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Postcards from Scotland

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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. Her latest book is Hiding in Plain Sight: Exploring Scotland's ill health. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Ironically it was that very English newspaper, The Guardian, which provided lots of Scots with the opportunity to tell the world about their experience of the belt in Scottish schools. more


There’s a line in Robert Burns poem, A man’s a man, about ‘the man o’ independent mind’. more


On Wednesday evening I had the privilege of seeing the documentary 'Resilience' again, this time at a showing primarily aimed at MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. more


The festive season is a time of socialising and good cheer so it’s appropriate that in the past few weeks social reformers have turned their attention to two great scourges of modern times – loneliness and the need for more kindness. more


In the past couple of  years our dog has developed a habit: if he has been away for a few days he goes outside, puts his nose in the air and barks loudly as if to let the neighbourhood know he’s back. more


After a long period of silence from the Centre we are about to be noisy in the next few months. more


I am so delighted to announce that on Tuesday 25th of October we are publishing the tenth book in the Postcards from Scotland series. more


This blog appeared on Scottish Review on 12 July 2016Day after day explanations for the Brexit vote multiply. more


I am just back from the Smart Civil Society Organisations (Smart CSOs) conference in Berlin. more


In the past week I’ve spent time in the company of educationalists of various types. more


Having a life exchange experience is not a common occurrence on a Saturday afternoon but that’s what happened to me yesterday. more


In the early days of the Centre when I was going to a lot of meetings and conferences the people who consistently impressed me with their commitment, openness and insight were John Carnochan and Karyn McLuskey of the Violence Reduction Unit. more


Derek Brown is one of the most insightful and thoughtful people I know so when he suggested that he would like to contribute to Postcards from Scotland I was keen to hear more. more


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation  has just published a report called ‘Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2014’. more


I have been proud to be involved in the publication of all seven books in the Postcards from Scotland series (more to follow). more


I had the pleasure of making breakfast for a Romanian family the other morning. more


I am particularly fond of Dundee and really love being invited to speak at events there. more


Twenty or thirty years ago a common assumption was that hierarchy at work was becoming less important and employees were becoming better placed to direct their own activities. more


Last week’s headlines that private schools for girls are a ‘breeding ground’ for anorexia got me thinking again about an experience I had a few years ago – an experience which had quite a profound effect on my thinking. more


I spent this afternoon running a workshop for teachers in a west of Scotland primary school and it brought home yet again for me how difficult teachers jobs are these days as a result of changing parenting styles. more


For anyone interested in Scotland, Lesley Riddoch’s latest book, Blossom: What Scotland needs to flourish, is not just essential reading it is stimulating, informative, passionate and ultimately life enhancing. more


So once again bankers’ bonuses are back in the headlines. more


This week Emma Thompson was given an award at the National Board of Review gala in New York for her latest film Saving Mr Banks. more


Harald Welzer is a leading German social scientist and one of two keynote speakers at the Smart CSOs event in Cologne which I attended in October and outlined in my last blog. more


Someone contacted me recently to ask me to write a few suggestions for policy change for a book he was putting together. more


I thoroughly enjoyed watching Alan Little’s programme on Scandinavia last night -  Our Friends in the North. more


When I wrote The Scots Crisis of Confidence over ten years ago I deliberately wanted to get away from the idea of the divided, Jekyll and Hyde Scot – the notion of a pathology at the heart of Scottishness which I thought clichéd and didn’t bear scrutiny. more


The Money Advice Centre has just published a report based on research they’ve conducted in the UK which suggests that over half of folk in the UK (52%) are struggling to keep up with their bills and credit commitments. more


I had an interesting, if sad, meeting recently. more


I’m currently helping to prepare the next book in our Postcards from Scotland series. more


Workmen are redoing our road this week. more




My views have evolved considerably over the years. more


Many years ago I attended a  course run by a Scottish personal development guru. more


I have been consistently impressed by the work of Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit. more


I've been thinking a lot recently about Barry Schwartz's work on choice. more


I went along to a taster workshop on Sunday afternoon for a training programme called Capacitar. more


