Todd Kashdan

  • Professor of Psychology and Senior Scientist of the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, George Mason University
  • Author, The Upside of Your Dark Side

Todd Kashdan’s life is devoted to understanding how people can improve the quality of their lives and offering the tools to do so. He uses cutting edge science to help people function optimally in life and business. 

Since receiving a Ph.D. in clinical psychology (2004), Todd Kashdan has published over 170 peer reviewed journal articles on how to foster and sustain happiness and meaning in life, strength use and development, stress and anxiety, mindfulness, gratitude, social relationships, and self-regulation. These contributions have been recognized by the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (2013), Distinguished Research Fellow Award from the International Society for the Quality of Life (2012), and an early career award from the Association for the Advancement of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2006). He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and Association for Contextual and Behavioral Science. 

As a central figure in the scientific study of well-being, Todd Kashdan has authored Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life (Harper Collins), to provide cutting edge research on how to achieve a well-lived life. In his latest book with Robert Biswas-Diener, The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why being your whole self - not just your good self - drives success and fulfillment (Hudson Street Press), he offers a potent message driven by the latest science: emotional and social agility trumps positivity. 

Kashdan is a scientific advisor for Time, Inc., National Geographic, and Merck. He gives keynotes and workshops to organizations as diverse as the United States Department of Defense, the World Bank, Hormel, General Mills, Gensler, the Gap, and Standard Chartered Bank. His research has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including multiple articles in the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, and Washington Post. What is unique about Kashdan is that he is a clinical psychologist, professor, well-being researcher, author, and TEDx speaker, who uses science to improve the lives of people and the quality of organizations. 

Kashdan is a twin with twin 10-year old daughters with plans to rapidly populate the world with great conversationalists. 

See Below for Full Bio

  • Speaking Topics:

    Emotional Intelligence, Health & Wellness, Keynote, Leadership, Life Balance, Motivation, Peak Performance, Personal Growth, Social, Stress Management, TED Talks

  • Travels From:

    Virginia

  • Price:

    $20,000 - $30,000

    Notes on Fees

  • Videos
  • Full Bio
  • Speech Topics
  • Books
  • Testimonials
  • News

The Upside of Your Darkside

Todd Kashdan’s life is devoted to understanding how people can improve the quality of their lives and offering the tools to do so. He uses cutting edge science to help people function optimally in life and business. 

Since receiving a Ph.D. in clinical psychology (2004), Todd Kashdan has published over 170 peer reviewed journal articles on how to foster and sustain happiness and meaning in life, strength use and development, stress and anxiety, mindfulness, gratitude, social relationships, and self-regulation. These contributions have been recognized by the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (2013), Distinguished Research Fellow Award from the International Society for the Quality of Life (2012), and an early career award from the Association for the Advancement of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2006). He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and Association for Contextual and Behavioral Science. 

As a central figure in the scientific study of well-being, Todd Kashdan has authored Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life (Harper Collins), to provide cutting edge research on how to achieve a well-lived life. In his latest book with Robert Biswas-Diener, The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why being your whole self - not just your good self - drives success and fulfillment (Hudson Street Press), he offers a potent message driven by the latest science: emotional and social agility trumps positivity. 

Kashdan is a scientific advisor for Time, Inc., National Geographic, and Merck. He gives keynotes and workshops to organizations as diverse as the United States Department of Defense, the World Bank, Hormel, General Mills, Gensler, the Gap, and Standard Chartered Bank. His research has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including multiple articles in the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, and Washington Post. What is unique about Kashdan is that he is a clinical psychologist, professor, well-being researcher, author, and TEDx speaker, who uses science to improve the lives of people and the quality of organizations. 

Kashdan is a twin with twin 10-year old daughters with plans to rapidly populate the world with great conversationalists. 

Emotional Agility

While mindfulness, kindness, and positivity can take us far, they cannot take us all the way. Sometimes, they can even hold us back. Fortunately, there is a solution: emotional and social agility. Emotionally agile people are highly attuned to the fact that success is about using the correct emotional resources in each unique situation. Socially agile people know what part of their personality is ideal to get the best possible outcome when interacting with others.

Companies that push for positivity unwittingly create a culture in which workers don't have an outlet for the very real negative feelings that bubble up from time to time. This results in office backstabbing, water cooler gossip, disengagement, and turnover. Scientists have also discovered that instead of being a buzz-kill skeptics are crucial to vetting bold ideas that actually translate to market success.

We make a grave mistake in prematurely discarding parts of our personality that feel uncomfortable or are not socially desirable to talk about in public. Kashdan will teach you how to appreciate and harness each side of your personality and in turn, become whole. Join him for a rich, lively, and wildly entertaining dialogue. You will learn practical strategies to attain greater success, meaning in life, vitality, and healthy relationships.

 

The Art and Science of Resilience

What is it that underpins a person’s ability to bounce back from life’s most challenging moments? How we can we train people to be more resilient? Based on the latest science, how people respond to bad things is neither random nor the same for everyone. You will learn about the psychological and social influences on resilience. Kashdan will guide you through techniques that are essential for healthy adjustment in response to uncertainty, change, and other difficult events.

 

Optimizing Social Relationships

Nothing has a greater impact on quality of life than the presence of significant, meaningful relationships. Recent decades have seen a remarkable growth in research on how relationships at work can promote greater work engagement, productivity, and creativity. Kashdan will discuss several strategies for cultivating healthy relationships including net positive energizers, how pain serves as social glue, the power of curiosity when socializing, how to negotiate conflict, harnessing strengths in work teams, the Michelangelo phenomenon, the chameleon effect, and more. Kashdan will teach you how to effectively engage in tough conversations, and how to best influence and persuade other people. With this informative, entertaining, and interactive talk, set yourself up for long-term success at work and home.

 

Leadership Requires a Maverick Mindset

In this interactive talk, Kashdan will critically evaluate common practices in the discussion, study, and implementation of psychological interventions in organizations. The biggest problem is that researchers and consultants ignore how organizations operates. Yes, there are various strategies that can be used to improve the lives of individuals. However, these strategies cannot be blindly applied to teams and cultures. Attention must be given to a firm fact of organizations—“the machine has to run”. In the second phase of this talk, the shift is from problem to solutions. The focus is on the pragmatics of cultivating creativity in the real-world—where uncertainty, complexity, and volatility is a given because we cannot control what other people do or how the market behaves. The solutions center on the reversal of popular proverbs such as the power of negative thinking and the need to sweat the small stuff. Expect several deviations from best-selling leadership books.

 

Unlocking the Power to Think Differently: Where Can Your Curiosity Take You?

Asking questions and being curious every day can fuel both personal and professional growth and propel us to success. In his keynotes and interactive sessions, Kashdan discusses how curiosity and relentless questioning will lead you down a path of discovery, creativity, innovation and growth.  Participants will take a curiosity self-assessment and learn how curious they are and how curiosity and the power of inquisitive thinking impacts their overall well-being. The session will include open discussion, audience participation, and concrete take-aways.

 

Relentless: The Science of Strength Use and Development

Based on cutting-edge research, it has become clear that detecting and harnessing psychological strengths is an overlooked and powerful tool for successful work and relationships. Dr. Kashdan will lead an interactive, skills-building workshop exploring how to assess, use, appreciate, and develop strengths in the workplace.

 

The Science of Work Well-Being

What does the research say about the science of happiness at work? How can we measure well-being in the workplace? What can you do to increase vitality, productivity, commitment, courage, and creativity in the workplace? What can you do to better handle transitions from work to home? Why is it important to invest in well-being from a business perspective? The answer to these questions will be provided. This includes learning and practicing practical strategies for great leadership inside and outside of the workplace.

 

Executive Education Workshop: Agile Leadership - Building a Stronger Work Culture with the Science of Emotion, Motivation, and Personality

Comfort is a byproduct of success but the pursuit of success and comfort are incompatible. By trying to feel comfortable, we worry about being liked instead of being effective. If the goal is to feel comfortable, instead of taking chances and seizing opportunities, we stick to safe goals. Exceptional leadership requires an understanding of how to tolerate, accept, and even harness uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. 

In this workshop, you’ll learn what cutting-edge affective science teaches us about how to embrace the value of anxiety, anger, self-doubt, and other negative thoughts and feelings. You will learn how certain responses to uncertainty, tension, and conflict build vitality, trust, creativity, and resilience in relationships. We will explore the implications of this work for becoming a strong, agile leader both inside and outside of the workplace.

This is not going to be a lecture. This is a workshop. The ideas that will be shared are based on the best scientific evidence. There will be opportunities for you to experiment with new skills. You will walk away with a new view of yourself, new skills, and a springboard to exceptional leadership, a greater quality of life, and a stronger organization.

  • Learn leadership strategies for creating a more energizing and healthy climate - that leads to greater engagement, productivity, and creativity
  • Learn new methods for how to be more accepting of unwanted thoughts and feelings, rather than trying to reduce their intensity or frequency
  • Understand the best way to express negative emotions to get the best possible response in a situation
  • Discover how describing and labeling emotions is a source of resilience in terms of coping with the stress of everyday life
  • Explore the seven emotional beliefs that get in the way of understanding, appreciating, and harnessing the value of negative emotions
  • Develop better strategies to deal with the distress and conflict that inevitably occurs when working with other people
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