Bill Hicks told me it’s just a ride. But I must admit it feels a lot more real these days. Both my investment and output have grown exponentially and something profound shifted once I made a passionate commitment to a specific path in life. A committed choice is such a powerful driver. It creates meaning, focus and energy. You know what needs to be done when you get up in the morning. But it simultaneously opens up a sea of anxiety for us autonomy and freedom loving loving folk (if you dare to face that fact, that is). I’m still trying not to take life and myself too seriously and remind myself regularly of how small we all really are compared to the vastness of time and space (if you need a reminder, Brian Cox does a fantastic job here to humble you sideways and, fun fact, if you listen to the right speed of instrumental music he starts spitting in perfect 16s along to the beat). But existence keeps on giving and there’s a bunch of really cool stuff worth sharing so, as usual on the last Friday of the month, here are a few nuggets of what I’ve been reading, thinking about and what I’ve been working on. If anything resonates, make it swing! My doors are (almost) always open and I’d love to hear what you make of these!
What I’m reading – The Rise of Superman
Some books are just a joy to re-visit. This for me is one of them as it so wonderfully combines two of the things I’m passionate about: Flow and action sports. In The Rise of Superman Steven Kotler vividly describes how top athletes keep breaking the boundaries of what’s possible in nauseating intervals and takes that as a basis to explain how flow states can help anybody perform at their best and int he process find meaning and happiness (or sometimes die trying in some of these extreme instances, that is). I highly recommend it (he also wrote Stealing Fire, which I mentioned a few months ago and which many of you said you loved).
What I’m taking action on – Climate change
Inspired by the Extinction Rebellion activity here in London I’ve connected to a few good friends with ties to the Pachamama Alliance, who for 30 years have been working to save the planet from man-made climate change and other atrocities. Their symposium Awaken the Dreamer is a 3-6 hour journey of raising awareness, bringing people together and facilitating action. The materials are freely available and we’re planning to start with local communities to get more people to wake up and move. We need to act now and every human being has a responsibility to do something. We’ve only got one planet, and we gotta get along. Right now we’re heading towards a brick wall at 200mph asleep at the wheel. It’s time. If you want to get involved, talk to me! If you think this problem is just gonna go away somehow, wake up and listen to the Wombat (who I reckon you’ll find both entertaining and compelling)!
What terrifies me – Trump & Hypernormalisation
The Mueller Report was finally released to the public. The thing is that very few of Trump’s supporters will probably ever know or care what’s in it. Worse, his base would probably be convinced that you’re making shit up if you read it to them word by word. Trump creates reality by repeating the same lie over and over. And it works. If you’re telling yourself or the world often enough that you’re clever, skilled and successful, then many (including yourself) will believe it and us humans seem to be incredibly good at sticking to our confirmation bias and looking the other way when an uncomfortable truth comes along. It reminded me of Adam Curtis’s incredibly good documentary Hypernormalisation, an epic master piece deconstructing the past 40 years of US, Middle Eastern and Russian history to demonstrate how major players construct our reality ultimately leading to events such as Brexit and the election of Trump. It’s WELL worth a watch and seeing this in action so blatantly obvious and out in the open really terrifies me. In the 1930s Hitler created a certain reality and convinced millions of “normal” people to support his cause. The parallels here can’t be ignored!
What I’m teaching
The Positive Psychology Practitioner Certificate launches next week and allows you to learn directly from many of the biggest names in the field such as Barbara Fredrickson, Sonya Lyubomirsky, Matthieu Ricard, Antonella Delle Fave, Suzy Green, and many more (as a hall mark of quality, consider that Philip Zimbardo’s materials didn’t make it into the final line up). All of these amazing people will each be running a module featuring three pre-recorded and one dedicated live session for Q&A. I’ll be facilitating students’ learning journeys with weekly live sessions and providing support on the forum and I couldn’t be more excited to get a chance to meet them all! It’s a hell of a course and if you’ve got ANY interest in applying PP, this is not to be missed IMHO.
And if you’re after a much shorter course on the subject where you can study at your own pace, why not sign up to my Positive Psychology online course (with monthly live sessions each first Thursday of the month) using your special 25% subscribers discount.
And as a reminder: This coming week is International Coaching Week and I’ll be giving two free talks online via Salisbury International Coaching Week. Join me on 30 April at 7:30pm UK time for “Coaching for Happiness” (anybody welcome) and on 3rd May at 4pm for “Crossing the line: how far can coaches go and whose line is it anyway?” (aimed at coaches).
Telling my story
Last month two bits of content were published from people who had invited me to tell my story on how I got into positive psychology and existentialism, respectively. If you’re interested, listen to Melanie Dijkstra’s podcast or have a read through my conversation with Yvonne Thackray for The Good Coach.
I’ve got a few more episodes of my own podcasts on the shelf too but haven’t finished editing them, so keep your eyes peeled on my social media or wait until the next Nuggets!
And one more actually: What you cannot miss – Personal Synthesis!
You GOT to check out Nash Popovic’s Personal Synthesis Programme if you’re interested in personal development. This is the most comprehensive personal and social development programme that I know. I’ve worked with its materials for many years and can vouch for their quality. Nash has been working on these for over 30 years and now he’s offering them for the price of a cup of coffee (!!!) aligned with his values to make quality materials available to people from all socio-economic backgrounds in an effort to make the world a better place and help all people understand themselves, others and the world much better, regardless of their level of education or how much money they have. Please share this far and wide!!!
As always, I’d love to hear what what you think and what you’d like to see me share in the future.