The official launch for Postcards from Scotland isn't for another couple of weeks but books for two of the three new titles are now in the bookshops. more


The controversy over the BBC and Jimmy Savile have made me reflect on my own experience of BBC culture. more


I've just realised that I haven't written a blog for almost two months. more


Last week the Labour Leader Ed Miliband said in response to the revelation about Jimmy Carr's tax avoidance:  ' I'm not in favour of tax avoidance obviously, but I don't think it is for politicians to lecture people about morality. more


I had the great privilege to be the warm up act for Margaret Wheatley in Glasgow on Tuesday at an event organised by the CLD Standards Council. more


When I finished working on the new edition of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence last year I felt a certain sadness that I had come to the end of my working relationship with Derek Rodger from Argyll Publishing who I found a joy to work with. more


On Sunday night I watched a poignant documentary on BBC 2 as part of' series on the Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve. more


I recently received such an interesting and insightful comment from a Scottish engineer who had read The Scots Crisis of Confidence that I've decided to give over my blog this week to him:
I've just read 'The Scots Crisis of Confidence' updated version, having read the first issue around five or six years ago, and thought I would share a few thoughts with you. more


On 15th of April I posted a blog calling for the SNP to address the issue of cybernats. more

15/04/2012 | 10 Comments

In the wake of the controversy over the puerile Economist cover showing a map of Scotland as 'Skintland' the internet was ablaze with comments from 'cybernats'. more


Shortly after the publication of The Spirit Level on how inequality leads to worse health and social outcomes, one of the co-authors – Professor Richard Wilkinson - spoke at a conference in Edinburgh. more


In the last 24 hours I have been feeling that I have a fairy godmother. more

06/04/2012 | 1 Comment

I set up a twitter account for myself a few weeks ago but up till now haven't said a dickie bird. more

30/03/2012 | 1 Comment

If you have ever wondered what the unfettered pursuit of economic growth looks like, and the damage it can create, go and see an independent film doing the rounds at the moment 'You've been trumped'. more

17/03/2012 | 2 Comments

Two weeks ago the internet phenomenon TED Talks came to Glasgow in the form of a TEDX – an independently organised TED event – and the organisers asked me to give the opening talk. more

27/02/2012 | 2 Comments

We've been in operation for over seven years and during that time have organised a number of really successful events – many with high numbers and a great deal of commitment from those who attended. more


One of the great delights of my job is to be invited to attend, or take part in, really interesting events. more

31/12/2011 | 5 Comments

In between cleaning the house for the bells (an old Scottish custom) and going up to our local hall for a hogmanay party  I thought I would write my personal reflections on 2011 and why for me it was truly an 'annus horribiles'. more

20/12/2011 | 1 Comment

The journalist Jackie Kemp has an interesting piece in The Scottish Review today arguing that 'the agenda behind the anti-sectarian bill' is 'the feminisation of Scotland'. more

13/12/2011 | 2 Comments

It is well known to those organising events that if it is free then expect at least 20 per cent 'no shows'. more


I had the good fortune to be invited to attend Thursday's Public Service Improvement Conference 2011 at the SECC and I really felt that things are beginning to turn in Scotland. more


One of the things that buoys me up and keeps me going is getting feedback from people when I give talks. more

17/11/2011 | 2 Comments

A few years ago I met Tari Lang who has worked throughout the world, particularly in the middle east  with corporations and individuals as a consultant, coach and mentor. more


A few weeks ago I was having a chat with a friend who recommended a recent book -The Master and His Emissary: the Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. more


One of the things that incomers to Scotland often find baffling is that Scots don't simply deliver a message but we also 'go for the messages' (our basket of goods) when we go shopping. more


I've been fairly quiet of late on the website as I've been working on a revision of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence as Argyll Publishing are bringing out a new edition. more

19/08/2011 | 1 Comment

One of the things I have found somewhat frustrating in a lot of the coverage of the riots is that while commentators often acknowledge the complexity of the issues at stake they then still adopt a one-dimensional approach or end up polarising. more


I'm delighted both by the publication today of the report into the probation service by the Justice Committee in the Westminster Government and the Minister Ken Clarke's response. more


My best friend Fran is in California on holiday at the moment and she has just emailed me to say:  'Saw this in a magazine at our Berkeley house and thought of you. more

08/07/2011 | 1 Comment

I'm not that long back from a brilliant walking holiday in Piedmont, Northern Italy. more

17/05/2011 | 5 Comments

It is over a week since Scotland's momentous election result and I've been  deliberately keeping quiet to let the dust settle. more

03/05/2011 | 2 Comments

Earlier in the year I read Professor Danny Dorling's book Injustice: Why social inequality persists and I had the pleasure of speaking on the same platform as him at the Aye Write book festival a few months ago. more

12/04/2011 | 2 Comments

I have just given  an interview with Radio Scotland and yesterday wrote a short piece for The Scotsman on the new Action for Happiness Project and I know that I am sounding like a typical Scot. more

05/04/2011 | 2 Comments

The last time I paid attention to Scotland's enterprise figures was in 2002 when I was writing The Scots' Crisis of Confidence. more


Emily has just added an item on Emily's News reporting on the publication of a new book called The Longevity Project which reports the findings from a longitudinal project which started in 1921 and has tracked the lives of 1,500 people from their childhood until their death. more

07/03/2011 | 3 Comments

I've been ill for a couple of weeks and the enforced leisure has allowed me to focus on a number of things which at first sight may not appear related yet follow a pattern. more

18/02/2011 | 3 Comments

In a rather pressured week it was a great privilege to have an exploratory meeting with three firemen concerned about community safety. more

08/02/2011 | 2 Comments

I have just read a deeply disturbing book by an American Pulitzer prize winning author, and ex-war correspondent, Chris Hedges called Empire of Illusion: The end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle. more


When I was on the internet the other day I stumbled upon something of interest. more


At our Creating Good Lives event Professor William Julius Wilson talked about the structural and cultural barriers which particularly affect poor black people in the USA. more

08/01/2011 | 1 Comment

Yesterday  morning I received in my email inbox a message from Avaaz asking me to sign a petition about bees. more

04/01/2011 | 4 Comments

I have been giving around fifty talks a year for the past five years and have found that lots of people of all ages, not just in Scotland but throughout the UK, are looking for new values and an image of a different society. more


At this time of year there's a lot in the papers related to our agenda because this is the time for New Year Resolutions. more


I've been pondering on a news item I heard last week on the radio. more


I have been feeling on the verge of a big change for a while but I now find that I'm in the midst of it. more


I feel compelled to recommence writing about the new well-being indicators by saying just how tiresome, predictable and dispiriting much of the media's response was to the Prime Minister's announcement. more


In the autumn of 2004, before the Centre was fully operational, Professor Ed Diener – a world expert on happiness – was in Scotland. more


Given I wrote a book recently on why Glasgow's may have particular challenges on a range of health and social outcomes I read with interest  a report which came out last week called 'The Scottish Health Survey: The Glasgow Effect'. more

13/11/2010 | 2 Comments

Last weekend I was in the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool for one of their Changing Scotland weekends – an informal gathering, held twice a year in March and November, with sessions on culture and politics. more

03/11/2010 | 2 Comments

Thursday and Friday last week were very special days for the Centre. more

18/10/2010 | 3 Comments

I've been talking to a lot of people about my Glasgow book recently, both individually and at meetings of various kinds. more


Over the past few years I had heard the term "Mary's Meals" but I knew nothing of the organisation or its founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow. more

13/09/2010 | 1 Comment

I read with great interest the newspaper coverage on the latest Ofsted report which claimed that half of special needs children are misdiagnosed as this is a topic which is fairly close to home. more


Following my last blog I was intrigued to read a piece in today's Scottish Review on-line by Andrew Guest on a current exercise the Scottish Government is funding on place-making. more


Yesterday I got up very early, drove to Dunkeld (a good hour and a half away) and from there took the train to Inverness to visit the Housing Expo. more


When I picked up last Friday's Scotsman I was delighted to find a feature by Jenny McBain on Tom Forsyth. more

26/07/2010 | 1 Comment

One of the most influential books of 2009 was The Spirit Level by Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, two epidemiologists. more

11/07/2010 | 3 Comments

I rarely attend international conferences but I did go to the European Positive Psychology conference in Copenhagen as I was asked to give a talk . more

29/06/2010 | 1 Comment

 Hardly was I back in Scotland and I received a phone call from Newsnight Scotland. more


Although I'm still on holiday in Vancouver I have been trying to keep track of news back in Scotland and so I'm aware that health is a big issue. more


In 2003 the psychologist Gregg Easterbrook published a book called The Progress Paradox: How life gets better while people feel worse. more


I was asked to speak at a Sustainable Development Commission's conference the other day on creating the right mindset for sustainable development. more


When I was young my passion was politics. more


Sometimes I like basing my blog simply on some of my latest activities as it gives an insight into the varied work of the Centre. more

23/04/2010 | 2 Comments

Things are beginning to return to normal and I'm fully back in work mode planning our future activities and events. more


I know it has been ages since I blogged but -  my partner Alf badly injured his hand, I came down with a bad cold, then we went on a much needed holiday, returned to the UK but I'm still in a caring role (ie a pair of working hands), now spending lots of time trying to fanthom out how my sons can get back from Russia. more

01/04/2010 | 1 Comment

It has been another busy week for us at the Centre. more


One of the most popular features of many Centre events has been the contribution of Phil Hanlon - Professor of Public Health at Glasgow University and a member of the Centre's board. more

22/03/2010 | 1 Comment

Writing my new book The Tears that Made the Clyde hasn't been great for blogging and even since publication it has been the case since I've been busy with various launch events. more

07/03/2010 | 2 Comments

Over the next few months if people review my new book or comment on it I plan to make it available on the site unless it is personally abusive. more


I  went to get my hair cut last week. more

20/02/2010 | 1 Comment

When we set up the Centre  in 2004 we were based in the Glasgow Centre for Population Health which had been established effectively to find the cause of Glasgow's ill health. more

07/02/2010 | 1 Comment

I haven't been much of a blogger of late: I've just been too preoccupied with writing my latest book on Glasgow to have time left over to write other things. more

07/01/2010 | 2 Comments

In Bright-sided: how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America Barbara Ehrenreich includes a whole chapter called 'Positive Psychology; the Science of Happiness'. more


Those of you managing to break away from festivities in the last few weeks will be aware that the media have been giving a fair amount of attention to Barbara Ehrenreich's latest book - Bright Sided: How the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America. more


I met someone I  knew on the train coming home tonight who is involved in the enterprise world. more

22/11/2009 | 1 Comment

A word that just seems to come up everywhere at the moment is 'resilience': not only is it now common in programmes geared towards young people but also workplaces are also focusing on it. more


In the past few years I often use talks to warn people of the dangers of media and advertising and how consumerism, celebrity culture and television watching are undermining well-being. more

14/11/2009 | 1 Comment

I go to a lot of events and what I’ve been noticing is  the number of people who have been referring to Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book The Spirit Level. more


I'm literally just back from speaking at an event in Hartlepool on Teeside which was called Paths to Well-being. more


One of the things which has caught my attention recently is a piece by Ken  Roy on his Scottish  Review On-line. more


I've just realised that weeks have past since my last blog. more

12/10/2009 | 3 Comments

Anyone who was at the event with Barry Schwartz in June will tell you how strong he was on how financial incentives don’t work. more


I was fairly certain that the Norman Doidge event on ‘the brain that changes itself’ would prove popular but in fact the interest exceed my expectations. more


A few weeks ago The Sunday Herald carried a big essay I had written for their opinion section which they called The Princess Syndrome – one of the lines in the  piece. more

