One day after the Braves looked comatose in another playoff game, Smoltz and Brian McCann acted like two electric paddles in an operating room. Smoltz didn’t look anything like a guy who had been having shoulder problems of late. He yielded a run in the first inning, then shut down Houston in the next six. McCann, his rookie batterymate, clubbed a three-run homer off a future Hall of Famer in his first postseason at-bat.
The Braves dumped the Astros 7-1 to even their divisional playoff series at a game apiece. So much for how this team would react in yet another postseason survival test.
This accords with research; one of the characteristics of folks and organizations with an optimistic explanatory style is how they bounce back from adversity. In sports, this can manifest as bouncing back from a disappointing performance with an excellent one.
Positive psychology faces the challenge of explaining the difference between its findings and all the "sounds good but ain't been tested" self-improvement programs on the market on the one hand and new-ageish "follow your bliss" on the other. I suspect pos psy has a challenge ahead in making those distinctions. Why? Because the self-improvement stuff is written with an ear to "sounding good." Seven of this, three of that, a "fundamental principle" from which all else derives. It appeals to logic rather than to experience -- and logic sells. It just sounds business-like. Pos psy, however, is science. It's built empirically. Sure there are underlying theories, but the basis is emprical -- what works. Or doesn't. And exactly how well it works. And in what circumstances. Those are facts and they can be applied, but they're always going to have the rough, "work-in-progress" feel of reality, not the slick finish of popular nostrums.
Pos psy may also come out sounding far more new-ageish than might be good for it, again because it's built on careful testing of real approaches, and simple approaches are easier to test. Anybody want to suggest a method for actually testing all the components of "Seven Habits..."? As an example, the "Three Blessings" behavior works in lots of ways, and it's impact has been measured, but it sounds both simple and trite. "Write down at the end of each day three good things that happened and why." That's pretty much it. Of course, if you're working with a coach or in a group, there are ways to think about patterns in what you record and tie it in to other insights. Sounds simple. Works. Can be done with sophistication. That's pos psy as I'm goming to see it.