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Locked 101 Classes

Positive Psychology 101

How to Tap into the Science of Optimizing + Actualizing

I LOVE the science of flourishing. In this class, we have fun exploring my absolute favorite Big Ideas from my absolute favorite psychologists. Life-changing stuff. The psychologists: Maslow + Frankl + Csikszentmihalyi + Seligman + Dweck + Baumeister + Ben-Shahr + Oettingen + Segar + McGonigal. The Ideas: Actualizer + Choice + Flow + Virtues + Mindsets + Willpower + Optimalist + WOOP + Why + Stress.

Locked PhilosophersNotes


A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

Martin Seligman is one of the founding fathers of the Positive Psychology movement and this is the third Note we’ve done on one of his books. (Check out the Notes on his other classics: Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness for more science of happiness goodness.) In this Note, we’ll explore his shift from Authentic Happiness Theory to Well-Being Theory as we wrap our brains around PERMA, his model of well-being that consists of Positive emotions + Engagement + Relationships + Meaning + Achievement. Good times.

Locked PhilosophersNotes


Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

Tal Ben-Shahar is one of my favorite teachers. He taught one of the most popular classes in Harvard's history and this book captures the essence of his class on Positive Psychology—sharing the best of what we scientifically know about how to create happier, more fulfilled lives. We'll explore how important it is to have goals AND be in the moment (and the perils of *just* being in the moment) along with mucho más goodness.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The How of Happiness

A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

People often ask me what *one* book I would recommend they read. I never had an answer I felt good about until I read this book. It's amazing. The most comprehensive and readable look at what we *scientifically know* works to boost our happiness—from gratitude and exercise to optimism and kindness. (btw: The other #1 book I'd recommend? The PhilosophersNotes workbook. How can you beat 1,000 Big Ideas from 100 great books packed into 600 pages? ;)

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Authentic Happiness

Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

Martin Seligman is essentially the father of the Positive Psychology movement and in this Note we explore how important it is for us to use our Signature Strengths consistently throughout our day-to-day lives. We've got tips on how to discover our Strengths and how to move from a job to a career to a calling as we live a life of meaning and purpose. Good times.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Power of Agency

The 7 Principles to Conquer Obstacles, Make Effective Decisions, and Create a Life on Your Own Terms

Agency. It’s one of my favorite words and psychological concepts (and a cornerstone of our Optimize Coach program). So, when I saw this book I immediately got it and read it and here we are. Paul Napper and Anthony Rao are leading consultants and clinicians (who have both held academic positions at Harvard Medical School). In their great book, they define agency as “the ability to act as an effective agent for yourself—reflecting, making creative choices, and constructing a meaningful life.” Then they provide practical, scientifically-grounded wisdom on, as per the sub-title of the book: “The 7 Principles to Conquer Obstacles, Make Effective Decisions, and Create a Life on Your Own Terms.” In this Note, we take a quick look at the 7 principles and shine a spotlight on the first 3 with a focus on how we can Optimize our agency TODAY!!

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Positive Psychology and the Body

The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing

"Positive Psychology and the Body." Unfortunately, those two subjects are rarely connected--which is why I was so excited to get this book when I saw the title. It's actually a *textbook* not a normal book. It provides an overview of research on a range of subjects including: “Positive Psychophysiology,” “Positive Neuroscience,” “Positive Sexuality” and “Positive Nutrition.” Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at Martin Seligman's PERMA approach to eudaimonic (vis-a-vis hedonic) happiness, your nervous system (flip the switch!), longevity and positive emotion (some astonishing stats), diet and wellbeing/depression (sugar begone!), and physical activity (science says: it does a body good!).

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Myths of Happiness

What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn't, What Shouldn't Make You Happy, but Does

Sonja Lyubomirsky is one of the world’s leading positive psychology researchers. Her award-winning and very well-funded research is on “the possibility of permanently increasing happiness.” <— How cool is that? This book focuses on, you guessed it, the myths of happiness—those things we *think* will make us happy (or devastated) but don’t. The book has over 700 (!) scholarly references. I always love connecting ancient wisdom and fun self-help with SOLID research so this book was a great treat. Big Ideas: hedonic adaptation, #1 way to boost optimism (kinda surprising), the ultradian dip, affluenza virus, frequency > intensity and how to set goals.