17/08/2009 | 1 Comment

At the Centre we're delighted that Dr Norman Doidge, author of the international best-seller, The Brain that Changes Itself, is coming to Scotland and giving a multi-media presentation for us on the evening of 15th September. more

28/07/2009 | 1 Comment

Last week the papers were full of the story that Britain is becoming even more unequal and that there’s less social mobility now than decades ago. more


In 1972 I had a job as a college lecturer out in Dalkeith. more


I went to hear Malcolm Gladwell at the Kings on Monday night. more

07/06/2009 | 1 Comment

Malcolm Gladwell, of Tipping Point fame, makes the point that prior to the Berlin  Wall coming down few people would have predicted this happening. more

19/05/2009 | 1 Comment

In the first year of operation the Centre ran some action research training courses. more

28/04/2009 | 1 Comment

The psychologist Theodore Roszac once pointed out that if you ask someone who is highly stressed to imagine a relaxing scene they are likely to think of being in nature – on the beach, in the hills, on the banks of a burn. more


I'm not a television fan but even I couldn't escape the sensational story of Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. more

11/04/2009 | 1 Comment

Over six months ago I wrote a blog explaining that the Centre wanted to broaden its agenda out beyond Positive Psychology. more

29/03/2009 | 1 Comment

Our latest event took place on Thursday in Edinburgh. more

15/03/2009 | 4 Comments

I spoke on Saturday in Birmingham at the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders one of the main trade unions for head  teachers. more

28/02/2009 | 3 Comments

Years ago when I worked as a consultant in organisations I used to talk to a lot of people who had problems at work with a bullying and autocratic boss. more

31/01/2009 | 1 Comment

I had a great morning yesterday at Bathgate Academy. more


Ive been enjoying using some of the cards weve produced recently. more

18/12/2008 | 1 Comment

I would have written a blog sooner but Ive been laid low by one of the worst  winter viruses Ive ever been smitten by. more


Ive been down in Birmingham at a huge  conference for secondary school head teachers run by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust. more

11/11/2008 | 1 Comment

Last week I had was given a huge treat: I was asked to give an evening lecture at the National Library of Scotland on Samuel Smiles’s classic Self-Help. more

24/10/2008 | 1 Comment

Listening to the news over the last few days about how we are on the brink of recession has been dispiriting. more


When I give talks I regularly point out that psychologists dont  use the word confidence very much. more


Jonathan Sher from Children in Scotland introduced me at an event the other day. more

10/09/2008 | 2 Comments

Over five years ago Malcolm Gladwell, of Tipping Point fame, wrote an interesting piece for The New Yorker, called The Talent Myth Are smart people overrated? Gladwell argues that the talent mind-set is the new orthodoxy of American management. more


I dont know much about football. more

24/08/2008 | 2 Comments

It is always great having visitors from another country because you really get a chance to see your own country through their eyes. more

11/08/2008 | 1 Comment

I like Ken Wilbers work and I particularly think he is right on track with one of his main observations about modern life: narcissism. more


I spent a terrific day last week at the
Summer School Christine Percival runs with her team at Strathclyde University. more

26/07/2008 | 1 Comment

The press carried a story this week that more than 11,000 Scots young people (under 25s) are on incapacity benefit due to stress. more


I wrote my first book 'The Scots Crisis of Confidence' as I had become to believe that there was something inherent in Scottish culture which tended to undermine confidence. more


Felicia Huppert is a professor of psychology at Cambridge University. more


I have a friend whose teenage son was very keen on a girl he was going out with. more


Ive never talked before a band before so the whole thing was a bit strange for me. more


I went to hear Oliver James give a lecture in Glasgow last week. more

28/05/2008 | 3 Comments

The Centre is now mid-way through its fourth year. more

21/05/2008 | 2 Comments

Think about families where the parents have little money and they dont want to feel their children are missing out on toys, trainers, burgers or other things that other children have. more

