Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Find your best way of learning

As human beings we have so much in common, but we should not let that distract us from the fact that we are also very different from one another in various ways. One of those ways in which people differ is in terms of how best we learn. What works well for you may not work for me, while what works for me may likewise not work for you.

This is partly because there are different types of intelligence – practical ...

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Embracing grief

“NO ONE ever told me that grief felt so like fear,” C S Lewis once wrote, and he was right.

Stepping into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward, I tried to remain calm. But what was waiting behind those tinted-glass panels, I wasn’t prepared for. Lying lifelessly on a bed with tubes attached to her body was my beloved aunt, unconscious and quite possibly, brain dead.

Having to pace the hallways of a hospital is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But grief ...

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Can poo power solve India’s toilet problem?

India is in the midst of a toilet-building frenzy, the government has set aside $20bn (£15bn) for the health initiative and aims to stop people having to defecate in the open by 2019.

One social enterprise in one of India’s poorest areas is taking on the challenge of building public toilets.It is using the waste from the toilets to help pay for their upkeep.

More than half a billion people in rural India do not use toilets. It’s a situation which ...

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Dealing with conflict

The word conflict carries a lot of negative baggage, and most people seek to avoid it. However, as any businessperson will tell you, conflict will eventually happen. Conflict is a natural and necessary part of doing business, so managers who seek to eliminate all forms of conflict in their workplace are not doing themselves, their employees, or their businesses any favors. Just because no one mentions any conflict to their manager does not mean that none exist, or ...

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Seth Godin’s blog – Best practices

If you need an appendectomy, it’s unlikely you’ll die during the operation.

That’s because the surgeon has been trained in hundreds of years of best practices. From Semmelweis to the latest in antibiotics, she knows what’s come before.

Not only that, but the scalpel she uses is the result of 1,000 iterations over the centuries. Every device has been sanitized based on trial and error from the millions of patients who came before you.

Surgery is an engineering project, and it’s based on ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Live to fight another day

‘Strategic capitulation’ is a term used in behaviour management programmes to refer to the technique of giving in to whatever is being demanded by someone who is being aggressive and potentially violent. It is intended as a last resort. The way it works is this: if you have someone (child or adult) who is behaving in a hostile, aggressive or threatening way, there are various methods that can be used to handle the situation (distraction, for example). But, if those ...

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Social services are broken. How we can fix them

When a family falls into crisis — and it sometimes happens, thanks to unemployment, drugs, bad relationships and bad luck — the social services system is supposed to step in and help them get back on track. As Hilary Cottam shows, in the UK a typical family in crisis can be eligible for services from more than 70 different agencies, but it’s unlikely that any one of them can really make a difference. Cottam, a social entrepreneur herself, asks us ...

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Charter for Trees, Woods and People

On 6 November 2017, on the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched at Lincoln Castle – home to one of the two remaining 1217 Charters of the Forest. It now rests in the Lincolnshire Archives.

During 2017 we reached out to all sections of UK society to define this new charter, and to build a people-powered movement for trees. More than 70 organisations and 300 local ...

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10 ways a positive culture builds positive results

I have been in the workforce for more than three decades, and I can say without hesitation that positive cultures breed sound strategies and deliver results that exceed expectations.

On the surface, it would seem like I am stating the obvious. But those who have worked for tyrants, or have worked in kill-or-be-killed cultures, know that they too can be successful, but the pain, drama and carnage doesn’t lead to long-term success…

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Bringing visibility to black British women

In the wake of Black History Month 2017, Jane Tanner of the Women’s Resource Centre describes how helping with her niece’s school project brought the importance role models into sharp relief.

Everyone needs that inspirational person; someone you can see pave the way to your more ambitious climbs. I strongly suspect that there are many women who, like me, have felt life is a disappointing quest for reflections of oneself.

My mother and aunts are phenomenal women and fantastic role models. But outside of my ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Don’t be a fashion victim

When anyone mentions fashion, we tend to think of clothes, the latest designer trends and so on. Indeed, there is a huge, multi-million pound business based on fashion in clothing. But, fashion is not restricted to clothes or other relatively superficial matters. There are also fashions in thought and, because of that, fashions in behaviour. For example, think about how certain ideas have changed since your childhood. Changes in people’s thinking about same sex relationships is a clear instance of ...

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Embracing grief

“NO ONE ever told me that grief felt so like fear,” C S Lewis once wrote, and he was right.

Stepping into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward, I tried to remain calm. But what was waiting behind those tinted-glass panels, I wasn’t prepared for. Lying lifelessly on a bed with tubes attached to her body was my beloved aunt, unconscious and quite possibly, brain dead. Having to pace the hallways of a hospital is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But grief ...

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Sorry, being born rich still leads to success more than working hard in school

Sweeping education reforms have done very little to change the fact that in the UK, being born well is by far the surest route to prosperity. Since the 1980s, the degree of social fluidity in Britain has plummeted with more people experiencing descent than ascent.

“Decades of educational policy have completely overlooked that younger generations of men and women now face less favorable mobility prospects than did their parents—or their grandparents despite having earned higher qualifications,” Dr. John Goldthorpe – a leading ...

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Professor Ian Deary interview on ‘The Disconnected Mind’

The Disconnected Mind is a research project that aims to discover how our thinking skills change with age, and what we can do to protect our cognitive health in later life. The project is funded by Age UK. Losing our thinking skills is one of the greatest fears about ageing. We don’t know why it happens to some of us but not others. The Disconnected Mind project aims to find out. Ultimately, that knowledge will help us to protect ...

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Everyone can help to make women safer at work

In workplaces up and down the UK, including the Houses of Parliament, people are rejecting the idea that those in positions of power can sexually harass – or even assault – with impunity.

It’s inspiring to see so many women (and many men) speaking out and demanding better treatment. Because we’re not talking about a few bad apples here. TUC research suggests that more than half of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. This is a vast, systemic ...

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Find ‘flow’

Athletes will often talk about being ‘in the zone’, by which they mean achieving optimal performance, with body and mind operating to the full. That is when they get the best results. Similarly, psychologists have talked more broadly about finding ‘flow’, by which they mean getting to a state of mind where you are, to use the modern idiom, ‘cooking on gas’. It refers to feeling that things are ‘just right’ and you are achieving your best. This can apply ...

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