Mental Health

Podcast #021: Grit

In  a world that is becoming increasingly volatile, unpredictable, challenging and complex, the development of grit has arguably never been more necessary. On the one hand, especially in the more prosperous parts of the world, we have never had more access to technology and labour saving devices. At the same time it is incredibly easy to become overwhelmed and exhausted by the never ending demands on our time and the things that need to be done at what seems to be greater and greater speed. Do come and join my
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What does it actually take to be a more caring person?

Developing care and compassion for others is not necessarily something that comes naturally. It cannot be easily taught in a classroom or from lectures. However, being a caring person is an essential life skill for our own character development and to grow into maturity. This 5 minute video from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States powerfully shows what it actually takes to develop a truly caring and compassionate mindset. As you watch it you will see an unexpected and surprising twist in the lives of the subjects portrayed: The
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7 simple ways you can develop grit

Do you want to do something meaningful and make a significant difference with your life? If the answer is no then you can stop reading now. If yes then whatever you want to do, you are going to need grit. You don’t need me to tell you that life can be incredibly tough and challenging at times. (For more on that see here). The difference between those who find a way to not just survive, but actually go on to thrive and flourish has to do with grit. We have previously
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The difference grit can make to you

Why do some people have the ability to persevere and reach their goals, while others flounder and just give up at the first hurdle? Or why is it that success in school so often correlates poorly with success and achievement in the world of work? Popular opinion tends to say that such people who go on to achieve are just amazingly talented or even just ‘lucky’. We tend to assume that people succeed in life because of their natural giftedness or talent, their social intelligence or qualifications. But it is
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Do you need more grit?

Grit in common everyday language refers to the very small pieces of sand or stone found in air, food or water. In that context grit is an irritation. However, in psychology it is much more positive. In that case it relates to firmness of character or a tendency to keep going in spite of setbacks or failure. It is the tenacity to keep going no matter what. How much does grit matter in life? A lot. The 6 minute TED talk below by Angela Duckworth opens up the question of how
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What is the ONE essential ingredient for life-long health and happiness?

This 13 minute TED talk video by Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger gives a fascinating insight into the vital importance of one simple key ingredient to life-long health and happiness. When you hear what it is you might think that is obvious or even common sense, but then for a variety of reasons it has so often been ignored or even downplayed. Common sense is not always common practice. In fact, asking millenials (people born between the early 19080s to the early 2000s) what their major life goals are, according to
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Podcast #013 How to grow in resilience

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger,” so said the German philosopher Frederick Nietsche. Its a great quote, but I have to say that it is not necessarily automatic! As I have got older I have found my need for resilience has grown greater. And I am convinced that experience is not unique to me. Developing resilience in a world that is getting increasingly volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous is an important life skill for anyone anywhere at any age. The need to master change, thrive under pressure
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Do you need a self-esteem boost?

For over 50 years it has been widely assumed that a lot of society’s problems are a consequence of low self-esteem. By confusing correlation with causation, the unproven assumption has been made that by then simply boosting self-esteem there would be an overall increase in wellbeing and happiness. Even though there has been a lack of clarity as to what exactly self-esteem is, there has been a huge increase in programmes along with the investment of billions of dollars to raise self-esteem, especially in children and young people. (For more on
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How is your self-esteem?

The subject of self-esteem has become immensely popular and pervasive in our increasingly complex world. What is self-esteem and why is it important to get a handle on? Unfortunately it is not entirely clear. It reminds me of soap in the sense that it is slippery concept that can be at times hard to grasp. But on the other hand the idea of self-esteem has had enormous consequences for our thinking and culture. It has become so pervasive we hardly notice its effects on us. Here is how psychiatrist and
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Never or Not Yet?

Carol Dweck is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation. She is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on the subject of learning. She asks the question, when it comes to learning why do some people succeed and how do we best foster success? The short ten minute video below explains the power of believing you can get better at a task you may be struggling with. [ted id=2156] Dweck has researched extensively on how children cope with challenge and difficulty.
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Discovering silence and solitude

It is surprisingly difficult for us to handle silence. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) the brilliant French mathematician and philosopher famously wrote, “All the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, they cannot stay quietly in their own room.” I find that amazingly profound. It is even more true today in our frenetic fast paced technology driven world than it was in the 17th century when he first made that observation. The reason why we so much struggle to sit quietly on our own, Pascal continues is the “natural poverty of
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How to make stress your friend

Kelly McGonigal is a Stanford University health psychologist. She seeks to translate academic research into practical strategies for health, happiness and personal success. The following 14 minutes talk by her illustrates the power of how our thinking about stress dramatically affects our overall health and well-being. [ted id=1815 lang=en] Her talk is based on 3 observations. The first starts with a 2012 study that tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for 8 years. The study was based on 2 simple questions:
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Learning from the real James Bond

James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005) was by any stretch of the imagination, a remarkable man.  In his own words, he described how at one moment, he was “on the top,” the admired commander of over 1000 men and over 100 pilots fighting in the Vietnam War, “confident” and “self-satisfied,” a man who thought he had “found every key to success.” All that changed on 9 September 1965 when he was shot down and in a matter of minutes became “an object of contempt” and a “criminal” in the eyes of the North Vietnamese. He recounted in
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What was the real James Bond thinking?

James Bond Stockdale was the highest ranking United States military officer in the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner-of-war camp during the peak of the Vietnam War. His life reminds me of the James Bond of fiction, but has much more meaningful lessons to teach. (For more on that see Could This Be The Real James Bond?) What were the thought processes of someone who spent almost 8 years in prison, including 4 years in solitary confinement and was tortured over 20 times? He lived out the war without any prisoner’s rights, no set
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Could this be the real James Bond?

All through my life I have often been on the look out for heroes. I remember as a child first being drawn to Superman. Later on at the age of about 8 I went to the cinema with my Dad to watch the actor Sean Connery play James Bond. Subsequent Bond movies have continued to make him out to be a hero worth admiring. But growing up I found it harder and harder to identify with Bond. He was way too athletic, had the emotional sensitivity of a bull in
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    This information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical advice. Please ask your physician about any health guidelines seen in this blog, as everyone is different in his or her medical needs.