19/05/2008 | 2 Comments

One of the things Ive become a wee bit allergic to is the well-worn phrase used by many educators that what they want to do is develop childrens full potential. more

12/05/2008 | 1 Comment

Theres a story in the papers today about an all-party group of Christian MPs saying that the main cause of unhappiness in Britain is not about the lack of material wealth but an erosion of religious values. more

29/04/2008 | 3 Comments

I was phoned last week by a Sunday paper and asked for my views on the SNP's first year in office. more

20/04/2008 | 1 Comment

Welcome to the new website. more


We're now in the process of getting lots of things ready for the new look website. more


When the Centre started up we wanted to help project leaders measure the impact their interventions were having on peoples confidence. more


When I was in Madeira last year I was shocked by my own attitude. more

08/03/2008 | 1 Comment

I am constantly taken aback at how negative the talk about sport is in Scotland. more

28/02/2008 | 2 Comments

Im flying off for a few days tomorrow and one thing I know for certain: I wont be buying a womens magazine for the journey. more

19/02/2008 | 4 Comments

I try not to write too many blogs on young people as it gives the impression that we are a charity working only in this area. more

05/02/2008 | 1 Comment

The Netherlands has, unexpectedly, been in my thoughts this week. more

22/01/2008 | 3 Comments

The Tal Ben Shahar events proved very popular with most of the people who came along and there were lots of them. more


It's gratifying to run events which are so popular that they sell out. more

02/01/2008 | 1 Comment

I was so pleased when Mick Jackson, of Wildhearts in Action, was voted Scot of the Year. more


I went along to Greenock the other night to an event organised by Columba 1400. more

26/11/2007 | 2 Comments

One of the things I like about Martin Seligmans approach to optimism is that it doesnt encourage mindless positive thinking. more

16/11/2007 | 1 Comment

I was phoned this afternoon and asked to write 500 words for a paper on how the Scots should prepare themselves for defeat in tomorrows game against Italy. more

04/11/2007 | 2 Comments

Just finished reading The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser. more

18/10/2007 | 6 Comments

One of the big news stories from the Washington Summit on Positive Psychology came from Martin Seligman. more

13/10/2007 | 3 Comments

The thing about sport is that it is a metaphor for life - it really lets us see what is going on culturally. more

03/10/2007 | 8 Comments

I'm off to the Positive Psychology Summit in Washington tomorrow. more


Ive been called many things in my life but puritan was a new one on me. more


'My life's dedicated to feeding a monster of my own creation. more

26/08/2007 | 1 Comment

I was very pleased to see that our new book made the front page splash in the Times Educational Supplement. more


The book Ive been writing has now been sent off to the printers and it will due out on the 27th August. more

13/07/2007 | 2 Comments

When I went into the office yesterday Emily, the Centres great psychology researcher, handed me a sheaf of such fascinating articles that it has got me blogging again. more

18/06/2007 | 2 Comments

I couldnt help thinking about Bill Duncans Wee Book of Calivin last Thursday during the Carol Dweck event. more

07/06/2007 | 1 Comment

Some of the most interesting articles I have read recently have been published by a social psychologist called Dan Wegner on what he calls ironic processes of mental control. more

21/05/2007 | 1 Comment

I watched the film Rob Roy on DVD the other night. more

07/05/2007 | 1 Comment

I know I have been silent for a while but its because Ive been up to my elbows in writing. more


A few weeks ago I met a very inspirational Scottish entrepeneur at an event in Inverness. more

01/04/2007 | 3 Comments

I havent been blogging much recently as Im too busy writing other material. more

15/03/2007 | 2 Comments

I went along last night to hear a presentation from Lord Layard the economics professor from the LSE who recently published a book on happiness. more


Ive been thinking a lot about Malcolm Gladwells Tipping Point recently. more

21/02/2007 | 2 Comments

Im glad to see that the UNICEF report on child well-being has attracted so much attention. more


For decades now Scotland has benefited from inward investment from the United States. more

29/01/2007 | 2 Comments

I was sitting next to someone at a dinner the other night who had been senior in health in Scotland. more


