I had the wonderful opportunity to attend and present at the 1st Annual Applied Positive Psychology Conference at The University of Warwick in April. Sponsored by the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology, over 200 delegates representing 24 countries were in attendance. The program, entitled People at their Best in Work, Education and Health, featured a variety of valuable keynotes and instructive and informative workshops and paper presentations. What struck me most was the collegiality among attendees. I have always been fascinated with narrative, and the conference reminded me of people from different villages catching up with each other. True to the emphasis of character strengths, we certainly brought out the best in each other. From representatives of La Societa Italiana di Psicologia Positiva to the University of Rijeka, Croatia, the language of strengths and positive emotions translated the native tongues.It was exciting to catch up with Emma Judge and Angus Skinner again. They were both classmates of mine in the inaugural Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Emma, a principle in Positive Organizations, presented a powerful workshop on Positive Psychology, Employee Engagement and the Quest for Meaning. Angus now collaborates with Carol Craig at the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being in Glasgow. They are doing some great work in developing “The Curriculum for Excellence” in Scotland.
At the conference banquet, I had the opportunity to sit near a very interesting attendee, who exuded a strong sense of peacefulness and confidence. After speaking with each other for a while, we realized we had a common interest in sports. He told me that he had been an Olympic swimmer for Great Britain, and that he related his sport experiences in delivering his message to his clients through his performance consulting company. I was sufficiently impressed, but had no idea how powerful these experiences were for him until he was introduced during the following afternoon’s keynote: We welcome, Adrian Moorhouse, 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 100m breaststroke! I should have picked up on this when he handed me his card, with his company’s name – Lane 4. It was Adrian’s sense of humility that struck me most, his perseverance after being criticized for his 1984 Olympic performance, and his perspective as the Managing Director of Lane4, a leading Global Performance Development Consultancy.
Being a novice international traveler, I first thought heading off to the UK and the conference would challenge my comfort zone. It was just the opposite. Alex Linley, the director of CAPP, and his associates made for not only a great learning experience, but one that connected like minded people from all over the world. Kudos to the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP). http://www.cappeu.org/
Warwick Castle, Guy’s Tower courtesy of Dmitry Shatkin
Beautiful article, John. Thank you.
That’s a funny story about sitting next to Adrian Moorhouse. And a perfect story for you and sports! Great company name – Lane 4!
Can’t wait to hear more about your wonderful gig across the pond! In the meantime, I’m really touched by your description of the British swimmer who was too modest to tell you he was a gold medalist. I read some research recently showing that the best athletes are also the most humble, and I’d love to find a humility intervention for clients, especially because it’s one of the lowest strengths in our country, apparently!
Congrats on your presentation!
What was it on, and how did it go?
Hey John – great piece!
I know you were moved by the contact with Adrian Moorhouse which you express so well. His presentation was also terrific.
It was excellent to have you over here and your workshop was superb – you are a true educator. And you were looking pretty fit – as ever!
It was great to meet up with you again for a couple of days