A widely accepted way to build muscle strength is to exercise just beyond what you are comfortable with (extend), give yourself time to get back to normal after the exertion (recover) and then start the process again when you are ready, so that it is a constant process of renewal. If you don’t extend, you won’t build muscle strength; if you don’t allow time for recovery you risk muscle strain and potentially serious injury. If you extend and recover just ...Continue Reading →
Positive psychology and its promotion of optimism have become firmly established in the popular imagination now. The idea that people who are optimistic will fare better than people who are pessimistic has received a great deal of coverage and has become widely accepted – despite the fact that it grossly oversimplifies the complex dynamics of human experience.
The self-help and self-improvement literature are full of examples of simplistic approaches to personal problems and challenges, and the uncritical acceptance of optimism as ...Continue Reading →
The idea that we should be true to ourselves has a long and honourable history, and also has much to commend it. However, much depends on how it is interpreted. A very common interpretation is that it involves being clear what your ‘true’ self is and then acting in accordance with that. This entails digging deep into yourself to find out what your ‘true’ or real self is.
This is highly problematic, as it is based on an oversimplified understanding of ...Continue Reading →
We live in a world of soundbites and dumbed-down media messages. Having so many people competing for our attention and trying to capture that attention in a short time is bound to lead to an oversimplification of complex issues much of the time. Add to this the fact that there are so many people trying to earn a living by coming up with simple solutions to complex problems and a strong picture of oversimplification starts to emerge.
Sometimes it is a ...Continue Reading →
In my People Solutions Sourcebook I write about the ‘Three Hs’ that are powerful influences on behaviour: head (reason); heart (passion or emotion) and habit. Which is more powerful will depend on the circumstances at any given time. For example, following a major loss heart is likely to be to the fore.
It’s also fair to say that these three sets of influences will affect each other – for example, our reasoning may well be affected by emotional issues at times ...Continue Reading →
Living and learning
It was Friedrich Nietzsche who said that what does not kill us makes us stronger, and he was nearly right. Only nearly? Yes, because much of what does not kill us has no effect on us whatsoever – it simply passes us by. Our life experience has the potential to make us stronger, but only if we capitalise on the opportunities presented. So, a more realistic aphorism would be: what does not kill us has the potential to ...Continue Reading →
I attended a conference once where one of the presenters said that when people undergo a major change in their lives they experience something very similar to grief. ‘Similar?’, I thought to myself. ‘No, it is more than similar, it is identical; it is grief’. Grief is our reaction to loss, not just our reaction to bereavement. This sounds a very straightforward statement to make, and yet I regularly encounter situations involving significant losses other than death where the people ...Continue Reading →
In the build up to launching the Avenue Professional Development Programme a few people have asked me what the thinking behind the initiative is. Perhaps it would be helpful if I put it in the context of how my thinking has developed.
For several years I taught students week in week out and the advantage of that was that I was able to link ideas together from one session to the next, respond to any concerns or confusions and help people ...Continue Reading →
Our humansolutions bulletin e-zine has featured a few articles on spirituality recently. A couple of people have asked me whether I have ‘found religion’. The short answer is no, but I found spirituality quite some time ago. My long-standing interest in existentialism has incorporated an interest in how we find meaning in our lives, how we make sense of who we are and how we fit into the wider world. Religion is obviously a major form of spirituality embraced by ...Continue Reading →
My wife and daughter were recently at the Beamish Open Air Museum on the day that a 7-year-old boy was killed in a tragic accident. We all know that death comes to us all eventually, but for a child to die is very different, and for him to die in a place of leisure and education seems particularly misplaced somehow. Many people bemoan the fact that they are growing old. Perhaps we should rejoice about the fact that we have ...Continue Reading →