I love the new Lucozade ad, where librarians, hairdressers and window cleaners demonstrate effortless skill in the tasks they're performing. It grabs your attention, tapping that 'on my game' feeling most of us are familiar with, and skilfully aligning it with the 'magical' effects of Lucozade. And while it's humorously exaggerated for effect (not many of us are up to the task of changing a wheel on a car whilst driving!), it illustrates a psychological principle that's central to getting the most out of work, and life. Top class sportspeople call this being 'in the zone': a mental state where their game becomes easy, filling them with confidence and the feeling they can achieve almost Continue Reading
Keeping up with my 'books to read' list is a never-ending challenge, and one I seem doomed to fail. As fast as I read - which isn't that fast - I add books to my list much faster. So when a promoted tweet for an app called Blinkist landed in my twitter feed recently, it caught my attention. Blinkist offers summaries of a wide range of non-fiction books: from leadership to personal effectiveness, biographies to social issues. They currently have around 800 titles, and are adding around 40 a month. Having downloaded the app, I signed up for a 3-day free trial which gives you enough time to browse the extensive collection and read as many summaries as you can fit in. It didn't take me long Continue Reading
Very early in my career, I had the opportunity to take the Myers Briggs type indicator (MBTI), and get feedback on my personality type. I still vividly remember reading the summary: this test knew me better than I did! It was staggering to me, at the time, how answers to what appeared to be random questions would produce a personality description that truly resonated: one I could never have written myself. I've been a fan of the MBTI ever since. So it's a little disconcerting that Brian Little's intriguing Me Myself and Us gives rather short shrift to this popular personality indicator. Apparently, while the MBTI is 'adequate' on accuracy, it scores low on consistency: if you take the Continue Reading
Are you an introvert? Then Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution site at www.quietrev.com may prove an invaluable source on how to embrace your personality – and how to break out on occasion too.
Cain, through her bestselling book Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, has done more than anyone in recent years to promote the cause of introverts.
If you’re not sure whether you’re an introvert or not, you can find out on the Quiet Revolution site. And if you are, there are lots of useful features on how to negotiate life’s often more extravert-friendly challenges.
Sign up to the site newsletter and there’s also a free 40-page eBook, The Power of Introverts, which is an entertaining read.
In 1984 American television news reporter Lesley Stahl filed a long report for the evening news. It featured footage of President Reagan in typically amiable form visiting the Special Olympics for children with disabilities. The tone of Stahl's report, however, was rather different. She reported that Reagan had cut funding for children with disabilities. Exposing as it did an air of Presidential hypocrisy, Stahl worried that her White House sources would be angry enough to freeze her out. To her surprise, however, a senior Reagan staffer phoned to tell her how much they loved it. Stahl was amazed. 'Didn't you hear what I said?' she asked. ‘Nobody heard what you said', the staffer Continue Reading
As a presenter, you want an audience riveted to your every word. Yet in this era of smartphone-induced limited attention spans, that challenge is becoming increasingly difficult. You need every trick in your arsenal to keep people focused. A recent tour of the Sydney Opera House highlighted one particularly powerful technique. In some ways, the tour was disappointing. Many of the auditoria were being set up for evening performances, so opportunities to see backstage or 'behind the scenes' were limited. The tour didn't really take you anywhere that you felt you couldn't have seen by wandering around yourself. Yet it turned out to be an intriguing 60 minutes. And much of that was down Continue Reading