Helping you make wise decisions in your life

When did you last regret a decision you made? Can you envision where you would be today if you had made that decision differently? Imagine what you could achieve in your life, in your business and even in the world if you could always think, decide and act with true wisdom. The good news is, you can. With the right tools and techniques you can learn how to make decisions that have the most positive impact on all concerned.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Turning Points!

When asked, "what is the primary impulse in human beings?" His Holiness The Dalai Lama replied, "we care". We don't have to cultivate it. It's already there. Caring is our deepest, most fundamental attribute. We turn towards each other through caring. When we stop caring we turn away or against each other. This is also the essence of all the great religious traditions. To remind us of our true nature. We are sentient beings, who care.

Monday, 20 December 2010


Is it just me, or does the whole Wikileaks saga look like the 1992 movie, "Sneakers"? Julian Assange could easily pass for the sophisticated hacker played by Ben Kingsley. "Just imagine, Marty" he says to his old hacker friend played by Robert Redford, "how different the world would be if there were no secrets!" In the end the "good guys" win, with a little coercion from the CIA. Art imitates art!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Terracotta Warriors

Viewing objects from the time of Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE) at the Art Gallery of NSW over the weekend I was reminded that the lessons of history are forever repeated. At the end of the exhibition hangs a quote from the Han Dynasty poet and statesman Jia Yi (201-169 BCE) about the Qin empire:
"Qin, beginning with an insignificant amount of territory, reached the power of a great state and for a hundred years made all the other great lords pay homage to it. Yet after it had become master of the whole empire...its ruler died by the hands of men...why? Because it had failed to rule with humanity and righteousness and to realize that the power to attack and the power to retain what one had thereby won, are not the same".
Iraq, anybody?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Search for Consciousness!

We spent a week-long silent meditation retreat with Alan Wallace (author of about 30 books, including "Mind in the Balance" and "The Attention Revolution") and 50 of our closest friends in the Blue Mountains recently. It's amazing what you hear when you stop talking! I discovered that the only way to truly know what consciousness is, is from the inside of your own mind. All the neurological correlates are only poor imitations of what's really going on between your ears!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Why Do We Say "Yes" When We Mean "No"?

Jeffrey Young's Schema Therapy suggests it has a lot to do with your family. He suggests 11 schemas or "mental representations" we hold as a result of our childhood experience. Which one(s) do you hold?
Abandonment: The feeling that people you love will leave you, and you will end up emotionally isolated forever.
Mistrust and Abuse: The expectation that people will hurt or abuse you in some way - that they will cheat, lie to, manipulate, humiliate, physically harm, or otherwise take advantage of you.
Dependence: You feel unable to handle everyday life in a competent manner without considerable help from others.
Vulnerability: You live in fear that disaster is about to strike - whether natural, criminal, medical, or financial. You don't feel safe in this world.
Emotional Deprivation: The belief that your need for love will never be met adequately by other people. You feel that no one truly cares for you or understands how you feel.
Social Exclusion: Involves your connection to friends and groups. It has to do with feeling isolated from the rest of the world, with feeling different.
Defectiveness: You feel inwardly flawed and defective. You believe that you would be fundamentally unlovable to anyone who got close enough to really know you.
Failure: The belief that you are inadequate in areas of achievement. You believe you have failed relative to your peers.
Subjugation: You sacrifice your own needs and desires for the sake of pleasing others or meeting their needs.
Unrelenting Standards: You strive relentlessly to meet extremely high expectations of yourself.
Entitlement: Associated with the ability to accept realistic limits in life. You feel special. You insist that you be able to say, or have whatever you want immediately.
You can find out more here:

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Cycle of Change!

The thing about change is that it's so incredibly difficult to do! When we're threatened with change we all default to our False Self and the stories we tell about who we pretend to be. Underneath - where we typically feel most vulnerable - is the True Self. How can any of us uncover the essence of who we really are and deal with the changes we face on a daily basis?! It takes time and a supportive coach/therapist/mentor.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Running the Human Race!

After successfully completing the 9 Km Blackmores Bridge Run yesterday it occurred to me that we are all running the race of our lives. Each of us having a separate running experience and yet contributing to the collective spectacle of the human race.We start and finish. But the race continues.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Independents day!

