Mappalicious discontinued for the time being…

rawpixel-255076-unsplashDear reader! I´ve decided to discontinue writing on Mappalicious for the time being. I´m currently going through a transition in my professional life, as well as writing on a German book on Posititive Organizational Science. For this reason, my focus and energy is needed elsewhere. This is not to say that Mappalicious as a project is finished – but I will not add any new articles at least until the second half of 2019.

Of course, you can still access all the content (…close to 600 posts…) that was generated ever since starting Mappalicious when I joined the MAPP program at University of Pennylvania in 2013. To give you a headstart in case you´ve found this site rather recently, below you´ll find a top-20 list of articles that were either read the most – or that I personally like the most. Of course, I will continue to share insights from the world of Positive Psychology (in organizations) in the meantime. Accordingly, if you haven´t done so, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Reading about Positive Psychology on Mappalicious: Where to start?

  1. Great Infographic on Self-Compassion: How not to be Hard on Yourself
  2. Feel-Good vs. Feel-Purpose: Hedonia and Eudaimonia as separate but connected Pathways to Happiness
  3. “To Thine Own Self Be True”: Self-Concordance and Healthy Goal-Striving
  4. Bad is Stronger than Good! That is why our World desperately needs Positive Psychology
  5. 3 “Original” Questions for Wharton´s Adam Grant
  6. A Definition of Positive Interventions
  7. Are you a H.E.R.O.? Positive Organizational Capital (PsyCap) explained
  8. Lift! On Leading with Purpose
  9. 22 Positive Psychology-infused Articles every (HR) Leader should know
  10. The James Bond Philosophy of Life – in 007 Chapters
  11. What’s your “Ikigai”? On Purpose, Meaning, and making a Living
  12. My Mind´s MAP(P): The 4-minute Ivy League Diploma in Positive Psychology
  13. On the Meaning of Meaning at Work: A Collection of Infographics
  14. Honoring the Forefathers: Viktor Frankl and Men’s Quest for Meaning
  15. My Year in MAPP: A 5-Step Course in the fine Art of Being Un-German
  16. Following your Bliss vs. following your Blisters
  17. Feedback on Optimal Human Functioning: The Reflected Best Self Exercise™
  18. 10 fantastic Quotes by William James that preview Positive Psychology
  19. Heavy. Metal. Heart. Finding Happiness in Angry Music
  20. I´ve got 99 Words for Happiness, but the Germans only have One
Picture: unsplash.com/@rawpixel

3 “Original” Questions for Wharton´s Adam Grant

Adam Grant is a professor at Wharton Business School and also teaches in the Master of Positive Psychology program at Penn. His new book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World has recently been published. It´s about creativity and how we all can bring daring ideas to life.

 

Adam_Grant_Quote_1Adam, you’re a scientist. According to philosopher Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shifts it’s particularly tough to be original in this domain because your own community might be incentivized to hold bold ideas down. What’s your (give and) take on this?

When I first read Kuhn as a freshman in college, I was stunned by his argument that major scientific advances don’t take hold until a generation of old scientists clinging to old theories literally dies out. At the time, I believed him, but now I think he was only partially right. In many scientific fields, it’s extremely difficult to publish work that doesn’t challenge the status quo. We want to discover new knowledge, not replicate existing knowledge. There may be a small group of gatekeepers who are invested in their pet theories, but the larger scientific community favors fresh insights. Why, then, do so many scientists face opposition to their oppositional ideas? Building on what I wrote in chapter 2 of Originals, my bet is that it’s less about incentives and more about cognitive entrenchment: scientists become so convinced of prevailing theories that they literally have a hard time seeing alternative possibilities. Look at Einstein: after ushering in his revolutionary ideas about relativity, he resisted the quantum revolution in physics. “To punish me for my contempt for authority,” Einstein reflected, “fate made me an authority myself.”

