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Thursday, June 9, 2011
Yesterday I figured out what I want to do with my life. It’s kind of an overwhelming joyfear (zenhabits.net/joyfear) but lifted my spirits through the roof. Yesterday was a great day and has carried over into today. And with my field of choice, hopefully that mood will carry into the rest of my life.
It all started with Zen Habits. I don’t remember how I discovered Zen Habits, but through Leo Babauta’s exceptionally popular blog about simplifying and building a better life, I found Goodlife Zen, another blog that promotes personal well-being, self-improvement and a Zen lifestyle. On one of the first posts I read on Goodlife Zen I came across a video of a seminar given by Daniel Pink. The video was about intrinsic motivation and how the carrot and stick version of motivation our society doesn’t really work. (It does work, but only for certain types of tasks and only to a certain point.)
Between Pink’s A Whole New Mind, Drive and a whirlwind of exploration in my free time I was introduced to Abraham Maslow, Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Unless you want to dislocate your jaw, I don’t recommend trying to pronounce that last one. ;) What do all these people have in common? They’re all big names in the field of Positive Psychology. And that’s what I want to do; I want to work in Applied Positive Psychology. I want to get a Master’s in A.P.P.from the University of Pennsylvania. It so happens to be where Martin Seligman is in residence.
What does one do with a career in Applied Positive Psych? Well, it has uses in a variety of fields, from business to sports to education. It can help improve employee satisfaction, increase productivity, and through it, profitability. It can help improve learning and guide us toward personal satisfaction. All of that is something I want to be part of.
I won’t be applying for fall of 2012, but I’ll shoot for fall of 2013 at earliest and keep applying til I get in. Most of the coursework can be done without living in Penn. The description online says that the degree can handle commutes from anywhere on the globe. My first step is to make connections that can give me recommendations that show I’m committed to positive psych. I figure that will take the most time, which is why I’ve set my start date within the next two to three years. In the meantime, I’m going to start reading and writing about the topics. I started writing an article on the concept of flow, (total absorption in a task), for my company’s intranet but I’ve decided to hold off til I’ve done a little more research. My own copy of Drive is in the mail along with one of Csikszentmihalyi’s books on flow and Seligman’s books on Positive Psych.
I’m content with that start and looking forward to immersion in the subject. By the time I start my Master’s work, I intend to know a fair amount about the subject and have my own ideas ready.