Tag Archives: psychology

The happiness project – Gretchen Rubin

imageWhy do you work? Why do you spend your time with family and friends? Why do you cultivate your hobbies? Why do you sing? Why do you meditate? Why do you watch TV?

Maybe you would like to give a different answers to all these questions. Actually, the answer is just one: to be happy.
Happiness, as discovered hundreds of years ago by most important philosophers, is the final goal of each of our actions.
Pay attention: happiness, not pleausure. You feel happiness when you invest in somethingl, in growth, for you or for others. You feel pleasure when you consume something.

This book is a self-help memoir. Gretchen starten her personal Happiness Project by programming it during a Whole year. Each month focused on one issue:

– January: energy and vitality
– February: marriage
– March: work
– April: parenthood
– May: leisure and hobbies
– June: friendship
– July: money
– August: eternity
– September: your passion (in her case: books)
– October: Mindfulness
– November: attitude in doing all these things
– December: happiness in general.

She did not want to change her life from top to bottom. She wanted to be happy exactly where she was, with her family, job, city. This is one thing that we hardly understand: we dream to change work or to expatriate to the Caribbeans (well, a book cannot make me change my mind…), but if by chance we manage to do this, we notice that we face the same Self. Well, not a case that one of her comandments was “Be Gretchen”.

Do not try to love something because you think that you should love it. I would like to love more classical music and jazz, but I do not. On the contrary, I love pop music, above all when I can follow it well during my running. I would like to love shopping, just to have something to chat with some ladies, but I do not. I would like to love romance books, but I do not.

The changes that Gretchen introduced into her life were all little: starting a reading Group, uncluttering, controlling her tongue when rage was starting, stopping nagging.

Above all she experienced that new things/event/people/activities boosted her happiness level.
I would never follow her suggestion about diet (she is a great fun of coffee and for sure, no vegan), but she has unclosed a forgotten wisdom mass that we shall Always remember: if you want to be happy, think and act happy.
Nothing more. So simple.


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You deserve the Best – Lucia Giovannini

imageLucia Giovannini is a former fashion model. She has a Doctorate in Psychology and Counselling and she is member of American Psychological Association. She is a NLP trainer and she has founded BlessYou! association, wich aims to personal and social consciousness.

Although the main tecniques she mentions are the same ones of Tony Robbins (for instance, the “Questions” tecnique), I like giovannini for her personality.

She has reached her self consciousness through a very personal path, she has travelled all around the world to study different spiritual ways, and her approach doesn’t aim to success, but to happiness. It could seems the same thing, but the change of words is a change of mindset.

The part I like most is the one about habits and training.

Little gestures make the difference. Big transformations are due to piling up of many little steps and little results. Everything starts from habits wich lead our lives. We do not choose our future, habits do it.

The secret of our future is written in our daily routine.

The only way to change a habit, is to create a new one. You can choose calm instead of anger, for instance and thus reinforce the neuronal path of calm.

In the daily life you forget the power of choices. You forget to choose.

You take what you find in your path, you do not look for something else. You are content with this house, this husband, this work, this country. As if you do not deserve the best.

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What do you really want for your children? – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

imageThe more I read on children management, the more I grow convinced that, before working on children, we must work on ourselves.

If a child curses, doesn’t eat, spits, is sad, first of all you, parent, shall work on yourself, because you probably curse, have some eating disorder, spit, are sad.

Do you lack of resilience? So will probably your child.

Do you suffer from depression? So will probably your child.

Do you always give the fault of your situation to other people, economy, world? Well, so probably will your child

You would never guess that you harm your son by telling him to put gloves and cap before going out in the snow, would you? Well, it depends how and how often you tell this. You could nurture in him the fear for his health. And a fear, wichever it can be, it is alten a self-fulfilling prophecy.

My son is almost seven years old. Each day, while I wait for him coming out from his classroom, I watch the parents and the relatives chatting on the courtyard and on the road. Have you ever noticed how few persons are joyful? How few human beings are smiling?

