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:

On the Meaning of Meaning at Work: A Collection of Infographics

Over the last weeks, I invested a lot of hours in trying to better understand the antecedents of meaning and purpose at/in work. While doing so, I created a couple of info graphics that serve to explain different theories and outlines. I thought it would make sense to collect them all in one place to show point of convergence and divergence. Here you go…

CARMA_Work

Anatomy_Meaning_Work

IMG_9786

Three_Level_Meaning_StegerThe final graphic is not my creation – the picture is taken directly from the article listed in the respective headline.

Meaning at Work Grid

Share and enjoy!

On Grit and Perseverance: How many Times will you try?

This is yet another fantastic infographic by Anna Vital from Funders and Founders. Now, I don´t know if each and everyone of those numbers on the chart is absolutely correct – but then, this is not the point anyway.

The crucial message is: Live will try to screw you, and then try to screw you all over again. In most domains, it´s not the smartest or most talented people that will succeed at the end of the day. It´s the ones that are willing to walk the proverbial extra mile (which sometimes is a thousand extra miles to be more precise…).

how-many-times-should-your-try.gif

I very much know this from my own life. You´re working hard on a project, you´re almost finished – and suddenly something happens: Your computer kills a full day´s work, an important stakeholder withdraws, or you just get really, really sick. I firmly believe this is a sort of test. In these moments, “life” wants to know what we´re made of. “It” wants us to say “I won´t back down, come hell or high water!”

And actually, all of us do have this quality to some extent. It´s the way we learned to walk on our own two feet…

Meaninglessness at Work: The 7 Deadly Sins [Infographic]

Yesterday, I shared some insights from a fantastic article on the antecedents of meaning in work that has recently been published in the MIT Sloan Management Review

One of the central insights of that piece is the notion that managers can only “prepare the soil” , but they cannot create or grow meaning at work for their employees.

Yet, researchers Catherine Bailey and Adrian Madden found that bosses do play a big part in destroying the experience of meaningfulness at work. 

They interviewed 135 people from very different walks of life. From that material they distilled “seven deadly sins” that bosses frequently commit – and thereby diminish or outright devastate their peoples’ sense of meaning at work.

Here are the key takeaways by way of an infographic. Share and enjoy!

Meaning at Work - Seven Sins

The Anatomy of Meaningful Work [Infographic]

This week, I stumbled upon a fascinating article in the MIT Sloan Management Review written by Catherine Bailey and Adrian Madden. They interviewed 135 people from 10 different walks of life in order to find out what makes their work especially meaningful – and also, what destroys their job-related sense of meaningfulness. While I´ve read other articles that provide valuable syntheses of meaning in work in the past (see here, here, and here), this one is especially rich in context, providing in-depth personal accounts of peoples´ experiences. This makes the findings especially palpable.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Meaningfulness is not dependent on the type of work. A garbage collector can experience the same amount of meaning in work as a nurse or a doctor.
  • Bosses (and specific leadership behaviors) are typically not perceived as a source of meaningfulness. Yet, they can easily destroy the perception of meaning in work.
  • More generalized, the creation of meaning in work is an individual endeavor, while its dismantling is caused by others, or the organizational system as a whole.

Moreover, the researchers describe several crucial components of meaningful work. They´ve inspired me to create this infographic based on their findings. Share and enjoy!

Anatomy_Meaning_Work.png

Additionally, Bailey and Madden describe the “seven deadly sins” leaders can commit to destroy meaningfulness. I´ll share those in the upcoming post.

Beautiful Overview of Positive Psychology [Infographic]

Today, I´d like to share with you this charming mind map of some of the central concepts in Positive Psychology. It was created by Dr. Ilona Boniwell who heads the International MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (I-MAPP) at Anglia Ruskin University and teaches Positive Management at l’Ecole Centrale Paris and HEC Business School.

Positive_Psychology_Boniwell

If you´d like to see more, here´s her recent TEDx talk:

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

The Scientific Benefits of Compassion [Infographic]

This fabulous infographic on the scientific benefits of compassion was originally created by Emma Seppälä, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and author of The Happiness Track. For more of her awesome work, please visit her homepage.

scientific-benefits-of-compassion

A Positive Approach to Organizational Tensions

Pos_Org_QuinnI know I probably should be talking about Adam Grant´s Originals (I did…) or Angela Duckworth´s Grit (I will…) these days, but instead, today, I´d like to point you towards another superb book: The Positive Organization by Robert Quinn.

Robert is professor at the University of Michigan and serves on the faculty of Organization and Management at the Ross Business School. He is one of the co-founders and of the Center for Positive Organizations and author several bestsellers on management.

Description of the book (taken from the book´s wrapper):

The problem is that leaders are following a negative and constraining “mental map” that insists organizations must be rigid, top-down hierarchies and that the people in them are driven mainly by self-interest and fear. But leaders can adopt a different mental map, one where organizations are networks of fluid, evolving relationships and where people are motivated by a desire to grow, learn, and serve a larger goal. Using dozens of memorable stories, Quinn describes specific actions leaders can take to facilitate the emergence of this organizational culture—helping people gain a sense of purpose, engage in authentic conversations, see new possibilities, and sacrifice for the common good.

The book includes the Positive Organization Generator, a tool that provides 100 real-life practices from positive organizations and helps you reinvent them to fit your specific needs. With the POG you can identify and implement the practices that will have the greatest impact on your organization.

For me, the most intriguing part of the book is Quinn´s proposition to see organizations not as more or less static entities, but rather as a systems of tensions. This figure provides a nice overview:

Quinn_Org_Tensions.png

The remainder of the book is equally valuable. If you´re looking for management book that is based on solid science (Positive Organizational Scholarship) and yet offers jargon-free language and actionable ideas, “The Positive Organization” is for you.