The American professor Martin Seligman is one of the most influential psychologists in the world. Known as the father of ‘positive psychology’, he has written numerous bestselling books on the power of optimism, arguing it’s something that can be learned, can cure depression, boost your immune system, and help you reach your goals.
Seligman is also a well-known bridge player. His success at the table is down to two guiding philosophies: first, the importance of hiring professionals to keep improving — he’s not super-wealthy, but, as he says, ‘being a client costs me about as much as others spend on their clothes (I spend almost zero on clothes).’ The second, you’ll have guessed, is to have an attitude of positivity. Pessimists are not resilient; their game collapses after one or two disasters. Optimists, on the other hand, never give up, and are alert to any small chances. On this deal, from a recent online tournament, Seligman showed how an optimist tackles an apparently hopeless contract (See diagram).