Relationships make amazing impacts upon our worlds. We often invest in relationships that we feel make a difference to us or our world.  It is often these connections that keep us on a steady keel as we navigate life.

Dr Martin Seligman in his latest book Flourish reflects profoundly on this concept of connections and how they change us.

Other People Matter

Near the Portuguese island of Madeira, there lies a small island shaped like an enormous cylinder. At the top is a several-acre plateau on which are grown the most prized grapes that go into Madeira wine. On this plateau lives only one large animal: an ox whose job is to plow the field. There is only one way up to the top, a winding and narrow path. How in the world does a new ox get up there when the old ox dies? A baby ox is carried on the back of a worker up the mountain, where it spends the next forty years plowing the field alone. If you are moved by this story, ask yourself why.

Very little that is positive is solitary. When was the last time you laughed uproariously? The last time you felt indescribable joy? The last time you sensed profound meaning and purpose? The last time you felt enormously proud of an accomplishment? Even without knowing the particulars of these high points of your life, I know their form: all of them took place around other people. When asked what, in two words or fewer, positive psychology is about, Christopher Peterson, one of its founders, replies, “Other people.” Other people is the best antidote to the downs of life and the single most reliable up.

Recent streams of argument about human evolution point to the importance of positive relationships in their own right and for their own sake. Studies of the big social brain, the hive emotions, and group selection persuade me that positive relationships—key to “the connected life”—are a basic element of well-being.

Well-Being Theory: PERMA

In the new well-being theory, human flourishing rests on five pillars, denoted by the handy mnemonic PERMA:
Positive Emotion
Engagement
Relationships
Meaning
Accomplishment

These elements, which we choose for their own sake in our efforts to flourish, are the rock-bottom fundamentals to human well-being. What is the good life? It is pleasant, engaged, meaningful, achieving, and connected.

This excerpt is edited from Chapter One of Martin Seligman, Flourish. To be published April 5, 2011. Simon and Schuster.

As I consider these five pillars and reflect my life through their lenses I see the incredible importance of having the right people around me. Their influence is vital to my well-being.

What connections do you have? Are they working towards establishing your sense of well-being?

Being a horizon dweller means that it is important to have the right connections. Right connections mean that the right support, wisdom, hope and faithfulness are influencing your world. Find these connections, fight to keep empowering connections. These connections are like precious stones or valuable heir looms – they are transformational, they run deeply and hold us firmly in the right place. They are connections that matter.