Introducing the experts’ experts…
Watch the TED talk of Martin Seligman, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. Why you should know about him: Marty Seligman is the founder of Positive Psychology, the empirical study of what leads to and makes up well-being in the broadest sense. This is not limited to the study of the positive emotions but includes human strengths and virtues that foster individual well-being, flourishing communities, and positive institutions. In three domains of life, work, love and play, Positive Psychology researchers study what works to broaden and build positive emotion, develop and sustain optimism and resilience, and identify strengths and new ways to use them. Positive Psychology is not a replacement for traditional psychology but is its complement, rounding out the ways we think about psychological health and wealth. See this great list of Positive Psychology FAQs, too. The author of numerous books and published research studies on both traditional and Positive Psychology topics, Marty is a fearless leader and visionary.
Watch the TED talk of Professor Barry Schwartz, Ph.D., Swarthmore College. Why you should know about him: Most of us are familiar with the more obvious ways that advertisers and marketers work to appeal to our spending sense. Perhaps you think that this doesn’t affect you, since you are well-educated and too smart to be suckered in to anything that resembles a scheme. Good for you. Barry Schwartz will help you understand why you may be wrong, though. He’s the author of The Paradox of Choice, which argues that too much choice leads to anxiety, dissatisfaction, and regret. With work at the intersection of psychology and economics, Barry Schwartz is the author of ten books and numerous research studies. He brings practical applications of otherwise complex topics such as libertarian paternalism and prospect theory to everyday behaviors such as choosing a pair of jeans or buying a cell phone.
Watch the TED talk of Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University. Why you should know about him: He’s the developer of the concept of “flow” which is one of the pathways to a happy life. Also called engagement, flow is experienced when you are deeply delving into an activity where your strengths are engaged in the pursuit of clear, challenging goals that you can achieve. Time may slip by without your awareness, as your awareness may be merged with action. The feedback loop needed for behavior adjustment is in a near-perfect state of “flow”, hence the name. Flow is a key component of creativity and lives at the point where your talents meet your challenges. Artists regularly describe being in flow states, where they are engaged in activities for that activity’s own sake, and not because they expect any recognition or compensation. Csikszentmihalyi has written many books and research studies with applications to creativity, learning and business.
Watch the TED talk of Professor Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., University of Virginia. Why you should know about him: Now gird yourself for family holiday time by learning about social intuition. This is one of my favorite topics in Positive Psychology. This talk covers a lot of ground, including what Haidt calls “the first draft of the moral mind” or what social psychology research shows to be the five sources of our social intuition. According to Haidt, this inborn wiring can unite us into teams, divide us against other teams, and also blind us to the truth. Understanding that we all come with the same ability and need to seek a deeper understanding of others, Haidt shows that we have deeply held but illogical beliefs that make us tend to conflict with some folks and bond with others. This is the focus of Haidt’s research. He is a sought after speaker and is author of The Happiness Hypothesis. Can we develop moral humility? He hopes so.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment New York: Free Press.
Schwartz, B. (2005). The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. New York: Harper Perennial.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1991). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper Perennial.
Haidt, J. (2006). The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic Books.