Oct 102010
Source: Stratfor Global Intelligence – Security Weekly

Terrorism (and a great many other undesirable situations) do not erupt spontaneously, but are the end consequence and product of a series of preparatory or enabling steps. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS allows us to respond appropriately to a developing situation and may allow us to disrupt the chain of events.

  • Awareness requires a mindset that enables readiness to be aware.
  • Awareness exists on several levels: Unaware, Relaxed, Focused, High Alert, and Shock.
  • The appropriate level of awareness for any situation allows for appropriate responses and interventions.
  • If you see something that is not right, do something about it.

Read the complete article at: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100609_primer_situational_awareness?fn=6417307150

Feb 142010
Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 5

Gratitude Survey

(Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons)

1 = Strongly disagree – 7 = Strongly agree

  1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.
  2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.
  3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for.
  4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.
  5. As I get older, I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.
  6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.

(Reverse scores on 3, 6)
6-35 Lower Quarter, 36-38 bottom half, 39-41 top four, 42 top eighth

Gratitude journal

Suggestion to keep a record for 14 days, noting the things for which you are grateful. Racket the exercise with the Life Satisfaction and General Happiness scales to compare scores. But

Feelings about the past depend on memory interpretation and assigned meaning. Gratitude amplifies good feelings about the past. The opposite is also true.

As a South African leader, Nelson Mandela redirected past bitterness toward reonciliation.

Some believe that righteous anger honors the victim and promotes justice.

How to forgive – REACH

  • Recall the hurt objectively
  • Empathize with others
  • Altruistically give the gift of forgiveness
  • Commit to forgive publicly
  • Hold onto forgiveness that

Weighing up your life

Find a time annually to evaluate your life satisfaction and compare it with previous years.


3 ways to feel happier about the past

  • Intellectual-determined that the past does not dictate your future
  • Become more grateful for the good things in your past
  • Learn how to forgive past wrongs
Feb 072010

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 6

Satisfying Life Experiences

The most satisfying life experiences tend to be those involving self-respect, accomplishment and social relatedness. They notably did not include exercising power influence or acquiring material or physical gratification. Cultures that emphasize community responsibility are less likely to identify self-directed activities as producing happiness. The classic elements of the “American Dream” have a dark side: “materialism is toxic for happiness. ”

Self assessment exercise.

  1. In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
  2. The conditions of my life are excellent.
  3. I am satisfied with my life.
  4. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
  5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Flow, total involvement in a challenge, is an altered state of consciousness that produces genuine satisfaction with experiences. It is very enjoyable to be fully absorbed and engaged in such an activity. It does not arise from passivity but from active engagement with life. The specific activity is not so important as the way in which it is performed.

Interpreting life events

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

One’s interpretation of an event may differ from person to person. While some remain chronically unhappy others are capable of seeing a silver lining in the events of their lives.

Maximization and Regret

Orientation poured goals may be characterized as satisfying or maximizing. A satisfier is content to meet expectations. A maximizer tries to achieve the best result in every situation; they plan were carefully, set higher standards, but may suffer negative emotions when the results do not satisfy their expectations. They are more prone to experiencing regret, unfavorable comparison to others, and reduced life satisfaction. Maximizers also strive to keep their options open, often been less satisfied with the outcome.


Contemporary life often promotes feelings of urgency and the desire to multi task. Conversely, the ability to slow down and savor experience adds richness, vividness, and satisfaction to life. Slowing down to “smell the roses” increases happiness.


Gratitude extends appreciation for positive outcomes from oneself to a wide range of other contributors. This also increases intrinsic self-esteem and perception of social support. People expressing gratitude avoid taking life events for granted; they are less prone to negative emotions, are more empathetic, and less focused on materialistic goals. They feel happier and present themselves to others as happier.

Feb 052010

Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 6

Satisfaction with Life Scale

Are most people happy?

A large majority of people in the United States report themselves as being happy. This result is common to most populations around the world. Oddly, most people see themselves as happier than others especially the popular, powerful and educated.

Why be happy?

