With all that is going on in the world right now, I think it’s an appropriate time to discuss mental “fitness” and dealing with emotional states that can be triggered by the headlines we read on a daily basis. Starting a business is no easy thing, and it can be herculean in an economy like the one we’re in right now. I stumbled across an article on Fox News about military jobs, and found it interesting that they are employing the use of “positive psychology” for their enlisted, reserve, and civilian members.
I’ve always been very proud of our military and the sacrifices they make on our behalf, regardless of the political party in control of the White House. Being a volunteer member of the USCG-AUX I have a great appreciation for what it takes to serve and risk your life for your fellow countrymen (and women).
I’ve found the training programs I’ve been through to be superior in many ways to the civilian and college educational programs I’ve attended over the years. I currently hold a BS degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, NY. That said, finding that the US Army is employing the use of “positive psychology” developed by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania got my attention.
The military is VERY picky about the content of their education and training. So the mere fact that they are using this psychological technology is enough for me to want to investigate. So often such technology is filled with useless, irrelevant, or regurgitated information, with little or no actionable, useful information. Books in the “self-help” genre are more often than not, drivel.
I can speak from experience when I say that beating on a pillow with a tennis racket while imagining the face of someone who allegedly did you harm at some time in your life is not only useless, but probably harmful to your psych. Rather than negatively rehashing the past (all the bad things that have been done to you), advocating “escapism or displacement” (leave your spouse, tell your father off, quit your job), the University of Pennsylvania program focuses on building your sense of well-being through positive and enriching concepts.
Fostering such things as: “strengths and virtues … the capacity for love and work, courage, compassion, resilience, creativity, curiosity, integrity, self-knowledge, moderation, self-control, and wisdom.” People rarely talk about moderation, self-control, and integrity with much enthusiasm these days, and yet they had been a mainstay of our highly successful culture for hundreds of years. Maybe it’s time to reread the Scouts motto…
“Positive Psychology has three central concerns: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions. Understanding positive emotions entails the study of contentment with the past, happiness in the present, and hope for the future.”
You can bet I am going to be looking into this more closely. Nobody is a superhero. We all feel down, sad, or hopeless some times. Being your own boss requires discipline, moderation, self-control, and wisdom. Not just the functional kind, but the mental kind as well. We must be able to endure set-backs and move forward with our dreams. We must be able to take a positive attitude about difficulties and for many of us, we just don’t have a good template for accomplishing this. We either never learned how, or we have achieved mixed results from our efforts and have given up.
I cannot endorse this technology because I haven’t used it yet, but I will say that if it’s good enough for our soldiers, it’s probably darn good, and worth a look. Nobody is under more stress than they are. Keep them in your prayers.
Resources used in writing this post: