Post by Frank Connolly 5th July, 2010
I have just read “Bouncing back with Changes” by psychologist and former Treasury & Finance – Director of People & Culture, Tony Vickers-Wilis. Given an ongoing interest in positive psychology and a disappointment with the often overly theoretical training offerings we get in this space, I was compelled to see what Tony had to say.
Born out of an intense curiosity about what it is that makes some people bounce back from severe adversity and others capitulate with seemingly lesser challenges, Tony has set out to not only describe the science behind being resilient but also too provide real life narrative against which the principals can be demonstrated.
The book is one in two parts. The first dealing with the extraordinary life of Jim Vickers-Willis. I won’t go into details here for fear of spoiling the narrative for future readers, but it is a home-grown and truly inspiring story. The tremendous obstacles that fortune had placed in Jim’s way and the means via which he overcame them provides real meaning to the word “resilience.”
The second part provides a simple and practical set of seven principals to enable individuals to bounce back when adversity strikes, as it almost invariably will for each of us at some stage. The principals account for the CHANGES in the title of the book, and form a simple but powerful recipe for addressing anxiety, depression, stress and providing an appropriate perspective on surviving and thriving.
A third component of the book is the range of practical exercises provided to the reader for self-reflection as the science behind thriving is explained. These provide the reader the time and space to pause and reflect upon how the science might apply directly to their own lives and associated problems. Through simply undertaking these reflective practices in the book, I’ve made a couple of decisions that will not change the course of history, but will certainly benefit me going forward.
I think what I like the most about the principals, is that they are not simply a means of addressing psychological problems, they are a ready made practical recipe for building a happier and more resilient life, even in the absence of major issues.
“Bouncing Back..” is a book about individual resilience and I hear through the network that Tony is currently working on a new book looking at organisational resilience. One which is sure to be in great demand.
“Bouncing back with Changes.” purchase a copy
Post by Frank Connolly 21st October, 2009
Remember that old quote about those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are forever doomed to repeat them? I just finished listening to a series of four podcasts on the war on the Eastern front during WW2 which has quite literally blown me away. No normal person who listens to these fascinating narratives can possibly view human conflict in the same light again.
While I’m no war buff, I do have a great historical curiosity and I concede that of the 3000 or so podcasts that regular populate my ipod, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is by far and away my favourite. iTunes describes these podcasts with In “Hardcore History” the very unconventional Dan Carlin takes his “Martian, outside of the box” way of thinking and applies it to the past. Not only are these podcasts extensively researched and passionately presented, it’s done so from multiple perspectives which allows for a very compelling picture of events to emerge.
We tend to have a slanted view of history and if asked what were the key battles and struggles of WW2 I wonder how many of us would be able to look beyond D-Day, Dunkirk, El Alamein, Anzio, Midway, Iwo Jima, etc etc. By far and away the biggest and perhaps the most significant battles happened on the Russian front between the Soviet and the German armies. It’s perhaps an indication of the degree to which our view of the world is dominated by American perspectives and popular culture.
When I think about it, my primary source of reference to the Russian front came from Hogan Heroes, in which reassignment to the Russian front was the omnipresent threat for Col Klink and Sergeant Shultz. A sad reflection on our (my) knowledge given the enormity of what transpired between Russia and Berlin from 1941 to 1945. The descriptions and first hand accounts offered in these podcasts will leave you incredulous.
Listening to these superbly researched and presented podcasts has made me look at WW2 with a very different perspective. The ability to get people to do this cannot be understated because by altering our perspectives the way we feel about things changes, and altering the way we feel is the only genuine way of altering how we react to them.
These podcasts are a great example of the perspective shifts and insights that can be gained by stepping around a complex subject and examining it from multiple perspectives. Do yourself a favour and download the four episodes of “Ghosts of the Ostfront”. Whether you are a history buff or not, you cannot help but be impacted by these narratives.