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Public Lecutre: How to be happy at work

28 March 2008 For Immediate release

How to be happy at work

Are you one of the 55% of professionals who is unhappy at work? Do you lead a team of people who are unhappy at work?

What if it’s nothing to do with the job, it’s just the way you (or they) are thinking about it?

For the first time in a decade, Aucklanders can hear the pioneer of Positive Psychology, Professor Martin Seligman discuss the nature of being positive and happy.

Professor Seligman, named by the Review of General Psychology as the 13th most cited psychologist of the 20th Century, will give a public lecture on “Positive Psychology and Happiness at Work” at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on April 22.

His ground-breaking research on learned helplessness and positive psychology has turned psychology on its head and is now used by clinicians and businesses the world over, to decrease depression and improve productivity and profit.

“Professor Seligman is one of the most influential psychologists of our time, and his work has helped to turn individuals and organisations around,” says Jamie Ford, director of the Foresight Institute, which is bringing Professor Seligman to Auckland.

“This is particularly relevant to New Zealanders because, in the almost 15 years the Foresight Institute has been applying his work here, it has become obvious pessimism is endemic in this country.

“That affects not just how we feel, but how we perform – whether we win sporting trophies, whether we improve our economic condition or watch it slide.”

Ford said more than 1000 studies using Professor Seligman’s methodology proved beyond doubt the link between optimism and superior performance in many aspects of life, such as academic achievement, sales productivity, resilience in adversity, the strength of the immune system and even cancer survival rates.

“Professor Seligman’s work with students, sports teams and businesses shows that pessimistic attitudes are directly related to success and failure. Now Aucklanders can hear directly from him about strategies that help to turn pessimistic attitudes around and improve success.”

Professor Seligman will also discuss how by learning to be more optimistic, you can move towards the success you desire. And by creating a more optimistic environment businesses will have better satisfied customers and higher profits.

After Professor Seligman’s lecture, members of the audience will be able to participate in a 45-minute question-and-answer session.

Professor Seligman is the Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. His books have been translated into more than 16 languages and his work has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, and the Reader's Digest.

He has written more than 20 books and 170 articles on motivation and personality, including Learned Optimism, What You Can Change & What You Can't, The Optimistic Child, and Learned Helplessness.

Professor Seligman has received two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association, the Laurel Award of the American Association for Applied Psychology and Prevention, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for Research in Psychopathology. He has also received awards from the American Psychological Society for contribution to basic science and for the application of psychological knowledge.

In 1996 Professor Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history.


Professor Seligman will give his lecture “Positive Psychology and Happiness at Work” at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, starting at 7.30pm on Tuesday, April 22. His lecture will be followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer session.

Tickets range from $350 to $150 (for students with accepted identification) and will be available from Ticketek from Monday, March 31.

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