Positive Psychology News Digest | No. 11/2017 (World Happiness Day Ed.)

My favorite news and blog articles covering Positive Psychology and adjacent topics from (roughly) the last seven days.


Forbes: Steal Tesla’s Strategy For Growing Grit by Jessica Amortegui

Fast Company: Why A Happy Career Can Still Feel Unfulfilling by Marc Crowley

Inc: Science Says Happier People Are Raised by Parents Who Do This 1 Thing by Jeff Haden

Sloan Management Review: The Smart Way to Respond to Negative Emotions at Work by Christine Pearson

Harvard Business Review: Pressure Doesn’t Have to Turn into Stress by Nicholas Petrie

GretchenRubin.com: For the International Day of Happiness: The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned About Happiness by Gretchen Rubin

Greater Good Science Center: Is the Placebo Effect More Powerful Than We Think? by Alex Shashkevich

Greater Good Science Center: How to Awaken Compassion at Work by Jill Suttie

Greater Good Science Center: What Positive Leadership is Not by Chris White

Huffington Post: The World Is Waking Up To The Importance Of Happiness by Mark Williamson

Guardian: I ❤ you: meet the NYU professor whose love course is becoming a phenomenon by Paul Willis

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!


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

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 23/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

Sloan Management Review: What Makes Work Meaningful — Or Meaningless by Catherine Bailey & Adrian Madden

Bakadesuyo: FOMO: This Is The Best Way To Overcome Fear Of Missing Out by Eric Barker

Harvard Business Review: How leaders can let go without losing control by Mark Bonchek

New York Times: Graduating and Looking for Your Passion? Just Be Patient by Angela Duckworth

New York Times: Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice by Adam Grant

Fast Company: Poverty can alter your DNA so you’re at greater risk for depression by Jessica Leber

New York Magazine: To Get Happier, Focus on What Makes You Miserable by David Marchese

Fast Company: Resilient teams can deal with challenges because they have built these skills by Gwen Moran

Harvard Business Review: Why Rich People Aren’t as Happy as They Could Be by Raj Raghunathan

New York Times: Using Meditation to Help Close the Achievement Gap by Norman Rosenthal

Psychology Today: In Defense of Authenticity and Being Yourself by Mark White

APA Excellence: Workplace Well-being Linked to Senior Leadership Support, New Survey Finds, no author

Psychological Science: Genetic Variations Linked with Social and Economic Success, no author