Articles by Yukun Zhao
Yukun Zhao is the Founder and President of Huaren Applied Positive Psychology Institute (HAPPI), which is dedicated to promoting positive psychology and its applications in Chinese communities. He co-founded the Global Chinese Positive Psychology Association. He is also an acclaimed author of two books published in China.
This is the second article in my series of 24 stories of Chinese paragons, one for each VIA character strength. Even though the authors of Character Strengths and Virtues reviewed literature from major cultures around the whole world to select the 24 character strengths, the book’s paragon stories are predominantly Western. I hope this series can be a small supplement to a shared and global picture of human strengths.
On the night of February 4th, at Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks had lost 11 of the past 13 games, and was now trailing behind the visiting New Jersey Nets. Coach Mike D’Antoni knew the biggest weakness of his team was the point guard. His starting point guard was injured, and his backup couldn’t deliver. He turned to the third-string point guard, an Asian American player named Jeremy Lin.
This is the first in a series of positive psychology stories from the Chinese culture. Each story will be about a paragon of one of the 24 character strengths described in Character Strengths and Virtues. Let’s start with persistence.
The word judgmental has a bad name. Even though the original meaning of this word was neutral because judgments can be both negative and positive, judgmental is almost onesidedly used for negative judgments today. Powerful and instinctual as it is, negative judgmentalism is not inevitable. we can consciously give more attention to the positive side of other people when we judge them. I call this Positive Judgmentalism.
Shili Xiong, a famous Chinese scholar, assigned a book to his student, Fuguan Xu. When Xu came back next time, Xiong asked, “What do you think of this book?” After Xu pointed out all its shortcomings, the master admonished him, ““You don’t know how to read books! Every book has good places as well as bad places. You should look at its good places first. Otherwise, what can you learn from reading?””
Just as we can experience awe, inspiration, hope, serenity, and joy by observing the wonders of nature, so also can we experience these positive emotions by experiencing people-scapes and observing the character strengths behind them.
Yukun Zhao, MAPP ’10, was born and raised near Shanghai in China, until he came to the United States at the age of 22. He is the Founder and President of Huaren Applied …