NEW BOOK: The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self – Not Just Your “Good” Self – Drives Success and Fulfillment

audio-book-upside of dark sideCan’t wait to read this book which is being released tomorrow!  I’m so grateful that Todd B. Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener wrote this book to help us remember the inherent value in NOT being happy all the time.

What we usually think of as “negative” emotions are actually powerful tools that we can harness to experience greater overall success, fulfillment and well-being.  Agile is about embracing all of the tools in our toolbox and that means we need to accept the dark side of good things….and strive to see the GOOD side of DARK things too.

The English language is notoriously dualistic – nearly every word we use has a good or bad connotation to it. It’s so hard to be unbiased or even to find “neutral” words to describe things like our own emotions.

Did you know that the english language has like 25 or 30 words for “negative” emotions and only like 8 or 10 for “positive”?

We call Anger, Fear, and Pain “negative” emotions but in reality, they are what make it possible for us to have long lives. Insects don’t have anger, fear or pain because they only live a few days or weeks – so they don’t need them in order to survive and flourish.


The Upside of Your Dark Side

I’m thrilled to include this book on my Resource List as I’m writing my book on Cultivating Agile Self-Leadership for people who don’t respond well to self-“control” : )  It also fits beautifully with the 8 Keystone Habits of Personal Agility.

How to Cultivate the Potential Gifts and Strengths of Emotional Intensity, ADHD, Creative Intensity and other Traits of Neurodiversity

Emotional “intensity” is one of the biological traits that contribute significantly to  inner conflict, stress and misunderstandings in relationships between people with different personality and cognitive processing styles.

Intensity is also a significant predictor that an individual may be especially vulnerable to PSTD, anxiety, depression, addiction, chronic stress, chronic disorganization, chronic illness and feelings of overwhelm. 

In “Intensity of Emotion Tied to Perception and Thinking” by Daniel Goleman, Michigan State University psychologist Robert Emmons explains that

“emotionally intense people seek variety, novelty, complexity. They have more varied goals in life, know more people in more different situations, and because they are doing so many different things, feel more conflict in their lives.”

”These conflicts can be a source of stress for the emotionally intense, and may explain why they report getting more minor illnesses, like colds and flus, than do less emotional people,” said Dr. Emmons.

“The new data are showing that what are considered discrete psychological disorders may, in fact, be simply Continue reading

Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

I don’t usually write about what I disagree with, but I think it’s time for me to express my opposition to cultural metaphors and myths that feed the growing epidemic of stress, anxiety, powerlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that so many people are experiencing today.

war of-art-steven-pressfield

What better place to start resisting than with a best-selling book that has 309 5-star reviews and declares something as untrue as  “Resistance is Evil?” 

If resistance is characterized as evil…no wonder our culture destroys the confidence and self-respect of anyone who dares to be different, express dissenting ideas, or disagree with dominant values.  

Today, I’ve decided to resist openly and honestly. I’m not going to be “nice” or “quiet” just to not make waves.  Our cultural obsession with the idea that self-control and battling one’s inner resistance is the only way to “break through” procrastination or creative blocks must be challenged.   Continue reading

Intensity – What makes intensely creative, emotional and gifted adults like Steve Jobs prone to troubling relationship issues?

I was truly dismayed to see someone as influential and talented as Steven Johnson, author of the brilliant book  Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation say this about Steve Jobs:

“But for all his obnoxiousness with his colleagues…, Jobs had a rich collaborative streak as well. He was enough of an egomaniac to think of himself as another John Lennon, but he was always looking for McCartneys to go along for the ride with him.”

SOURCE: http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2011/10/thoughts-on-steve-jobs-the-book.html

To me, this is an example of the kind of socially accepted intolerance, bias, and disparaging name-calling that creative, emotionally intense and gifted adults (and children) frequently experience their entire lives. Even though Mr. Johnson is intending to show the “other” side of Steve Jobs complex personality, it doesn’t excuse his perpetuating the portrayal of Steve as an “obnoxious egomaniac.”   Those are some powerfully degrading and hurtful words for such a respected author to be using as though they were mere objective facts and not defamatory or derogatory character slurs. Continue reading

Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders

Have you had multiple labels given to you by professionals? Do you love someone who has?

One of the well-kept secrets of the mental health community is that more than half and possibly up to 80% or more of the people who receive a diagnosis of ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, PTSD, Depression, or a Learning Disorder are also gifted and multi-talented. Also, if you get any one of these diagnoses you are very like to get multiple diagnoses. They call this co-morbid or co-occuring conditions. They also may call you twice-exceptional.

 By definition, multiple diagnoses is a sign that we don’t really understand the full complexity of the underlying causes of human behavior. Is depression chemical? is it situational? is it reactionary? is it lifestyle? is it culture? is it the individual’s responsibility?

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End Malaria Day

Yes, good books can improve lives, shape lives, even change lives. But when was the last time a book literally helped save a life?

The answer is right now.

In this new book, 62 leading writers and thinkers share their best insights, strategies and tips to do more Great Work.

But the real magic is this: $20 from every book sold goes to Malaria No More. $20 is enough to buy a mosquito net and help with their lifesaving work in Africa.

Buy the book and save a life here: www.EndMalariaDay.com

Click to watch the End Malaria video

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Leadership and the New Science – Lessons for Agile Living and Thriving in Chaos

Leadership and the New Science

A Review

by Ariane Benefit
Originally Published April 1994,in the Human Resources Development Review Quarterly

LEADERSHIP AND THE NEW SCIENCE – Video, 1993, 23 Minutes, by Dr. Margaret Wheatley.available from CRM Films, Carlsbad, California, 92008. 1-800-421-0833


2011 – I posted an updated review of Leadership and the New Science on Amazon here

This is the original 1994 Version.

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