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Martin E.P. Seligman quotes Showing 1-30 of 65

“While you can't control your experiences, you can control your explanations.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Authentic happiness derives from raising the bar for yourself, not rating yourself against others.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
“Curing the negatives does not produce the positives.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Pessimistic labels lead to passivity, whereas optimistic ones lead to attempts to change.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“The genius of evolution lies in the dynamic tension between optimism and pessimism continually correcting each other.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Alcoholics are, in truth, failures, and their failure is a simple failure of will. They have made bad choices, and they continue to do so every day. By calling them victims of a disease, we magically shift the burden of the problem from choice and personal control, where it belongs, to an impersonal force—disease.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“Above all, during the interval, change from “ego orientation” to “task orientation.” Think: “I know this seems like a personal insult, but it is not. It is a challenge to be overcome that calls on skills I have.”
Martin E. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“Pessimistic prophecies are self-fulfilling.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“I used to think that the topic of positive psychology was happiness, that the gold standard for measuring happiness was life satisfaction, and that the goal of positive psychology was to increase life satisfaction. I now think that the topic of positive psychology is well-being, that the gold standard for measuring well-being is flourishing, and that the goal of positive psychology is to increase flourishing. This theory, which I call well-being theory, is very different from authentic happiness theory, and the difference requires explanation.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
“The skills of becoming happy turn out to be almost entirely different from the skills of not being sad, not being anxious, or not being angry.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Practiced regularly (twice a day), relaxation or meditation prevents angry arousal.”
Martin E. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“The optimist believes that bad events have specific causes, while good events will enhance everything he does; the pessimist believes that bad events have universal causes and that good events are caused by specific factors. When”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Depression is now ten times as prevalent as it was in 1960, and it strikes at a much younger age. The mean age of a person’s first episode of depression forty years ago was 29.5, while today it is 14.5 years. This is a paradox, since every objective indicator of well-being—purchasing power, amount of education, availability of music, and nutrition—has been going north, while every indicator of subjective well-being has been going south. How is this epidemic to be explained?”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
“It turns out, however, that how much life satisfaction people report is itself determined by how good we feel at the very moment we are asked the question. Averaged over many people, the mood you are in determines more than 70 percent of how much life satisfaction you report and how well you judge your life to be going at that moment determines less than 30 percent.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
“Anger, unlike fear or sadness, is a moral emotion. It is “righteous.” It aims not only to end the current trespass but to repair any damage done. It also aims to prevent further trespass by disarming, imprisoning, emasculating, or killing the trespasser.”
Martin E. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“Depression, I have argued, stems partly from an overcommitment to the self and an undercommitment to the common good. This”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Success requires persistence, the ability to not give up in the face of failure. I believe that optimistic explanatory style is the key to persistence.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Being in touch with what we do well underpins the readiness to change,” David continued. “This is related to the Losada ratio. To enable us to hear criticism nondefensively and to act creatively on it, we need to feel secure.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
“Do you have a problem with alcohol? Is it “abuse,” or, worse, do you “depend” on drinking to get through the day? It will not surprise you to find out that the lines between handling liquor well, abusing alcohol, and being dependent on it are far from clear.