Connect Before You Try to Communicate
By Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
Many popular magazines and websites offer various bullet-lists on how to improve your marriage through better “communication.” The same venues regularly feature weight loss bullet-lists. You probably know the research findings about the latter – they range from unhelpful to damaging. Research would likely show similar effects for any communication techniques that can be expressed in bullet-lists.
It’s not that communication tips are inherently bad. The better ones are like the better diet tips: eat less, move more; speak respectfully, listen attentively. They’re unhelpful because people do not communicate primarily by words but by emotional states. Brain imaging shows that we make judgments about what a person is saying based on emotional tone - body language, facial expressions, eye contact, level of distractedness, tone of voice - before the part of the brain that interprets the meaning of words is active.
by Marcel Schwantes
Nobody likes to fail. Yet failure is the secret to success. If you haven't been rejected a number of times, the current mantra goes, you just haven't experienced success.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, swears by this premise. At Virgin, they encourage and even celebrate failure. There's an underlying theme there that, without trying something new and failing, it's virtually impossible to innovate and grow.
Branson says, "Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception."
Wherever you are on your career path, it's time to acknowledge that failing is common, no matter how hard you try to avoid it.
But here's the thing. There's one superhuman quality -- a mindset -- every person needs to master on their journey of failing forward. Without it, you may as well toss in the towel now and never try again.
I speak of resilience.
Strengths or Weaknesses?
by Christopher Peterson Ph.D.
When positive psychologists advocate a strengths-based approach, I hear it as an important correction to decades of interventions (in clinics, schools, and workplaces) that focused on problems and their remediation. I do not hear it as advice to ignore weaknesses and problems or as an assertion that change is only possible if a person is already skilled at something. Somehow this completely reasonable advice has been morphed into the completely unreasonable proposal that only strengths matter, and I have been asked repeatedly about the evidence in favor of addressing only one's strengths if one wishes to achieve a good life.
We don't need studies to refute the claim that only strengths matter, just common sense. Regardless of what they do especially well, workers need to have the "strength" of showing up on time, and they need to have the "strength" of being minimally civil to their coworkers. And so on.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development