I’m Dr. Paul Jenkins, the author of Pathological Positivity which sold over 15,000 copies the first year after its launch. I’m a positivity psychologist, speaker and author.
You’ve heard it over and over again, “Just think positive!” But how is it done? You’ve also heard that happiness is a choice. Is that really true? As a professional psychologist, I’ve had the honor of learning much from my clients and colleagues about how positivity works, and how it impacts every aspect of life. I’ve been able to identify a simple model which explains two processes in our mind – evaluation and creation. These two processes determine our level of positivity. In short, I show you how positivity works and why. For a quick capture of that model, you can order my pocket-sized mini-book, Portable Positivity. Or, I’ll be happy to send you a digital version for free – just fill out the simple form on this page and request it in the “Other” box. I’ll have it in your in-box with my personal response within a few days.
For over two decades now, my clients and colleagues, family and friends have accused me of being pathologically positive. I’ve decided to embrace that title as the theme of my practice (and the title of my first book). Pathological? From a psychological perspective the word “pathological” means disordered, disconnected from reality, crazy. It may sound a little crazy to consider the possibility that we can take a positive position – no matter what! You will see very quickly from this model exactly how and why that is possible.
The word “pathological” also means compulsively driven, as in the phrase, “pathological liar.” They just can’t stop themselves from doing it. One who is pathologically positive has a dogged determination to find or create the positive in every life circumstance, no matter how difficult.
What happens when everyone in an organization becomes pathologically positive? People experience a higher level of joy and satisfaction, relationships improve, problems are solved, innovation happens, stuff gets done, life gets better.
How I got here
I grew up in a small agricultural town in Utah. I was related to half the town, and my own twin sister is also my fourth cousin (you can ask me how that is actually true sometime). Where I come from, psychology was a word that tripped us up in spelling bees, not something you actually studied or pursued as a career.
After graduating as valedictorian from my little high school, I did the rational thing with my sweet math and science skills, and enrolled as a freshman at BYU in chemical engineering. Upon completion of that freshman year, I volunteered to do missionary service for my church for two years in Finland. It was during this missionary service that I discovered my passion for having powerfully meaningful conversations with real people about important ideas. I came home fluent in Finnish and fired up about saving and enriching key relationships. I switched my major to psychology and never looked back.
The first phase of my psychology career was under the mentoring of Dr. Randy Hyde at Preferred Family Clinic, the premier child and family psychology clinic in Utah County. A little over a decade in this setting taught me much about working with families. I found out quickly that not only do I have a love and passion for what I do, I’m also really good at it. When I do my thing, people’s lives are changed for the better.
Everyone has a “sweet spot” or a “unique mission.” Your sweet spot is where you do what you love for the people who love what you do. My sweet spot is positivity. There is far too much negativity, fear, and doubt in the world. I am on a mission to lift and inspire my fellow human beings to create and live a life they love. My private practice is now exclusively positive psychology. I have written three books on the subject, give keynotes and trainings on positivity and related topics, produce a weekly podcast called Live On Purpose Radio, and see individual clients at my office in a positive psychology counseling setting.
Behind The Scenes
I am a man of faith. I make no apologies for this because it is my faith that gives meaning and context to everything that I do. Those who work with me are perfectly welcomed and encouraged to include discussions about faith and the role that it plays in their life. I’m not here to impose my beliefs on others, and I’m not here as your spiritual advisor. I do believe, however, that our relationship with our creator is the first key relationship we have, and that as we understand our source, life begins to make more sense. I’m happy to share my faith and beliefs with anyone who asks – feel free to ask me about this or get a quick summary here.
In addition to my unique mission and my faith, the love of my life is that sweet lady in the picture with me. Vicki and I were married in 1988 and it just keeps getting better. Vicki comes from the beautiful pacific northwest Seattle area. I actually met her in Finland where we were both serving as missionaries for our church, so we share a love of that country and a rather obscure second language that works really well when we want to have a private conversation. We have four wonderful children – Ryan (married to Jessica with our grandkids Hannah and Matthew), Adam, Brennan, and Lyndi. I love music (piano and guitar), puzzles, basketball, sketching, and getting outside for just about anything. We have made our home in the beautiful mountains of Utah. I think the best is yet to come!