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Life Happiness + the power of Positive Psychology

Dr. Martin Seligman discusses three different kinds of “happy lives” – the Pleasurable Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life – and the power behind positive psychology.

Dr. Martin Seligman is a world-renowned psychologist, a best-selling author, and the Director of the Positive Psychology Center.  Since 2000, he has dedicated himself to developing and promoting the field of positive psychology, a branch of psychology focused on building human strengths and talents and increasing fulfillment and happiness in our lives.

Until recently, psychologists had been primarily centered on relieving and curing “what is wrong with us”, and admittedly a great deal of valuable progress had been made.  But this over-focus on the ‘disease-model’ of human psychology was missing such a fundamental part:

“all that is right with us”.

Finally we have begun to recognize the importance and potential in applying gold-standard research to enhancing our unique talents and creating the life we love.  And coaching has become a powerful guidance in doing so.

In this video, Dr. Seligman discusses three different types of “happy lives” and how to create them for ourselves:

1)   The Pleasurable Life

  • This life is full of positive emotion of any kind and uses the skills of mindfulness and savoring to amplify these pleasures.
  • How to get it:
    • Identify the things that give you pleasure
    • Implement as many of these pleasure in your life as possible
    • Practice mindful savoring of these moments to enhance them
  • However, there are drawbacks:
    • the ability to have this kind of life is largely inherited
    • there are significant limits to how much we can increase pleasure
    • pleasure is usually short-lived
    • “too much of a good thing” eventually makes us bored

2)   The Good Life

  • This life is full of “flow” – the ability to engage with something fulfilling (work, hobby, parenting, love, etc.) to such a degree that “time stops”.
  • Flow is different than pleasure in that pleasure we feel directly, but flow is so deep that we don’t feel anything, we just engage.
  • How to get it:
    • Identify your top strengths (take Dr. Seligman’s Brief Strengths Test)
    • Redesign your life (personal and professional) to focus on and enhance these strengths

3)   The Meaningful Life

  • This life is about employing your greatest strengths BUT in the service of something greater than ourselves.
  • This is about finding our ‘calling’ and using it to benefit others and our world as a whole.
  • How to get it:
    • Identify your top strengths  (take Dr. Seligman’s Brief Strengths Test)
    • Redesign your life (personal and professional) to focus on and enhance these strengths AND apply them in the service of others, in addition to yourself – via philanthropy, education, spirituality, or just plain regular kindness and generosity.

Dr. Seligman and his team found that only the ‘Good Life’ and the ‘Meaningful Life’ were able to provide long-term life satisfaction.  However, if one managed to achieve both of these (deep engagement for themselves and in the service of others), a rich Pleasurable Life enhanced overall happiness.

In addition – and most importantly – they found that achieving these three kinds of happiness have been positively linked to health and life span, as well as to productivity in work organizations.

So I guess we don’t have any excuses: we have a right to be happy.

What do you think?

Share your thoughts, ideas, experiences, with us in our comments section.

If you enjoyed this post, please join our updates list (via Email or RSS) for future writings, resources, tips, workshops, and event announcements.

And if you or someone you know might be interesting in exploring the above, check out our Life Coaching and Business Coaching offerings or contact me directly.

Coming soon…

Fierce Conversations – by Susan Scott
A look at the importance and effectiveness of authentic communication in improving life and work relationships.

Personal Innovation
Reinventing our perspectives and exploring creative, ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions for positive, lasting change.

Sir Ken Robinson on Education and Personal Learning
A new era of education that nurtures the unique intelligence of each individual and how strengthening our true talents can lead to greatness.


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2 Responses

  1. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So nice to find any person with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this website is something that’s wanted on the internet, someone with a little originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the web!

  2. Thanks for your thoughts and your support Tack. Glad it resonated with you. Our next one comes our shortly so please stay in touch. All the best to you.

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