This is the absolute last call for Todd Kashdan\'s exciting, new class—Positive Psychology 3.0.  Already the class is filling up.  The private, class website is up and we\'re loading Todd\'s power points, notes, references, and links for videos.  The train is leaving the station.  More info below and here.

Andy Chris Peterson, Ph.D. on David and Goliath and The Good Life.

In This Issue

1. TIME SENSITIVE  It’s Last Call for Todd Kashdan\'s Positive Psychology 3.0 (starts 9/30/09)
2. Ben\'s Introduction to Coaching Teleworkshops

3. Main Article: David and Goliath and The Good Life By Chris Peterson, Ph.D.

4. Upcoming Foundations courses.




1. This is the final call for Todd Kasdan’s ground breaking Master Class:  Positive Psychology 3.0:  Dynamic, Flexible, and Broadened Approaches to Living Well—Starts this Wednesday, September 30th at 8:00pm.




If you still haven’t seen the exciting details of this class, or you want to sign up just click here.


**We are also offering you the opportunity to listen to Ben’s interview with Todd.** If you would like to hear the recording, CLICK HERE.




DATE: 8 Wednesdays Starting Wednesday, 9/30/09
TIME: 8:00 - 8:59 pm Eastern (New York)
7:00 - 7:59 pm Central (Dallas)
6:00 - 6:59 pm Mountain (Denver)
5:00 - 5:59 pm Pacific (San Francisco)
International Time:
12:00 - 12:59 am GMT/UTC (Thursday)

TO REGISTER and for more information, click here.


2. Coaching Teleworkshops with Ben Dean, Ph.D.

I\'m giving two two-hour no-charge coaching teleworkshops (they are identical).  They will include live coaching sessions and a virtual drawing for a full tuition fellowship to the Foundations Training Program.  Bring all questions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 from 7:00-8:59 pm Eastern
Monday, October 5, 2009 from 7:00-8:59 pm

The register, click here.

These workshops are particularly timely for MCP 137 which starts on Tuesday, October 6th at noon Eastern.  Kevyn Malloy, Ph.D, will be the trainer for this Foundations course. Kevyn is one of our most experienced trainers and is also our Director of  Education.

For more information about MCP 137, click here.

I look forward to seeing you there.





3. Main Article: David and Goliath and The Good Life By Christopher Peterson, Ph.D.,
Professor of Psychology, The University of Michigan

In the May 11, 2009, issue of the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an essay titled, "How David Beat Goliath." The subtitle of the essay is provocative: "When Underdogs Break the Rules."

The essay was ostensibly about a California girl\'s basketball team from Redwood City coached by Vivek Ranadivé. He was originally from Mumbai and knew little about basketball before he became a coach of the team on which his daughter Anjali played. He was familiar with cricket and soccer, and from his vantage, basketball as played in the United States made no sense. Teams simply took turns bringing the ball down the court and trying to score. This strategy obviously favored the more talented team, the one with bigger players who could dribble, pass, shoot, and rebound. His team was not talented. In a phrase that is too Imus-like for me to embrace, he described his players as "little blonde girls" whose parents were computer programmers from Silicon Valley.

Ranadivé decided that his team would play a full-court press the entire game, an unusual strategy fully within the rules of the game. They did extremely well, winning most of their games and advancing to the championship game. If you can repeatedly force turnovers under your opponent's basket, you don't need to dribble, pass, rebound, or stick the J. All you need to do is shoot layups, and his team could do that.
As Gladwell is wont to do, he introduced into his essay other ideas and facts. He cited a study of military battles over the past two centuries that found that David beat Goliath 29% of the time. That's pretty good. But when the underdogs used unconventional tactics, they won 64% of the time. That's really good.

