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Antidotes for the Pessimism Plague

New Year, new newsletter! Since LinkedIn has become such a widely used professional network (nearly 800 million members), we’ve moved The Leader Letter to LinkedIn’s Newsletter platform. The Leader Letter will now become a “try-weekly” — I’ll try to post a weekly article. Each issue will focus on one of the personal, team, or leadership/organization […]

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Are You the Servant or Master of this Powerful Force?

I am your constant companion. I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden. I will push you up to success or down to disappointment. I am at your command.   Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me, For I can do them quickly, correctly, and profitably. I am […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Mindfulness

Don’t believe everything you think. “… listen to your thoughts with mindful awareness. You will see the evanescent nature of thoughts, that they are fleeting ideas, all impermanent. And then you can begin to realize that just because you have a thought doesn’t mean you have to believe it — much less act on it […]

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It’s Now Forever: 9 Tips for Gifting Yourself the Present of Presence

A road sign on a winding mountain highway warned, “Slow Down or Die.” Simple, succinct, and great life advice as well. If day after day of stressful racing around doesn’t manage to physically kill us before our time, it will surely kill our happiness and enjoyment in being here. Think of times you’ve felt high […]

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Time to Reflect and Redirect to Course Correct?

With this fall’s release of Peter Jackson’s documentary series, Get Back, and Paul McCartney’s book, The Lyrics, I’ve enjoyed hearing more about The Beatles’ groundbreaking work. As a long-time fan, it’s fascinating to get more background and context for some of this iconic music. Year-end is a time for reflection. And after a year like […]

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PERMA: A Proven Framework to Increase Optimism and Happiness

How can the absence of ill-being equal the presence of well-being? Does lessening unhappiness increase happiness? Does getting what is good in life require more than eliminating what is bad? These are among the key questions underlying the rapid evolution of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) pioneered by University of Pennsylvania psychiatry professor Aaron Beck and […]

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Explanatory Style: Don’t P and Should Yourself

Last week’s post outlined key points from Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. This groundbreaking book laid the foundation for the rapidly growing field of Positive Psychology that Seligman went on to establish during his presidency of the American Psychological Association. In his follow up book, Authentic Happiness: […]

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Cognitive Psychology: Choosing Our Reality

As posted last week, Aaron Beck pioneered the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This approach was a major change to helping depressed patients focus on underlying negative beliefs. It upended traditional psychoanalytical theory and opened up a powerful new field of treatment. University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, Martin Seligman built on CBT theories and […]

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Cognition and Mindfulness: Thinking About Our Thinking

Last week 100-year-old Aaron Beck passed away after an incredibly productive life. Beck was an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. The American Psychologist has called him “one of the five most influential psychotherapists of all time.” Beck is the founder of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT approaches are now widely used […]

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Dealing with a Bad Boss: Are you Leading, Following, or Wallowing?

A sociologist was researching the long-term effects of family violence. He interviewed two sons of an alcoholic and abusive father. Both brothers were now in their sixties. One son looked back on a life of alcoholism, violence, failed marriages, joblessness, prison terms, suicide attempts, and poverty. The other son was a very successful professional. He […]

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Boss Leadership Tips and Techniques

“Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle” is proverbial wisdom that sure applies to dealing with a weak boss. It’s so easy to get on the BMW Boss Bus — bitch, moan, and whine — about the boss. Or we ride the Bitter Bus into Pity City and curse the darkness of “them” — head […]

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Bad Boss or Bully Boss? Don’t be a Victim

Surveys show that many people have been bullied by their boss or have witnessed bullying. As I wrote in Is Your Boss a Bully or Just a Really Poor Leader? there’s often a fine line between a bad boss and a bully boss. Bad bosses are frequently good people doing a bad job. Bully bosses […]

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A Bigger Perspective to Avoid the Blues

A few years ago, I facilitated a workshop with managers struggling to stay positive during a very difficult time. We discussed the choice we all have: either we can focus on a problem and let it overwhelm us, or we can keep things in perspective and re-frame what’s wrong within the much larger frame of […]

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Despite Our Incredibly Tough Times, Our World’s Still Getting Better and Better

I kicked off 2020 with my sixth annual post on how our world keeps getting dramatically and relentlessly better and better and better. As in the five years before that, Lose those News Blues and Leave the Dark Side: The World’s Never Been Better, listed over 30 major improvements and 24 sources for further reading. […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Humankind

A few favorite excerpts (so many to choose from) of my review of Rutger Bregman’s Humankind: A Hopeful History. …to stand up for human goodness is to take a stand against the powers that be. For the powerful, a hopeful view of human nature is downright threatening. Subversive. Seditious. It implies that we’re not selfish […]

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Review of Humankind: A Hopeful History

How many of these assumptions describe the reality of humankind: Corruption and cruelty lie just beneath the surface and can easily be pulled out of people. Civility is a thin veneer covering people’s selfish, sometimes evil tendencies. Laws and punishments are needed to curb dishonesty and violence. We’re all born into a world of sin […]

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Tips and Techniques for Leading in Turbulent Times

Shift happens. These days lots of shift is hitting our plans. We don’t choose what changes may hit us, but we choose how to respond. When I catch myself whining or taking a trip to Pity City, I often think of W Mitchell. In his highly inspiring book, It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s […]

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Bounce Back: 9 Ways to Strengthen Resilience

In Japan, the Daruma Doll is a good luck charm with a rounded bottom. When knocked down, it bounces back upright. This ability to bounce back is a symbol of perseverance and good luck. We’re getting knocked down pretty hard. Bouncing back is vital to getting through these tough times. Here are a few ways […]

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Coronavirus Crisis: Reasons for Hope During These Dark Times

As Heather and I work from, and stay home, to be part of the solution, I found myself gorging on way too much negative news. As my sleep and mood deteriorated, I went looking for an antidote to the pessimism plague. I began a search for reasons to be optimistic. One of the first articles […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Hacking Our Pessimistic Neuro Programing

These comments and excerpts come from my last two blogs on Lose Those News Blues and Leave the Dark Side: The World’s Never Been Better and Don’t Start the New Year Losing Touch With Reality “In Christian tradition, the four horsemen of Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death usher in the apocalypse. Compared to 100 years […]

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