Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

Is your glass half empty or half full?

I've been working on a major rewrite of my 1995 book, Life Skills and Leadership for Engineers, and I've become interested in Martin Seligman's work on learned helplessness and learned optimism. The research and clininal work is engagingly and brilliantly described in his book Learned Optimism. There are many important thoughts in this research, but a key idea has to do with the relationship between a person's explanatory style and whether they are generally optimistic or pessimistic. Moreover, the work shows that optimism is tied to success in careers, sports, politics, and other walks of life. Although there isn't an explicit study mentioned in the book on academic success, this could be a life-changing read for young academics or assistant professors who might be wondering whether their general outlook on life is helping or holding them back. The book has a number of self-assessment instruments and practical suggestions for changing your explanatory style.

Comments:
I agree. Two things related to research and optimism come to my mind when thinking about this. The first thing is what Dave Goldberg told me a number of times while I was at IlliGAL and we discussed some not-so-good papers---try to focus on what is good in the paper as opposed to looking only at what is wrong with it. I find this beneficial for both reviewing papers as well as reading papers for my own research.

The second thing is what most of us often have to deal with: negative results---got an idea, but it didnt work. It's always useful to look at the "failure" positively and try to learn something from this experiment. Usually, the lessons learned will help to make the next attempt to tackling the same challenge successful.
 
Hallo!!

Try to hear a Deep Purple's song called "When a Blind Man Cries", it is very useful about Optimism or, if you don't like True Rock'n Roll, read the Voltaire's book "Candide or The Optimism". Both are very interesting and give you, each one by its own way, a view about the Optimism.

[]´s

Marcelo
 
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