Wednesday, November 11, 2009
If you are an England cricketer you probably need even more optimism.
Put yourself in the shoes of Stuart Broad, a young fast bowler brought on to try to keep the attacking Indian batsman
Yuvraj Singh quiet in a key 20-20 World Cup match. The first ball goes for 6. These things can happen.
Never mind, try again. Same ball, same result. In the end, all 6 balls of Broad's over went for 6 - a very unusual occurence,
especially chastening for a fast bowler.
Psychologists such as Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, would argue that the important thing
here is how people like Stuart Broad, who have just suffered adversity, respond. Seligman urges us
to think in terms of three Ps and when adversity strikes get into the habit of thinking
"This bad thing isn't going to be bad forever- its not Permanent"
"This bad thing isn't all down to me - I'm not going to take it Personally"
"This bad thing isn't going to affect all aspects of my life - it's not Pervasive".
That way, you can shrug off adversity and persevere, your self-confidence intact.
So what did Broad do?
In a recent Evening Standard interview Broad looked back on this in a way that I think would have Seligman nodding in agreement.
It was the wind being against Broad that was to blame "Yuvraj just had to get it up in the air and it would be going." suggests the young England fast bowler.
One objection to the Seligman approach is that sometimes we need to learn from our mistakes. Fortunately for England, it seems that Broad has done this as well.
The Standard interview continues
" The wider lesson Broad learnt was "Don't ever bowl two balls the same in one-day cricket".
Two years later that unpredictability has helped him to become the fourth best one-day bowler in the world."
The conclusion I draw is that we should maintain a careful balance between optimism and realism.
We should look for external factors that have contributed to adversity to maintain our self-belief and then think
about if there are any learning points for us.
In Broad's case his unpredictability has put him into the top 4 one-day bowlers. Now lets see how he does against South Africa!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Is twittering be a life-improving move or a waste of time?
You can follow my twitters in the right hand column of this page (you may hae to scroll down a little) ...
If you know of an interesting twitterer, reply to this post.
Some twittererers relevant to personal development I have started to follow are:
Let us know if you discover any other interesting twitterers ...
PS If you you want an instant ego boost, just choose to follow Barack Obama and see what happens!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
This 10 week course will show how studying philosophy can help you explore the nature of a flourishing, good life, and begin applying these ideas to your own life. Philosophers studied will include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Nietzsche, Mill , Heidegger and Sartre. Topics will include happiness, wisdom, the emotions, relationships, work , ethics and the meaning of life. The course is suitable for all levels and has had very positive feedback from many students, ranging from those who have had no academic study since leaving school to those with advanced qualifications in philosophy wishing to use this material to develop their own good life and their own courses in practical philosophy.
Course Code CE1944
Course Fee £110
Start dateTuesday 17 January 2009 Time 6.30pm – 8.30pm
10 weekly classes
Location City University, London
What Previous Participants Have Said
“I like the way it challenged my thinking processes and has impacted on the way I want to lead my life”
"Interesting and thought-provoking”
“It was very accessible and helped to de-mystify the topic of philosophy”.
“The course has had a major impact on my life.”
1. Introduction: Socrates: Philosophy and the Good Life
Part 1- What is the Good Life?
2. Happiness, Well-Being & Values – Bentham versus Mill
3. Human Excellence, Character & Virtue – Aristotle versus the Stoics
4. Wisdom – the most important virtue?
5. Ethics – Doing the right thing – Kant, Mill and Hare
6. Existentialism: Sartre, Heidegger and the freedom to choose
7. The Meaning of Life - is it really 42?
Part 2 - Applications
8. Relationships: Philosophy, Love, Friendship & Compassion
9. Work: Philosophy, careers & Work-life balance
10. Conclusions: The Good Life and how to live it - and team quiz
To enrol call City University on 020 7040 8268 between 9.30am and 5.00pm.or
visit the City Uni website (http://www.city.ac.uk/cae/cfa/arts/philosophy/personal_development.html)
Sunday, January 04, 2009
7. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -and it's all small stuff Richard Carlson (6)
The Art of Happiness Howard Cutler and the Dalai Lama (8)
Happiness - Mathieu Ricard (-)
The How of Happiness (-)
Of course this list just reflects my personal opinion - what self-help books have inspired you most in 2008?
Thursday, January 01, 2009
"We chastise ourselves for our perceived shortcomings and set unrealistic goals to change our behaviour, so it's not surprising that when we fail to keep resolutions, we end up feeling worse than when we started. In 2009, instead of making a New Year's resolution, think positively about the year to come and what you can achieve."
Sound advice, but how can you best think about what you can achieve?
A very simple yet very useful and profound distinction is in thinking about both what can make you happy and what will be meaningful.
If you focus just on happiness, you may be setting yourself up for a mid-life meaning crisis - and such a crisis can occur well before middle-age. So think about where you can create more meaning in 2009 - in intimate relationships, friendships, with children, parents, work, hobbies or altruistic activities, for example. These don't have to be big things - just things that mean that when you tot up what your life adds up to, it adds up to something that feels meaningful to you, and provides you with a purpose.
Yet focussing just on meaning and purpose isn't such a good idea either. Research suggests that the happier people are, the more altruistic they are, the healthier they are, the longer they live - the positive spin-offs from happiness are many. What's more, if you imagine a life which is very meaningful but isn't enjoyable, or one that is both meaningful and enjoyable, which would you choose?
Sometimes there's a clear choice between the meaningful and the enjoyable - but that needn't always be the case. One answer is to find activities that you find both meaningful and enjoyable.What would that be for you? Another is devote a certain amount of time to purely meaningful activities, another portion to enjoyable activities.
If you are reading this on or near New Year's Day, how about writing down a list of activities and goals for 2009 under two headings
1) Goals that will lead to me finding 2009 meaningful
2) Goals that will lead to me enjoying 2009
Then go about fulfilling them, and have a truely happy and meaningful 2009