Dr. Martin Seligman is known as the father of positive psychology. His book, Learned Optimism has helped me and countless others change our negative explanatory style to something more positive and in the process, more resilient. He’s also, it appears, a fairly tough builder.
During Angela Duckworth’s second year of graduate school, she sat down with her advisor, the good doc Seligman. As she explained her research, doc interrupted her mid sentence – “You haven’t had a good idea in two years,” he dead panned. She wanted to die. He crossed his arms and kept going. “You can do all kinds of fancy statistics. You somehow get every parent in school to return their consent form. You’ve made a few insightful observations. But you don’t have a theory. You don’t have a theory for the psychology of achievement.”
“Stop reading so much and go think.”
Angela went home and cried her eyes out. She cursed the good doc. She cried some more and told her colleagues what a jerkusdelictus her advisor was. Then she got to work on his challenge. She came up with her theory on achievement and wrote a book about it titled Grit.
It’s kinda funny that the father of positive psychology isn’t described as super cheery but, instead, is fairly matter of fact. He doesn’t see things or people through rose colored glasses. Thank God. Angela needed a builder who saw more in her than she saw in herself. Angela needed a builder who was willing to make her do what she can. You, friend, need a truth teller too. Someone who studies you and knows the next step for your development and growth, oftentimes, before you do. So, next time a trusted advisor/friend hits you with hard truth, be grateful and let it in before dismissing it out of hand. Who knows what you might achieve with a little less busyness and a little margin time to think.
Slow down and reflect. Think. Good…