My last post reviewed Martin Seligman’s new book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. Here are a few key excerpts:

“When asked what, in two words or fewer, positive psychology is about, Christopher Peterson, one of its founders, replied, ‘Other people.’ Very little that is positive is solitary… Other people are the best antidote to the downs of life and the single most reliable up.”

Leadership Secrets - Jim Clemmer“That we are drawn by the future rather than just driven by the past is extremely important and directly contrary to the heritage of social science and the history of psychology. It is, nevertheless, a basic and implicit premise of positive psychology.”

“Going slow allows executive function to take over. Executive function consists of focusing and ignoring distractions, remembering and using new information, planning action and revising the plan, and inhibiting fast, impulsive thoughts and actions.”

“Self-discipline outpredicts IQ for academic success by a factor of 2.”

“Resilience, at least among young civilians, can be taught. This was the main thrust of positive education, and we had found that depression, anxiety, and conduct problems could be reduced among children and adolescents through resilience training… if we want health, we should concentrate on building resilience — psychologically and physically — particularly among young people.”

“It’s all too commonplace not to be mentally ill but to be stuck and languishing in life. Positive mental health is a presence: the presence of positive emotion, the presence of engagement, the presence of meaning, the presence of good relationships, and the presence of accomplishment. Being in a state of mental health is not merely being disorder free; rather it is the presence of flourishing.”

“I believe that history is the account of human progress and that you have to be blinded by ideology not to see the reality of this progress. Balky, with fits and starts, the moral and economic envelop of recorded history is, nevertheless, upward… in the twentieth century, the bloodiest of all our centuries, we defeated fascism and communism, we learned how to feed six billion people, we created universal education and universal medical care. We raised real purchasing power more than fivefold. We extended the life span. We began to curb pollution and care for the planet, and we made huge inroads into racial, sexual, and ethnic injustice. The age of the tyrant is coming to an end, and the age of democracy has taken root… what gift will the twenty-first century pass to our posterity?”