Happy people are healthier, live longer, work more productively and have higher incomes, are more tolerant, more creative, and make decisions more easily, select challenging goals, are more persistent, have greater empathy, more friends, and better marriages. Much of this reflects an improved ability to function in social situations. But

“There is no duty we sell underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Who is happy?

Men and women report roughly equal levels of happiness and satisfaction. The same equality holds true across the age spectrum. Factors including formal education, IQ, and race also fail to affect happiness. Married people report more happiness than single who, in turn report more happiness than divorced or separated. Spiritual practice tends to increase happiness and tend to experience fewer negative life circumstances. It seems important that basic needs be met, but material abundance above those basic needs does not increase happiness.

“The happiest people all seem to have good friends.” Psychologist Ed Diener

The happiest people tend to be highly social, and spend the most time in the company of others. They tend to be extroverts and have the desire and ability to build strong social relationships. In one study, conscientiousness, with goal setting, personal control, and purposeful achievement, strongly correlated with life satisfaction. Happy people tend to experience high intrinsic self-esteem; they’re optimistic about themselves and their circumstances.

Pursuing Happiness
  • Do not interpret material achievement as happiness and success in life.
  • Compare yourself, and set your expectations, relative to those who have less.
  • Keep a gratitude journal and review it to remember the things you appreciate.
  • Discover the activities that allow you to experience a sense of flow and learn to reproduce those circumstances.
  • Commit to your goals, finish what you start, and experience your effort with quiet mindfulness.
  • Have and enjoy the hobby. Prefer engagement with life too sedentary activities.
  • Build and maintain satisfying family and social relationships.
  • Volunteer your attention, creativity, and efforts in service to others.
  • Sustain a satisfying spiritual practice that builds hope.
    Feb 032010

    Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 5

    Evaluate your general happiness by rating the following statements on a scale of 1 to 7:

    1. In general, I consider myself:
    1=Not a very happy person—7=A very happy person

    2. Compared to most of my peers, I consider myself:
    1=Less happy—7=More happy

    3. Some people are generally very happy. They enjoyed life regardless of what is going on, getting the most out of everything. To what extent does this characterization describe you?
    1=Not at all—7=A great deal

    4. Some people are generally not very happy. Although they are not depressed, they never seen as happy as they might be to what it does this characterization describe you?
    1=A great deal—7=Not at all

    Totaled your answers and divide by eight. The mean for adult Americans is 4.8.
    Two-thirds of people score between 3.8 and 5.8.

    Jan 242010

    Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 3

    We are endowed with access to powerful and insistent emotional states. They arise from the deepest and most primitive areas of our brain. They include more than fight or flight survival instincts to take decisive action to kill or conserve; they include the capacity for happiness. Happiness must serve an important, fundamental purpose.

    Negative emotions include fear, sadness, discussed, repulsion, hatred and anger. They are especially important in win-lose situations, where the loser may be oneself. Effective responses to negative emotions affect survival and would reasonably be an important part of natural selection. The likelihood that a person will present predominantly negative or positive emotions it is, in fact strongly affected by genetic inheritance.

    Positive feelings encourage us to approach an object or develop a situation. But, negative and positive emotions are much more complex than the stimulus attraction and avoidance processes of bacteria. Until recently, psychologists have generally ignored positive emotions. They were interpreted as secondary effects of situations and behaviors. They are, in fact, as important to our survival behavior as fear.

    Jan 152010

    Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 2


    Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA) for 1998.

    Veterans Administration Act of 1946

    The Veterans Administration Act of 1946 was created for the practical purpose of helping returning veterans of World War II. This shifted the emphasis of the field from academic research on learning, behavior, and motivation toward more practical applications. At that time, “no mental illness was treatable. For not a single disorder did any treatment work better than no treatment at all.”


    The National Institute Of Mental Health was created in 1947, and focused on the interests of its many psychiatrists, primarily psychiatric pathology. But

    Learned helplessness

    In 1968, Martin Seligman worked on “learned helplessness.” His findings “challenged the central axioms of my field.” He determined that learned helplessness closely resembled “unipolar depression” in both observable characteristics and brain chemistry.


