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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. 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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Posted 12/10/2005

I am conscious that I havenít 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. There is certainly no shortage of issues for me to focus on in my blog. The papers continue to be full of information about countless studies on happiness. Some of these reports are full of useful and interesting information but often they have meaningless elements. For example, some papers reported that we could become happy if were in a Ďhappyí occupation such as hairdressing or motor mechanics. Now Iíve little doubt that people in occupations like these do report higher levels of happiness in their jobs than other people and it is not difficult to see why: they are extremely sociable occupations and provide a practical service to the public. In other words, it is easy to feel needed and useful as a mechanic or hairdresser, as well as spend a lot of time with other people Ė something which helps happiness levels. But if I were a hairdresser I would certainly not be happy and that goes for lots of other types of people as well. And Iím thinking here about people like me, for example, who like ideas and abstract thought and who get bored easily with routine. The prospect of being in a job where every day is more or less the same suits many people but it gives me a knot in my stomach just thinking about it.

Other things in the paper recently I could easily have written about include a report that Germany is about to embark on a campaign to raise national self-confidence or the response to Scotlandís performance at football on Saturday. So what stops me writing more often (other than falling foul of a tuna fish salad) is that I simply donít have the time. IN many ways the main difficulty for us working at the Centre is that we have become a victim of our own success. There are too many people wanting to speak to us about their projects and the overlap between their agenda and ours and too many organisations now asking me to speak at their conferences and events. Last week I did four talks for external organisations Ė two in Glasgow, one in Aviemore and one in Dundee. But I am not planning to keep up this level of public speaking. Apart from the toll on my own energy levels, if the Centre is going to make an impact in Scotland it is important that we set out an exciting plan of activities and deliver on that rather than being caught up in lots of organisationsí agendas, no matter how interesting and laudable they are.

So this week Iíve carved out time to be at home and write a strategy for the Centreís board to consider at their next meeting and to start working on implementation plans. This also gives me a chance to recover and write some more blogs. Apologies if that means I wont be able to speak at your event.

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