Martin Seligman Pete Seligman, a British psychotherapist, educator, and psychologist, is an expert in positive psychology. He is also an advocate for human happiness. Seligman advocates the importance of personal and social happiness.
Seligman believes that people are “entitled to happiness.” He says that happiness is not a gift, but is the product of the way we think, feel, and act. This means that happiness cannot be acquired through our birthright. “Happiness does not come to us as an inheritance from our parents or grandparents,” he says. It comes instead from a combination of our environment, our values, and our beliefs about life. In other words, the only thing we can control, he says, is our attitude. And this is where the positive psychologist helps.
Seligman's books, videos, and seminars focus on teaching individuals how to gain control over their thinking and their behavior. Positive psychologists believe that, in order to gain happiness, we must learn how to set goals for ourselves and our behavior. We must learn to trust our feelings, accept the things we cannot change, work at becoming more confident, and try to learn from our mistakes. In addition, people who are happy tend to do well academically, have good relationships with family and friends, and maintain job satisfaction.
According to Seligman, we must also become more aware of our emotions. He states that when we become aware of our feelings and emotions we become more “self-aware,” which helps us to become more relaxed and to develop more self-confidence. Seligman also believes that individuals can change their thoughts and behavior by using positive mental imagery. For example, if you picture something pleasant, you can begin to change your thinking and your behavior.
Seligman says that in order to achieve success and happiness, it is necessary for people to set goals. “It is the power of thought, not the power of material possessions, that makes the difference between happiness and unhappiness,” he says. In addition, he notes that the mind-body connection is important. “the more physical, emotional, and spiritual energies that enter your body, the more powerful you will be.”
In addition, Seligman has developed a program called “The Secret,” which emphasizes the power of positive thinking and behaviors. He is also an active member of The Mindful Society. “The Secret” encourages people to use the power of their thoughts, words, feelings, and actions. “The secret of the universe is that it is present for all beings, large and small, great and small, rich and poor, young . . . . . . and old, powerful and feeble,” he says. When he is asked about the value of books and tapes, he emphasizes the value of learning from people who have overcome the struggles they face, such as those who overcame their childhood problems, illnesses, poverty, and other traumas.