When I was involved in setting up the Centre I was always keen for it to provide the opportunity for people to meet up informally and discuss matters of mutual interest. more

18/01/2007 | 9 Comments

With all the debate and talk about the Union of Scotland and England, Ive been pondering issues of Scottish confidence yet again. more

03/01/2007 | 3 Comments

Ive been arguing for a while that the research behind Positive Psychology has the capacity to spawn a new Enlightenment. more


Those of you who didnt get a chance to come to the morning event on education we held at the Hub recently really missed yourselves. more

10/12/2006 | 2 Comments

When I was in France a few months ago I was surprised to see two teenage boys kiss each other when they met up in the street. more


In Britain on the Couch the clinical psychologist Oliver James recounts research which shows how exposure to media images and television is very undermining for people's sense of themselves. more


Ive been doing a lot of reading recently for a book Im writing on confidence and young people. more


For decades now Ive felt a real aversion for going into shops in the run up to Christmas. more


Frequent visitors to the site will know that the name weve given to what were doing with Positive Psychology in Scotland is the Vanguard. more

18/10/2006 | 1 Comment

I try to write a blog at least once a week and so I was surprised to see that a fortnight has gone past since my last entry. more


I gave a talk on Positive Psychology last week at a CIPFA conference in Northern Ireland. more


It is good to see that the 100 signatories to the letter about the dangers facing young peoples physical and mental health in modern times is causing a debate. more


Readers of last weeks Sunday papers in Scotland must have felt confused. more


Heres a scary statistic for you. more


So the Scottish football team is finally on a winning streak. more


In case you missed it, there was a really interesting open letter in this Sundays Sunday Herald. more


Guenter Grass, the Nobel prize-winning German author, has recently admitted that he served in Hitlers elite Waffen SS. more


Ive been doing a lot of reading on self-esteem recently and was amused when someone sent me a copy of an over the top promotional leaflet. more


Ive been very irritated recently by an email site I use from time to time as it has been carrying a huge ad of a glamorous woman which wouldnt look out of place in a lads magazine. more


All the talk recently about how wonderful it is to have a reasonably long spell of hot sunshine has got me thinking again about how the weather connects with the Centres agenda. more


The conference in Portugal organised by the European Positive Psychology network (ENPP) was, as I suspected, a great success. more


Im leaving tomorrow to attend the European Positive Psychology conference in Portugal. more


Ive been thinking about tattoos a lot recently. more


When I was undertaking research for my book I particularly enjoyed reading about Robert Louis Stevenson so it was with great pleasure that I visited the Robert Louis Stevenson park in California today. more


I had a conversation the other day with someone who had run a variety of focus groups with young people. more


I think Mark Eastons Happiness Formula on BBC 2 is great. more


As you enter Scottish airports from an international destination these days you are told that you are now in the best small country in the world. more


I'm currently in Ann Arbor, Michigan as I'm on a course on Leading the Positive Organisation run by the Positive Organisational Scholarship Department at the University of Michigan. more


Spent this morning training on a confidence-building course and I found myself going into material I havent used for ages but which seemed very relevant to what people were talking about. more


Recently Ive had several very similar conversations with women about their children. more


Ive not managed to write a blog for what seems like ages as Ive been too involved with other things particularly with reading and writing for the new Positive Psychology section on our website. more


A woman who was on secondment to the Scottish Executive from California told me recently that one of the things that struck her about Scotland is how good some of our initiatives are yet we give them very little attention, let alone praise. more

20/03/2006 | 1 Comment

When people hear about the big vision the Centre has for helping to bring about a transformation in Scottish culture to make it more supportive of confidence and positive attitudes they often ask if I dont feel daunted by the task. more

10/03/2006 | 1 Comment

Ive been thinking a lot recently about university education for young people as my son has just unexpectedly quit his course and gone off to Australia for three months. more


Ive undertaken lots of training with teachers and in the past couple of years Ive given a large number of talks to education staff. more


