by Christopher Peterson Ph.D.
When positive psychologists advocate a strengths-based approach, I hear it as an important correction to decades of interventions (in clinics, schools, and workplaces) that focused on problems and their remediation. I do not hear it as advice to ignore weaknesses and problems or as an assertion that change is only possible if a person is already skilled at something. Somehow this completely reasonable advice has been morphed into the completely unreasonable proposal that only strengths matter, and I have been asked repeatedly about the evidence in favor of addressing only one's strengths if one wishes to achieve a good life.
We don't need studies to refute the claim that only strengths matter, just common sense. Regardless of what they do especially well, workers need to have the "strength" of showing up on time, and they need to have the "strength" of being minimally civil to their coworkers. And so on.
by Marcel Schwantes
So much has been written about the burgeoning happiness movement. While combing through my own research and notes on what happy and successful people do, it struck me how intentional they are about choosing the right mindset to become happier and more optimistic.
While countless books have been written on happiness, I'm narrowing this article down to a working template for living life to the fullest.
Here are seven sure signs of the happiest people.
1. They choose to have healthy relationships.
I've learned to be picky over the years about whom I let into my inner circle of friends. Why? Because I believe close relationships are the key to sustaining happiness.
One profound longitudinal study proves this. For 80 years, researchers followed 268 men who entered Harvard in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age.
by Suzie Doscher
Feel like you keep facing the same uphill struggle?
Sometimes you create your own problems with your thoughts and beliefs. It is these particular thoughts that hold you back, keep you stuck and consequently limit you. In my coaching practice as well as my own personal experience, I have witnessed how a self-sabotage routine can be created with these thoughts and beliefs. If you find that you keep coming back to the same type of situation again and again, it is well worth exploring if, in fact, you are running a self-sabotage routine.
To break this self-sabotage cycle, you will need to first determine what this limiting thought or belief is. Once you have figured that out (by yourself, with the help of a friend/boss or qualified coach), consider the information below to help yourself make a lasting change.
The best approach is to replace whatever you are thinking is with a thought that is more positive. For example:
Scientists seek to quantify everything—even the ineffable. And so the human search for meaning recently took a physical turn as Columbia and Yale University researchers isolated the place in our brains that processes spiritual experiences.
In a new study, published in Cerebral Cortex (paywall) on May 29, neuroscientists explain how they generated “personally relevant” spiritual experiences in a diverse group of subjects and scanned their brains while these experiences were happening. The results indicate that there is a “neurobiological home” for spirituality. When we feel a sense of connection with something greater than the self—whether transcendence involves communion with God, nature, or humanity—a certain part of the brain appears to activate.
The study suggests that there is universal, cognitive basis for spirituality, as opposed to a cultural grounding for such states. This new discovery, researchers say, could help improve mental health treatment down the line.
by Zat Rana
Before dying at the age of 39, Blaise Pascal made huge contributions to both physics and mathematics, notably in fluids, geometry, and probability.
This work, however, would influence more than just the realm of the natural sciences. Many fields that we now classify under the heading of social science did, in fact, also grow out of the foundation he helped lay.
Interestingly enough, much of this was done in his teen years, with some of it coming in his twenties. As an adult, inspired by a religious experience, he actually started to move towards philosophy and theology.
Right before his death, he was hashing out fragments of private thoughts that would later be released as a collection by the name of Pensées.
While the book is mostly a mathematician’s case for choosing a life of faith and belief, the more curious thing about it is its clear and lucid ruminations on what it means to be human. It’s a blueprint of our psychology long before psychology was deemed a formal discipline.
There is enough thought-provoking material in it to quote, and it attacks human nature from a variety of different angles, but one of its most famous thoughts aptly sums up the core of his argument:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
by Daniel Goleman, author of the international best-seller, Emotional Intelligence
In hindsight, the questions only become more nagging. Why didn’t Kodak jump into digital photography? Couldn’t BlackBerry, with such a hold on the corporate market, have adjusted better to the iPhone? And then there is Sears, probably the granddaddy of the never-saw-it-coming firms.
We call the missing skill set here adaptability. Companies (and the executives who run them) continually need to balance exploring new possibilities with exploiting what works. Adaptability takes many forms, from simple flexibility in handling change and juggling multiple demands to coming up with innovative approaches and openness to fresh ideas. You stay focused on your goals, but adjust how you get there.
by Marcel Schwantes
Anger is one powerful human emotion. It is also a very normal human emotion that needs to be expressed in a healthy way. But there's a place and time for appropriate anger, and we all have to learn how to manage it before it escalates.
That takes emotional intelligence -- the ability to exercise self-awareness to understand the situation from multiple angles and self-control to see things through other filters before pulling the anger-trigger.
When anger comes knocking, and it will, we have to know how to deal with it appropriately. If mismanaged, it can take down company morale and sabotage your ability to lead and collaborate well.
Here are six habits of people that manage theirs remarkably well.
By Adam Schorr
Consider a married couple. He’s spent the last 20 years working on himself. Learning, exploring, discovering. Changing. So has she. Each has been on a journey of enlightenment to become a better person. And they are, in fact, both of them, wonderful people. But they’ve each been on their own journey, and now, while each is one with the universe, they’re not in the same universe. They have nothing left in common. He doesn’t fit in her world. And she doesn’t fit in his.
This scenario came to mind recently during a conversation with a financial services executive I advise. He is interested in becoming a more creative leader. And it occurred to me that there are really two dimensions to this challenge. Or any leadership challenge.
There’s the internal work of improving yourself. But in parallel, there must also be the work of engaging your team. When you work on yourself but not on your team, two unintended consequences can unfold.
by Tsedal Neeley
When you exchange pleasantries with a co-worker in the elevator, the two of you are building trust. When you stop by a colleague’s office and see their family photographs on a desk, you learn about that person’s life outside the office and, as a result, usually feel closer. Face-to-face meetings, office parties, and opportunities to socialize together after working hours can all contribute to the feeling that your fellow employees will be reliable in what they say and do and that they will act for the good of the team and the organization. You believe they are trustworthy because you’ve developed this feeling over time.
So how do you trust a co-worker you barely see in person?
by Suzie Doscher
There are wonderful books, classes, films, talks, workshops, DVDs, magazine articles, conversations, coaches, and therapists teaching the importance of being in the moment, staying in the now and going with the flow. But how do you really do this?
It seems odd that we do not just naturally live in the now. After all, almost everyone would agree that the present moment, the now, is all we have. The fact remains that most people do not live in the present moment and have to learn how to do so.
Reasons to master living in the moment:
Steps to practice being in the moment: