The moment I finished reading Chris Peterson’s Primer for Positive Psychology textbook I knew I wanted to introduce this intellectual giant and his remarkable work to the fitness industry. His genuine and thoughtful, yet rigorous research, teaching and writing leaves a looming legacy. A pioneer and founder of the Positive Psychology movement and academic discipline, Chris’ critical work focused on “character strengths and how they pertain to such outcomes as happiness, achievement and physical well-being”. His work supported his life philosophy and underlying personal trademark that “other people matter”.
Chris passed away suddenly this week at age 62. It is ironic that his last post on Psychology Today, “Awesome: E Pluribus Unum: We are all the same, and each of us is unique, in death and in life” captures the essence of positive psychology and what makes life most worth living.
His passing saddens me, yet I am inspired by his words and his work. In celebration of his life I will endeavor to make someone out there know they are special and that they matter. The loss of someone so monumental and so suddenly is a reminder that the only thing that really matters is how we spend our present moment.
Thank you Chris and also to his personal trainer and professional colleague, Kathleen Xydis, for making his work available to fitness professionals.
As one of my staff stated, “He achieved the highest level of happiness and fulfillment and it was time to move on! Good for him!”
To read more about Chis Peterson, his work and his legacy: