October 10, 2005

Braves - Pos Psy in action! Before the playoffs began, I highlighted an AJC article on how positive Bobby Cox is. Then the Braves get hammered in the opening game with Houston. Now, in today's AJC: 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...

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