Authentic Happiness discussed on what makes us happy (authentic happiness) from a scientific approach. It is a great book if you are one of those skeptics who need evidences to believe in what they read (like me ^o^) as it is supported by researches and surveys. It is interesting to see in the book that making more money does not bring happiness and life satisfaction. Neither do staying healthy, getting as much education nor changing of your race will help much. There may have an initial effect but it is not lasting.
There are several things in this book that have a strong impact on me. I try to list some of them below
Strengths and Talents are different.
Strengths are moral traits and talents aren't. Example of strengths are integrity, valor and kindness. Where else talents are perfect pitch, sprinting speed, public speaking skills and etc.
Strengths are trainable whereas talents are not as trainable. Talents are more innate. You either have it or not. No doubt you can train your singing skills or your running tactics. But there is a limit on how much you can improve them. Reality shows us that not everyone can sprint as fast as Usain Bolt or sing as well as Jam Hsiao. As for strengths, with enough voluntary actions made, persistence and good teaching, it can flourish for anyone.
Good news is that people are more inspired by strengths than talents. It is a different emotion seeing Michael Jordan thrashing his outclassed opponent effortlessly versus seeing him scoring 38 points despite him having a 103-degree fever.
Strengths are also the traits that determine us as human and the outcome of our life. Looking at the successful people in our society, most of them are distinctive due to their strengths than their talents. Einstein is known for his creativity and love of learning but not his ability to do research. Lance Armstrong is known for his perseverance and ability to overcome obstacles but not so much as how good is him in biking or how he looks.
This information has opened up my world and motivates me to work on my strengths than worrying about whats my talents. We tend to think too much of talents, assuming that without any of them makes us useless, not outstanding or can't achieve anything n life. It makes me understand that I do not need to be great at any talents to be a great person or to be successful.
In the book, 'Work orientation' is divided into a job, a career and a calling.
You do a job for the as a means to another end(like leisure, or supporting your family), and when the wages stop, you quit.
A career entails a deeper personal investment in work. You mark your achievements through money, but also through advancement. Each promotion brings you higher prestige and more power, as well as raise. When the promotion stops - when you 'top out' - alienation starts, and you begin to look elsewhere for gratification and meaning.
A calling is a passionate commitment to work for its own sake. Individuals with a calling see their work as contributing to the greater good, to something larger than they are. The work is fulfilling in its own right without regard for money or for advancement. When the money stops and promotion ends, the work goes on.
Any job can become a calling and any calling can become a job. Priest who views work as career is simply interested money and advancement while a garbage collector who sees work as making the world a cleaner, healthier place could have a calling.
To transform a job or career into a calling, we will have to re-craft our work so that we can include our signature strengths in it and make it a win-win situation. For us, for our employers and even our competitors. You can find out more about you signature strengths by taking a survey here.
This information has made me realized that I had always been treating my past work as job. It had really reshaped my mind in finding for the 'right job' that is 'most' suitable for me or keep looking for my so called calling. In reality, any job can become a calling if I want it to be. I just have to find do something that I can incorporate my strengths into it and attain gratification from it.
Styles of Loving
Seligman described 3 styles of love in his book. They are called secure, avoidant and anxious. I had always thought that I am a secure type. One that is trustful of their friends, love ones and have few self-doubts. Apparently, I was very wrong.
Here are the characteristics of avoidant adults.
Memories: Avoidant adults remember their mothers as cold, rejecting and unavailable.
Attitudes: Avoidant people regard other people wth suspicion, as dishonest and untrustworthy (guilty until proven innocent). They lacked confidence especially in social situations
Goals: Avoidant people try to keep their distance from those they love, and they put a greater weight on achievement than on intimacy.
Managing distress: Avoidant people don't disclose. They don't tell you when they are upset; they do not show or admit to anger.
After reading on this... I was like Woah! Does he know me or what! I was so amazed by the accuracy and knowing that I am not as secure as I thought was liked an awakening. It is hard truth but I am happy as I know it now. So many times I had tried to justify myself on my unwillingness to trust and open up. Now this is a message to wake me up. Now I know where I stand and what I need to do to proceed to become a better person. Thanks Seligman.
I recommend this book to people who are ready for a jolt to their reality of themselves. Currently I am applying 'delayed pleasure' which I learn from the book and man I had hell lots of fun on it haha. Hope that it is as enjoyable for me as it is for me ^_^.