By Leo Gura - February 20, 2014 | 0 Comments
A definition of positive psychology and why this scientific movement is critical to your success and happiness.
Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video we’re going to talk about positive psychology.
All The Psychologies
What is it? Why is it important? Why should we care about it? This is a very fascinating topic, and something that can potentially transform your life if you know about it and you do a little bit of study into it. This is a really powerful idea. So let’s talk about positive psychology.
Positive psychology, we need to distinguish between that and ordinary psychology or what we might say is negative psychology, but is just called normal psychology. It’s the study of problems in human behaviour.
Traditionally, from the founding of psychology back in the late 1800s with William James and Freud and Carl Jung and all that kind of traditional, pop culture psychotherapy that we think of as being psychology, all of that was about helping people overcome their neuroses.
Helping people overcome severe, crippling mental disorders. It could be schizophrenia, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, just all sorts of anxiety and panic and phobias. That kind of stuff. That’s actually not what most people are having problems with.
Most people in society are more normal. They’re not abnormal, they’re not dysfunctional. They don’t have these severe manic depressive episodes, or suicidal thoughts. Most people are not that way.
What positive psychology is is a new movement really, that started, I’d say, in the last fifty years but especially even in the last twenty or thirty years, where research psychologists are now, instead of focusing on all the problem cases in human society, they’re focusing on all the way we can improve normal life functioning.
We can take it from a normal level to an optima level. I’m actually going to quote some of the founders of positive psychology on what they define positive psychology as being. This is Martin Seligman and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. What they say is to find and nurture genius and talent, and to make normal life more fulfilling.
That is the mission of positive psychology. It’s to find and nurture genius and talent, and to make normal life, for normal people like you and me, that are not severely dysfunctional, how to make it better. I love this because this is what I’m about. This is what Actualized.org is about. It’s all about how to take yourself from an ordinary life to an extraordinary life.
I’m not so much interested in looking for people who have severe dysfunctions. I think there’s branches of old-school psychology that are good at dealing with that. What I’m interested in is how to achieve peak performance in your life. If I’m just living a normal existence, the way I see some of my friends living, the way I see some of my family members living, the way I just see people in society living.
If I take that and say “Well what if I want to live an amazing life? What if I want to live a kind of life I would be proud to write about in a memoir? What if I would live the kind of life I would be proud to write a book about? What if I lived the kind of life people would look at and say “That person is doing something special, something different. There’s something different about that person”?”
Also, the way you’re feeling is different. You’re feeling more fulfilled, you’re feeling more excited. You’re feeling higher levels of happiness. There’s something going on there. For me, the question is how do I achieve that?
The Right Kind Of Life
For me, that’s what life is about. It’s living life big, living life to the fullest. I don’t know why people are living lives small. I actually do know why, but I don’t want to go into all those reasons right now.
What I’m ultimately after here is how to life a big kind of life. That’s what positive psychology is after. Except, the difference is that positive psychology is an academic branch of science. This is actually a science. Positive psychologists are out there researching and looking at, for example, what are the scientific ways of improving and increasing happiness?
What are the scientific ways of getting higher performance in your life, whether it’s in business, relationships, fitness, whatever? What are the way to actually nurture your genius and your talents? What are the different mindsets you can have that make people resourceful?
What is the difference, for example, psychologically speaking, between a very successful person, may be an entrepreneur who’s earning lots of money and is also fulfilled on the inside, versus somebody who is earning lots of money and has a lot of external success, but isn’t fulfilled on the inside? What’s the difference between those two?
Then, of course, why are there people that are so struggling with their lives, that are having such enormous difficulty even getting to the point they’re able to pay their bills on time, and they’re able to maintain a healthy relationship? What is going on there?
A lot of times it’s not some horrible psychological dysfunction, it’s something else. It’s limiting beliefs, it’s habits that we have, it’s a misunderstanding of how to use your psychological resources to create the life that they want. IT’s falling into a victim mindset.
Resources For Resourcefulness
That’s what positive psychology is about. That’s what I’m about. Let me talk about a little more in-depth about positive psychology. Technically speaking, Martin Seligman is courted as being the father of positive psychology. He wrote a couple of really classic books on human performance.
One of those is called Learned Optimism, where he talks about the difference between mindsets in optimistic people and pessimistic people. It’s a psychology classic. Then he also wrote a book called Authentic Happiness, which talks about the scientific findings that he has discovered about how to actually be happy, truly happy in your life.
He’s a university professor. There’s also Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, very complicated, long name to pronounce, but he’s the author of Flow. He’s also one of the founders of positive psychology. His classic book Flow talks about what it takes to get into a state of flow.
Flow is a state that you get into when you become totally absorbed, totally in the moment, totally focused. For example, when you’re playing a sport, or you’re maybe really killing it at the gym, or you’re killing it at work, or you’re writing something amazing and you’re totally immersed in it, and you’re totally happy. You lose self-consciousness.
That is the state of flow. He wrote a whole book on that. The two of them, and also others, like Sonja Lyubomirsky, she wrote the book called The How Of Happiness, another awesome book about some of the scientific findings about happiness, which I actually cover in my How To Feel Happy video, I cover a lot of her points.
These are some of the figures in positive psychology right now. There’s many others, I’m not going to name them all. You can start to do a little research and start to immerse yourself by reading some of these books and you’ll hear about other people right now, that are really forging a new era of psychology.
The Future Is Now
I think the twenty first century is amazing. The twentieth century was all about the psychology of dysfunction. That was good, I’m sure that helps many people who are dysfunctional. But there are far more people that are functional, that want to be optimal. The question and the challenge for the twenty first century is what do we need to teach them? What do we need to tell them to get them from functional to optimal level?
