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.
Scientists seek to quantify everything—even the ineffable. And so the human search for meaning recently took a physical turn as Columbia and Yale University researchers isolated the place in our brains that processes spiritual experiences.
In a new study, published in Cerebral Cortex (paywall) on May 29, neuroscientists explain how they generated “personally relevant” spiritual experiences in a diverse group of subjects and scanned their brains while these experiences were happening. The results indicate that there is a “neurobiological home” for spirituality. When we feel a sense of connection with something greater than the self—whether transcendence involves communion with God, nature, or humanity—a certain part of the brain appears to activate.
The study suggests that there is universal, cognitive basis for spirituality, as opposed to a cultural grounding for such states. This new discovery, researchers say, could help improve mental health treatment down the line.
by Daniel Goleman, author of the international best-seller, Emotional Intelligence
In hindsight, the questions only become more nagging. Why didn’t Kodak jump into digital photography? Couldn’t BlackBerry, with such a hold on the corporate market, have adjusted better to the iPhone? And then there is Sears, probably the granddaddy of the never-saw-it-coming firms.
We call the missing skill set here adaptability. Companies (and the executives who run them) continually need to balance exploring new possibilities with exploiting what works. Adaptability takes many forms, from simple flexibility in handling change and juggling multiple demands to coming up with innovative approaches and openness to fresh ideas. You stay focused on your goals, but adjust how you get there.
by Marcel Schwantes
Anger is one powerful human emotion. It is also a very normal human emotion that needs to be expressed in a healthy way. But there's a place and time for appropriate anger, and we all have to learn how to manage it before it escalates.
That takes emotional intelligence -- the ability to exercise self-awareness to understand the situation from multiple angles and self-control to see things through other filters before pulling the anger-trigger.
When anger comes knocking, and it will, we have to know how to deal with it appropriately. If mismanaged, it can take down company morale and sabotage your ability to lead and collaborate well.
Here are six habits of people that manage theirs remarkably well.
by Suzie Doscher
There are wonderful books, classes, films, talks, workshops, DVDs, magazine articles, conversations, coaches, and therapists teaching the importance of being in the moment, staying in the now and going with the flow. But how do you really do this?
It seems odd that we do not just naturally live in the now. After all, almost everyone would agree that the present moment, the now, is all we have. The fact remains that most people do not live in the present moment and have to learn how to do so.
Reasons to master living in the moment:
Steps to practice being in the moment:
By Carol Tuttle
Overwhelmed, scattered, totally worn out. Does that ever sound like you? Even though you’re committed to work-life balance, sometimes equilibrium isn’t as easy to find as you’d like.
Most advice suggests that you set boundaries, manage time better, and practice self-care. Yes, those are important. But if you’re juggling a hundred balls, you need an overall strategy to calm things down — not just tactics that give you more to do.
Consider the possibility that you can have work-life balance with a simpler (and even counterintuitive) approach.
Where your balance (and imbalance) actually comes from
It’s easy to look at your emails, phone calls, meetings and to-do’s and believe that they are the problem. Everything coming at you is just too much!
by Suzie Doscher, Executive and Life Coach, Zurich, Switzerland
In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “control freak” is “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” The Merriam Webster dictionary says that a control freak is “a person whose behavior indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.” One way or another, control freaks are not always easy to be around.
I understand this personality trait could stem from a chaotic childhood. Such experiences can make it hard for people to trust others or relinquish control to others. The fear of falling apart pushes them to control what they can. As their emotions are all over the place, they feel loss of control. For this reason, control freaks will micromanage whatever they can with the belief that this makes them strong. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers.
By Marcel Schwantes
Does a high IQ contribute to success? Certainly. But not without hard work, experimentation, failing forward, and an undying devotion to self-improvement.
Take Elon Musk, one of the smartest people on the planet. The driving force behind Tesla, SpaceX, and OpenAI is never satisfied with where he is, and he knows that there's always room for improvement -- whatever the challenge he's tackling at the moment. But he takes the cake with this quote from a 2014 interview:
You should take the approach that you're wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.
To Musk, being wrong (and failing) is always an option because if you're not, he says, you're not innovating enough.
This is what we call a growth mindset -- the ability to fail, learn something new, and then approach the problem from a different angle until you find a solution that works.
In an evening of viewing art and intellectual pursuits,