Learned Optimism

How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
by Martin Seligman | Vintage © 2006 · 336 pages

Did you know you can learn optimism? Yep. And, unfortunately, we can also learn helplessness. Whether we're helpless or optimistic is one of the biggest predictors of whether we're emotionally happy/healthy or depressed/unhealthy so this is BIG. In this Note, we'll explore some great Ideas on how to get our optimism on by creating more empowering explanations of what's happening in our lives.

“Habits of thinking need not be forever. One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.”

~ Martin Seligman from Learned Optimism

I can ‘learn’ optimism?!?

Yep, according to psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman, you sure can.

And, if you believe the research, you definitely should!

We all know that optimists see the glass as half-full while pessimists see it as half-empty. But, that doesn’t come close to doing justice to the importance of optimism and how it affects our lives.

Martin Seligman, past President of the APA, visionary behind the Positive Psychology movement and one of the leading psychologists in the world, has spent the last three and a half decades researching the influence of optimism on our lives. Much of his work is presented in his book Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life.

In this Note, we’ll take a quick look at the underlying theories of optimism, talk about some cool applications (such as: optimistic professionals sell more and optimistic sports teams win more), and talk about how you can improve your optimism.

Hope you enjoy!

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About the author


Martin Seligman

the founder of Positive Psychology