An historic transition in Australian political history today! I watched each of the independents give their speeches to the media about who they were prepared to back to form a minority government. Bob Katter sided with the Coalition but both Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshot supported Labor. What struck me was the thoughtful way in which each outlined their reasoning. There was a measure of wisdom rarely seen in politicians! I particularly liked the way Rob Oakshot referred to the "going home to my children" test of his decision. Never has the articulation of what makes a wise decision been more evident in political discourse than today!

What did you think about independents day?

Monday, 30 August 2010

Core Values!

What are you most passionate about? What moves you? We tend to do more of what serves our core values and less of what takes us away from them. But are you truly moving in the direction of your values? Here are seven groups of values. Which ones do you most closely align with?
1. Prosocial
2. Power
3. Spiritual
4. Control
5. Pleasure
6. Achievement
7. Health

Monday, 9 August 2010

Decision Preferences!

How do you make a good decision?

You can use a rational information processing mode to "calculate" the best decision under the circumstances. Or you can use your intuitive mind to "sense" the best way to go based on your experience. But still something's missing. Where's the moral element or the appeal to higher values that best represents the impact your decision might have on others?

You need to use a reflective process of thinking. Like a "third mind". A good decision is one arising from the balanced use of both the rational and intuitive processing modes, together with a high level of reflective thinking. is this how you make wise decisions?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

How to Make Wise Decisions!

Wisdom is most evident through the decisions we make, like King Solomon’s decision to cleave the baby in two, thus revealing the true mother. We call this wise because it reveals knowledge of human behaviour, understanding of social context, compassion, moral consideration, and above all a pragmatic appraisal of which decision outcome best serves the common good.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Accomplish More by Doing Less!

In his book, "Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less" (2009), Marc Lesser (yes, that's his real name!) sets out clear and practical guidelines for breaking the addiction to busyness. It helps that he's a Zen teacher with an MBA. But his thesis is that we live in time, not through time. Living in time is to be bounded by "clock time". Useful in planning and measuring. But it's not the same as absolute time. Time which is unbounded. Timeless. We need to be capable of stopping. To view our life as part of this flow. Only then can we choose our aspirations and make a conscious effort to accomplish whatever it is we came here to do!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Five Minds!

In his book, "Five Minds for the Future" (2008), Howard Gardner laments the fact that much of corporate education is too narrowly focused on skills and competencies. "we don't think deeply enough about the human qualities that we want to cultivate in the workplace" he says. And now, post-GFC, it seems corporations still don't know how to nurture and cultivate those who are prepared to go beyond self-interest and do good work for society and for the planet.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

End Poverty Now!

"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."
- Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Relevance of HR!

What's the most significant issue facing Human Resources professionals today? Being taken seriously! But instead of fighting to defend budget cuts HR professionals should be at the core of meaningful business, not struggling at the margins. How? By building a sustainable philosophy of enterprises as places of human being rather than human doing. Too idealistic? What do you think?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Phases of the Moon

How is it that some days I can accomplish so much and others just turn to mush! Does it have anything to do with the phases of the moon? The human body is mostly water so it stands to reason that we are pulled by the same tides. And the brain is sensitive to changes in hydration. So perhaps if I'm dehydrated at high tide and when the moon is full I might not be as "switched on" mentally!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Vale Cherie

Our dear friend and close neighbour for 6 years, Cherie, "lost her battle with cancer" early on Anzac Day morning. At least, that's how the news will report her passing. But if there was a "battle", the cancer lost. The senselessness of cancer is that it destroys its host. Cherie lived her life fully, seven stars all the way. And she will be gladly remembered by whole communities of people. No one will remember the cancer.

Friday, 2 April 2010

What's Good about Good Friday?

It's Easter Good Friday today. A time to reflect on the difference between religion and science. But are they so different? Both are dogmatic about an epistemological framework that puts a priori evidence (either the Bible, or accumulated knowledge) ahead of reasoning, and direct experience. And yet the contemplative tradition in all the major religions emphasises personal experience as the most direct path to knowing. We can't know or not know until we have the direct empirical evidence for ourselves. Isn't that just good science? Todays metaphysics may be tomorrows physics.

Monday, 15 March 2010


Finally got to see Avatar the movie in 3D last weekend. Surely the most astonishing and breathtaking experience depicted on screen since the first Star Wars movie! OK, so the plot devices were predictable and there are several ways of "interpreting" the storyline. But did you pick up on the implications of transference from human to Na'avi? What happens when you completely and irreversibly shift your consciousness into a different physiology? talk about the ultimate culture transformation!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Positive Psychology!