    Pessimists tend to believe that their problems are “permanent, pervasive, and personal. Pessimists are more likely to become depressed when they meet with problems. They perform more poorly at their jobs, have more health problems, and shorter lives.


    Optimist tend to believe that their problems are “surmountable, articulate to a single problem, and resulting from temporary circumstances or other people.”

    Nikki story

    Martin Seligman tells the story of an important realization triggered by his five-year-old daughter, Nikki. While weeding in his garden, he yelled at Nikki for disturbing him. She responded: “Daddy, do you remember before my fifth birthday? From when I was three until when I was five, I was a whiner. I whined every day. On my fifth birthday, I decided I wasn’t going to whine anymore. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And if I can stop whining, you can stop being such a grouch.”

    Jan 152010

    Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction

    The field of positive psychology embraces a particular set of perceptions:

    1. We create our personal and social worlds. High-functioning people take responsibility for dynamically exercising opportunities for choice, change, and control.

    2. We cannot control all elements of our personal and social worlds. Recognizing these external constraints improves our choices.

    3. Scientific research is especially important for accurately understanding the relationships between the subjective elements considered by positive psychology.

    4. Positive psychology has been not so much newly invented as newly emphasized. Concepts of virtues, values, and character are of long and enduring interest.

    5. Psychology has allowed us to develop objectives scales to quantify human strengths and their biological, environmental, and cognitive influences.

    6. While psychology conducts research on value judgments, it must be recognized that value judgments affect the conduct of research. No part of human development can be studied in isolation. For instance, we require both autonomy and relatedness.

    Jan 152010

    Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction

    The Personal Growth Initiative Scale was published in 1998 by Christine Robitschek. The PGIS incorporates choice, change, control, and clear direction. She believes that personal growth must be a deliberate undertaking. A high score reflects a person who: “recognizes and capitalizes on opportunities for personal change. They search out and create situations that will foster their growth. In contrast, people with low scores actively avoid situations that challenge them to grow.”

    “PGIS scores seemed to be strongly positive way related to psychological well-being and negatively related to psychological distress.” “PGIS spores or positively linked to assertiveness, internal locus of control, an instrumentality (knowing how to reach an important goals).” According to Bert Hodges, “Values provide distant but real guides that help us to find our way, that help us in the journey of life. Values provide not only place but perspective; they indicate where we have come from and where we’re going.”

    Values will vary according to a person’s world view and life goals. Mihal Csikszentmilalyi says that a meaningful, productive life involves both differentiation and integration. Differentiation results from taking proactive responsibility for personal development. Integration results from also accepting responsibility for our relationships with others in our social networks. While it is healthful to be able to function atonymously, we also need to feel connected and have a sense of belonging. For instance, adolescents need to grow up, but do better if they retain strong connections with their parents.

    Personal Growth Initiative Scale (PGIS) Exercise

    Original source: Robitschek, 1998.

    Using the scale, indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement.

    1 = definitely disagree
    2 = mostly disagree
    3 = somewhat disagree
    4 = somewhat agree
    5 = mostly agree
    6 = definitely agree

    1. _____ I know how to change specific things that I want a change in my life.

    2. _____ I have a good sense of where I’m headed in my life.

    3. _____ If I want to change something in my life, I know how to initiate the transition process.

    4. _____ I can choose the role I want to have in a group.

    5. _____ I know what I need to do to get started toward reaching my goals.

    6. _____ I have a specific action plan to help me reach my goals.

    7. _____ I take charge of my life.

    8. _____ I know what my unique contribution to the world might be.

    9. _____ I have a plan for making my life more balanced.

    _____TOTAL SCORE

    To score your responses, simply add the numbers you checked to obtain a total score. PGIS scores range from 9 to 54. People who score higher (31.5 is the midpoint) recognize and capitalize on opportunities for personal change. More than that, they search out and create situations that will Foster their growth. In contrast, people with low scores actively avoid situations that challenge them to grow.

