When, who and where did Positive Psychology come about? (Part 3)

At yesterday’s Toastmasters’ chapter meeting, I spoke on an impromptu topic regarding turtles sticking their necks out and their association with the Word of the Day, “Grow, Glow, Go”.

Where did the adrenaline rush and the flow of high energy which accompanied me when I spoke to my audience come from? How did I get the flow? Is it innate or learned? These are questions within the realm of Positive Psychology.

How did Positive Psychology originate?

In actual fact, the study of the “good life” begun long before the advent of the Positive Psychology movement. Philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle indulged in careful reasoning of the “good life”. Furthermore, Humanistic psychologists such as Carl Rogers (1951) and Abraham Maslow (1970), have also been researching on the “good life” ideas tethered to Positive Psychology. Maslow’s ideas on the striving for human needs (1970) and Humanistic Psychology, paved the way for the birth of Positive Psychology. Upon the undertaking of the role of APA President, Martin Seligman (1998) called for action on building human strengths, remonstrating Positive Psychology.

All in all, I am very happy that the “good life” has been given a name to be studied under. With more study, perhaps we can have a better understanding on how people get their good lives, and we can model ourselves to be like them, living the “good life” that we, and everyone else, deserves to have.


Maslow, A.H. (1970). Motivation and personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Rogers, C.R. (1951). Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications, and theory. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Seligman, M. E. P. (1998). Building human strength: Psychology’s forgotten mission [Electronic version]. APA online, 29(1)

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