I love the fact that there are guys out there, guys and women that are out there right now researching this stuff. They’re actually running scientific studies in universities, they’re doing surveys, they’re thinking about this, they’re researching and they’ll bring those findings or publishing it in books, or publishing it in research papers and they’re giving talks about it in places and conferences like TED, where they give a lot of the fact about how our psychology works.
This then informs the techniques that we use, the methods that we apply, the things that we pursue. Thumbs up to those guys and gals that are doing that right now. I think who I would say the father of positive psychology is, I would actually say it’s not Martin Seligman, even though he coined the term, and has been popularising it.
I think it goes back to Abraham Maslow, who in the 1950s did some amazing, just profound work, powerful work on self-actualization theory. Self-actualization is the reason I named my website Actualized.org. Self-actualization is what it’s all about. This is how to become the optimal human being.
How to achieve excellence as a human being. How to create an excellent life. What that entails, psychologically speaking. Way too rich of a concept to go into here, I actually have many ideas on self-actualization. Go ahead and search for those.
I would say that positive psychology started with Abraham Maslow. Then it started to take root from that and now it’s really in full force. I think that over the next ten, twenty, fifty years, we’re going to have a lot of new findings and a lot of new information coming out of that from universities all across the country and all across the world. I’m really excited to read about more of that stuff.
Two Peas In A Pod
We’ve compared old-school psychology to this new-school psychology that we’ve got. What about comparing positive psychology to the self-help movement? How are those similar, and how are those two different? It’s a fascinating question. I’m actually curious what my answer is to that myself.
I think I would say this: positive psychology is the research, the technical research branch. This is the difference. This is done in universities. They’re actually doing studies, they’re doing experiments. They’re doing science.
Self-help movement is more focused on the practicality of these, of helping you right now, Average Joe-Shmoe, figure out how to get some result in your life. That’s what the self-help movement is about. Positive psychology is more about the science.
These positive psychologists, they actually want to know what is the truth. What is the truth about how to be happier? What is the truth about how to manage your emotions? Is it better to use one technique or another technique? Can we prove that objectively through studies and research?
They’re doing that. They’re coming at it from that perspective. Self-help is not about that. Self-help is not as pedantic. It’s not worried about proving some sort of cause. It’s not even worried about uncovering the truth.
Self-help is worried about “OK, I am where I am right now. I don’t have a lot of money. I have horrible health. I have miserable relationships. I’m not happy. What do I do to get myself out of this rut and get me the kind of life that I want? What are the proven methods out there?”
They’re not proven by scientific research or studies, they’ve just been proven in popular culture, or they’ve been proven personally and that is enough. That is the perspective that self-help is coming from.
I actually think that self-help is amazing and that it’s in many ways more powerful, you might think that “Well it’s better to approach from the scientific perspective because it’s more rigorous, there’s more research being done, there’s more scientific.”
Actually, I think that if you want results in your life, which is probably what you care about, it’s how to improve your relationship, it’s how to get more money, it’s how to actually feel better. If you actually want that, then I would say the self-help movement is more of what you should be coming at from.
It’s much more practical. It doesn’t worry about the pedantics or proving anything. It looks at all the different things throughout history that have worked, by various individuals, and it finds the common threads between all that. Then, you can find that in a book. Self-help book ehre, self-help book there, there are hundreds of amazing self-help books out there.
Self-Help Throughout The Ages
Actually, self-help dates back, we could date it back hundreds of years, but even thousands of years, to old-school philosophies like Buddhism and stoicism, and various Greek and Roman philosophies, and eastern philosophies, and even middle-eastern philosophies.
There’s lots of ideas there, especially from ancient times, because people were really concerned back then, not so much about the science of being happy, they were concerned with “How do I be happy? How do I be fulfilled? How do I be successful?”
To them, it was kind of a life and death situation. They had to worry about their survival, and some of them were interested in how to be happy, actually how to feel it. Self-help has a long history that I can’t go into here.
Right now, especially over the last hundred years, and even the last fifty years, self-help has just exploded because it works. Because people need to understand their psychology in order to improve their life circumstances. That’s what Actualzed.org is about.
That’s it, I’m going to wrap it up here on positive psychology. I hope that gave you a better understanding of what positive psychology is and how it’s different from old-school psychology. I hope it also peaked your interest and curiosity. Not just on an intellectual level in positive psychology, but on a practical level.
If it did, what I want you to do is follow along with me, because Actualized.org is really built on the ideas of positive psychology, and it’s build on the ideas and the ideal that Abraham Maslow espoused in 1950 when he talked about self-actualization.
For me, that is what life is about. If you want to create an amazing life, if you want to feel awesome, if you want to have the kind of success that you want to have, if you want to feel excitement, you need to start to master yourself. Master your own psychology.
When you master your own psychology then the whole world opens up to you. You will be amazed at what can happen. You don’t need scientific theories and research experiments to prove that to you. It has been very well proven just through individuals who go out there and do it and then bring their findings to us through self-help.
I’ve processed about a hundred thousand dollars worth of self-help material, from seminars to books to audio products to DVD products, over the last few years. I’m continuing on my journey, and I want to bring all that goodness to you. There’s so much depth here.
You can transform your entire life in any aspect you want by studying this stuff. This is amazing. That’s why I’m excited about it. I’m going to wrap it up here. Go ahead and like this and share this if you do. That’s why I release this content for free. Subscribe, and I’m also going to refer you to Actualitzed.org where you can subscribe to my newsletter.
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I have your attention right now, but I know I can also easily lose it. The amount of content I’m going to bring to you, the amount of amazing tips, techniques and strategies are going to blow your mind if you apply them. If you follow along and apply this stuff diligently your life is going to be transformed.