Self-Directed Online Course

This 5-week module is about realizing dreams—We all have dreams and aspirations, however most people’s dreams remain unrealized. This module looks at how we can cultivate the seed of hope and help it flourish. Topics covered include beliefs as self-fulfilling prophecies, setting goals, focusing on personal strengths, and learning from failure.

Objectives and Outcomes
  • Understand the power of positive beliefs and how our beliefs can create our reality.
  • Learn how to raise our self-confidence, and transform our belief in ourselves, through action, visualization, and priming.
  • Recognize the importance of identifying intrinsic strengths and extrinsic strengths in fulfilling personal and organizational potential.
  • Understand the nature of self-concordant goals—goals that are aligned with a person’s interests and values—and recognize their importance in leading a happy and successful life.
  • Accept the significant role that failure plays on the path toward success and happiness.

Program Faculty

Dr. Tal Ben-ShaharTal Ben-Shahar, PhD, is an author and lecturer who is dedicated to helping people be the change they want to see in the world. He taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of over 1,400 students. In his mindfulness lectures and workshops, Tal integrates theory and practice, East and West, philosophy and psychology.

Over a five-week period, students participate in a completely online curriculum that features one new class every week. Lessons in each class consist of watching approximately 60-90 minutes of a prerecorded video lecture with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, class assessments and assignments, and practice applications.

The course is completely asynchronous, which means you can start at any time and participate whenever it is convenient for you during the five-week window.

This is a self-directed curriculum. No homework is submitted and no grades are given. You will receive a certificate of completion when all lessons are completed.

The Certificate in Positive Psychology course uses the same video lectures with the added bonus of two onsite immersions, small peer work groups, live conference calls with faculty, and ongoing support for the full 11 months. Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.


No prerequisites are required for this course. Technology requirements include an Internet connection.


Class 1: Beliefs as Self—Fulfilling Prophecies
Henry Ford noted that “Whether you think you can or can’t—you are right.” There is much research evidence illustrating that, at least to an extent, Ford was right. This class addresses the power of the mind while at the same time clearly distinguishing between realistic and unrealistic beliefs, between grounded and detached optimism, between adopting the insights of experimental psychology and blindly following the cult of positive thinking.

Class 2: Raising Beliefs
While our beliefs have an enormous impact on the way we experience our lives and how well or poorly we fare, cultivating these beliefs can be very difficult. This class addresses three approaches to raising a person’s self-efficacy: taking action through coping, visualizing successful process and outcome, and creating an environment with positive primes.

Class 3: Self—Concordant Goals
Self-concordant goals align with our primary interests and deepest values. People who identify and pursue these goals end up being happier and more successful. This class addresses the distinction between perceiving one’s work as a job, a career, or a calling—with all the implications of this perception.

Class 4: Strengths
Most people, when asked to choose between focusing on their strengths or focusing on their weaknesses, pick the latter. However, studies in individuals and organizations clearly demonstrate that focusing on strengths does not only make people happier, it makes them more successful. This class focuses on how we can identify our extrinsic and intrinsic strengths—those activities that we’re good at and also passionate about.

Class 5: Learning from Failure
We learn to walk by falling, to talk by babbling, to eat by making a mess, to shoot a basket by missing, and to color the inside of a square by scribbling outside the box. This class looks at research and case studies of successful individuals and organizations whose guiding principle is, “Learn to fail or fail to learn.”

Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.

Tuition for this course is $295.

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