Create Your Own Brand of Creativity

 
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

Part One: Introduction

When I teach the science of positive psychology to students, they sometimes get confused. Specifically, they tend to stumble over two seemingly contradictory points. On the one hand, studies reveal that having a “growth mindset” is helpful. That is, believing you can improve on personal qualities such as intelligence or athleticism. On the other hand, people also harbor a strong intuition that personal growth must not be exactly the same for all people and in all areas. Sure, you could improve with a couple of cello lessons but Yo-Yo Ma almost certainly fared better during his initial lessons. 

One place this tension rears its head is in the topic of creativity. Make no mistake, all people have some amount of creativity even as they have some modicum of humor, intelligence, and empathy. Even so, it is pretty clear that there are real differences between people in how funny, smart, or compassionate they are....

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The Truth Behind Trust


By Shannon Thompson

 Again, he crouches on the start line. His heart and eyes are wide as he considers the danger and possibility that awaits him. Somehow, a volatile relationship with the track has not killed his willingness to return. Memories flare and doubt curls in his throat. The unknown is alight within him. But, he bravely accepts the innocence of this new moment and offers his trust back to the race.

In the world of high performance trust is essential. Trust is the pillar around which all hopeful striving turns, and the foundation that consistent excellence is built upon. Specifically where trust is placed is a personal choice. Some trust their own abilities gained through experience and training. Others trust a wise leader who has proven to be previously trustworthy. Many place their trust in a Higher Power considered to be religious or spiritual. Regardless of its placement, trust is the weight, the anchor, the rudder that holds the course. It is the focusing force...

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Success is a State of Mind

 
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

Part One: Introduction

There are a number of concepts that come from the field of medicine that typically get a bad name among lay people. For example, you have probably heard someone denigrate using alcohol as “a crutch.” While I am not advocating alcohol use, this snooty view of crutches has always been a bit perplexing to me. Since when have crutches been anything other than helpful? Similarly, I have heard folks criticize many medications for “masking symptoms.” Again, while I favor treating the root cause of illness, I also see some occasional benefit in dealing with painful, difficult, or inconvenient symptoms. Finally, I have long been curious about the way that people so consistently dismiss the “placebo effect.”

The placebo effect is when a person experiences a real benefit from taking a substance with no known real benefits. For example, when a person swallows a simple sugar pill but then her headache...

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The Leadership Key to High Performance


By Jess Hopkins 

These days leadership ability applies to a variety of roles, and it certainly isn’t limited to title or rank. Beyond the traditional view of leadership as a responsibility of C-suites and executives, leadership is present in practically every day-to-day function: parent, student, teacher, manager, caretaker. To some degree, everyone must lead. The ability to lead well is inextricably linked with high performance.

Buzzwords like vision, strategy and execution always come to mind when we think of leadership—but at the end of the day leaders must achieve those themes through other people. It is the personal, and interpersonal aspects of leadership that ultimately determine the success of leaders in producing next-level results. 

So, what is the #1 interpersonal leadership skill for driving high performance? Without a doubt, it is defining and enforcing boundaries. 

In his latest book, Boundaries for Leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud explains...

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Taking Initiative: A Key to Success is Seizing the Opportunity

 
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

My day job involves the study of positive topics such as happiness, hospitality, strengths and friendship. My research has taken me to some far-flung places and given me the opportunity to speak with people I might not otherwise, such as the homeless, Amish farmers, and sex workers in India. I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with people who—by nearly any definition—are highly successful. A Nobel Prize winner, a billionaire, Hollywood stars, best-selling authors, and professional athletes. I am not trying to impress you or to name— drop. Indeed, I won’t mention any names at all, but I do want to emphasize that I have had the opportunity to observe wealthy, talented, and hard-working people up close. They vary, of course, in how smart, how talented, or how lucky they are. But most of them appear to have an enviable quality: personal initiative. 

I first heard the word initiative in 1981 when I was introduced to...

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How to Think like a High Performer


By Jess Hopkins 

The notion that mindset plays a role in our daily lives is hardly a new one. For thousands of years, the world’s greatest philosophers, writers, and thinkers have expounded on the virtues of mastering your mind to improve your quality of life. Fortunately, science can now confirm this notion as truth, offering a research-backed pathway towards greater wellbeing and high performance. 

Decades of research from Carol Dweck, world-renowned psychologist and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, shows that the view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can literally determine whether or not you accomplish the things you value and become the person you wish to be. Research shows that mindset is powerful; it has the capacity to improve your relationships, bolster your confidence and reduce the risk of depression. 

The first step towards leveraging this high impact concept is to deepen your...

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3 Fears That Can Change Your Life


By Shannon Thompson


“Wherever the fear is, this is precisely the gift you have to give.” — Amanda Palmer

Fear is a language. It speaks through truth and lies. Fear can protect us, but it is not angelic. Fear impedes on our bravest actions, and yet, is not purely evil. Fear is a discourse of feeling. It weaves temptation with sinister self-doubt, and lifesaving clarity with cruel contradiction. Capable of so much, it is one of the most powerful emotions we have. Despite the difficulty we have to comprehend fear, it can become a valuable guide if we learn to recognize and understand its varying forms. My purpose in this essay is to teach you how.

When I train elite athletes on how to deal with fear, I begin by helping them to become aware of the signals of their brain and body.  I teach them to pay close attention to their thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Interpreted correctly, fear can help us to successfully navigate the challenges and...

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The Breakdown of an Atomic Habit


By Jess Hopkins 

The standard narrative about habit change and other facets of high performance is that you need to set a goal and work extremely hard towards achieving that goal. And if you don’t succeed it’s because you don’t have the grit, determination, or the persistence to see it through. Internally, these narratives can typically sound something like, “Well, maybe I just don’t want it badly enough” or “I don’t have the willpower to achieve that kind of goal.”

But research on human behavior shows that many of the actions we take each day are simply a response to the system we’ve built around ourselves. As confirmed by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, he explains that if you’ve developed some poor habits or you’re having trouble shifting them, it’s not because of you, it’s because of your system.

Clear argues that we do not rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level...

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You're Designed to Plan for the Future

By Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D.

Some years ago, my friend Martin Seligman remarked on a mismatch between psychology’s research findings and his personal experience. He pointed out that psychology explains behavior by focusing on the past: reinforcement history, prior traumas, Oedipus complexes, socialization, and more. But in his own daily life, he found himself generally thinking about the future. Sure enough, as we delved into the research on human thinking, the imbalance was profound. There are tens of thousands of studies on memory, but only a smattering of studies on thinking into the future. We took this as a challenge and opportunity, and indeed I’ve been working with various other talented people to start to learn what we can about how people think about the future.

First, a shift in emphasis seemed necessary. When psychologists have gotten around to studying thoughts about the future, they usually converge on studying predictions. There is actually some...

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Finding Your Authenticity

 
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

Introduction: The Search For Self

We are going to address the concept of authenticity and why it is critical to your success. First, however, bear with me as we take a short, introductory trip to Asia.

For a long time, no one knew that Mt. Everest was the tallest mountain in the world. To be sure, local people of Tibet and Nepal treated the peak with special reverence, but throughout history they did not know with certainty that it was the tallest.  The problem with determining which of the Himalayas soars the highest is the simple fact that the human eye has a tough time with scale and perspective. I can remember the first time I traveled to Kenya to conduct research and my translator said, “Look at all those elephants.” I gazed out at the sweeping vista of hills, trees, and grassland and couldn’t see a single pachyderm. “There are about twenty of them,” my translator said in an apparent effort to make me...

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