Dr. Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness, and Positive Psychology
In the study of the fulfillment of human potential, one scientist stands head and shoulders above all others. That scientist is Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, who has ushered in an entirely new era in the field of psychology
With proper acknowledgement to the field of economics which is commonly referred to as the “dismal science,” my choice for that distinction would actually go to the field of psychology before Dr. Seligman’s work gained widespread acclaim. Until then, the field addressed the ills of the human mental and emotional condition, like anxiety, depression, anger, etc., and worked to ameliorate them. That was important work to be sure, but certainly dealt with dismal conditions.
Dr. Seligman took an entirely different approach. Rather than addressing ways in which illnesses such as those mentioned above can be alleviated, he chose to address ways in which human beings can rise above their perceived norms. In other words, he addressed ways in which to achieve true human flourishing. This is Positive Psychology!
Authentic Happiness is the name of Dr. Seligman’s “technology” for the application of Positive Psychology. By the dawn of the twenty-first century, a legion of academics and practitioners had become trained advocates of Positive Psychology, and it had become the most popular sub-discipline in the field.
There aren’t many of us certified Authentic Happiness coaches in the world and there won’t be any more because Dr. Seligman has subsequently focused his work back on academics. But I am immensely proud to be one of Dr. Seligman’s first graduates of his Authentic Happiness Coaching Program, in what he called his Vanguard One class.
Now, I employ Dr. Seligman’s teachings of Authentic Happiness and apply them to helping aspiring cinematic artists achieve their own artistic flourishing.