Adam Grant - OriginalsCultures may vary significantly as to the extent they value non-conformism and standing out. I´m German – we´re a decidedly Western society but still, I feel, the general public adheres to “being sensible and staying with the flock”. What´s your advice here for the “dreamers and the doers”?

The more a culture values conformity, the more important it becomes to master the art of tempered radicalism.

First, make your unfamiliar ideas more familiar by connecting them to things that people already understand – like pitching The Lion King as “Hamlet with lions” or Warby Parker as “We’re going to do for glasses what Zappos did for shoes.”
Second, instead of trying to convince other people to change their values, show them how your idea appeals to values they already hold.
Third, reframe following you as an act of conformity by leveraging the power of social proof: show them that other people like them are already on board with your idea.
And fourth, don’t forget that there’s often more variance within cultures as between them. Find the bright spots, as Chip and Dan Heath say in Switch.  Then, to borrow a term from Jane Dutton, build a micro-community of people who embrace originality.

Adam Grant - QuoteFrom the author´s perspective: What´s the most original chapter in “Originals” – and why?

In form, I think chapter 3 is the most original. I had great fun building in a surprise that I will not spoil here. In content, I’d say the most contrarian ideas are in chapter 5, where I argue that common goals drive groups apart instead of binding them together (this helps to explain why vegans hate vegetarians even more than they dislike meat eaters) and revealing your purpose can make you less persuasive (this is why Elon Musk didn’t start SpaceX by telling people he wanted to go to Mars).

 

Thanks a lot, Adam – and best of luck with your new book!

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 5/16

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

Penn Current: Penn professor explores what it means to be positive by Michele Berger


Financial Times: Companies with a purpose beyond profit tend to make more money by Simon Caulkin


Greater Good Science Center: Five Ways to Put Self-Compassion into Therapy by Tim Desmond


Gizmodo: English is Surprisingly Devoid of Emotionally Positive Words by George Dvorsky


New York Times: How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off by Adam Grant


Psychology Today: Is It a Good Idea To Build on Signature Strengths? by Todd Kashdan


Scientific American: The Differences Between Happiness and Meaning in Life by Scott Barry Kaufman


Psychology Today: Can You Help Others Find Meaning In Their Work? by Michelle McQuaid


Cosmopolitan: 12 Ways to Feel Happier at Work – Yes, even at the job you hate by Judith Ohikuare


Psychology Today: The Surprising Link Between Compassion and Success by Emma Seppälä


Forbes: How To Light The Fire When You’re Burned Out by Brett Steenbarger

Positive Psychology | News Digest | Mappalicious

Loneliness is a Killer! A TEDx Talk and the Story of my Life

One of the central tenets of Positive Psychology is Other People Matter, coined by the late Prof. Christopher Peterson. If you want to learn just how much they matter to your happiness and your health, you might want to watch this TED talk by Prof. John Cacioppo from University of Chicago.

My Story

Now, I perfectly know from my own life what Prof. Cacioppo is talking about. When I was 16, I went to the USA for a year to attend high school and improve my English skills. I left my family and friends behind – platforms such as Skype and Facebook weren’t available (in fact, Mark Zuckerberg probably was entering middle school at that time). I agreed to have a phone call with my parents only every other Sunday – in order not to abet homesickness. Bad idea, most likely…

For reasons which are to complex and difficult to explain (if it can be explained at all – because every person will have a very different vantage point…), this was by far the loneliest year of my life. I found it hard to connect to my guest families and the larger part of my schoolmates.* For most of the time, m closest social connections consisted of other exchange students (during school hours) and the folks I encountered during basketball pick-up games (in the afternoon). Other than that, for most of the year, I felt utterly alone and devoid of warm social connections, let alone love.

I am now perfectly aware what a situation like this does to your body and your soul. When I came to the U.S., I was a healthy and (ordinarily) happy teenager. By the time I went home, I had developed allergy-based asthma, suffered from recurring panic attacks, and was – according to what I´ve learned during my psychology studies later in life –  more than mildly depressed (including, at times, suicidal thoughts). It took me several years to shake all of this off – but I did.