All\'s fair in love and certainly war. But apparently not in basketball. The story of the Redwood City team had an unhappy ending. When they advanced to the championship game, they encountered a referee - supplied by their opponent - who did not think that a full-court press for an entire game by 12-year old girls was kosher. (I suppose he had never heard of the University of Arkansas men's team coached by Nolan Richardson and famed for its "forty minutes of hell."). Foul after foul was called on the Redwood City team as they contested the inbound passes of their opponents. They eventually gave up their way of playing. They simply moseyed down the court after a made basket, waiting for their opponents to take their shot. And they lost. After all, they weren't as "good" as the other team.

So how should one play the game of basketball? The easy answer is to play to win and to play by the rules. Appreciate that there is no rule against a full-court press. But there are expectations about how one "should" play, and woe be it to a team that goes against these expectations. Whistles will blow.

Even though I care about basketball, most of you probably do not. And that is okay, because this blog entry is about the game of life. Even though basketball has explicit rules, there are also powerful implicit expectations and norms that may trip up a team.
Life is even more complicated. We want to play to win - be happy - but there are few explicit rules yet implicit rules galore.

Consider KIPP teachers, who earn the ire of their counterparts elsewhere because they make unannounced home visits to talk to the parents of their students. Teachers are not supposed to do that!

Consider workers who go the extra mile without putting in for overtime. They are called rate busters and scorned (or worse). Workers are not supposed to do that!

One of the few chilling moments of my life occurred when I was a teenaged letter carrier for the US Postal Service. My first day on the job, I delivered my route in two hours less than the scheduled time. I lolled about the post office at the end of the day, feeling good about myself, until the union representative came up to me. "You will never do that again," he intoned. "Ever. Not if you enjoy being able to walk."

One of my colleagues at the University of Michigan teaches a course that enrolls hundreds of students every term. Every week during the semester, he invites a number of students over to his home for dinner, so that by the end of the semester he and his family have broken bread with almost every student in the class. The reaction by some of our colleagues is not acclaim but condemnation. "What's wrong with him? And what is his wife's problem? Is she a doormat or what?"

Consider those we know who are passionate, who live life fully. They laugh readily, and they cry just as easily. They hug us when we need it. They yell at us when we need it. They never - and I mean never - fail to say please and thank you. So, how do we regard them behind their backs? We may roll our eyes. People are not supposed to do that!

Shame on us.

Basketball player Wilt Chamberlain famously said that "No one roots for Goliath." Maybe. But we don't always root for David either, because he's not supposed to win, especially if he finds an unconventional way to do it.

What's the positive psychology point? Be tolerant of those who do things differently and well, as long as what they do is neither immoral nor illegal. Indeed, celebrate them. You might actually learn something about the good life.

Most of you, like me, are a David and not a Goliath. I hope we all have the requisite stones (as it were) to pursue a life worth living. It doesn't matter if we have a mundane job, an unremarkable spouse, or really ordinary children. Put a full-court press on life!

Chris Peterson, Ph.D., a luminary in Positive Psychology, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and Templeton Senior Fellow at the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania.  His most recent book is A Primer in Positive Psychology.  This article was first published in Chris\' superb blog The Good Life: Positive Psychology and what makes life worth living.



4.  MentorCoach Upcoming Foundations Programs

MCP 138 Wednesdays
31 Wednesdays
8:00 pm - 8:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Faculty: Kevyn Malloy, Ph.D.

For more information, click here.

MCP 139 Mondays
31 Mondays
12:00 pm - 12:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Monday, November 30, 2009
Faculty to be announced

For more information, click here.

MCP 140 Mondays
31 Mondays
8:00 pm - 8:59 pm Eastern (New York Time)
International Time (UTC/GMT) add four hours
Starts Monday, December 14, 2009
Faculty to be announced

For more information, click here.

All MCP (Foundations) classes are identical in content.

New MentorCoach MasterClass


Becoming A Wellness Coach: Living and Coaching the Good Life
Thursday's beginning at 1PM Eastern
October 15, 2009 - January 28, 2010

For information on Becoming a Wellness Coach, click here.







About Ben Dean -- Ben, Editor of Coaching Toward Happiness, is a coach,  psychologist, founder of MentorCoach, and... MORE.
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