Remembering Christopher Peterson’s wonderful life lessons

The late Dr. Christopher Peterson was in Psychology Today. He started writing about positive psychology here in 2008, and sadly passed away in 2012.he is Good life In his column a week before his death, he spoke about his curiosity about society’s use of the word “awesome”:

“The kind of awe I describe is a little different, but very important,” he wrote. “In a collective awe of people including us. We are all the same, each of us is unique and certainly in life in death. May we all stop and pay attention.”

I don’t know Chris personally, but I greatly admire his work. He’s a professor at the University of Michigan, where I got my master’s degree in social work. I was simultaneously studying positive psychology and holistic health at Western Michigan University, so he and I had many mutual friends and colleagues, but our paths never crossed.

While Chris is respected for his insistence on rigorous research, he is also known for his warmth and gentle humor. These traits are evident when you read his blog. They are smart, but not sterile. Tact and observant, but not soft in insight. Chris’s writing makes you think you have an invaluable connection to the world around you.

The last two sentences he wrote go beyond research. They are simple, wise, and derived from life experience: “We are all the same, each of us is unique, and certainly in life in death. May we all stop and pay attention.”

In 2009, he wrote, he was asked if positive psychology was “great.” He demonstrates the validity of the field, but only if it is studied and utilized under the auspices of peer-reviewed research. A further warning “Anyone who commits to the Secret of Happiness or Six Simple Steps to Happiness should trigger a BS detector…”

As I look back on my development as a writer over the past 11 years while blogging at Psychology Today, I wonder how Chris’ writing will evolve. How will his conversational and observational style behave in this new world of “Six Simple Steps to Happiness”?

I have a hunch he’s going to ask himself the same question. I say this because he wrote a post in 2010 asking: ” Psychology Today Blog entry? “He got the answer: “…to teach psychology students new discoveries in psychology. He concluded, “As a teacher, my goal is to get students to do well on exams, and asking students to read the Psychology Today blog entry clearly serves that goal.” These articles are concise, interesting, and practical. So what’s the problem? I would like to know. “

I checked my own writing against Chris’s three descriptors. interesting? I hope so. But that’s my audience answering. actual? I try to include useful takeaways, even though they are sometimes vaguely woven into my narrative. concise? Sorry Chris, I know I fail at this sometimes. My articles can be cumbersome and can be annoying in this “six easy steps” world.

On the other hand, the posts I write attract those precious page views. There’s no question that posts are influenced by positive psychology — for example, traits that describe resilience. Those that give readers a behind-the-scenes look at interesting lifestyles and jobs, like the career of a sex therapist and a man who has spent his life in the wilderness. Neither research-based nor peer-reviewed, but readers seem to find them interesting.

how could I know? Because over the years they told me. Readers sent me a thank you note when I wrote about tips for coping with flight anxiety. When I wrote about the off-the-grid, many film production companies wrote to me asking to meet this fascinating man. In fact, at one point I was even invited to audition as a life coach for a new reality show.

Thanks, but I think I’ll stick with this keyboard. Write about interesting people and observations from my own life little reality show. Does this mean I’m too shy or lazy to stand in front of the camera? Afraid to step out of your comfort zone? Maybe all this. Maybe there is another option.

In 2012, Chris blogged about “the humble ‘so what'”. He writes: “I read with great interest a study by Jordan LaBouff and colleagues (2012) showing that modest people are more helpful than those who are not. In three surveys, Each survey used a different method, and these researchers studied college students to test what they call HHH: the humility helps hypothesis.”

It turns out that the HHH hypothesis is supported by research. Humility, as a strength of character, is important and an indicator of being helpful to others. Chris concludes: “Other people matter, and if we’re less important to ourselves, we’ll be more important to others.” Am I humble? Am I making an impact in a way that will make a difference, albeit behind the relative safety of my keyboard? I think I’ll save that until time. Or LaBouff and colleagues.

All I know is mine intention Because my writing has always been to help others. I don’t want fame or reality TV, I want to contribute meaningfully to the human conversation — but in a different way than the “six easy steps” approach. Now that my blog is all over the world, and I’m behind this keyboard, I can’t measure their impact.

All I can do is hope. Keep trying to make life better. That’s what Chris did.As we celebrate him, 10 years later, he is still the basis of our comparisons, and his work still lives on around the world with his mantra: “A good life requires hard work.” and That awesome. May we all stop and pay attention.

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