Remembering the Awesome Life Lessons of Christopher Peterson

Remembering the Superior Life Classes of Christopher Peterson


The late Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., was a beloved blogger at Psychology At present. He started writing about Constructive Psychology right here in 2008 and, sadly, handed in 2012. The final phrases he wrote in The Good Life column, the week earlier than he died, addressed his curiosity about society’s utilization of the phrase “superior”:

“The type of awe I’m describing is a bit completely different however extremely necessary,” he wrote. “It’s awe about folks collectively, together with us. We’re all the identical, and every of us is exclusive, actually in loss of life but in addition in life. Could all of us cease and spot.”

I didn’t know Chris personally, however I significantly admired his writing. He was a professor on the College of Michigan, the place I earned my Grasp’s in Social Work. I concurrently studied Constructive Psychology and Holistic Well being at Western Michigan College, so he and I shared a number of buddies and colleagues in widespread, however our paths by no means crossed.

Although Chris was revered for adhering to rigorous analysis, he was additionally identified for his heat and mild humor. These traits are apparent while you learn his blogs. They’re clever, however not sterile. Witty and observational, however not comfortable on perception. Chris’s writing made you ponder your self as invaluably linked to the world round you.

The final two sentences he wrote transcended analysis. They have been easy, smart, and earned from lived expertise: “We’re all the identical, and every of us is exclusive, actually in loss of life but in addition in life. Could all of us cease and spot.”

In 2009, he wrote that he’d been requested if Constructive Psychology is “bullsh*t.” He justified the sphere’s validity, however solely when it’s studied and utilized underneath the auspices of peer-reviewed analysis. Additional warning that “Anybody who guarantees the key to happiness or six straightforward steps to bliss ought to set off a BS detector…”

As I mirror upon my improvement as a author over the previous 11 years of running a blog at Psychology At present, I’m wondering how Chris’s writing would have developed. On this new world of “Six Straightforward Steps To Bliss,” how would his conversational and observational model have fared?

I’ve a hunch he would have been asking himself the identical query. I say this as a result of in 2010 he wrote a submit that requested, “What’s the goal of a Psychology At present weblog entry?” He landed upon the reply: “…to show psychology college students about new findings in psychology.” He concluded, “My purpose as a trainer is to have college students do effectively on an examination and asking college students to learn Psychology At present weblog entries clearly serves this purpose. These essays are terse, attention-grabbing, and sensible. And what’s fallacious with that? I would wish to know.”

I checked my very own writing in opposition to Chris’s three descriptors. Attention-grabbing? I hope so. However that is for my viewers to reply. Sensible? I work exhausting to incorporate helpful takeaways, although generally they’re obtusely braided inside my narratives. Terse? Sorry, Chris, I do know I’ve generally failed at this. My articles could be a slog and that may be a turnoff on this “Six Straightforward Steps” world.

However, I’ve written posts which have pulled in a half-million reads. Posts that describe the traits of resilience, for instance. Ones which have taken readers behind the scenes of attention-grabbing existence and jobs, just like the profession of a intercourse therapist and the person who has lived off-grid within the wilderness his whole life. Neither have been research-based or peer-reviewed, however readers discovered them fascinating.

How do I do know? As a result of over time they’ve advised me. Once I wrote about my ideas for dealing with flying anxiousness, readers emailed me with letters of gratitude. Once I wrote concerning the off-gridder, quite a few movie manufacturing corporations wrote me with requests to fulfill the fascinating man. In truth, as soon as I used to be even invited to audition to be a life coach for a brand new actuality present.

Thanks, however I believe I am going to stick with this keyboard. Write concerning the attention-grabbing folks and observations from my very own little actuality present of life. Does that recommend I am too shy or lazy to step in entrance of a digicam? Too scared to step out of my consolation zone? Possibly there is a third choice.

In 2012, Chris blogged about “The ‘So What’ of Humility.” He wrote, “It was with appreciable curiosity that I learn a analysis report by Jordan LaBouff and colleagues (2012) demonstrating that humble persons are extra useful than those that are much less humble. In three investigations, every utilizing a special methodology, these researchers studied faculty college students to check what they alliteratively dubbed the HHH: the humility-helping speculation.”

Seems, the HHH speculation was supported by the analysis. Humility, as a personality power, issues and is an indicator of helpfulness to others. Chris concluded, “Different folks matter, and we will matter extra to others if we matter much less to ourselves.” Am I humble? Do I matter in that constructive means that leaves an influence from the relative security of my keyboard? I suppose I am going to depart that for time to inform. Or LaBouff and colleagues.

What I do know is that my intention for my writing has at all times been to assist others. I didn’t need fame or a actuality present, I wished to contribute meaningfully to the human dialog—however in ways in which have been completely different from the “Six Straightforward Steps” method. Now my blogs are floating round on the earth and I am floating round behind this keyboard with no means of measuring their influence.

All I can do is hope. Preserve on the work of constructing life higher. That is what Chris did. As we have a good time him, 10 years gone, his writing remains to be floating round on the earth spreading his mantra: “The nice life requires exhausting work.” And that’s superior. Could all of us cease and spot.


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