Have you ever listened to their chats? They are usually criticizing other parents for doing or not doing certain things. If not, they are deploring taxes, low incomes, illnesses, weather, prices, meals, facebook, relatives, roads, doctors, jobs, neighbours, traffic, diets, religions, movies…

We are training children to grow exactly like we are.

We are stopped by our fears, and we tell them day by day. pay attention to this, pay attention to that… We focus on problems, instead of solutions. We live in the past or in the future, forgetting the present. We regret to be judged, but we judge every step we take.

We are opting for heavy lives and are robbing our children of choice power.

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Your Erroneous Zones – Wayne Dyer

imageWich is the problem?

Where does it come from?

How to fix it?

These are the three points that Dyer touches for each of our erroneous zones.

You know what? I have all of these Erroneous Zones. All of Them! But at the end, far away from depressing myself, after the reading of this book I am more inspired that ever. Because lack of self esteem, appreciation needs, rage, laziness, restessness and so on, are all the results of our thoughts and habits. Therefore, they are curable.

My biggest problem, anyway, is my memory. I forget that the erroneous zones are curable! I forget to monitorize them. And, similarly to a lot of other people, I fear, I forget that I have them. This is why I go on reading such books: to remind myself that the work on oneself never ends.

Lack of self confidence? It can break out in several ways: gossips, red faces, envy… but if you want to declare war to this erroneous zone, do start with something little. A nice present foryou, for instance. Or you can simply tell to your chatterbox friend to wait one minute and to let you place a sentence on the matter you (she) are discussing.

Are you restless about your future, the politics, the weather? Try with action. Do something: go out, call an old friend, cut some flowers, clean the house, go swimming, lack your nails…

Are you unhappy for unknown reasons? Try to learn something new, something you have never done…

Little things.

Our moods are the results of our thoughts. We always claim for freedom and we do not notice that we often are the biggest slave-traders of our souls.

I already read some Dyer’s books in the past, but I wondered why in these weeks the book shops where full of his essays: he is dead. He passed away this August. When I discovered this, I felt a little more unhappy, although he was not a person I ever met. So, what to do? Let’s learn something. Let’s read one of his books, for instance.

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The courage to be yourself – Alessandro Chelo


Talent trainer, Alessandro Chelo is a coach of several successful managers and has also worked side by side with famous sport trainers.

This book is not a manual, it doesen’t give you suggestions like “if you have this problem, then do this”, but it lets you reason about your level of authenticity.

When are you authentically yourself? Chelo destroys a lot of myths on this matter.

First of all, you are not authentic just because you say what you think. Why the hell should you sputter each of your thoughts into someone’s face? We live in a conflicts culture and in every talk show or interview we see people who offend other people, and then justify this attitude by saying: “I have been honest!”

Well, all this alleged honesty is often just lack of self control, low respect, aggressiveness, conceit.

Are we authentic when we are coherent? It depends what you mean with the word coherence. Do you mean to act and think in the same way year after year, without considering the situations changes? This is not coherence: this is stubbornness, this is laziness, this is blindness, not coherence to yourself.

I particularly liked the parts about talents.

I have always thought that my talents coincided with my passions (mainly: reading and writing). That is not true. Your express your talents throught your passions, maybe, but not always. It is hard now, for me. This revelation lets me ask myself: and now? Wich are my true talents, then??

Another revelation: I always thought that you do not fail until you give up.

Again: wrong! Failure doesn’t exhist. Because failure is often the missing conformity to someone else’s goals.

Is a Porsche a symbol of my idea of success? No. Although someone could think that my canary-coloured Arosa is a failure (just an example, uh!).

Considering my feeble memory, I try now to keep at least one message from the many ones I have read in this book. The true pivot of authenticity is not the question “How shall I behave now?”, but “How do I really feel I should behave now?”

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How to criticize and how to accept criticism – Barbara Berckhan

imageThis book is a must read one! It teaches two things:

How to critizise

Is it necessary to criticise? Yes. Do not suppress an objective remark, unless:

  1.  It refers to other people’s affair (for instance, your think that your friends is too tanned);
  2. The remark would not change anything (for instance, if ther is little parking spaces around the work office)
  3. The issue is really silly.

