Take charge of your life with 4 easy steps

Do you sometimes feel like you’re not in control of your own life? Do most situations leave you feeling lost or helpless? If that’s the case, you need is an internal locus of control.

Locus of control is where you believe the control in your life comes from. When you have an external locus of control, you see people or factors outside of yourself as ‘controlling’ your life. Conversely, having an internal locus of control means that you believe you have some control over the events in your life. You know you can’t influence everything, but you believe you can manage your own actions and thinking processes.

 

So how can you operate from an internal locus of control? Here are four tips I give students in my Positive Psychology training courses:

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Control emotions so they don’t control you

Have you ever said something in anger that you later wish you could take back? When you act on your emotions too quickly, you often make decisions that you later regret.

Your emotions are connected to key drives in your psych. They can seem to creep up without warning and completely take over. Emotion regulation allows you to recognise and manage your feelings so they don’t drive your behaviour.  

Emotional Intelligence expert Daniel Goleman has shown that emotion regulation is one of four key skills that contribute to professional success. Like any other skill, emotion regulation takes time and practice.

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Improve your relationships with ONE skill

When a relationship has soured, how do you turn it around? The answer is to give positive attention to the other person.  

Humans need positive attention in the same way we need air. Like oxygen, positive attention is essential to both our physical and mental well-being. The key to positivity in any relationship is active constructive communication. To be active constructive, you need to show genuine interest. For example, you might ask for more information or say, “Wow, that sounds like a surprise…” 

To respond in active constructive mode, react to others’ bids for attention in positive ways. You also need to bid for their attention – but in ways that build the relationship. There are four simple ways to do this.  

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Let’s look back as well as forward this New Year’s Eve

As December ends and January begins, how will you mark the transition to a new year? Many of us “celebrate the New Year.” We mark those celebrations with parties and toasts to the upcoming year. The more serious of develop plans, otherwise known as New Year’s resolutions. And all of us hope that the next 12 months are going to be special. Looking at these New Year rituals through the eyes of an anthropologist, something strikes me. These celebrations are all about looking forward and leaving the past 12 months behind.

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Find out what difficult people really want

Handling difficult people means interrupting their game-playing. Learn to recognise the games commonly used by people in fight, flight and spite mode. This sets you up to address the game successfully and alter the difficult behaviour as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How logic kills problem-solving ability

If you’ve studied problem-solving or decision-making, you’ve probably been told to take a logical approach. This means that what I’m about to propose might seem controversial. After teaching solution-focused thinking techniques for over 20 years, I’ve noticed there are three key ways logical thinking can hold people back when tackling tough issues. I call these the downsides of logic.

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How to say ‘you’re wrong’ without saying ‘you’re wrong’

Telling someone they’re wrong can be a politically risky move. Imagine, for example, explaining to your boss that he’s just made an unethical decision, or imagine telling your key client, as a small business owner, that the course of action they’re committed to is based on faulty assumptions. At an even simpler level, imagine needing to correct an erroneous fact your colleague has just presented to a senior management group during an important meeting.

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When you’re verbally attacked do this…

What’s the first thing you should do when you’re verbally attacked? It’s not defending yourself, even though this is the instinctive reaction which drives most people. If you want to shift the power dynamic and take control of the situation, you need to work smarter. You need to ask questions instead of rebutting what has just been said.

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