Positive Psychology and Genius

Martin Seligman, PhD is famous for creating Positive Psychology and even more for his research on learned helplessness. Here is his concept:
“Learned helplessness is a term specifying an organism learning to accept and endure unpleasant stimuli, and unwilling to avoid them, even when it is avoidable.”
The idea behind the theory of learned helplessness is that animals can be conditioned to think that they have no control over the outcome of a situation that they are in, even though they actually do have the power to help themselves. This occurs when they are repeatedly presented with an aversive stimulus that they can’t escape.
The theory can also be applied to humans beings who think that they cannot change a situation and/or miss opportunities that make them feel helpless. These people may be more likely to develop a mental illness such as clinical depression. These findings lead to a lot of other related studies that have helped psychologists understand the basis of depression.
Do you see the connection to young adults who seem to have the best environment for development, but feel paralyzed or frozen on the inside?
Here is a very important distinction when it comes to brilliance and genius: Biologically – every human being is a natural genius, simply based on our 100 trillion body cells that communicate with each other in highly complex and consistently changing ways. The real task is to uncover this physical intelligence in all areas and activate it.
However, almost every young adult acquires coping mechanisms to ‘survive’ mentally or emotionally. Playing dumb to fit in is probably the most common version. Could it be that these mechanisms work against our natural biology? Up to a point where most of us simply suppress or forget who we really are and what we were born to do? Could it be that most people give up over time, go to sleep and become ‘human doings’ instead of ‘human beings’?
What questions would you like to add to this list?

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach

The True Value of Your Uniqueness

“I don’t want to grow up” stated 8 year old Alex* last week. “My mom has her own business; she works all night and most weekends. I don’t like that!” His mom confirmed these facts and added that she feels guilty for not being able to change that: “Sometimes I feel that I lead someone else’s life, not even my own – as if I would be on remote control and stuck in my repetitive routine life. I make good money, but feel empty on the inside.”





Thank you, Alex! In his deep love and caring for his mom he discovered a hidden secret for her unhappiness: The split between her routine and her real desire to live with passion and excitement. Eventually she discovered that her life should be customized to her goals, needs and desires instead of her being a victim of roles, images and common standards.

Innate uniqueness is always longing for new expression, unusual adventures, new experiences; it is a strong root for joy and happiness and frequently leads to a significant life – very much like genius.

How strong is your desire for a customized life?

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach



‘Miracle’ and ‘Genius’ Are Very Close Friends!

Cindy* was shocked when she heard the diagnosis ‘cervical cancer’ and the suggested conventional chemotherapy that came with it. She had lost her mother to cancer and had an almost immediate gut level reaction: “I will face this challenge very differently and completely free myself from cancer.”

She studied feverishly and learned everything she could about raw vegan nutrition, applied it immediately and walked completely free from cancer within 6 months. Miracle?

Yes, even in more than one way:

  • She completely trusted the self-healing powers of her own body
  • She followed and trusted her own intuition with food as her only medicine
  • She learned from her mother what not to do
  • She started teaching her experience to other cancer patients almost immediately
  • She found and accepted a completely new direction for her own life

You see, the REAL miracle was and is her body, which is YOUR body as well. It is literally mind blowing to realize that 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000!) are sitting on your chair as you read this. They perform around 260 million extremely well orchestrated biochemical reactions per minute. Do you get the feeling for the magnitude of this physiological miracle called “YOU”?








Without this miracle in action 24/7/365, nothing really matters; You might feel sick and/or not even fully alive. Einstein said it well: “You might see everything as a miracle or nothing – you decide.”

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach

* Not her real name

The Deeper Meaning of OCD and Related ‘Disorders’

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be a debilitating urge to turn the key five times in the lock before you leave the house or wash your hands 6 times before dinner. However, this phenomenon deserves a closer look into the real roots of these symptoms.

If the diagnosis is real we always find fear as an underlying cause; addressing this deeply rooted fear with a playful and relaxed coaching approach takes care of OCD in more than 95% of the situations, especially with children and young adults.

However, there is a vast area of self-diagnosed OCD that frequently translates into perfectionism or stubbornness. What happens if we would peel of THIS kind of label?

Sarah* is a very successful investor and business woman. In the beginning of our conversations she used OCD frequently to describe her own behavior. So I challenged her to translate this term for me and find other words to describe it. “What do you mean by ‘translate’?” she commented. So I asked her for specific situations in her life and career when she felt like ‘OCD’.

I asked her to peel off the label ‘OCD’ and explore the reality behind it. Within a few minutes she discovered words that translate OCD into productive terms: Determination, laser focus, intensity, relentlessness, completion, creativity, goal-driven, decisiveness,






Could it be that OCD and similar ‘symptoms’ cover up hidden brilliance? Our own research over the past 15 years shows even more: If a child, young adult or adult accepts the guidance to discover and manifest their own unique brilliance to create a bigger life for themselves, all these ‘symptoms’ disappear over time.

* Not her real name

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach

The Hidden Power of a ‘Thank you’ Environment

George* is 14 and highly intelligent. However, he actively dislikes to do chores around the home and prefers endless debates with his parents and his younger sister about it. Beside this one challenge, they really and genuinely like each other. So let’s have a closer look:
This situation is a wonderful example for a wide-spread phenomenon I call “complaining on a high level”: Circumstances are in great flow and work really well, but everyone involved might be too busy to take a closer look and takes the situation for granted. Over time the focus shifts to little conflicts and blows those way out of proportion: Chores become this unsolvable problem that causes stress and guilt for everyone involved.

How would the same situation in a ‘thank you’ culture look like?

George* would feel genuinely grateful for the little things he contributes on a regular basis to make the life of his family team easier. His sister would feel the same about her area of responsibilities and both might ask their parents what else they could do to contribute. The parents would thank each one of them independently and in their own words for every step they do and make these actions stronger. Sounds fairly easy and common sense.

So why is this environment so rare? Do many parents repeat subconsciously their own upbringing with strict rules that could never be questioned without consequences?

Let’s transfer the same culture into your company team. Can you see the similarities?







Here might be the BIG confusion: there is vulnerability in ‘thank you’ but not weakness. Genuine vulnerability is a powerful feeling to build trust; therefore it helps a lot to bring out the best in children as well as in adults.

Modeling gratitude as a family or team culture might be the greatest gift you can give anyone in your life!

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach

* Not his real name

Does Action REALLY Speak Louder than Words?

My fitness trainer and owner of Enerjoy Fitness Ilana Lea coined this phrase a few weeks ago. She calls her work ‘body sculpting’ and creates new exercises and variations each single week.

I love the deep wisdom behind her catchy quote for two reasons: First of all to be aware of every slight change in physical, mental or emotional situations and not ignoring or tolerating it. It allows me to be pro-active instead of waiting and hoping for the best. A few months ago I noticed a little blurry spot in the peripheral vision of my left eye. Thoughts and worries like ‘glaucoma’, ‘aging’ and ‘macular degeneration’ flooded my brain at first. Until I saw a retina specialist who gave me specific eye exercises and recommended a high dose of vitamin E. After 3 weeks the symptom completely disappeared.

The second reason why her quote resonates with me is the emphasis on immediate action without analyzing the circumstances too much. Our intuitive intelligence has a quick and instant response for most challenges we face. Only mental analysis-paralysis slows us down, if we allow it. Is it time to listen to our bodies more than ever instead of telling ‘it’ what to do?





Intuitive Intelligence is very physical and strongly connected with our body’s innate desire to live long and healthy. Latest research suggests that intuitive intelligence might be even stronger than mental intelligence: It captures and processes information about every cell and organ 24/7 and communicates it to the brain. Now THIS kind of cellular action does not only speak louder than words, it actually CAUSES action in your outside world.

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach

Who Suffers from Emotional Language Disorder?

“How do you feel today?”
“I think, I am doing great”
“NO, how do you FEEL today?”
“What do you mean by ‘FEEL’?”
” ———– ” (Fill in the blanks)

Have you noticed that many children, young adults and adults who feel very deeply on a regular basis find it difficult to put these feelings into language? This frequent observation has been called “Emotional Language Disorder” (ELD) and deserves a closer look.

Here is a very important distinction: ELD is NOT an emotional disturbance or emotional disability that would significantly affect the individual’s behavior!

So what is ELD? Every human communication consists of facts and feelings. The ultra-rapid flow of information and ‘news’ through our media frequently causes an overload of facts, anxiety around forgetting facts and a starvation on the feeling level. Our Ultra Short Term Memory (USTM) processes information at 124 – 300 mph, but also erases it within 20 seconds with the next wave of ‘important’ information. Yes, forgetting can be a blessing…!

Feelings take a few moments longer. Feelings might start with unclear body sensations in your gut or heart and come back to the brain as a delayed response. Quiet people take that time to reflect for a moment: They don’t have an immediate answer, might draw a blank and come back later with a profound answer. Do we give ourselves or others that time?

Do you see the wisdom behind ELD? It might take practice to give your feelings a clear voice, but it deepens all your relationships, builds trust and respect.

After all – your ‘slow learning’ daughter might not be slow at all, she might simply be deep and therefore appreciate your encouragement to slow down and feel. Her brain works at 124 mph as well…

Otto Siegel

Author, Speaker, Genius Coach

Transformational Skiing last Monday

For several decades I have been a passionate skier and ski instructor, exploring amazing slopes in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, Bolivia and Colorado. But it was last Monday in Flagstaff when I discovered a new dimension of my favorite hobby: The perfect combination of bright sun and fresh powder snow served as a framework for a deeper experience of beauty. A layer of solid clouds below made me feel privileged to enjoy the sun and blue sky and all the colors that come with it. There were hours of intense skiing and pauses in silent awe, adoring the beauty of a snowed-covered tree or the sun hiding behind a fuzzy cloud for a few minutes.

While taking the pictures below, I let the entire environment impact my senses and felt a deep gratitude for being alive and open to the beauty around me that helped me relax and recover.













How do you experience beauty in your life as catalyst for your relaxation and creativity?

What was a moment in your life when you felt deeply touched by beauty and brilliance?

Otto Siegel

Author, Speaker, Genius Coach

Vertical Farming Might Be the Future

“This is the most tender and delicious kale salad I had in years” was my comment when Mark gave me a tour through the most unusual farm I have ever seen. The efficiency of 3 acres of land in one container that is sophisticated enough to produce fresh salad and kale 24/7/365 without any soil involved! All this happens with 5% of the water conventional farming would use, completely free of pesticides or GMO and independent of climate or seasons. Red and blue LED lights stimulate optimal plant growth without producing any heat; the entire system can be controlled from Mark’s cell phone.

Sounds like genius? It is! You see, Mark used to be a passionate personal trainer for 24 years and realized more and more that fitness goals can only last if his clients have access to high quality food. Mark followed his passion and intuition when he found a company in Boston that turned used large industry containers into vertical hydroponic farms. Now he delivers salad and kale to 20 customers on a weekly basis. Can you imagine what a 100 or a 1000 of these farms could do for healthy nutrition of a city?

You see, genius is always creative and finds exciting solutions in areas where the majority of people just keeps complaining about deterioration.







What is the area you feel strongly about that needs significant improvements? Let Mark inspire you this week and feel free to contact him in his farm in Cave Creek, AZ, if you like.

Otto Siegel

Speaker, Author, Genius Coach

Powerful Impact on Your Child’s Brilliance

About six years into her career as a nurse, Sarah* got married and gave birth to her first child Sam*.  She educated him with all her heart and passion; Sam grew up as a very happy and active child, taught himself to read at age 3 and started to play piano the following year. However, around age 12 he showed signs of sadness, anxiety and boredom. Sarah* became really concerned and was afraid to lose connection with him. She consulted her pediatrician, counselors and therapists, but never felt satisfied with their answers.

So Sarah*, Sam* and I joined forces as a team to find new answers. I was convinced that – subconsciously – they had the solution already and Sam’s “symptoms” were a cry for help. After a few genius coaching sessions the mystery revealed itself: Sarah* never felt happy in her profession and always wanted to be an accountant or CPA. She started to take accounting classes at the community college and loved every moment of it. Within a few short weeks Sam* found his sense of humor again, continued to play piano and got into competitive swimming.

You see, Sarah* finally decided to follow her deep desire for brilliance in an area she felt drawn to. This action encouraged and liberated Sam* to do the same in his area of brilliance: This kind of behavior modeling is far more powerful than words to guide your child.

Here are the biological roots for this phenomenon: Parents and children are deeply connected from day 1 – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For the first years your child learns almost EVERYTHING from you by watching, listening and imitating. If you continue to develop and grow as a human being, your child most likely will feel deeply inspired to do the same and respect you for your guidance. Challenges at school and in life will turn into learning opportunities and you might be their trusted adviser for life.

Otto Siegel

Author, Speaker, Genius Coach

* Not her/his real name