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“YOU SHOULD NOW be well on your way to using disputation, the prime technique for learned optimism, in your daily life. You first saw the ABC link—that specific beliefs lead to dejection and passivity. Emotions and actions do not usually follow adversity directly. Rather they issue directly from your beliefs about adversity. This means that if you change your mental response to adversity, you can cope with setbacks much better. The main tool for changing your interpretations of adversity is disputation. Practice disputing your automatic interpretations all the time from now on. Anytime you find yourself down or anxious or angry, ask what you are saying to yourself. Sometimes the beliefs will turn out to be accurate; when this is so, concentrate on the ways you can alter the situation and prevent adversity from becoming disaster. But usually your negative beliefs are distortions. Challenge them. Don’t let them run your emotional life. Unlike dieting, learned optimism is easy to maintain once you start. Once you get into the habit of disputing negative beliefs, your daily life will run much better, and you will feel much happier.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“TRANSCENDING Escher got it right. Men step down and yet rise up, the hand is drawn by the hand it draws, and a woman is poised on her very own shoulders. Without you and me this universe is simple, run with the regularity of a prison. Galaxies spin along stipulated arcs, stars collapse at the specified hour, crows u-turn south and monkeys rut on schedule. But we, whom the cosmos shaped for a billion years to fit this place, we know it failed. For we can reshape, reach an arm through the bars and, Escher-like, pull ourselves out. And while whales feeding on mackerel are confined forever in the sea, we climb the waves, look down from clouds. —From Look Down from Clouds (Marvin Levine, 1997)”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
“After a heated dispute, we each undertook an assignment for the next class: to engage in one pleasurable activity and one philanthropic activity, and write about both. The results were life-changing. The afterglow of the “pleasurable” activity (hanging out with friends, or watching a movie, or eating a hot fudge sundae) paled in comparison with the effects of the kind action. When our philanthropic acts were spontaneous and called upon personal strengths, the whole day went better. One junior told about her nephew phoning for help with his third-grade arithmetic. After an hour of tutoring him, she was astonished to discover that “for the rest of the day, I could listen better, I was mellower, and people liked me much more than usual.” The exercise of kindness is a gratification, in contrast to a pleasure. As a gratification, it calls on your strengths to rise to an occasion and meet a challenge. Kindness is not accompanied by a separable stream of positive emotion like joy; rather, it consists in total engagement and in the loss of self-consciousness. Time stops.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
“First, you learn to recognize the automatic thoughts flitting through your consciousness at the times you feel worst.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Second, you learn to dispute the automatic thoughts by marshaling contrary evidence.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Fourth, you learn how to distract yourself from depressing thoughts.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
“Try to reframe the provocation: Maybe he’s having a rough day. There’s no need to take it personally. Don’t act like a jerk just because he is. He couldn’t help it. This could be a testy situation, but easy does it.”
Martin E. Seligman, What You Can Change . . . and What You Can't*: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
“[R]aising children ... was about identifying and amplifying their strengths and virtues, and helping them find the niche where they can live these positive traits to the fullest.”
Martin Seligman
“In the struggle to cure syphilis in the first decade of the century, Paul Ehrlich concocted a drug, 606, that worked by poisoning Treponema pallidum, the spirochete that causes syphilis. It was called 606 because before it Ehrlich concocted 605 other drugs, none of which worked. Ehrlich, presumably, experienced 605 defeats but persisted.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, The Optimistic Child
“made a New Year’s resolution for 2009: to take 5 million steps, 13,700 per day on average. On December 30, 2009, I crossed the 5 million mark, and got “Wow!” and “What a role model!” from my Internet friends.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness, Well-Being - and How to Achieve Them
“Lo que pienso sobre la meta de la psicología ha cambiado desde que publiqué mi último libro (Authentic Happiness, 2002) y, aún mejor, la psicología misma está cambiando. He pasado la mayor parte de mi vida trabajando en la venerable meta de la psicología de aliviar el sufrimiento y desarraigar las condiciones incapacitantes de la vida. La verdad sea dicha, esto puede ser un fastidio. Tomarse a pecho la psicología de la desdicha, como hay que hacer cuando uno trabaja con casos de depresión, alcoholismo, esquizofrenia, trauma y todo tipo de sufrimientos que componen el material primario de la psicología convencional, puede ser un agobio para el alma. Aunque hacemos todo lo que está a nuestro alcance por aumentar el bienestar de nuestros clientes, la psicología convencional, por lo general, no hace mucho por el bienestar de sus profesionales. Si algo cambia en el profesional es su personalidad que se vuelve más depresiva.”
Martin E.P. Seligman, Florecer: La nueva psicología positiva y la búsqueda del bienestar

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Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life Learned Optimism
14,160 ratings
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment Authentic Happiness
8,748 ratings
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being Flourish
4,254 ratings