Martin Seligman revolutionized psychology when he asked a simple question: “Why don’t we use the considerable tools and knowledge psychology has produced to study what makes human flourish?” It seems obvious now, but for more than 100 years, psychology has mainly focused on how humans suffer, and how to alleviate or help that suffering, but Seligman notes “Curing negatives does not create positives.” Positive Psychology, and this book, explore how we can move from a negative to a positive.

Pragmatic Application  (9/10)

ABCDE Method (Chapters 12)

Book Notes 

Chapter 1: Learned Optimism

Pessimism depends on Learned Helplessness
focus on what you can change when adversity happens

He wants to redefine depression and achievement

Learned Optimism
Physical Health

The Theory of Personal Control
learned helplessness – the quitting response
Explanatory Style – how we habitually explain to ourselves why an event happens

Chapter 2: Learning to be Helpless

Helpless dogs experiment

The Triad Experiment
2nd exp. to prove behaviorist wrong


Explanatory Style – how we unconsciously explain adversity to ourselves
Bernard Weiner
Attribution Theory

The Three ways Pessimists self-explain
Bad things are permanent, due to personal flaws, and this baddness affects all areas of life.

Even “normal” pessimism effects our work, life satisfaction, health, and immunization to episodic depression

Task: practice looking at an event through the optimist and Pessimist reality tunnel

Take the pessimism test

Chapter 4: Ultimate Pessimism

Three kinds of Depression

Depression is more prevalent than ever. Das Explanatory style is how we change this.

Chapter 5: How You Think, How You Feel

Ellis and Beck are the fathers of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (This is only a part, diet and exercise protocols are key)
This is a big deal and something I don’t know if anyone has done.
Understanding the human from an evolutionary perspective is the key here

Learned Helplessness and Explanatory Style
-pessimistic explanatory styles plus bad events equal likely depression
-like smoking increases lung cancer chance
-teaching optimism will help prevent depression like not smoking helps prevent lung cancer

-both optimists and pessimists can be ruminaters
-The opposite of rumination is action.

Externalization of Voices is a great tech and one I can do on the podcast.

It’s hard for people to argue with the automatic voices in their heads. This is understandable. Most people are very bad at debating and they resort to ad hominem attacks, and you cant use that tactic when you are arguing with yourself lol.

Chapter 6: Changing From Pessimism to Optimism

Take the test to see where you are at (almost everyone can use this technique in their life)

ABCDE Method
Start ABC Journal
Accumulate at least 5 ABCs
Begin Disputing one everyday

D- How to Argue with yourself

E – how does the successful disputation make you feel?

Once learned optimism is a habit, the next level is flexible optimism
To be able to move back and forth between the clarity of pessimism and the usefulness of optimism