Making Hope Happen

Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others

Did you know there's a science of hope? Yep. And Shane Lopez is the world's leading researchig studying the science of hope. This book is an inspiring look at the nuts and bolts of cultivating hope. Big Ideas we explore include differentiating hope from fantastizing and dwelling, the three keys to hope (goals + agency + pathways) , futurecasting, sirens, when/where plans and why hope is so important for leadership.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

A Guide to the Good Life

The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Stoicism. I love it. Although pretty obscure today, Stoicism was once the primary philosophy of the Western world. (We’ve done Notes on the three leading Stoics: Marcus Aurelius and his Meditations, Seneca and his Letters from a Stoic, and Epictetus and his Enchiridion.) In this, Note, we’ll cover some of the essential ideas of the Stoic philosophical approach along with some Big Ideas on the art of living, the true meaning of virtue, how to visualize and the fact that we’re living in a dream world.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Broadcasting Happiness

The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change

In this book, Michelle Gielan takes her background in broadcast journalism (as a CBS News anchor) and combines it with her background in positive psychology to show us how we are ALL broadcasters. Big Ideas we explore include the 3 key factors that account for 75% of success (!), power leads and how to use them, rational optimism vs. irrational optimism, fact-checking your story to find fueling facts that catalyze rather than paralyze and how/when to H.A.L.T.!


Gratitude Works!

A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity

I’m grateful for Robert Emmons. He’s dedicated the last three decades of his life to understanding the science of how to boost our well-being. In the process, he’s conducted ground-breaking research on the power of gratitude. In fact, he’s basically THE researcher we have to thank for understanding *just* how powerful gratitude journaling is. (He's also served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.) I consider myself a reasonably grateful guy but this book has opened my eyes to JUST how powerful gratitude is. And, to just how important it is to DELIBERATELY PRACTICE it. Big Ideas we explore include: How to give yourself a 25% (!!!) boost in happiness, the top gratitude practices, the #1 obstacle to gratitude (and its remedy), and using challenges for grateful fuel!


#2 The #1 Key to Happiness + Flourishing

Hint: Become BFFs with your Inner Soul
Imagine your ideal self. Smiling and waving at you. See ‘em?! (Seriously. Take a deep breath/10 seconds and bring that epically awesome
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#11 Psychological Flexibility

A Hallmark of Happy Humans
Dan Siegel is one of the world’s leading mindfulness / neuroscience / interpersonal neurobiology experts. Dan tells us that the healthy

#26 Celebratory Love

Gratitude’s Generous Cousin
In the last couple +1s we talked about the power of Gratitude and Grateful Flow. (You try them out yet? 😃) Today, let’s talk about
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#35 Journal Lately?

Science Says: It’s one of THE Most Robust Ways to Boost Our Optimism
Here’s another simple way to keep your motivation high: Journal. Sonja Lyubomirsky is one of the world’s leading scientists studying
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#91 The Pursuit of Happiness

Don’t Chase Happiness—Practice It
In our last +1, we celebrated our prior Declarations of Independence (and successful Revolutionary Wars) and we made a new Declaration of
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#99 Time Affluence

It’s a Better Predictor of Your Well-Being than Financial Affluence
Having enough money to take care of your basic needs is an important variable in constructing an optimal life. And, of course, nice things
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#115 Smile!

A Surprisingly Powerful Way to Boost Your Mood
Get this: Scientists can bring people into a lab and have them hold a pen in their mouths in one of two different ways to elicit two very
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#232 Thanks! Thanks! And Thanks!

