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Martin Seligman on hope and helplessness


Plenary 2, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf VIC 3006


7:00pm - 8:30pm, 19th of April 2018

‘Well-being cannot exist just in your own head. Well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment.’
― Martin E.P. Seligman

In dark times, the idea of hope can seem revolutionary. Living in a dangerous, unpredictable and rapidly changing world can leave us feeling helpless. But there are reasons to be hopeful.

In a rare public appearance, Positive Psychology founder and best-selling author Martin Seligman will draw on his new book The Hope Circuit to share his journey from learned helplessness to optimism.

Speaking in conversation with The School of Life, Seligman will discuss how we can all learn to think more optimistically, explore the special skills happy people possess and help guide us on how to find meaning in a meaningless world.

As a global thought leader, Seligman’s work has had a profound influence worldwide on how we think about measuring human happiness. He has shifted psychology away from attempting to eradicate misery towards helping people find fulfilment and meaning through gratitude, resilience and, yes, hope.


6.15pm            Doors Open
7.00pm           Welcome & Introduction
7.10pm            Martin Seligman On Hope & Helplessness
7.50pm            Martin Seligman In Conversation with TSOL
8.10pm           Audience Q&A
8.30pm           Event Concludes
8.40pm           Book Sales & Signing 


Martin Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and optimism.

He is a best-selling author of several books, including Flourish. He received the American Psychological Society’s William James Fellow Award for basic science and Cattell Award for the application of science, and two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association.

In 1996, Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. His current mission is the attempt to transform social science to work on the best things in life—strengths, positive emotion, good relationships, meaning, and human flourishing.


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.

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