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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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Inspiring with the Power of Persuasion: Do You Have the Write Stuff?

Bob was clearly frustrated. “I keep telling them, but nobody listens,” he fumed. As we looked at his 360 feedback on his communication practices, it was clear why nobody was listening to him. Bob’s communication skills were awful.   Bob scored quite high on technical expertise and analytical skills. A big part of his communication […]

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Are you Feeling the Love?

Early in my career, I worked in a company with an inspiring and passionate CEO. He often said, “If you love what you’re doing, you never have to work again.” Love that concept! Most of us hate work. It’s a four-letter word. Hard work is why I left the family farm. Whenever a job started […]

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Is Your Boss a Bully or Just a Really Poor Leader?

It’s been very frustrating to hear of the toxic workplace created by Canada’s ex-governor general, Julie Payette. Last month’s independent report details examples of “yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations.” Forty-three of the staff members interviewed described the culture Payette created as “hostile or negative.” Twenty-six people called their workplace “toxic” or […]

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Are They Going to Believe You or Their Own Eyes?

As legend has it, Alexander the Great was leading his forces across a scorching terrain. For eleven days, they marched on. The soldiers were exhausted, and their throats parched. On the twelfth day, the advance guard brought Alexander a helmet containing a cup or two of all the water they could find. The troops watched […]

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Thoughts that Make You Go Hmmm on…Leadership Hypocrisy

A baker suspected that the farmer who was supplying his butter was giving him short weight. He carefully checked the weight, and his suspicions were confirmed. Highly indignant, he had the farmer arrested. At the trial the judge was satisfied and the baker chagrined at the farmer’s explanation. He (the farmer) had no scales so […]

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Bit by Innocent Bit, Are You Becoming a Sincere Hypocrite?

Most leaders don’t live by the motto: “do what I say, not what I do.” Their apparent hypocritical behavior is innocent and sincere. They simply don’t know that their actions are seen as out of step with their words. Not checking blind spots can lead to deadly highway accidents. Leaders who don’t seek feedback often […]

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Muting the Messenger: What Leaders Do Silences What Leaders Say

It’s incredibly frustrating for our family to follow the COVID isolation rules while many families we know don’t. What’s been especially infuriating is seeing so many political leaders returning from out of country vacations. Most are directly violating the non-essential travel rules/guidelines drafted by their own governments — for the rest of us little people. […]

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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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Zoom Out to See Where You’re Going

A really helpful feature of Google Maps is the ability to zoom in and out. Often pulling back to see the bigger picture gives a better sense of where we are now and where we’re going. In these crazy times, it’s so easy to get stuck at street view. We rush from one task to […]

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Trust Matters: It’s Critical in These Disruptive Times

Is your organization suffering from truth decay? Honesty, integrity, and trust are critical in chaotic times. We need everyone actively engaged in looking for innovative new ways to deal with unprecedented disruptions. In their study, Innovation by All, Great Place to Work concluded organizations with high-trust cultures involve and engage many more employees than most […]

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