How can I positively influence someone?

Answer: Encourage them.

Up-and-coming tennis star Bernie Tomic explains how moved he was by Roger Federer’s words of encouragement:

BERNARD Tomic has vowed to follow Roger Federer’s advice this time and work harder on his tennis over the rest of the 2013 season. Tomic said the advice Federer gave him at the net 12 months ago, were spoken again last night.

“He said, ‘Keep going, you improved’.  Every time I played him, he mentions it, ‘Well done, Bernie, keep going, keep improving’, which is a good thing, hearing that from somebody like him,” said Tomic. . .

“I remember those words.

from Bernard Tomic vows to heed Roger Federer’s advice

PERMA for remembering the five components of well-being

P = positive affect ( feeling happy)

E = engagement, flow, absorption in whatever you’re doing

R = relationships, positive ones

M = meaning in your life

A = accomplishment, pursuing success and mastery just because it’s satisfying

(from Flourish by Martin Seligman, p 16)

How to use PERMA?

  1. Add PERMA to your daily checklist of things to do and review. At the end of the day, think about how good the day was in terms of your sense of happiness, engagement, positive social experiences, meaning and accomplishment.
  2. Use PERMA to help you prioritize your activities. We can’t do everything we want to do, but we can choose to do the important things.

How can I learn to be intelligently slow?

Answer: Read this lovely anecdote by Martin Seligman from his book Flourish:

There is more to intelligence and high achievement than sheer speed. What speed does is give you extra time to carry out the non-automatic parts of the task. The second component of intelligence and achievement is slowness and what you do with all that extra time that being fast affords you.

Mental speed comes at a cost. I found myself missing nuances and taking shortcuts when I should have taken the mental equivalent of a deep breath. I found myself skimming and scanning when I should have been reading every word. I found myself listening poorly to others. I would figure out where they were headed after their first few words and then interrupt. And I was anxious a lot of the time–speed and anxiety go together.

I 1974 we hired Ed Pugh, a perception psychologist who worked on exacting questions such as how many photons of light are needed to fire off a single visual receptor. Ed was slow. He wasn’t physically slow ( he had been the quarterback of his Louisiana high school team), and it wasn’t just the drawl, it was his rate of speech and his reaction time to a question. We called Ed “thoughtful.”

I found myself at a party with Ed, and during a long pause . . .I asked Ed, “How did you become so slow?”
“I wasn’t always slow, Marty. I used to be fast; almost as fast as you are. I learned to become slow. Before my PhD, I was a Jesuit. my socius [the mentor who socializes the Jesuit student, in contrast to the other mentor who grades the student] told me I was too fast. So every day he would give me one sentence to read, and then he made me sit under a tree for the afternoon and think about that sentence.”

“Can you teach me to be slow, Ed?”

Indeed he could.

We read Soren Kierkegaards’s Fear and Trembling together, but at the rate of one page a week, and to top it off, my sister, Beth, taught me transcendental meditation. I practiced TM faithfully forty minutes a day for twenty years.  I cultivated slowness, and I am now even slower than Ed was then. (p 110-112).