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To Err is Human

“To err is human, to forgive divine.”

Alexander Pope

Okay, so it is time for me to admit I am wrong — again.  You may remember a few months back when I admitted that I had bought into the concept that success required hard work, struggle, and hardship.  I admitted I was wrong.  Success is only hard, and a struggle, and a hardship if I (and you) think it is.  Well, I am wrong about something else that I have taught since 2004.  I taught the goal of positive psychology was increased happiness.  Of course, I knew happiness was subjective.  However, since 2011 I had been taught:

Achieving happiness should not be the primary focus of my teachings (or your lives).  Achieving a sense of well-being is the ultimate reward of a successful life. 

Yet, even having been taught that I still focused my work on happiness.  Well-being has specific scientific variables that could be measured.  That makes it easier to achieve.  This is where the divine forgiveness is needed.  Let me explain.

In 2003/2004, I participated in a certification program with Marty Seligman and Ben Dean to become an Authentic Happiness Coach.  That was when I was formally trained in the science of positive psychology.   The six months I invested in that program changed my life and my business life.  I rarely mentioned the certification because I already had my PhD and I held a bias about coaching programs.  During my training, however, Marty encouraged us to spread the word about the science of positive psychology and its research applications to daily life.  I gladly took up that charge and invested many a TV segment and book blog review to that effort.

By the time Marty published Flourish in 2011, it was clear his conceptualization for the field was not to be grounded in the study of happiness as an end state, but in the multifaceted impact of developing positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement throughout your life.  Those are the pieces of life success and satisfaction.

And, I was resistant.  Not to the research but to the ability of my clients and my audience to care.  PERMA needed to be explained.  Being happy everyone seemed to be able to explain (or not) for themselves.  Then I noticed something.  My peer group may have thought it took too much explaining and only wanted the short answer to how to get and be happy, but I noticed the youngest generation of workers and business creators were only willing to accept the multidimensional approach.  I grew up in a ‘resources are scarce’ world.  They only know a world where potential seems unlimited and ever expanding.  Check out my conversation with Andy Proctor at 2:42 of the above video.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Sr. Ken Robinson

Don’t get me wrong.  Happiness still matters.  It just is not enough to increase life satisfaction and success.  Putting intentional effort into increasing your well-being will enhance happiness, life satisfaction and success.

Dr. Success Challenge:  Think of times you realized you were wrong in your business.  Integrate those instances and learnings into your conversations.  Keep the learning alive.  Keep yourself evolving and allow original thoughts to emerge.

Feel the spirit of the season
About the author

Andrea Goeglein is part organizational psychologist, part entrepreneur, and all about success—your success. She understands both the pressures you face and the dreams that inspire you. Andrea merges her experience as a business owner with her training in Positive Psychology to provide effective, efficient and challenging personal development products and services. She combines an emphasis on objective assessment with an approach that is always powered by your spirit and guided by your goals. Her professional development offerings are based in theory and backed by direct business knowledge.

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