Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness
Positive Psychology, "The scientific study of optimal human functioning," provides practical tools for better living. I discuss current research related to the science of happiness and introduce ideas and tools that can actually make you happier. I cover topics using the lens of positive psychology; including giving ourselves the permission to be human, simplifying our lives, recognizing the mind-body connection, and re-focusing on the positive.
Positive Leadership: Making a Difference
Most organizational and individual potential is untapped. Talented individuals are attracted to, and thrive in, organizations that bring out the best in them. I discuss how leaders can create a positive environment that nurtures the inherent potential in themselves and in those with whom they work.
Success AND Happiness
There is a common misperception concerning the relationship between happiness and success. Much research illustrates that contrary to what most people think, success does not lead to lasting happiness. The opposite, in fact, is the case: happiness leads to success. When we increase our positive experiences, we enjoy a whole range of benefits, including increased motivation, better relationships, enhanced creativity, and more. By raising our levels of well-being we can enjoy more success in our personal lives and in our organizations.
Learn to Fail or Fail to Learn
It is no coincidence that the most successful people throughout history have also been the ones to fail the most times. We learn to walk by falling, to talk by babbling, to shoot a basket by missing, and to color the inside of a square by scribbling outside the box. In order to create a learning organization, be it a school or a business, the leaders in the classroom or the boardroom have to be clear about where failure is acceptable and where failure is not an option.
Healthy relationships are the number one generator of happiness; gone awry, they afford pain and misery. While some ups and downs are inevitable within any relationship, much of the unhappiness that comes from unhealthy relationships is avoidable. It is possible, for everyone, to enjoy lasting relationships that improve with time. While romantic love is the focus of this topic, the approach and findings are relevant to all relationships.
Positive Psychology for Difficult Times
The economic crises, the ongoing market pressures, the globalization of our village, make the task of the leader increasingly difficult. The effective leader is able to be tough and demanding while being respectful, to trust employees while taking responsibility for the outcome, to focus on strengths while learning to manage weaknesses, juggling the day-to-day challenges while keeping an eye on the vision. To be successful in this taxing environment, the leader must be resilient—to face the challenges and bounce back from setbacks.
Ethical Leadership: The Moral is the Practical
Ethical companies and individuals are more likely to succeed in the long-term than ones that forgo ethical consideration for the purpose of short-term profit. At the same time, leaders inevitably have to make difficult decisions, where there is no clear right and wrong. The ability to think about tough ethical dilemmas coherently and intelligently not only shapes the moral fabric of the organization; it also determines the organization’s ultimate success.
Leading With Impact: Strategies for Success
Leadership development is personal development. Drawing on research in the area of Appreciative Inquiry and taking a strengths-based approach, I look at the conditions that individuals or organizations need to put in place to bring about growth. To make the most of their potential, leaders should learn to manage their weaknesses and then focus primarily on their unique strengths.
Change that Lasts
Most personal and organizational change efforts fail. While initial excitement may be high following a workshop or another form of intervention, more often than not people go back to where they were prior to the intervention. To enjoy change that lasts, that goes beyond “the honeymoon” period, we need to follow up our insights with actual behaviors and concrete rituals.
* * *"Professor Tal Ben-Shahar has the rare ability to reach the hearts of leaders, and to show them the way back to a life that is not a problem to be solved, but a calling to be answered. Based on sound academic research, yet laced with humor and warmth, his Positive Leadership presentations leave you feeling as if you have just had a life-transforming conversation with a wise mentor. He guides leaders to focus on what’s working--not what’s broken--in their teams, in their organizations, in their world, and in themselves as leaders. With engaging stories, compelling research, fun exercises and inspiring examples, he rekindles a sense of meaning and passion for leadership--and for life. Listening to Tal leaves you uplifted, inspired and transformed."
Director, Innovative Learning Solutions Wharton Executive Education