Who do you intentionally and unintentionally let near your mind? What impact might they be consciously, subconsciously and practically having on you living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life?
You’re probably aware that I’m currently enrolled in a Master Degree in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPPs), and while I’m fascinated by the vast amount of research that is currently being completed on various aspects of what it means to live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life, at times I still find myself shaking my head and asking “Do we really need a scientific study to prove this?”
I’ve been studying philosophy for many years, and have read widely to include many of what are often listed in the top 100 ‘self-help’ books, and over the past few years, as positive psychology has emerged onto the scene, I’ve studied the major works both publically published and academic papers as well, and at times it just seems to me that in some ways, science is only just now catching up with the wisdom that many of us have been brought up with.
Sadly, it also seems that some, not all, in academia, are far too quick to dismiss the philosophical and experientially based writings of many in the traditional self-help field because their ‘advice’ lacks any valid scientific research.
So just as I am what the scientific researchers refer to as an ‘outlier’ in terms of where the ‘average’ person scores and sits on various subjective well-being scales (ie., I’m blessed to score extremely high in the major elements that science suggests will lead to living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life), I’m a bit of an outlier when it comes to where I sit in terms of academia versus self-help.
I say this with caution, as I realise I have one foot in each camp, however, the advice by behavioural scientist George W. Dudley who I met in the nineties continues to be a mantra for me “Watch Who You Let Near Your Mind!” (If you’re in sales or a sales manager, I highly recommend you visit George’s website.
George’s advice is well worth keeping at top mind in this world where we have information and advice coming at us from all angles. (And I realise that in sharing this with you, this means you need to be diligent in validating for yourself what I share with you here on Intentionomics.com. Just as George paradoxically, and yet with well aligned intention says when he shares his advice, “that includes what I’m saying to you now.”)
Recently, one of my favourite writers, researchers and teachers in applied positive psychology came under fire for a flaw in the mathematic theory applied in arriving at a positivity ratio test, score and recommendations.
In her research and subsequent research papers and then in the best-selling book Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson explained that your positivity ratio is calculated by your frequency of positivity over any given time span, divided by your frequency of negativity over that same time span and that the ‘magic number’ appears to be 3:1 (positivity to negativity).
OK, so the mathematical theory may be wrong, however, the more ‘subjective’ research that has not only been undertaken by Fredrickson, but by many others, and surely it just makes practical sense when you really think about it… being more positive about who we are, about others, about our past, present and future, will have a more positive impact on us living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life than if we approached life negatively more often than not.
Science aside, self-help thought leaders including Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Og Mandino, Anthony Robbins, and many others, have been expounding the value of positivity, based on their own observations, experience and from studying the success of others in the real world.
My point is this. When I wrote Intentionomics, my first basis for the work was what I knew in my own life that were inescapable truths for me, wanting to share them with our two young adult sons when they turned 18 and 21 on the same weekend in May 2011. I then wanted to validate my own experiences and philosophy on life by revisiting the works of historical and modern day philosophers, self-help thought leaders and fortunately, the timing was aligned with the emergence of the science of applied positive psychology.
Let me conclude this post reminding you of George W. Dudley’s advice again as it is still wonderfully instructive – “Watch Who You Let Near Your Mind!”
When it comes to living a more happy, flourishing and prosperous work and personal life, it’s surely up to each of us to learn as much as we can that will help us get and give the most we can, with the life we have.