Full Circle

To end this post on a high note (or rather: two high notes), I have to add that even though this was probably the worst year of my life, that doesn´t mean it hasn’t been a valuable experience. On the one hand, it´s a classic case of “What doesn´t kill me makes me stronger“. On the other hand – and that may be a strangely wonderful twist of fate – this year gave my life a whole new direction. The high school I attended offered psychology as an elective course. These two hours or so every week always were among the regular lights at the end of my tunnel. And I think my psychology teacher is the reason why I chose to pursue that profession later on in my life.

And then, there´s this other – equally beautiful and strange – twist of fate. Mappalicious exists as a blog because I was part of the ninth cohort of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania – it started as a kind of diary. So, 19 years after what I´ve described above, I spent another year in the U.S. (more precisely, several days per months as travelled back and forth between Germany and Philly). Actually, it all happened only about a hundred miles from where I went to school.

And boy, what a difference it has been. It´s been a year full of human bonding, a time of joy, and caring, and yes: love. And, in the light of my past, it´s been a year of healing. Full circle.

Nico Rose - MAPP - Penn Graduation

* I´m not blaming anybody, because it´s actually nobody´s fault. Let´s just say that U.S. high schools can be a pretty tough environment when you´re not exactly part of the in-crowd…

 

From Penn with Love: The 3 Positive Psychology-Infused Books you need to read in 2016

Nico Rose - Angela Duckworth - Adam Grant2016 is going to be a really nice year for non-fiction aficionados. Below, you´ll find three upcoming books that were all written by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania: Angela Duckworth, Adam Grant, and Scott Barry Kaufman.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

by Adam Grant will be out on February 2, 2016. About the content:

How can we originate new ideas, policies and practices without risking it all? Adam Grant shows how to improve the world by championing novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battling conformity, and bucking outdated traditions. Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt. Parents will learn how to nurture originality in children, and leaders will discover how to fight groupthink to build cultures that welcome dissent.

Here´s what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about the book: “Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.”

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

by Angela Duckworth will be out on May 3, 2016. About the content:

Penn - Books - 2016Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments. Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. She takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance.

This is what Arianna Huffington thinks about the book: “At a time when our collective notion of success has shrunk to the point of being unrecognizable, Angela Duckworth arrives to restore it. With a mix of masterful storytelling and the latest science, she shows that perseverance and passion matter at least as much as talent and intelligence. And far from simply urging us to work harder for the sake of working harder, Grit offers a truly sane perspective: that true success comes when we devote ourselves to endeavors that give us joy and purpose.”

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire will be out two days from now, on December 29, 2015. About the content:

The book offers a glimpse inside the “messy minds” of highly creative people. Revealing the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes – like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity.

What Martin Seligman has to say about the book: “Scott Barry Kaufman has just written the go-to book on creativity and genius. With Carolyn Gregoire, he puts together the newest scientific findings from the brain, from mental life and from the messy world of emotion to whiz us to the cutting edge of the highest human accomplishments.”

Do you want to become a UPenn Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP)? This way, please…

Right now, the 11. cohort of Penn´s MAPP program is well on its way. I was in cohort No. 9 (here you can find a summary of my experiences over the two semesters in 2013/14). Our alumni association asked us to pass on this information to potential students:

1) There will be a live information session in Penn´s Huntsman Hall on November 5. For more info and registration:

https://www.applyweb.com/fixie/form/s/T8413mk

2) There will be a virtual information session on December 3. For more info and registration:

https://www.applyweb.com/fixie/form/s/T8513ml

3) You can now apply! Deadline is March 1, 2016. Info on the application requirements can be found here:

http://www.sas.upenn.edu/lps/graduate/mapp/admissions/application

Nico Rose - Penn Commencement

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…