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!

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…

Learning about Self-Determination Theory from its Co-Founder, Edward Deci

Edward Deci and Nico RoseIf you´ve visited Mappalicious in the past, you´ll have noticed that I´m a big fan of Self-Determination Theory that was developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. It shares a lot of common ground with several areas of Positive Psychology but has developed as a stand-alone body of research since the early 1980s.

Being so enthusiastic about the topic, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that Edward Deci would be a presenter at this year´s Penn MAPP Summit. Dr. Deci was so kind to take a photo with me. I´ve twittered all throughout his lecture – so here´s a sort of best-of Self-Determination Theory in Deci´s own words and charts. Enjoy!

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…

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.