Our Deepest Fear is…

Mann_in_Alu_kleinWe commonly think there are a lot of people out there that battle with a kind of fear of failure. And for a good reason. I assume this definitely is a condition that keeps a lot of people from living up to their full potential, be it in education, sports, business, and even love.

But what fascinates me even more – and has triggered some of my research efforts – is another kind of fear, the fear of success (or fear of happiness, please see this post for more detail on the concept). I seriously don’t know how many people suffer from this, but my estimate is: a heck of a lot of our fellow human beings.

On that note, I was deeply moved to (re-)discover a poem that is often attributed to Nelson Mandela but that was written by Marianne Williamson.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

March 20 is International Happiness Day! Join our virtual Conference feat. +30 Positive Psychology Experts

International_Happiness_Day_2015Ever since 2012, March 20 is UN´s International Happiness Day. All around the world, people will celebrate and host events to educate their fellow human beings on all things happiness, well-being, and flourishing.

And I´m in as well – as part of a Virtual Happiness Conference. 32 fellow Penn Mappsters were interviewed on their favorite Positive Psychology subject, among them a lot of people you might already know because they were featured on Mappalicious in one way or the other, e.g. Emilia “Queen of Sisu” Lahti. All in all, there´s more than 24 hours of video material available.

All content will be online for free until March 26. After that, you can purchase the videos. Every cent will go to the Christopher Peterson Memorial Fellowship which helps future students to afford attending Penn´s MAPP program.

As for my part: I was interviewed by the fabulous Lisa Sansom on the role of Positive Psychology in coaching, the subject of Self-Permission, and the “German way” of Positive Psychology. This is the link to the conference site.

Enjoy – and please share to good news!

International Happiness Day Experts

My Capstone: Introducing the Concept of Self-Permission to (Positive) Psychology

Yeah! It´s finally online. Over the last couple of weeks (and including reading and preliminary research, over the last 8 months) I´ve been working on my MAPP Capstone thesis. Now, it has been published in the Scholarly Commons section of Penn´s homepage. You can download the PDF for free here.

The title of my paper is: Introducing Self-Permission: Theoretical Framework and Proposed Assessment. Here´s the abstract:

The term self-permission refers to a belief about the self that a person can hold to a stronger or weaker extent. Self-permission, in short, is the answer an individual gives oneself when asking about their perceived allowance to reach overarching long-term objectives, such as having a fulfilling career or enjoying a lasting and gratifying relationship. At a broader level, the question is whether a person allows him or herself to lead a happy and rewarding life. This paper describes the concept of self-permission, explores its nomological network and possible antecedents and consequences, proposes a corresponding self-permission scale (SPS), and suggests a study for assessing 1) the psychometric properties of that scale, 2) its relationship with conjectured adjacent constructs, and 3) its relationship with psychological functioning. Considering how important it seems to be to most individuals to make the best out of their lives and to live up to a deeply felt sense of purpose, a better understanding of self-permission could significantly benefit the psychological well-being of many people who do not allow themselves to thrive.

If you are an expert in (Positive) Psychology research and theory, I´d love to have your feedback. I propose a new construct and a scale to measure it. I´ve tried to list all adjacent constructs and concepts I could find to “build” the nomological net (please see appendix in addition to the relevant section in the paper) – but I´m sure there´s lots of interesting stuff out there that I´ve missed and that could serve to deepen my understanding. So if there´s something I should definitely have a look at, please do tell me…

Introducing Self-Permission - Nico Rose

The MAPP Capstone Folder at Penn´s Scholarly Commons Directory: Cutting-Edge Positive Psychology Knowledge for free

It´s almost over. What started out as a dream about 11 months ago, is now reality. I´m about one mouse-click away from becoming a full-blown Mappster. Mid-May, I had finished all my regular course requirements – and celebrated that intensely. By now, I`ve finished writing my so-called capstone project, an paper that can take on the form of a typical research paper, a book proposal, or even an outline for training concept etc. – as long as it´s backed by scientific research. I´ve decided to write a theoretical paper on the concept of self-permission which will be available online very soon. Over the last two hours, I´ve turned that paper into a conference poster and will send that over to Philly once I´m done with writing this post. When that is approved, I´m officially Dr. rer. pol. Dipl.-Psych. Nico Rose, MAPP. 🙂

By the way, if you are interested in novel ways of applying Positive Psychology to different domains of the “real life” (and also some cutting-edge research), you should definitely check out the MAPP folder of Penn´s Scholarly Commons directory. There, you´ll find +30 MAPP capstones from previous years – and it´ll grow as my fellow classmates and future Mappsters will upload their work over the upcoming weeks and years. My paper by the name of “Introducing Self-Permission: Theoretical Framework and Proposed Assessment” is already uploaded and will be available for download within the next days. Enjoy!

Penn - MAPP - Capstone Projects

Reaching our Life Goals: What gets in our Way?

I´d really like to have your reactions to this case:

  • What name would you give to “what happened” to Gregory?
  • What psychological theories can explain what happened to him?
  • What could have helped him?
  • Any other reactions?

Gregory is about to finish high school. He desperately wants to pursue a life as a professional classical pianist. He loves music more than anything else, commands sufficient talent, and is equally willing to engage in the necessary practice hours – as he has done all through his childhood. On that note, he has already successfully applied for a renowned conservatory to finish his musical education. Yet, his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all have sought successful and very rewarding careers as medical doctors. His father has at times conveyed that – while valuing Gregory’s musical talent and ambition – he would very much like to see him stick with the “family tradition” and become a doctor as well. After several rather emotional discussions with his parents, Gregory decides to dismiss his father’s appeal and enrolls at the academy of music.

After doing well for a couple of months, he begins to feel more and more stressed. He starts to skip practice sessions, delivers flawed performances on important rehearsals, and gradually loses much of his enjoyment in performing the music he once loved. About two years later, he’s admonished to leave the conservatorium, due to diminishing prospects of success. Inconsolable, Gregory moves in with his parents again to sort out what to do with the rest of his life. He looks at the homepages of some pre-medical schools, but cannot make up his mind to enroll. Currently, he makes some money by giving piano lessons to children in the neighborhood and is considerably happy doing that – but deep inside, he feels like some part of him has died.   


My 15+15 Minutes of Positive Psychology Fame in Lincoln, Nebraska…

What do you do when you´re – more or less out of the blue – invited to be interviewed about your take on Positive Psychology by a radio talk host in Lincoln, Nebraska? Obviously, you say yes and turn on Skype. That´s what I did when Nick Hernandez contacted me via Facebook this Monday. It wasn´t completely out of the blue as I know Nick from his regular contributions on the Positive Psychology group on Facebook. But I did not know that he regularly hosts a 30-minutes show by the name of Community Matters on KZUM.org – now I do.

Mostly, we talked about my take on belief systems, a topic that I also explore in my book License for Satisfaction. If you´d like to hear the show – I´ve uploaded it here.

Community Matters - KZUM