In the process of researching so much about positive psychology, certain pattens from the past start to make so much sense. Ideas such as growth mindset, broaden and build, and the experience of flow adds a theoretical framework to design a life. How have the insights you’ve experienced in the past year helping you reach that next big insight vista point?
In many positive psychology studies on self-theories, having a fixed mindset is definitely the less desirable of the two options. Growth mindset gets all the glory. However, too much growth mindset without ever shifting into a performance zone, leads to a path of inaction, hesitancy, and endless preparation. Optimal performance requires a balance between both growth and fixed, learning and performance. What’s your optimal balance point?
Staying in a performance zone creates an artificial limit on growth. The stress from always having to win adds pressure that stymies creativity. The long-term cost of using the fear of failure as a short-term performance boost shows up over time. The performance pressure path leads to burnout, fear, anger, perhaps one could say the dark side. Where in your life do you want to dial back the pressure of the performance zone?
Our critical selves are often hardest on ourselves. The inner critic doles out harsh judgments to keep us safe and protected. In an ironic twist, the inner critic deep down cares most about what others think, and it chases the constant intangible benchmark of the approval of others.
[007 Research Review | PERMA Series: 3] What is well-being, really? Since the 1980s, theoretical and empirical research in positive psychology has flourished. Previously, the field of psychology was closely focused on describing and quantifying mental illness - how to identify, measure, and treat psychological maladies. Not until groundbreaking work such as Csikszentmihalyi (1975) and Ryff (1989) did psychology shift its focus to understanding positive human functioning.
In positive psychology’s search for well-being, happiness, stress, and anxiety are treated as symptoms, which makes complete sense. Each emotion is an outcome that could rest on deeper aspects of character. But something interesting happens when we flip the equation and look at happiness, stress, or anxiety as feedback and useful information.
[006 Research Review | PERMA Series: Part 2] In 1984, Ed Diener published his broadly referenced review of subjective well-being (SWB) as a theory and measure of human happiness. “Happiness,” he admits, is a fuzzy term. We use it in everyday life in many contexts, so Diener breaks it down into a theoretical construct with two distinct pieces.
[005 Research Review | PERMA Series: 1] A 2002 study by psychologist Corey Keyes clarifies the scope of coaching, the need for coaching, and its possible usefulness. The study quantifies a correlation between flourishing well-being and lowered likelihood of mental illness, and between incomplete well-being and higher likelihood of mental illness.
[004 Research Review | HR Series: 1] Modello and Homestead Gardens. The story of two public housing communities in Miami, Florida in the late 1980s continually shows up in the positive psychology literature. These publicly-funded community revitalization projects generated amazing, some say maybe even too amazing, results.
The big insight Csikszentmihalyi and Bennet figured out in 1975 with their study of flow wasn’t necessarily the description of any one individual’s experience as much as it was in the sheer number of data points. With over 175 interviews, patterns started to emerge. With so many reference points, they were able to cross reference […]