This Martin Seligman, often regarded as the godfather of positive psychology, has described three paths to happiness: 1. The Pleasant Life (Hollywood’s view of happiness), 2. The Good Life (focused on personal strengths and states of "flow"), and 3. The Meaningful Life (aimed toward a higher purpose). [Editorial Staff, March 10, 2020, “Positive Psychology,” Psychology Today.] In this course, we will examine the work of Seligman (who also gave us, ironically, the concept of “learned helplessness”!) and also the work of Christopher Peterson, a pioneering researcher in the field, who suggested that “… the positive psychology movement is founded on three maxims: “What is good in life is as genuine as what is bad. … What is good in life is not simply the absence of what is problematic. … And third, the good life requires its own explanation, not simply a theory of disorder stood sideways or flipped on its head.” (ibid).
Participants will be able to “assess” their own level of happiness and discover their happiness strengths and areas where improvements might be made. Making use of up-to-date TED Talks, YouTube Videos, brief readings, and a lot of classroom discussion, the course will result in a deeper understanding of happiness and positive psychology, finding applications of such understandings to one’s present stage of life, and developing a plan for working on oneself for ensuring future life enjoyment. Professor Emeritus Robert L. Moore, Ph.D. is a retired Psychology and Human Services Professor at Marshalltown Community College, Marshalltown, Iowa. He continues to teach two or three psychology courses each semester as an Adjunct Professor at the College. $34 for Creative Retirement members.