Hi guys, my name is Jeff Fajans and today I’m going to share with you a yearlong tracking project, achieving the good life via positive psychology based QS.
Now positive psychology I essence is really the study of human flourishing rather than looking in negative such as depression or anxiety. It’s just focused on how to people are at their best. It kind of asks how do we for from average to above average to truly thrive.
Now in my project I specifically look at character strengths and how they relate to your vitality and vital engagement two indicators of hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing with the purpose of really learning what makes me thrive and how can I enhance my life.
To answer these questions I’m using PACO, a mobile tool developed by Bob Evens, who is in here somewhere, I’m not sure where he is. But basically it’s an app that lets you create your own custom experiments. And the one I created is an experience sample study. Basically it pings me six times a day to fill out a survey.
Before I could self-track I needed to find out what my unique character strengths were. So to do this I got online, I took the VIA and the Gallup strength finder, and each one gives you your top five strength report.
So now with that information I really want to ask the question how do I use my strengths and when do I use my strengths. It turns out I’m using my VIA strengths about 65% of the time. Mainly my curiosity, my honesty, my creativity. And through this I also learned that maybe I’m not taking enough rick as my strength was only being used 1% of the time. My Gallup strength use them 53% of the time, mainly learner and achiever strengths.
Now this is great, but I really wanted to know further which strengths make you feel really alive and really good. Which strengths make me feel like jumping on a beach during a sunset; that’s how I want to feel.
So I operationalized vitality as a product of positive mood and high energy, high activation and what did I learn? Well I learned that I am being authentic when I am creating something, when I’m planning for the future, when I’m working my ass off, or when I’m leading and empowering others that’s when I feel most vital.
Now with PACO I also collected qualitative data. I really wanted to see what specific activities were related to being in a vital state. And it turns out I fit right in this conference, and analyzing data is right up there with having sex and playing guitar.
I also collected each time I was pinged where I was to see if there was any relationship there. I’m a graduate student, so most of my time is spent on campus, at home, or the gym, or eating. So not too much interesting information there.
I also really wanted to see who makes me feel most positive, energized and it kind of confirmed I love being alone, with my girlfriend and my closest friends and my family; that’s who energizes me.
Now it’s important to also look at the flipside of things. I wanted to see the specific activities that make me feel puny and weak. It turns out the number one culprit is waiting. We all hate waiting or reading stuff because I have to I hate that.
Now my vitality is good but let’s talk about vital engagement. Vital engagement is the ultimate pathway to life satisfaction. It’s characterized by flow, engagement, absorption, and growth facilitating activities. So I operationalize this as flow times the extent I’m working on a meaningful activity or meaningful goal. And it’s a little bit different picture. It’s a little bit stronger in predictive relationships. But it turns out when I’m working hard, learning complex skills, being authentic, strategic, and creative, that’s when I feel most vitality engaged and absorb what I’m doing.
Activities in summary, whenever I am learning a complex skill, whenever I plan for the future, being creative, or working to improve my health, these things are very meaningful to me and very snagging in my life.
Again, the places don’t really have much interesting information here. I spend 90% of my time at these places and I don’t get to go out much because I’m always working, or studying as a working grad student. But as far as who gives me the most meaning and engagement in my life, my gorgeous girlfriend, my best buddies, my mentors, and surprisingly here, being around strangers kind of makes me feel as if I’m experiencing meaningful growth.
Now, what all this means is, to me I relate that to my professor Doctor (Yakstemihi? 04:47). He always has this notion that how and to whom and when we direct our attention directly impacts the quality of our life. So by using positive psychology as a framework, we can learn to focus on our strengths and enhance the vitality and vital engagement of our live, and ultimately lead us to the good life.
Thank you for your attention.