Paying attention and happiness (part 4) – active listening

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Last month, we discussed other-awareness and landed on the notion that disagreement – about beliefs, values and behaviours – is more likely to be the norm. I advocated tolerance but also proposed that you put on a metaphorical Detective Columbo’s raincoat (no need for the cigar nor the dishevelled look) and go look for the other’s person’s inner landscape, asking open questions to give them the freedom to respond as they wish, and thereby letting a new reality emerge – theirs. [Read more…]

Imagine reading just one newspaper – for the rest of your life

Hello and welcome to the third article of my neuro blog. In the first one, I described the three parts of the human brain (see image to the left for a reminder of the triune brain), notably the importance of the unconscious. In the second article, I suggested that one of the main purposes of the human brain is sense-making (see second photo below).

The diagram describing how the brain processes stimuli – whether internal or external – highlights that nothing is experienced directly. There are a number of implications therefrom but today let me discuss communication. [Read more…]

Bringing Down Darth Vader

Dealing with Conflict

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)


Hello dear reader, I’m writing you from London, and today it’s the Royal Wedding!! Did many of you watch it? Ladies, did you think Kate looked gorgeous?

As promised, in this last post on self-confidence, here are more tips to stay self-confident even in the face of conflict: that will give us a chance to apply the 3-step model I showed you last time.

By conflict, I mean someone criticising you harshly. In public. Not constructive feedback between the two of you. It’s also about someone disagreeing with you in a disparaging way. In front of others.

All right, so let’s practice the 3-step model in this situation. Listen comes first. But to listen when you’re under fire, let me first suggest you count to at least three in your head and breathe in through your stomach. Keep cool, don’t rise to the bait.

Another tip to help you stay cool: separate the person from the problem. If you focus on the aggressor and start to think "I hate this guy", you’re paying attention to the wrong thing: you are not listening. What is the substance of what this person is saying? Discount all the noise, the smelly wrapping around the words, the unpleasant packaging: what does he/she want? If it’s unclear, ask for specifics. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by "This work is crap!" Ask: "Would you tell me how I can improve my work?" People are disarmed by candour.

[Read more…]