My favorite shrink whom I’ve never met is Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism. This book predates Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, although it ought to be noted as the primer for EQ. Former president of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Seligman is more focused on health than illness. As such, he stands tall among those in the psychological world. His contribution to our understanding of how successful and satisfied people are different from those who are unhappy is worthy. Learned Optimism is a required reading for any thoughtful leader. The test in the book for optimism, which is psychologically validated rather than a pop market psuedo game, is an eye-opener for most people. In other words, even people who think of themselves as optimistic find they have a lot to learn about the subject.
Dr. Seligman made a TED talk titled Why Is Psychology Good? Watch it. He’s a good speaker and provides interesting research data about happiness.
He teaches at Penn and has a website called www.authentichappiness.com which has a number of tests related to character, strengths, optimism, and other ellusive concepts. We are learning to measure even the more dificult human conditions!
Test yourself and those on your team. Let me know what you think about these tests and how relevant you think they are. More importantly, read Learned Optimism and really think about what he’s saying. It’s powerful.