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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

The Real Reason Why Change Is Hard


By Jess Hopkins 

Change is a tricky topic. We all struggle with it in one way or another—on a personal or professional level. We say we want to change.  We feel motivated to follow through. And yet, invariably, we see little to no progress. What gives?  

Based on years of research, organizational psychologists Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow developed the Immunity to Change model as a powerful framework for explaining why so many people struggle to make meaningful changes to their lives. The underlying concept is that each of us has an “emotional immune system” that exists to protect us from fear, anxiety, and emotional discomfort. On the whole, this system is invaluable to our day-to-day safety, but our commitment to the safe and familiar can rear up and get in the way of our change-goals. 

At the heart of the emotional immune system resides our underlying competing commitments—those safety-net beliefs and coping mechanisms that...

Continue Reading...

How to Have a Difficult Conversation


By Shannon Thompson

There are few interactions that people dread more than a difficult conversation. Most of us have had one, or should have one. A difficult conversation surrounds the issues that you must address in order to productively move forward. These are the subjects that you fear will be received angrily, might hurt someone, or could reflect badly on you. I’m talking about the problems that stand in the way of real progress, genuine understanding, or true intimacy. No matter how well we live our lives, at some point, we all must face a difficult conversation. 

Why can these conversations feel so hard? Researchers from the Harvard Negotiation Project (a group dedicated to improving the theory and practice of conflict resolution) have studied difficult conversations extensively. They offer this statement in regards to why we feel so uncomfortable initiating difficult conversations and why we must have them: “One of the reasons you haven’t...

Continue Reading...

3 Science-Backed Lessons for Perfect Timing


By Jess Hopkins 

There’s no shortage of how-to books circulating these days: how to create better habits, how to increase your productivity, how to leverage your strengths; the list goes on and on. Given that we face a lot of decisions about how to approach the various challenges and opportunities in our lives, learning about the tools and strategies that maximize potential is crucial. But simply knowing how to accomplish your goals isn’t sufficient for achieving top performance. New research is revealing another critical factor that often goes overlooked when considering how to achieve our desired results: timing. 

In his latest book, When: The Scientific Principles of Perfect Timing, Dan Pink synthesizes cutting-edge research into a compelling narrative that highlights the power of leveraging timing in order to amplify performance. Day-to-day, we are faced with a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when...

Continue Reading...

Screening for Success

 
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

Yesterday my son and I enjoyed a hike along the Crooked River in Smith Rock State Park. Known as one of the “7 Wonders of Oregon,” Smith Rock is a stunning massif that towers above the desert around it. Bald Eagles float in lazy circles and it is not uncommon to see river otters playing. The silence of our hike was broken only by a couple who strolled a stone’s throw behind us. They were too far away to hear clearly, but the guy was incredibly passionate in whatever he was discussing. In fact, he talked nearly nonstop and I never heard his companion utter a word. We came to a wooden suspension bridge and stopped for a drink of water. It was here that I was able to steal a glance at the couple behind us. I was shocked: The man had been—and was continuing—to speak on his cell phone. He didn’t appear to be noticing the natural beauty around him, including his hiking partner! She caught my open-mouthed and...

Continue Reading...

How to Raise Self-Compassionate Children


By Shannon Thompson

“For only as we ourselves, as adults, actually move and have our being in the state of love, can we appropriate models and guides for our children. What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.”

~ Joseph Chilton Pearce


In my work as a mental performance coach, I am constantly working with athletes who are too hard on themselves. One poor game, one bad moment, one let down in personal standards, and they fall apart. They begin to tell themselves that they’re no good and don’t deserve to win. In my work, I try to help these athletes see things differently and cut themselves a break. Unfortunately, many of them have learned unhelpful thought patterns long before we ever begin working together. Growing up, many athletes learn lessons that stifle their self-confidence and keep them from being their best selves—both on
and off the field. 

Sadly, I’ve found that some...

Continue Reading...

You Can’t Do Anything, But You Can Do a Lot More Than You Think

 
By Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

I’ve often wondered how good a singer I could become. You should understand that I have a terrible voice, no real ear for music, and no training whatsoever. Even so, I think it might be kind of fun to be able to belt out a song or two without making children cry and cats run away. The question of how good a singer I could be is at the heart of a wider issue: potential. People often talk about potential; we lament it when an athlete does not live up to his or her promise, we place kids into “gifted” programs based on their potential, and we get married (or otherwise commit to a romantic relationship) based on the potential we see in partnering. For as intuitive a notion as potential is, I have found in my conversations with friends, that people have only the loosest understanding of this topic. 

On occasion, I teach courses in positive psychology to university students. I enjoy posing the question of potential to them (and by...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Subscribe

We'll send you weekly emails with our latest insights and training for free, and we'll never send you ads or sponsored messages.