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!

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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

What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.

I recently stumbled upon this quote by Carl Gustav Jung, the founder of Analytic Psychology. Though I feel that people can change considerably over the course of a lifetime, Jung reminds us that we may possess an unchangeable core, e.g., a set of “drives” or “needs” that stay the same throughout our lives, to be manifested through different activities and vocations (please see the article on self-determination theory on the link to Positive Psychology).

Jung-Pursuits

So, you´ve got a Bucket List. But what about your Fuck-it List?

I-dont-have-a-bucket-list-I-have-a-fuck-it-listOver the last two years or so, bucket lists have become really popular – a lot of people shared theirs via Facebook etc. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a bucket list is a “number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime”. It´s based on the term “to kick the bucket” as a synonym for dying. The term was popularized by a 2007 movie feat. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. So basically, people write down on a list the places that they want to see, things they want to do, and goals the want to achieve. By now, there are specialized internet communities evolving around this topic.

And while I fully endorse goal-setting and following through with them (as long as they are self-concordant goals), having too many too aspirational goals can also be a burden in our life. That´s why I was pleased to stumble upon a sort of countertrend very recently:

The Fuck-it List

It´s a list (in this context) where you put all those things that once may have been on your bucket list – but then you’ve realized that you are too old (or rather: grown-up), too lazy, or simply too “different” compared to the time you put it on the list – to follow through with a specific goal.

With my own personal development, but also with some of my coaching clients, I´ve come to realize that old (outdated) goals can suck up a considerable part of a person´s (mental) energy – which than lacks in the process of pursuing current ones. People sometimes feel as a failure when they have to admit to themselves that they are never going to “climb that mountain” – or whatever it is that they´ve put on their bucket list.

But the truth is: we grow older and life moves on. It´s completely normal to have different priorities in different phases of our lives. When I became a father 2.5 years ago, this totally changed my priorities and my internal value system. And by all means, this also meant erasing some things from my bucket list and putting them on my fuck-it list.

But there doesn´t even have to be an incisive event such as becoming a parent. As I´ve said: sometimes, life just moves on. And if that is so, it can be a liberating experience to consciously let go of some of our childhood or teenage dreams. I´ve dreamt about becoming a professional athlete well into my twenties. But I wasn´t good enough (and probably too lazy as well). Still, goals like that can linger in the back of our heads (and dark corners of our hearts), causing trouble, in the form of regret, disappointment, anger, and most of all: putting energy where it would be desperately needed elsewhere.

Truth be told: when I decided to let go of my dream about becoming the next Boris Becker or Roger Federer, I did not just write it down on a piece of paper; I tried to find something more appreciative. If something truly significant and valuable like a childhood dream has been with you for most of your life, I advise you to “bid farewell” to that goal via a little ritual.

Back then, I wrote my dream on a piece of paper. Then, I put it into a small metal bowl. After that, I sat down on my porch, and took an hour or so to remember all the good things that came out of pursuing that goal: the tournaments I had won in my youth, the friends I had made, and simply all those countless hours of dedicated practice during most of my childhood – which surely have taught me a lot about diligence and resilience – therefore helping me to achieve whatever success I have now in my life as a business man and psychologist.

Then, I set fire to the paper, watched in burn down –  and finally scattered the ashes in the evening wind.

 

Picture Source

Nothing is as painful as being stuck where you don’t belong.

I think there´s a lot to this quote. Oftentimes, people prefer to experience “familiar misery” to an “unknown happiness”. We have to learn how to overcome this barrier. But where are those places “we belong”? Self-Concordance Theory has a lot to offer here…

Growth Change Pain

Listen to the Founders of Self-Determination Theory, Edward Deci & Richard Ryan

If you are a regular visitor of Mappalicious, you know by now that I´m a big fan of Self-Determination Theory and adjacent frameworks such as Self-Concordance Theory. These concepts have been developed roughly at the same time as central tenets of Positive Psychology – without necessarily being regarded as “part of” Positive Psychology (don´t ask me why, I guess it´s just a consequence of different research agendas/”brand building”).

Recently, I stumbled upon a TEDx talk given by Edward Deci where he explains the foundations of SDT. In addition, there´s a nice intro to the framework by Richard Ryan given at a SDT conference. Listening to the two SDT co-founders will give you a great and lively overview of the core concepts and some of its applications. Enjoy!

On “Liebe und Arbeit” (Love and Work)

Two days ago, I stumbled upon this (anonymous…?) quote on the net:

Work until you no longer nedd to introduce yourself

Or rather, the quote consisted only of the first sentence – and I found it necessary to add the second. Sigmund Freud once wrote that “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” Freud has written a lot of nonsense in his lifetime – but I think here, he´s right on the spot. Obviously, this is not to say that other aspects of life are not important (such as play and recreation). But a lot of people these days spend a least half of their waking hours at work, which also means that we spend most of our time (because that includes our free time) in the presence of other people. That´s why the late Christopher Peterson used to say Other People Matter when asked for a short definition of Positive Psychology. It´s pretty straightforward. I guess most people would agree that our loved ones and friends are one of the most important sources of happiness in our lives – we don´t need Positive Psychology for this insight (even though they can also be an important source of grieve).

But what about work? Isn´t work a constant source of stress and discomfort for most of us? After all, surveys such as the Gallup Engagement Index regularly show that the greater part of the workforce are not really engaged in their current job. While this finding most likely is based on different causations, I propose that a very important one is a lack of fit between the person and the attributes of a job. That´s why I felt a need to add a second sentence to the above-mentioned quote. While I like the general idea, “becoming (more or less) famous” is a prime example of an extrinsic goal – and pursuing these has been shown to be detrimental to our well-being.

We all need to find something that we like to do irrespective of the (external) consequences. This is the most important learning from Self-Determination Theory and adjacent theories like the Self-Concordance Model. We have to find work that we would do even without being paid. I know that this a “moonshot goal” for most people as things are today – but it´ll be the key to lasting productivity and (workplace) happiness in the future.