Articles in Grit
It is a great pleasure for me to interview Emilia Lahti, a researcher whose work revolves around understanding how individuals, groups, and organizations grow from challenges and come out of hardships with a newly discovered sense of strength, purpose, and adaptability. Nowadays, Emilia is working on a Ph.D. on the age-old Finnish construct of sisu.
Sisu is a 500-year old Finnish construct, which appeals to the spirit and strength that enable people to persevere through difficulties despite feeling they have reached the end of their physical or mental capacities.
“Yet!” is a one-word positive intervention. Let’s say you’ve tried something and the results are disappointing. When you say, “I can’t do it!” good friends will chime in “Yet!” to remind you that skills are not fixed and inborn. They grow with practice and effort. So what if you can’t do it yet!
Nature can be an easy, free, and effective toolkit for supercharging positive psychology practice, supporting positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Ultimately nature gives life to everything that supports flourishing. If we learn to nurture our relationship with the natural world, perhaps we’ll find it supports us in ways we never thought possible.
Time to take another look at the IPPA Third World Congress. How wide was the coverage? Then how deep did positive psychology go when it was embodied by the Chilean miners during their long ordeal? This was one of the stories I heard when I was at the conference.
“What can we as a country do to significantly improve the life chances of millions of poor children?” This is the question that reporter Paul Tough asks us to tackle with him in How Children Succeed. This book is passionately written and soundly researched. If Paul Tough is right, and I hope that he is, medical professionals, social workers, educators, and parents can join one another to build communities that help all of our children succeed.
… Thus began my history of quitting. From piano to soccer to art class… I tried new things and at the slightest hint of adversity, I quit. The desire to outshine my brother and hurl objects in the face of defeat dissipated, yet my treacherous habit of quitting remained steady. Then I met Mrs. Johnson. If I had one outrageous wish, it would be for all children to have Mrs. Johnson by their sides. Since I haven’t figured out how to clone her (yet!), I try to pass these skills on myself.
“Thank God I grew up with one advantage—that I had to work for everything I got.” This is only one of the endlessly inspiring quotations and findings from a yearlong research project we recently completed. We asked, “Do seasoned, successful entrepreneurs exhibit a unique blend of signature character strengths and persistence compared to the general population? If so, does it matter?”
Two weeks ago a very good friend wrote to me, “This is wonderful – perhaps some grist for your newsletter?” She included a link to J. K. Rowling’s June 2008 Commencement Address. Rowling said she had two key themes: the benefits of failure, and the importance of imagination in finding empathy. But I found much, much more.
Last week I saw (from the first row, and in 3-D) Disney Pixar’s Up , an animated film about life, adventure, and friendship. The film certainly pulled on my heart strings in a very “other-people-matter” positive-psychology way. The film also speaks to this month’s theme of fun and play. […]