The book Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Dr. Martin Seligman is not new, but it is to me. For others who have not heard about it before, it looks like an uplifting read. The central thesis of the book is to essentially learn what a worthwhile life is for you and to un-learn the other things: learn optimism.
â€˜Happinessâ€™ is a scientifically unwieldy notion, but there are three different forms of it if you can pursue. For the â€˜Pleasant Life,â€™ you aim to have as much positive emotion as possible and learn the skills to amplify positive emotion. For the â€˜Engaged Life,â€™ you identify your highest strengths and talents and recraft your life to use them as much as you can in work, love, friendship, parenting, and leisure. For the â€˜Meaningful Life,â€™ you use your highest strengths and talents to belong to and serve something you believe is larger than the self.
Ultimately, Seligman points to optimism not only as a means to individual well-being, but also as a powerful aid in finding your purpose and contributing to the world:
Optimism is invaluable for the meaningful life. With a firm belief in a positive future you can throw yourself into the service of that which is larger than you are.
Read more about the book itself and see Brain Picking’s best books of 2011.