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Flourish: The Search for Well Being. Berlin 10 July 2010 Martin E.P. Seligman marty@apa.org In Memory: John R. Z. Abela d. June 18, 2010, age 39 years. HappinessTheory. Life Satisfaction (Intervening Variable) Positive Emotion Engagement (Flow) Meaning

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flourish the search for well being

Flourish:The Search for Well Being


10 July 2010

Martin E.P. Seligman


In Memory:

John R. Z. Abela

d. June 18, 2010, age 39 years

  • Life Satisfaction (Intervening Variable)

Positive Emotion

Engagement (Flow)


  • Aim: Increase Life Satisfaction
  • Problems

Subjective Variables

Not Exhaustive

Mood 70% of Life Satisfaction

well being theory
Well Being Theory
  • Well Being (Hypothetical Construct)

Positive Emotion (Life Satisfaction, Engagement)


Positive Relationships


  • Aim: Increase Flourishing
  • Improvements

Objective and Subjective Variables

More Exhaustive of Uncoerced Choice

central europe pp
Central Europe & PP
  • 100 years of LH and Tragedy
  • Intellectual Dogma Background

Darwin, Marx, Freud

Prison of the Past

  • Entrenched Pessimistic Premises

Negative Emotion & Negative Events

Illness and Depression

Childhood and History

Hard Determinism

The Goal: Remediation

radical positive premises

Radical Positive Premises

Positive Emotion, Meaning, Harmony, Accomplishment

Drawn by the Future (vs Driven by the Past)

Will, Freedom, Health

The Goal: Growth

active constructive
Active Constructive





what is positive psychology
What is Positive Psychology?

psychology should:

  • Be as concerned with strength as with weakness
  • Be as interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst
  • Be as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology
  • Develop Interventions to increase well being, not just to decrease misery
  • Break
skepticism about happiness
Skepticism about Happiness
  • Feeling vs Doing (Instrumental)
  • Suffering Trumps
  • Nothing New Here (Wealth, Longevity, LS)
  • Fuzzy
  • Antagonizes Traditional Learning
  • Antagonizes Altruism
first onset change
First Onset Change
  • 1960—mean onset age of 30 years
  • 1995—mean onset age of 14.5 years
  • Recurrent Disorder





positivity promotes learning
Positivity Promotes Learning
  • Baby Explores under Positive
  • Broadens Attention
  • Promotes Creativity
  • Success in the Workplace
pp should be taught
PP Should Be Taught
  • Fights Depression
  • Raises Well Being
  • Synergy with Classroom Learning
  • Synergy with Worldly Success
positive interventions empirically validated examples
Positive Interventions Empirically Validated Examples
  • Optimism: Penn Resilience Training
  • Positive Emotion: 3 Blessings
  • Engagement: Signature Strengths
  • Positive Relationships: ACR
  • Meaning & Purpose: Altruism vs Pleasure
penn resilience training prp
Penn Resilience Training (PRP)
  • 21 replications worldwide (3000 children)
  • Whitehall
  • Controlled Experiments
  • Diverse Samples
  • Led by Teachers
  • Children learn to

handle day to day stressors

realistic optimism



well being can be taught
Well Being Can Be Taught
  • Well Being is Being Taught

UK (250 trained PRP teachers)



  • Entire US Army (Comprehensive Soldier Fitness)
politics of well being
Politics of Well Being
  • Military & Economic Centuries
  • What is Wealth For? GDP vs GWB
  • The Safety Net and Florence
  • The Camel, The Rebel, & The Child Reborn
  • What can every human being say “Yes” to?

More Positive Emotion

More Engagement

More Noble Purpose

More Positive Relationships

More Positive Accomplishment

sources resources
Sources & Resources
  • www.positivepsychology.org


  • www.psych.upenn.edu/seligman

(Literature & Manuals)

  • www.authentichappiness.org


  • seligman@psych.upenn.edu
  • Flourish, 2011: N.Y.: Free Press

(My New Book)