Anna Vital of Funders and Founders. And I think the quotes she gathered do not only apply to the realm of entrepreneurship but getting sh.t done in general. When I look at that graphic (which means through the lens of Positive Psychology), I see insights on self-efficacy, self-concordance, grit and perseverance, and hope (theory).

Share and enjoy!

Wise_Vital

This is the One Quality you Need to Be Successful in Life

Well, at first I wanted to write: Don’t fall for click-baiting headlines, but that’s not the whole secret (though it’s certainly a small fraction of it). What I´d like to say is:

Don´t believe in easy solutions, or, to quote Lt. Aldo Raine from Inglorious Basterds:

Long story short, we hear a story too good to be true – it ain’t.

Most things in life – at least those that are worthwhile pursuing – require a lot of guts, smarts, and plain hard work. That certainly goes for:

  • building a successful company;
  • becoming a star in sports or music;
  • writing a bestseller;

but also for more mundane issues such as:

  • leading a functional long-term relationship;
  • raising healthy and pleasant kids;
  • coming to terms with your own flaws.

Yes, there are things that just work faster or better. But these “life hacks” are, without exception, just tiny pieces of a very large puzzle. Those people who sell easy solutions try to tell you that, by putting together two or three puzzle pieces, you´ve solved the whole thing.

Sorry folks, not true – unless your life equals the complexity of a puzzle made for a two-year-old.

Nico Rose - Penn Commencement

From Penn with Love: The 3 Positive Psychology-Infused Books you need to read in 2016

Nico Rose - Angela Duckworth - Adam Grant2016 is going to be a really nice year for non-fiction aficionados. Below, you´ll find three upcoming books that were all written by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania: Angela Duckworth, Adam Grant, and Scott Barry Kaufman.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

by Adam Grant will be out on February 2, 2016. About the content:

How can we originate new ideas, policies and practices without risking it all? Adam Grant shows how to improve the world by championing novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battling conformity, and bucking outdated traditions. Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt. Parents will learn how to nurture originality in children, and leaders will discover how to fight groupthink to build cultures that welcome dissent.

Here´s what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about the book: “Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.”

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

by Angela Duckworth will be out on May 3, 2016. About the content:

Penn - Books - 2016Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments. Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. She takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance.

This is what Arianna Huffington thinks about the book: “At a time when our collective notion of success has shrunk to the point of being unrecognizable, Angela Duckworth arrives to restore it. With a mix of masterful storytelling and the latest science, she shows that perseverance and passion matter at least as much as talent and intelligence. And far from simply urging us to work harder for the sake of working harder, Grit offers a truly sane perspective: that true success comes when we devote ourselves to endeavors that give us joy and purpose.”

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire will be out two days from now, on December 29, 2015. About the content:

The book offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people. Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes – like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity.

What Martin Seligman has to say about the book: “Scott Barry Kaufman has just written the go-to book on creativity and genius. With Carolyn Gregoire, he puts together the newest scientific findings from the brain, from mental life and from the messy world of emotion to whiz us to the cutting edge of the highest human accomplishments.”

Positive Psychology and Me: Confessions of a Science Fanboy

So on most other days, I´m trying to write super-smart and meaningful stuff here, educating people about the science of Positive Psychology. This is not one these posts. The purpose of this one really is to show off. There, I said it…

I´m just beyond grateful for having had the chance to attend this year´s MAPP Summit which, at the same time, was a 10 years anniversary celebration for this special program at University of Pennsylvania. As usual, the rooms were packed with beautiful people from all walks of life who share the passion for all things Positive Psychology – and top-notch researchers in the field of Positive Psychology and adjacent.

For some folks, it´s a big thing to get a selfie with, let´s say, Beyoncé. But I´m a professing “Science Fanboy” – so the rest of the article is just a bunch of photos along the lines of “me with some super-smart/super-important person”. It´s the visual equivalent of a blog post I wrote last year when I graduated from the program: Positive Psychology and MAPP at Penn: Doing that Namedropping Thing. So if you are crazy about Positive Psychology and you feel a bit jealous after seeing this, it´s because you probably should be… 😉

Nico Rose - Martin Seligman

Seligman Selfie No. 1

Nico_Rose_Barry_Schwartz

Prof. Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore, author of “The Paradox of Choice” (among many other books)

Edward Deci and Nico Rose

Prof. Edward Deci of Rocester, Co-Founder of Self-Determination Theory

Nico Rose - MAPPsters

Sharing a laugh with past and future MAPPsters

Nico Rose - Martin Seligman

Seligman Selfie No. 2

Nico Rose - Angela Duckworth - Adam Grant

Two very brilliant and kind people: Angela Duckworth (who´s most notable for her research on Grit, and Adam Grant, author of “Give & Take”. By the way, both will have new books out in 2016.

I had to leave a bit early, therefore I didn´t get the chance to take a photo with Kelly McGonigal who also presented at the MAPP Summit – but I guess there will be a time for that in the future…

The 4 Types of Fun – Infographic

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this fascinating info graphic (click to enlarge):

Four Keys to Fun

It was created by game experience designer Nicole Lazzaro and shows the different kinds of positive emotions that gamers can experience while playing a well-crafted game. The underlying data was obtained from in-depth interviews and thorough observations of 60 gamers.

I am not a gamer myself (or rather, I stopped being one at age 14…) but I like the chart and the underlying concept for its striking similarity to some frameworks from Positive Psychology. It seems pretty easy to map the four types of fun to Seligman´s PERMA framework:

  • “Easy Fun” and Imagination can be found in Positive Emotions.
  • “Hard Fun” and Mastery can be found in Engagement and Achievement.
  • “People Fun” and Bonding can be found in Relationships.
  • “Serious Fun” and Value can be found in Meaning and also Achievement.

I´m always fascinated when different thinkers come to similar conclusions starting at totally different angles of a certain subject. Lazzaro has a presentation on Slideshare where she explores her framework in more depth. Have (maybe four types…) of fun with it!

22 Positive Psychology-infused Articles every (HR) Leader should know

Positive Organizational ScholarshipPositive Psychology has a lot to offer for leaders, especially those people taking on a leadership role in human resources and people management. In this post, I´ve gathered 22 research articles infused by Positive Psychology (more specifically: Positive Organizational Scholarship) that, in my opinion, have tremendous value for aspiring as well as established managers and entrepreneurs.

The topics comprise desirable attributes and personality variables such as grit, character strengths, and core self-evaluations, how to create positive relationships at work, how employee motivation is created and sustained, how to find meaning and purpose in work, and several review articles, e.g., on the connection of positive emotions and job performance. Enjoy!

P.S.
This is my 300. post since I’ve started Mappalicious about two years ago. Giving myself a slight pat on the back right now…