Friday, April 06, 2012

Positive Psychology on TED

Been really interested in the field of Positive Psychology lately. The "father" of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman, describes it as an alternative to tradition psychology, which historically focused on fixing mental illness. In contrast, Positive Psychology aims to study what makes people happy, what attitudes/skills/environments are conducive to happy and productive work, and so on. This is truly fascinating, and it feels to immediately applicable to my life.

Just watched a couple of interesting TED talks from two of the big-dawgs in the movement, Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. As usual I'm up watching and reading too late again, it's 2:30 and it might be an "early" night compared to the usual this week. Oy. :) Anyway I could discuss a bunch of thoughts right now but maybe I'll leave it for another time, or after I've read some more. Dr. Seligman has a couple of books, my Dad is currently reading his new one "Flourish" and recommends it, so I'll plan to check that out when I have the time. In any case, this is incredibly fascinating stuff.

I really wish I had taken Psychology classes while at University, too bad it was such a busy life in the Computer Science faculty! That's ok though, it seems with amazing things like TED, iTunesU, Khan Academy etc, the intellectually curious have a mountain of amazing and worthwhile lecture material available online - and mostly free too. Totally amazing!

If you want the quick play-by-play, Wikipedia has quite a nice long article about it here. I found myself waiting at the Doctor's office for a good hour and a half earlier this week, and spent the whole time reading this Wikipedia page in detail, it's pretty awesome.

The thing I think I really like about this is how immediately applicable it is. The famed "Happiness" class at Harvard that is based on some of this research is making waves and it's clear why it's so successful: everyone wants to learn how to maximize it in their own lives! Me too. I'm gonna check out those books and post some more thoughtful articles in the future about it. But for now, some great TEDs that I've watched recently on this and similar topics. Shane Achor's TED is fantastic and he's a a great, energetic speaker too. And of course, I gotta re-post epic fellow Torontonian Neil Pasricha's talk on "The 3 A's of Awesome". I love that guy's books, and he is so cool and soooo Canadian. What a champ!

Martin Seligman: Why is psychology good?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Creativity, fulfillment and flow

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

TEDxToronto - Neil Pasricha "The 3 A's of Awesome"

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