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…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 3) – other-awareness

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Last month, we discussed how paying attention to yourself – self-awareness – can benefit you in terms of enhancing your emotional intelligence but also bolstering your resilience and adaptability. In addition to making emotional self-management smoother, I have noticed in folks gaining in and practicing self-awareness a quietening of the mind, a stronger sense of self, greater acceptance of life’s daily irritants and a lesser reactivity overall. A third benefit I have noticed from paying attention to oneself is that it also boosts motivation, increasing self-determination and therefore improving one’s goal achievement prospects.

Let me now invite you to look at the other side of the coin: other-awareness. [Read more…]

Paying attention and happiness (part 2) – self-awareness

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! And of course: best wishes for happy 2018!
In last month’s blog, we discussed the fact that voluntary attention – what we consciously focus on – is the instrument thanks to which we can shape our reality – rather than it being just the result of an interpretative process based on our unique life experiences. Really paying attention is the means through which we can expand our horizons: by consciously choosing what we attend to, we challenge our ‘newspaper syndrome’ (for a refresher, see

Paying better attention as well as more frequently, thereby refusing to accept the limited reality which is presented to us, is worth our while because otherwise "[w]e can’t study, listen, converse with others, work, play, or even sleep well" (see Allan Wallace’s book ‘The Attention Revolution’, 2006). Apart from the obvious discomfort which must ensue from such fundamental dysfunctions, what is really at stake is our happiness. Lacking the capacity to focus robs us of choice and leaves us vulnerable to the myriad stimuli in and out there, waiting to turn us into weathercocks.
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Paying attention: the secret to happiness (part 1)

Hello and welcome to this month’s neuro blog! Let’s see: where have we got to? Three articles in, we know about the three parts of the human brain (see: and the dominance of the unconscious. We also know that one of the main purposes of the human brain is sense-making (see:

In last month’s article, we discussed the fact that because ours is only an edited reality which is the result of an interpretative process based on our unique life experiences, it is as though we each read only our own individual newspaper and perceive reality through a filter we are mostly unaware of. Indeed, we don’t get to choose our newspaper, we cannot read any other one and everyone else reads a different one – from mine, yours and each other’s.

It is a wonder that we agree on anything!
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What your brain is for

Hello and welcome to the second article of my neuro blog. In the first one last month, I described the three parts of the human brain (see just below for a second representation of the triune brain), notably the importance of the unconscious. In future posts, I expect to delve into how the fact that our brain processes are mostly unconscious impacts our decision-making and consequently our behaviour. But today, I’d like to engage you in considering what your brain is for. Obviously, there are many possible answers.
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The three brains in your head

Hello and welcome to the first article of my neuro blog. Since 2013, I have become increasingly interested in what neuroscience, the scientific, multi-disciplinary, study of the nervous system can teach us about the brain. My assumption was that understanding the brain would in turn illuminate my comprehension of the mind. The two are definitely "correlated" (I can’t escape my financial past!) but they are not the same. I expect I’ll return to that difference in future posts.

With this neuro blog, I mean to share some of what I’ve discovered about the brain and the insights about the mind which learning about the brain has made possible for me. Having an appreciation for how the brain works has helped me manage my thoughts – to cope with the less helpful ones, my emotions – to move away from the uncomfortable ones, and my behaviour – to choose more how I act.
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4 Steps to Discussing Under-Performance

TELL™ Them What’s Gone Wrong

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

For many, December is synonymous with Christmas. For others, Hanukkah is the highlight of the last month of the year. But, in the office, for millions around the world, December is the month of performance evaluations. For this reason, I am dedicating this last article of 2015 to discussing the dreaded issue of under-performance.

While many team leaders forget to say ‘thank you’, what many really struggle with is appropriately addressing under-performance. If you’ve just gone "hmmm" then you know what I mean: how uncomfortable the prospect of such a conversation makes you. Well, let me suggest to you that you are not alone: those folks who under-perform typically know that they are not doing well and they too feel dreadful. So how about putting an end to both your and their misery and finding the words to finally tell them what’s gone wrong?

So let me offer the TELL™ model, a 4-step process to assist you with preparing for and then having that delicate conversation around under-performance which does not end – just – in tears.

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Two Persuasion Techniques in Action

Getting under Someone Else’s Skin

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

How did you find using "SWAY"©? For those readers who may have missed the article on this model of persuasion, a very brief recap:

  1. ‘S’ is for ‘Significance‘ where you investigate the interest and need of your audience – whether it’s one individual or several people – around the matter you want to influence them over. The challenge there is to ask the right questions to open them up.
  2. ‘W’ is for ‘Way of being‘ where you decode your audience’s way of functioning, how they behave, what kind of personality they are. Here it’s about really listening to the words people use and not assuming that we are all the same even if we use the same words.
  3. ‘A’ is for ‘Adapt‘ because, once you know what your target audience is interested in and how they function, you need to adapt your communication to match their need and style. The challenge in this stage is to get your mind to shift enough that you can effectively do that.
  4. Finally, ‘Y’ is for ‘get readY‘ (so you see how creative I can be!). This final stage covers a number of activities to finely hone your message once you know how to pitch it. The challenge here is to cover all bases in order to come out with a very sleek communication.

For more on "SWAY"©, go to the dedicated video and article by clicking here.

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Four Steps to Influence People

Persuasion Tools

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

As promised last month, in this article on how to influence others, I’m going to show you the core elements of a persuasion strategy. I will share with you a four-step model called "SWAY"©. I have called it "SWAY"© because when you have good persuasion skills, you will be able to sway people’s opinion in your direction! You will be able to do that because you will first figure your audience out and then be able to give them what they want. [Read more…]

Are You Good at Influencing People?

Being Able to Persuade Others is Key to Your Success at Work

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

Hello and welcome to the first of three posts on the topic of how to influence people. In this article, I will examine what happens when we try to influence people without the right tools. I will also give you my recipe for successful persuasion. In next month’s post, I will show you the core elements of a persuasion strategy. Those of you familiar with my work know that I like to provide models for people to use so this is another one.

Finally, in a third article, I will pick two themes from that model and show you why they’re important and the difference between getting it right and… well, botching it, frankly. So by the time we’re done with this influencing series, you will understand the fundamental principles of good influencing, know the core elements of a persuasion strategy and will have been given two techniques to immediately test out in the real world.

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