Category Archives: Positive Psychology

Guilt is Good

Have a look at a great video clip from NLP master trainer Steve Andreas about guilt.

He gives us some really good reframing: If I’m feeling  guilty about something rude I said, I can ask myself “in the moment what was more important – speaking up or being nice?  If I acknowledge that I’ve chosen speaking up for myself as more important, then I must be a person who lives my values.”

So I’ve reframed the thought of violating a value in order to satisfy another value to mean I am a person who lives my values.  Nice.   It’s counterintuitive – an interesting benefit of guilt.

If I”m feeling really guilty about not “being nice” then that means that value is also really important to me.  So a values clash can help to clarify what’s important to me. Another benefit of guilt.

Maybe I haven’t learned how to achieve both together yet, but by knowing that both values are important, I can choose to make amends, to show that I’m also ‘nice’.  And using ‘intelligent regret’, I can reflect on my behaviour and choose to do something different in the future that combines both values.  This gives me problem to solve rather than wallowing in embarrassment. That’s a third benefit of guilt.

In conclusion, guilt is good.  Especially if you do something different as a result of it.

Thanks Steve – very helpful.

Gaining a Slight Edge

I’m really enjoying Jeff Olsen’s book The Slight Edge.  It ties together a number of themes I love around taking action, discipline, mastery, developing habits and positivity and the diagram reminds me that there are consequences of taking (small actions consistently leads to great results.

As a result of the book’s message, I’ve created a Slight Edge Scorecard.  Look out of a copy of it in the next post. 

Finally: My formula for happiness

New research reported by behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman, shows a fascinating distinction: “money doesn’t buy you experiential happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you [the experience of] misery.”  Check out Kahneman’s TED Talk here.

Kahneman explains that the research from the USA shows people’s moment to moment feelings of happiness increase as their income increases, until it hits a level of $60,000, then it ‘flat lines’.  This means that above that level of income more money doesn’t buy a happier life for the ‘experiencing self’.

But, according to Kahneman, we don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to our ‘experiencing self’ and this is what has confused both economic and psychological research.  We have another self he calls the ‘remembering self’ or the ‘reflecting self’.  This self keeps score, but isn’t good at counting all the individual moments of happiness, so it uses short cuts by counting the changes and significant moments.  Thus, our remembering self tends to be more satisfied with life to the extent that we keep earning more income and we keep achieving goals.

What is the key to happiness for the experiencing self?  Kahneman says that it is primarily comes from “spending time with people that we like”.

For Kahneman the differing measures for the two selves reflect some of the dilemmas for USA and to a great extent Australia:

– some of us don’t have enough income to live on so we experience unhappiness and dissatisfaction

– some of us are experiencing a happy life – living and working with people we love – but on reflection think that we are not “achieving goals and earning more”, so we are dissatisfied with our lives

– some of us are earning and achieving and think we are happy, until our loved ones or employees leave us

– some of us have got the formula right – we aim to earn a modest but always slightly increasing income and we set goals for more and better interactions with those with whom we love, work and serve.

What a fabulous way to live!

Positivity and the Magic Ratio

We’ve got the golden mean and the 80/20 rule.  Now, thanks to Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity, we have the magic positivity ratio of 3:1: if you have at least three positives – thoughts, phrases or actions – for every one negative, your life will change for the better.

Medical, psychological, marriage and business research all seem to be converging on a similar prediction – that high performance teams, partnerships and individuals all have in common a three to one ratio of positives to negatives.

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