Here we are at the 2nd Australian Positive Psychology and Well-being Conference at Monash University, Caulfield, February 13, 2010. This is at the end of my workshop, "Wise decisions: How the psychology of wisdom can be applied to everyday life" where a small group of enthusiastic delegates followed a six-step process for making a wise decision when faced with a dilemma!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Wise Decisions!

Here's a way of running a difficult decision through a series of filters. Do you remember the archetypal story of "The Wizard of Oz"?

1. First, take Dorothy's position - all she wants to do is "get back home to Kansas". What do you most wish for from this decision?
2. Next, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow. He wants a brain. So what calculations can you make about your decision?
3. Dorothy's next companion on the Yellow Brick Road is the Tinman. He wants a heart. What do you feel most strongly about this decision - what's your gut feeling?
4. Then Dorothy meets the Lion. He wants courage. What are your signature strengths? And what strengths do you need to exhibit most to make this decision?
5. Finally, the friends arrive at the Emerald City and there they meet the great and terrible Wizard of Oz. In essence he asks, "what is the wisest thing to do?
6. But before Dorothy and her friends can achieve their desires they must go on a quest to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. What kind of quest are you on? What does this decision mean in relation to your life journey?

Saturday, 6 February 2010


Have you noticed how you can feel so self-justified in an argument? Usually when you know you've done something to upset the other person yet you defend your actions valiantly! What are you defending against? Seeing the stark reality of your default nature stripped bare. The very antithesis of "who it is I say I am". The constant companion. Walking beside you in the shadows. You must meet this nature of yours face-to-face and engage him if you have any hope of slipping his sub-conscious and reactive hold.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

No Worries!

Despite being a pathological optimist I've done a lot of worrying over the past year. I put it down to the GFC. But how much worrying is too much? Chronic worrying - fretting - is associated with a need to control events in life. Does it work? Research shows it's a good idea to worry productively about those things that you can definitely influence. But fretting actually undermines the body's ability to react to stress, weakens the cardiovascular system and disrupts normal emotional functioning. I try not to worry about that!

Friday, 29 January 2010

How Dare You!

Whenever I feel frustrated, impatient or angry I realize I am defending a proposition. The proposition that "I am" is significant, "How dare you!" "Can't you understand!" "Don't you know who I am!"
When I cool down and step back from the situation, the person, or my own inner dialogue I notice that I've been caught up in the delusion of protecting something that doesn't exist - "I". My "I" is only a figment of the narrative running through my head. And I see that what I'm actually protecting is the idea that my narrative is somehow more significant or important than your narrative. Yet I can choose to be of service to you through practicing compassion, detachment, patience, and above all, wisdom!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Good versus Evil!

Reading Bob Thurman's 2004 book, "Infinite Life: Seven Virtues for Living Well" at the moment. He gives a mathematical formula to prove the triumph of good over evil:
Infinity x 1 (evil) < Infinity x Infinity (good)
"The unenlightened and evil are defined by self-centeredness", he says. "Whereas the enlightened and good are defined by other-centeredness". No matter how many bad thing self-centered beings do to others, they are soon exhausted since their drive is based only on their own appetite and will. Yet other-centered beings strive to make the world a better place and so they are able to draw on the emotional energies and needs of an infinite number of others. "Therefore, other-centered beings will always last longer and perform more capably, since their source of energy is so much greater than that of self-centered beings".

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Seeing Clearly!

At the start of a new year and a new decade here are 7 aspects of life I see more clearly now:
(1) We are all connected to more people who hold us in positive regard than we realize.
(2) Correspondingly, we influence more lives than we think.
(3) Yet, there is a tendency to imagine that others are just as vitally engaged in my story as I am. They're not. This is one of the great self-delusions.
(4) Everything is as it should be. Life moves on with or without me.
(5) My story is only a fabrication of my dreams, my desires, my actions and reactions.
(6) Others place their own interpretations on my life. I have no influence on that. But I can be the author of my own epic, even to the final chapter.
(7) The fear of death is only frightening when viewed from the imagined perspective of others. What will they say about me? Will they remember me? What will I have amounted to?