Jay Cross helps people work and live smarter. Jay is the Johnny Appleseed of informal learning. He wrote the book on it. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix.

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The terminology of happiness and positive psychology

posted on
November 15th, 2012
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Happiness. The English language lacks words for describing two entirely different states of happiness. FPsychologists call the transient, short-term happiness that brings a smile to your face “Hedonic happiness.” Long-term contentment and satisfaction with life is another thing entirely; Aristotle called it Eudaimonic happiness. Ironically, these two happinesses are not directly related; lots of smiles does not guarantee long-term wel-being. To thrive, you need both. This is sometimes called Flourishing.

Thriving. Our term for flourishing at work.

Beneficial behaviors of people flourishing:

higher morale, lower turnover, spend more time in flow (the zone) fully immersed in work, intrinsically motivated, healthier — fewer sick days, better with customers, increased sales, more resilient to stress, perform better in leadership positions, receive higher performance ratings, energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, less likely to be depressed or anxious, more socially connected, enjoy better quality sleep, experience fewer headaches, stay more engaged in the face of difficulty, rise above obstacles more easily, better at their jobs, report more job satisfaction, experience positive emotions such as joy, interest and pride, greater likelihood of working actively toward new goals, more likely to succeed, more likely to recommend their organization to others, spend double the time at work focused on what they are paid to do, feel better about themselves, and enjoy life.

Blips is Internet Time Lab’s mobile app that captures an individual’s self-report of thriving and displays it on the web in aggregate form.

Positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. They reinforce one another. More is better.

Subjective well-being: Ed Diener’s term for judging life positively and feeling good. A person has high SWB if she or he experiences life satisfaction and frequent joy. Diener chose it because studying happiness sounded frivolous.

Hedonic adaptation. Habituation. After a while, anything seems ordinary. Also known as the Hedonic treadmill.

Explanatory style: how we explain the nature of past events. People with an optimistic explanatory style interpret adversity as being local and temporary while those with a pessimistic explanatory style see those events as more global and permanent.

Losada line: 2.9013 = the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a corporate team successful. This means it takes about three positive comments to find off one negative one.

The Pygmalion Effect: when our belief in another person’s potential brings that potential to life.


VIA Signature Strengths = character strengths: talents you enjoy using, things you’re good and feel good using. Generally, the skills you’re using when you enter Flow. Find them and assess yours at Authentic Happiness.

Affect is the feeling dimension of life, part of one’s general outward emotional expression. Someone with a flat affect expresses little emotion.

Emotion refers to a relatively specific pattern of short-lived physiological responses. Emotions arouse, communicate, direct, and sustain behavior.

Feeling refers to the subjective experience of emotions; feeling can be complex experiences, involve several different emotions at once.

Mood refers to a relatively long-lasting state of feeling. A mood sets the emotional backdrop for one’s experience of the world.

What have I missed or misinterpreted?


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