Archive | June, 2014

Optimism #2: How Optimism Works “In Your Head”

25 Jun


Understanding the nature of optimism helps us to understand how we can assess our level of optimism-pessimism, and how to become more optimistic.  For this section I have used the work of Martin Seligman’s  classic book: Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, with particular attention to pages 40 – 53.  Be advised, the book is pretty academic (tedious).

The essence of this concept is that we talk to ourselves and explain our experiences.  These explanations have three dimensions:

Permanence (always vs. temporary)

The boss is a SOB (pessimism)

The boss is in a bad mood (optimism)

Pervasiveness (specific vs. universal)

Blogs are useless (pessimism)

This blog is useless (optimism)

Taken together permanence and pervasiveness are the cognitive basis of hope.  Finding permanent and pervasive negative causes of events is despair.  Seligman says “No other single score is as important as your hope score.”

Personalization (internal vs. external)

I’m stupid (pessimism)

You’re stupid (optimism)

Seligman then notes that this does not relieve people of personal responsibility.

Getting your head around these ideas can take some time, but is worth the effort if you want to understand and change yourself.  In general, the optimist chooses to explain events in a manner that allows her to exert control over these events in the future.

If your mental explanations of events in every situation are always negative and it’s your always your fault, you are experiencing a serious pattern of pessimistic self-talk.  This “learned helplessness” can become depression.

On the ABCs of becoming an optimist next week.

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Optimism #1

18 Jun

Have you noticed how some people seem to always have a positive attitude and bounce back from adversity, whereas others always live on the edge of depression and use adversity to convince themselves of their shortcomings?

These outcomes result from how people self-talk to frame explanations of the events in their lives. Having a positive explanatory style is a key element of realistic optimism, and realistic optimism has a profound effect on the quality of our lives, even to positively influencing our health.

Guess what? Optimism can be learned – so what are you waiting for?  Let’s start with a simple assessment byMartin Seligman, a psychologist who has spent most of his career studying learned helplessness and optimism.  First,

go to: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx

Scroll down and click on the “optimism test,” then register and log in (it’s worth the effort.)  You need to take this simple test to comprehend yourself and begin to understand explanatory style.

Next week we will examine the elements of optimism.

 

People who don’t take risks make about two big mistakes a year

People who take risks make about two big mistakes a year,

–       Peter Drucker

 

Why You Hate Work

11 Jun

 

An excellent article in the New York Times with a catchy but lousy title. Should be called How to create a workplace that believes people are:

  •  Are smart.
  • Want to do good work.
  • Know what’s wrong and want to to fix it.

It’s a good read.

 

 

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Just For Fun

4 Jun

From time-to-time someone sends me a video that is pure fun.

Thank you David for four minutes of delight:

http://www.reshareworthy.com/amazing-quartet-blew-audience-away/#Km8uFs6soysZ20xc.03.%5B/embed

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.