Three Ways to Give Thanks Today
For everyone in the US celebrating today: Happy Thanksgiving!! For everyone else: Happy Day of Thanks!! 😃 Let’s celebrate by recapping

#280 How to Flourish

Science Says: PERMA
Martin Seligman is basically the Godfather of the Positive Psychology movement. He’s written a number of seminal books on the science of

#281 How to Learn Optimism

Enter: The 3 P’s: Permanence + Pervasiveness + Personalization
In our last +1, we talked about Martin Seligman and the science of flourishing. Quick recap: It’s all about PERMA: Positive Emotion +

#292 The Happiness Archetype

vs. Rat Racer + Hedonist + Nihilist
Tal Ben-Shahar tells us that there are four different archetypes. The Rat Racer. The Hedonist. The Nihilist. And The Happy Person. The Rat

#293 The Fun Meter

Your Ticket to a Fortune of Joy
Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz are Stanford career counselors and psychologists who wrote a great book called Fail Fast, Fail Often. In
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#443 “The Good Life Is a Process

It Is a Direction, Not a Destination.” - Carl Rogers
We talk a lot about the idea that the good life is one endlessly evolving process, with us spiraling up into the next-best version of
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#444 Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Want to be Psychologically Stable? Focus Here.
A couple +1s ago we talked about the two Goddesses of wealth. Deepak Chopra’s advice? Focus on the Goddess of Knowledge and the Goddess of
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#526 The Science of Play

What’s YOUR Play Personality?
In our last +1, we talked about Abraham Maslow and the fact that self-actualizers dissolve the (apparent!) dichotomy between work and play.
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#758 Appreciate: Two Meanings

Want Things to Grow? Appreciate Them!
In our last +1, we talked about watering the droopy stuff in our life. Actually, we focused on watering ONE droopy thing. You rock that and
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#764 Turning Frowns Upside Down

One Bite at a Time
In our last +1, we talked about The Happiness Diet as we did some napkin math on the odds of getting depression based on whether you eat a
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#852 Envy: The Ulcer of the Soul

Socrates Says (And Science Agrees)
The other day I was reading a great book called Company of One by Paul Jarvis. Sub-title: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for
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#853 Mudita: The Antidote to Envy

How to Cure Your Soul Ulcer
In our last +1, we chatted about the fact that ancient lovers of wisdom and modern scientists agree: Envy is toxic. As Socrates so
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#903 Got Serotonin?

Hide and Seek: Brain vs. Gut
Serotonin. At this stage, most of us have at least a vague sense that serotonin is one of the primary neurotransmitters that makes us feel
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#959 Science Says: Words Matter

A Lot More Than You May Think
In our last +1, we talked about a few of my favorite “Pro” tips to Prosper as we looked forward at our 5-Year view (Prospectus!), moved
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#1070 Taking Things FOR GRANTED vs. AS GRANTED

Let’s Choose Wisely
In our last couple +1s, we talked about the science of gratitude and explored some tips on Robert Emmons’ #1 practice: Gratitude
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#1095 How to Meaningify Your Work

In One Simple Step…
In our last +1, we talked about making a Purpose upgrade—going from a grand conception of one “big purpose” for life (Purpose 1.0) to
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#1117 The Language of Gratitude

Gifts, Blessings and Humility
Not too long ago, we spent some time with Robert Emmons—the leading scholar studying the science of gratitude. Once again: “Thank you,
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#1163 “The Most Robust Strategy”

To Cultivate Optimism Is…
In our last +1, we talked about some (more) crazy stats on the power of Optimism. We have those long-lived nuns and Martin Seligman telling
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#1166 Eudaimonism vs. Hedonism

Don’t Want to Be Depressed? Science Says…
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that when we go after accumulating more and more “stuff” (whether that’s the latest gadgets
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#1234 A Wandering Mind

Is an Unhappy Mind
Not too long ago we spent some time with the brilliant neuroscientist Ian Robertson, discussing some Ideas from his great book The Winner
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#671 The Magic Pill of Meditation

Do You Take It? (Science Says…)
In our last +1, we talked about meditation’s instant ROI. Quick recap: Stanford science says that if you have trouble sleeping, you can
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#440 Exercise vs. Zoloft

Feeling Depressed? Pop Your Exercise Pill!
We’ve talked about how exercise is kinda like taking a little bit of Ritalin and a little bit of Prozac, but somehow we’ve gotten this
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#948 Despair --> Hope

The Best Bridge?
In our last +1, we put on our Optimizing nerd glasses ( 🤓 !!!) and explored the etymological (and psychological) opposites: prosper and