    Jan 112010

    Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Preface

    The weakness of psychology, during its short history as a science, has been its primary focus on human weaknesses rather than on human strengths. That began to change dramatically when Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association. Seligman leveraged his research on learned helplessness and hopelessness into a new focus on learned optimism and happiness.

    A primary focus of positive psychology is on human strengths, a core set of virtues. The intent is to study, measure, and understand these strengths so that they can be purposefully developed, increasing both subjective and objective psychological well-being.

    Responsibility – Both researchers and individuals have a responsibility to understand the factors that influence thinking and behavior, and to use this knowledge to increase the healthful development of individuals and societies. Responsibility is vital for the development of other strengths.

    Love – Hereditary nature and environmental nurture both contribute to human development. Attachment styles, developed in early life, have a powerful impact on adult relationships.

    Empathy – The ability to recognize and consider the feelings of others is a vital step in psychological development. Empathy is necessary for forgiveness and altruism.

    Self-control – the ability to accept delayed gratification, instead of only immediate rewards, is also vital to psychological maturity. Purposeful achievement requires a persistent cycle of goal setting, reflection, and self regulation.

    Wisdom – intelligence involves a great deal more than the ability to acquire rote knowledge. Wisdom is associated with reasoning ability and the productive application of knowledge in a complex social environment.

    Commitment – our goals must have meaning and reflect a satisfying purpose if we are to pursue them with persistence. But there are important differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

    Happiness – positive emotions such as happiness were required for salutogenesis. It is irresponsible for psychology to focus on pathology.

    Self-respect – while self-esteem serves to artificially heighten a sense of entitlement, self-respect involves a realistic valuation of one’s potential within society.

    Hope – learned optimism can be an effective therapy for the hopelessness of depression. Hopefulness helps us to sustain effort through difficult times. Community support is vital for individual and collective well-being.

    Friendship – individual support is also effective in promoting personal and collective well-being. Shared responsibility also helps to sustain persistent effort to achieve goals.

    Dec 302009

    By: Robert Cialdini, PhD

    Source: Back cover

    image Influence has established itself as the most important book on persuasion ever published. In it, distinguished psychologist Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., explains why some people are remarkably persuasive and how you can beat them at their own game. You’ll learn the six psychollogical secrets benind our powerful impulse to comply, how skilled persuaders use them without detection, how to defend yourself against them—and how to put these strengths to work in your own behalf. This indispensible book guarantees two things: You;ll never again say “yes” when you really mean “no,” and you’ll make yourself more influential than ever before.

    Chapters include:

    • Reciprocation
    • Commitment and Consistency
    • Social Proof
    • Liking
    • Authority
    • Scarcity
    • Instant Influence

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    by: Robert B. Cialdini

    Arguably the best book ever on what is increasingly becoming the science of persuasion. Whether you’re a mere consumer or someone weaving the web of persuasion to urge others to buy or vote for your product, this is an essential book for understanding the psychological foundations of marketing.
    Dec 202009

    By: Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

    Source: Amazon.com

    From the author of the long-running # 1 bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 comes a landmark study of great leaders, teams, and the reasons why people follow.

    Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, which forms the core of several books on this topic, including the #1 international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0.

    In recent years, while continuing to learn more about strengths, Gallup scientists have also been examining decades of data on the topic of leadership. They studied more than 1 million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and even interviewed more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.

    In Strengths Based Leadership, #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath and renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of this research. Based on their discoveries, the book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.


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    by: Tom Rath

    As you read Strengths Based Leadership, you’ll hear firsthand accounts from some of the most successful organizational leaders in recent history, from the founder of Teach For America to the president of The Ritz-Carlton, as they discuss how their unique strengths have driven their success. Filled with novel research and actionable ideas, Strengths Based Leadership will give you a new road map for leading people toward a better future.

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    StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths
    by: Tom Rath

    All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
    To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment, language of 34 themes, and much more (see below for details). While you can read this book in one sitting, you’ll use it as a reference for decades.
    Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, this new book and accompanying website will change the way you look at yourself — and the world around you — forever.