Brainstorm

Posts by Psychology Today Editors

Remembering Chris Peterson

A pioneer of positive psychology will be sorely missed.

How often do you meet people who are actually interested in learning about you? I'm not that accustomed to the person who truly deeply wants to know who I am. In fact, being an introvert, I prefer not to share. Keeping my mouth shut works for me. But there have been two people I have met who looked piercingly at me, wanting to know who I am. The first would be the Dalai Lama, who was genuinely curious about me. The other would be Chris Peterson. In both cases, they stared at me waiting for my answer. 

Naked honesty is hard to come by, but Chris Peterson was that and more. For the past four and a half years, Chris's thoughts and musings have graced the pages of our website. And he was one of my favorites. I have learned a lot about life from him, including:

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Life is like Scrabble, luck matters if you take advantage of it.

Few people are mind readers, let them know that they matter (sometimes it's more for your own benefit than for theirs).

It's never too early to start living happily ever after.

And a bucket list is not about dying, it's about living.

But his trademark that seemed to stick the most was: "Other People Matter." He certainly lived by these words. He even has a Wall of Gratitude in his office, a bulletin board filled with thumbtacked thank you cards and notes. It's not a bad idea for when we feel blue and unhappy, a quick look at such gratitude would surely right a rainy day.

In my spare time I like to write fiction, and Chris seemed to take an interest in my endeavors. He read my manuscripts, every word; and he even gave me feedback and thoughtful comments. But how did he make the time? A man who has written countless journal articles and won myriad awards. 

Last August, the magazine threw a small get together at the APA conference; Chris was the star attraction and life of the party. He was the first to arrive, and the last to shut the party down. Even Scott Barry Kaufman hovered around hoping to be introduced. Chris got a lot of attention in life, but he didn't seem to suffer a big head. His very popular PT column was titled "The Good Life," and he knew how to live it that way.

 

And here are:

A Few of Chris Peterson's Favorite Things

NCIS re-runs I've not before seen ...

My aging car that starts like a dream ...

My friends being happy ...

And stories so sappy.

These are a few of my favorite things.

A to-do list that is shrinking ...

New ideas that make me keep thinking ... 

Letters from friends ...

And three-day weekends.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Australian accents ...

And cinnamon scents ...

CNN stories without cataclysms ...

Hits on PT entries without criticisms .

These are a few of my favorite things.

- Christopher Peterson (2010)

Lybi Ma is the deputy editor of Psychology Today; she is also the author of the novels Repo Girl and Double Happy.

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