Dr Marty Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, has undertaken extensive research into happiness and what makes people happy. He focuses on what he terms positive psychology.
Instead of focusing on what traditional psychology and psychiatry aim to do – make miserable people less miserable – Seligman is concerned with positive interventions that make people happier.
In his TED Talk on Positive Psychology, Seligman notes that psychology should be as concerned with human strength as it is with weakness; as concerned with building strength as with repairing damage; and it should be interested in the best things in life.
He believes that it’s possible to measure different types of happiness and has identified three happy lives: The Pleasant Life, The Good Life and The Meaningful Life.
1. The Pleasant Life is realised if we learn to savour and appreciate basic pleasures like companionship, the natural environment and our bodily needs. It’s about having as much positive emotion as possible and the ability to increase it.
2. The Good Life is achieved through engagement. Seligman points out that according to modern theories of self-esteem, life is only genuinely satisfying if we discover value within ourselves by nourishing our unique strengths and putting them to use as much as possible.
3. The Meaningful Life is reached when we find a deep sense of fulfilment by employing our unique and best strengths for a purpose greater than ourselves.
The next question is about how much life satisfaction you get from these three happy lives. Seligman claims pursuit of pleasure has almost no contribution to life satisfaction, while the pursuit of meaning is the strongest and the pursuit of engagement is also very strong. But if you have meaning and engagement, pleasure is the cherry on top.
This is where personal branding comes in. Developing your personal brand is a process of self-discovery: identifying your strength, values, passions and how to bring those into your current wold. If you are following your passion, doing work that utilises your strengths and aligns with your values, you are engaged. This is living the Good Life.
Another trait of an effective personal brand is a deep sense of meaning, which corresponds to Seligman’s Meaningful Life.
Identifying your unique signature strengths and using these to make a positive impact and a lasting difference is what successful personal branding and the Meaningful Life are all about: purpose.
When you do what you love, you are committed to developing yourself continuously – another key component of personal branding, being engaged and having meaning.
By understanding who you are, what your unique strengths are and how to use them to live an engaged and purposeful life, you will not only build an authentic and successful personal brand, but also achieve satisfaction.
About Donna Rachelson
Donna is a branding and marketing specialist who uses her passion and 25 years of experience in strategy, marketing and change management to empower people and teams to achieve breakthrough results.
She is the founder of Branding & Marketing YOU. The company offers keynote presentations, workshops, strategic marketing consulting, coaching and support services. She is also author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book.
For more information on Donna or Branding & Marketing YOU, visit www.brandingandmarketingyou.com.