In all other cases, better to talk than to… explode.

Suppressed criticism can lead to divorces, resignations, gossips, bad mood, depression, rage outbreaks.

The workplace is a very critical field. If you and your colleagues are constantly frustrated, if there is always a bad mood and if people do work with the only purpose to get the finish time, this means that in your company there is no sufficient feedback culture. In such situations, no matter how you ask for team spirit.

Remember this: positive feedbacks are often more effective than a wage increase. What we eagerly wish is appreciation, recognition. You can always find a positive and sincere feedbacks for someone. If this step is forgotten, if people is uttered only as incompetent and lazy, if the negative feedbacks is the only communication form, the cooperation level will fall under the shoes.

How to receive criticism

Touchiness has a lot to do with own personality and past life. Each of us has its interior critic and cannot kill him, but you can learn to handle with criticism in a better way.

  1. First of all, instead of being unready, ask your frienda/partner/boss/colleague for a feedback. This will enable you to chose time and place and prepare yourself.
  2. Make questions. Ask the other person to specify wich of your actions has damaged or hurted him/her. This technique will also give you some more time to calm down (a very important part of the process of receiving criticisms)
  3. Listen. Without interrupting.

And at the end, remember: what you appreciate, grows.

Barbara Berckhan is a communication expert. She has studied pedagogy and psycology and since more than 20 years she held conferences and workshops in companies and organisations. One of her books is (my translation) Little Manual of verbal self-defence.

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Leader: how to feel


You cannot find motivation around you; you cannot buy it on a supermarket nor in internet nor at the fair.

A leader, even a good one, cannot motivate you, if you aren’t interested in your job, if you are not fallen in love with your tasks. But for sure, a bad leader can destroy the emotional climate inside a team and jeopardize the goals.

Pietro Trabucchi (Persistency Is Human) is a psychologist who has worked with olimpic teams in 2006 and with the national Thriathlon teams. He is an expert on sport rsistance, a runner and an ultra athlet himself. Motivation (in sport, business or family) is one of the topics he has studied and experienced.

In his opinion, the team leader has 4 basic points to work on:

  • relationships among the team people
  • let people feel competent
  • give autonomy
  • pay attention to communication

First task: work on emotional climate! If just one person doesen’t integrate well or experiences bad feelings, the self-motivation of the other members can collapse. This can be rather riskful if the team is trying to get the Everest top while the snow storm is raging and you ran out of food and water, you know?! But this can also be the reason why some groups do not go high.

Daniel Goleman, in this short collection of articles (What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligente Matters) has something more to add about leadership. He focuses on leaders’ emotions and attitude.

A cruel or irritating leader builds an ill organisation. The aim of his subordinates to avoid the leader’s screams and all their efforts go wasted into emotional self-defense. Leader’s mood is contagious! Dont’ forget this. Fearful subordinates can get results in the short tems, but this usually doesn’t happen in the long run.

So far,  Goleman; but I really wonder if he ever visited an italian company.

More than ten years ago I worked for a other company. Each time that I walked around the boss’ office, I prayed that he was not in. And if I knew that he was in, I prayed that his door was closed. And if door was not closed, I prayed that he was looking elsewhere (well, I prayed alot in that period…). If I was not so lucky, if he was in the office, if the door was open and if he was looking in my direction, I just had to walk near his office to get a vigorous curse.

Why? Bad mood. He did the same with all his staff, with very few exceptions (mainly his family members). But the worst thing is that all the hierarchy had the same mood. And I was one of the last chain rings, you can imagine:-(

Well, Mr. Goleman, I am not sure what you mean when you say that such organizations have no success on the long run. My former employer is on the market since the Sixties. Yes, I admit: with up and downs; yes, with an high turnover, of course. But this is normal, in Italy, above all in the North East of Italy. Maybe such companies are not 100% efficient, because subordinates hide instead of being rich of new ideas and enthusiasm. But believe me, this doesn’t notch the boss’ richness. The goal is got.

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