Being optimistic isnt just about how we handle bad events. more


Ive been able to read much more in the past week as the much improved train service means means Im now going to commute into Glasgow by train rather than by car. more


Ive just read the article on page 4 of Sunday Times Scotland and I feel speechless at the cynicism of Kathleen Nutt, their supposed news journalist. more


Ive just given my last talk of this year to a group of managers in a local authority department. more


There was an interview with Margaret Thatcher on tv the other night and she looked scary a horrendous wicked witch with a twisted mouth and face of stone. more


Weve just finished the fourth of our action research courses. more


Ive been so busy recently with our office move and talking at conferences that Ive hardly had time to think about blogging let alone write one. more


Before leaving work today we recorded the latest in the Vanguard Distance learning lectures. more


I am conscious that I havent written a blog for the past week and the reasons are a combination of being overly busy and then falling ill as a result of eating a tuna fish salad. more


Theres an excellent article on happiness and the rise of positive psychology in the magazine of the latest Sunday Times. more


I dislike the present cult of personality. more


Having plenty time to think when Im on holiday Ive kept going back over in my head a line from the lecture Professor Tom Devine gave at the Vanguard Programme. more


On holiday in Spain Ive been pondering the subject of kitsch. more


So that's the Vanguard up and and running now. more


The Vanguard Programme has just got better. more


Not being a great fan of TV, I havent bought a Radio Times for years but with all the fuss about Michael Buerks comments I decided to get one and read for myself. more


I went down to Dumfries the other day to talk to a group of people from various agencies about the Vanguard Programme. more


One of the criticisms a few academic social scientists have made about my book is that it isnt based on hard evidence. more


When we were asked to take part in the npower/SFA summer schools initiative I knew we were bound to get a lot of publicity. more


Of all the cities in the world Glasgow is the one I know best. more


Other than reading the Broons and Oor Willie avidly as a child, Dundee has never featured much in my life until recently. more


I know it is trite to say that the bombings in London today put everything in perspective but they do. more


So thats us now been in existence for six months. more


Everything works better with numbers is the line from an advert running currently on radio. more


We had another networking event this afternoon. more


Im just back from doing a workshop with a group of women entrepreneurs on assertiveness. more


I tend to write my blog late at night as Im what my mother would call a hoolet someone who is more alive at night than in the morning. more


Apparently the word for self-confidence in Russian does not have positive connotations and is almost synonymous with arrogance. more


I used to live in Edinburgh and still have a real attachment to the city. more


I met Marc Lambert of the Scottish Book Trust a few weeks ago when we were both asked to take part in a talk in Borders bookshop. more


When the Centre was launched a few months ago I was asked on to John Beatties Saturday morning programme for Radio Scotland and during the discussion he insisted in calling me Scotlands Confidence Tzar. more


One of the things I argue in my book which is slightly at odds with the mainstream cultural analysis of Scotland is that the problem with Scottish identity isnt that it is too weak but that it is too strong. more


In the course of my life Ive been described in various odd, or derogatory terms, but Ive never been likened before to a brain-destroying fungus. more


I spend my life meeting lots of new people and Im regularly asked if Im a psychologist. more


I was at Darwin College in Cambridge at the beginning of the week at a briefing meeting about the Centre with some interested people. more


The Centres flagship event this year is the Vanguard Programme and Im heavily involved in finalising some of the arrangements for it. more


Theres a further irony for me in my attitudes to America. more


When Im giving talks about Scotland and confidence I often make it clear that Im not holding America up as an example of what we should become. more


With wall to wall coverage of the general election Ive been thinking a lot recently about my disenchantment with politics. more


At a seminar a few months ago on changes to public services someone said: the future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed. more


One of the big themes for me at the moment is ‘feedback’. more


Today was the second of the Centre's network meetings. more


Jack Perry, the Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise chose to devote his speech at the Press Awards dinner last Thursday night to the subject of confidence. more

26/04/2005 | 1 Comment

Theres nothing particularly Scottish about the idea that resilience is in decline. more



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