The quest to understand human personalities has been going on for 3,000 years, or more. The Big Five Personality Traits are just the latest in a long line of models that take us towards that understanding.
And, it would be as absurd to think that the Big Five Personality Traits will be the last word on the matter as it would have been to stick with the four humours. But perhaps what the centuries of scientific development, and acres of statistical analysis, can assure us of is that we are honing that understanding.
How like the Big Five our 22nd Century model will be, we cannot know. But, for now, the best representation we have, of the fundamentals of human psychology, are the big Five Personality Traits. So, what are they?
Continue reading Big Five Personality Traits
What better way to start the year than with an introduction to the science of Happiness?
And it’s not just a thriving area of scientific research. It’s also a predictably fertile topic for popular science books. On my shelf, I have:
- Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman (2003) (US|UK)
- Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, by Richard Layard (2005) (US|UK)
- Happiness, The Science Behind Your Smile, by Daniel Nettle (2005) (US|UK)
- The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt (2006) (US|UK)
- Happier, by Tal ben-Shahar (2008) (US|UK)
- The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor (2010) (US|UK)
And I have stopped collecting.
Continue reading Happiness: The Pursuit of a Good Life
The acronym VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. It may be a military coinage, but it seems to sum up so much of what the modern world feels like.
But, never fear: linguistic fluency and creative ingenuity have conjured a number of strategies to counter the prevailing VUCA environment we inhabit. Best known among them is Bob Johanson’s ‘VUCA prime’. It is an alternative acronym with four ripostes to Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity.
Continue reading VUCA and VUCA Prime
Strengths are the things we are naturally good at. Everyone knows that. And it has become something of a commonplace that:
We should play to our strengths
In fact, that seeming truism has been underpinned by a lot of academic research over the last 20 years or so, since Martin Seligman formally kicked-off the discipline of Positive Psychology.
So it is in the Positive Psychology sense that we shall examine what strengths are, and why they matter to us.
Continue reading Strengths: Character Strengths and Signature Strengths
Four years ago we wrote about Growth Mindset, in our Management Thinkers series. We profiled the originator of the idea, Carol Dweck, and introduced the subject.
If there was any concern then that Growth Mindset may be little more than a fad, further research has only strengthened Dweck’s early conclusions. So, it seems timely to return to the topic.
While this article stands alone, I would recommend you to review the earlier article first. It’s good context. Because, to avoid repeating it, we’re going to use this article to look at how you can put the Big Idea of Growth Mindset to work in your workplace.
Continue reading Growth Mindset: Putting it to Work
The Flow State has been described by the first researcher to study it in depth, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as the optimal state for a human being.
When we are in a flow state, there’s nothing more we want, than to continue doing what we are doing, to completion. So, flow states are great for getting things done.
Continue reading Flow: The Optimal State for a Human Being
As I started researching this article, I found myself speed-reading an interview with Carl Honoré. Was the interview dull? No. Rather, it was my need to finish and move on. This is what the Slow Movement is pushing back, gently, against.
The Slow Movement is a corrective. While some proponents advocate slowing down for its own sake, I think the most persuasive advocates of slow are those who see it as being about slowing down to the right pace. I’ll call that right speeding.
Continue reading The Slow Movement: Right-speeding
The world changes fast, and to keep up, you need to be learning new stuff all the time. And some of that needs to be from a large and complex body of knowledge. Yet, as a working manager, your time is at a premium. So is there any way you can create accelerated learning?
The answer is yes. Over many years, we have accumulated a broad and eclectic body of knowledge about how we learn. It combines experience, practical psychology, and neuroscience. And practitioners bring this all together under the banner of Accelerated Learning.
Continue reading Accelerated Learning: Learn fast & effectively
Positive Mental Attitude is a staple of the self-help movement. But don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not about false faith or miracle cures.
Instead, it’s about exercising the most fundamental freedom you have: to choose how to respond to your situation. Positive Mental Attitude is a choice that opens up more options for you.
And that’s why it works for so many people. Because, with more options, you have more chances of getting what you want.
Continue reading Positive Mental Attitude: You Choose
Nobody likes a fraud… yet we tolerate them. Nobody wants to be a phoney… but we all let ourselves down on occasion. But regardless of our actions, we all value authenticity.
The challenge of course is not just to recognise it, and distinguish the authentic from the ersatz.
It’s to form a clear idea of what you mean by authenticity. Because in modern business and professional parlance, it’s become a bit of a chameleon.
Continue reading Authenticity – Congruence for the 21st Century