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Positive Psychology

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Alain de Botton on making the humanities useful, studying ads, and the need for a "wisdom industry" — Quartz. Best known for his writing and his TV series Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness, Alain de Botton is one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals. His books include Status Anxiety, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, and Religion for Atheists. A popularizer of philosophy, he’s convinced that modern economies fail to adequately provide for human flourishing.

He also runs the School of Life, an educational institution that seeks to apply wisdom from a range of academic disciplines to everyday life. Quartz asked him via email about the future of work and his vision of a “wisdom industry.” QZ: You’ve written on the need for a “wisdom industry” to help us meet our “flourishing needs.” Describe those. de Botton: Roughly we can be said to have material needs and psychological needs.

These are flourishing needs—because, although we can survive without meeting them, they are crucial for the better (more flourishing) lives we ideally want. Advertising is—quite often—alive to our real needs. 'Design Thinking' for a Better You. How to Be Happy: The Fine Print. Most of us want to be happy and stay that way, and research from positive psychology has shown that making a habit of certain day-to-day activities—like expressing gratitude, exercising, or performing acts of kindness—can help us get there. But few researchers have considered how to identify an activity that’s best suited to your particular personality and lifestyle.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, started to explore these questions in her 2007 book, The How of Happiness. Now, Lyubomirsky and a graduate student of hers, Kristin Layous, are zeroing in on why some activities may “fit” for some people and not others (summarized in a chapter for a forthcoming book, The Dark and Light Side of Happiness).

Let’s call it “the fine print” of how to be happy, the little details you should consider before undertaking happiness activities. Who gets happy? Motivation and beliefs. The importance of fit What will make you happy? Duration.


Happiness. Flow. Present Awareness. Meditation. Purpose. Gratitude. Forgiveness. Phil Stutz and Barry Michels Teach the Tools. Resilience. An Interview With Adam Phillips. The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless. This video is part of a weekly series of interviews with contemporary thinkers and philosophers on questions that matter. Adam Phillips is a psychotherapist, literary critic and the author several well-known books, including “On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored,” “Going Sane,” “On Kindness” and most recently, “On Balance.”

Though not a professional academic philosopher, we interviewed Phillips because he’s written widely, from a unique psychoanalytic perspective, on a range of themes central to our project. Whereas philosophers often speak in abstractions about concepts like the human condition, human suffering, desire, pleasure and the good life, we suspected that a practicing psychoanalyst might offer us a more subtle analysis of these concepts, grounded in lives of actual persons.

We were struck by how responsive, fluid and open our conversation with Phillips was. The Tools Book |  The Featured Five. The Tool for when you need to take action on what you have been avoiding. We avoid doing the things that are most painful for us but the more you act and face the pain, the more options come your way. The Tool for when you are so enraged with a person that the anger traps you in a maze. You replay the bad situation or fantasize about revenge, which only isolates you while the world moves forward without you. The Tool for when insecurity or your “shadow” (an embodiment of everything you wish you were not) keeps you from expressing yourself. The Tool for when you are filled with worried, anxiety, and negativity. Everyone is tempted to quit using the Tools, but quitting will only stop your progress and destory all the gains you’ve made.

Martin Seligman on positive psychology. :: Authentic Happiness :: The Neuroscience of Reframing & How to Do It by Anette Prehn. I am a social scientist (M.A.), leadership trainer, thinker, poet, motivational speaker, and professional certified coach (PCC), helping bright, enthusiastic people excel. Having specialised in turning the insights of neuroscience into down-to-earth tools, I help of executives, managers and teams boost their change processes, relational power and results. The author of Play Your Brain (August 2011) and with First Framestorm and Broccoli for Breakfast on their way, my ambition is to reach young and old with powerful and fun brain-based tools.

I believe in art and science united. I believe in making difficult things really easy. I believe in the power of the tiny tweaks: boosting strategies and results by changing approaches slightly and brightly. Read more and connect: Check out my You Tube Videos on the brain: Testimonials “Anette Prehn is the Danish Stephen Covey” Michael Toft, Manager “As illuminating as her books” David Shutts, Director.