Category Archives: Lessons in Life

Handling opposing opinions with humility

Humility109 Correction
Stupid idea…???
How often have you been in a business brain storming meeting and thought: “What a stupid idea” as you listen to your colleague, or thought: “That will never work.”

What is important here is that you don’t let these inner thoughts allow you to slip into being disrespectful in that moment. By saying “That’s a stupid or silly idea,” is disrespectful. Saying, “That’s an interesting idea,” is dishonest.

Jean Piaget ( studied how human beings grow up. He tested children through a block painted green on one side and red on the other. Facing the child, he held the block between them with the green side pointed toward him and the red side pointed toward the child. When he asked, “What color do you see?” the child always answered, “red.” Then Piaget asked, “What color do I see?” Most children younger than 5 years old answered, “Red.” They were incapable of recognizing that other would see something different from them. Older children gave the correct answer. They understood that while they saw red, Piaget saw green. They demonstrated a sense of perspective, the ability to appreciate another’s point of view. Many so-called grownups have never developed this skill.

Many people have forty+ years of experience in being three.
An adult child never questions their perspective; because they believe that they are right, and whoever disagrees with them is wrong. It is their way or the highway.

True employee engagement
Businesses that have true employee engagement have a culture that ‘no idea is stupid’. “Stupid” is an arrogant opinion, an unskillful way of expressing that an idea is not liked, understood or see the potential in the idea has not been seen. Whatever the reason, you can be sure that its proponent does not think the idea is stupid.

Arrogance vs. humility
The opposite of arrogance is humility (from the Latin “humus,” meaning ground.) A humble person does not place themselves above others; they do not pretend to hold a privileged position. Humility is the acknowledgment that you do not have a special claim on reality or truth, that others have equally valid perspectives deserving respect and consideration. Successful businesses have mature teams that have and understand the importance of humility.

Different persepctives
There are many ways to look at the world, and each way has its brightness and its blind spots. Only humility can integrate diverse perspectives into an inclusive view. Humility makes sense intellectually, but it is not our natural attitude. It requires, at least, the cognitive development of a six-year-old.

What age is the humility in your business?
If you feel that it needs to mature then please contact us.

Trisha Proud
Partners in Solutions Ltd


The Pretty Women Effect

Pretty Women099 Correction
The story of the film “Pretty Woman” centers on the down-on-her-luck Hollywood prostitute Vivian Ward, played by Julia Roberts, who is hired by a wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis, played by Richard Gere, to be his escort for several business and social functions, and their developing relationship over the course of Vivian’s week-long stay with him.

There cannot be many women out there that can fail to remember those infamous scenes in the movie, where Julia Robert’s character (Vivian Ward) walks into a shop on Rodeo Drive. The shop assistants look her up and down disdainfully instantly adopting the “you don’t belong here” attitude, making the very attractive Vivien feel extremely venerable and out of place. Vivien leaves the shop with hurt feelings and no self-confidence.

There can be no doubt that many women will identify with this. Surely in today’s world every person, every customer should be treated equally as if they were royalty in fact! It really shouldn’t matter what you, or your bank account looks like. Sadly though we see the “Pretty Woman Effect” all too often; people judging other people by the first impressions they have of them or by their outward appearances; as in the case of this movie.

There are many people though that relishes these experiences, saying that it makes them spiritually stronger. They are of the belief that there are no such things as coincidences that every interaction such as this, everybody we meet, we meet for a reason, and that it is just a simple case of discovering what that reason is. This of course is not as easy as it might sound, particularly if you are being ridiculed like the character Vivien Ward in Pretty Women.

When interviewing women for my novel “Soulmate” several of them mentioned that they had experienced the ‘pretty women effect’ when searching for their “Soulmate”. When, as part of my research, I probed further I found that women more than men believed in this spiritual ethos. Women will readily tell you that they have experienced times when they feel alone and venerable or are alone in a room but just know instinctively that they are not alone, because they have an absolute sense of some unexplained spiritual awareness.

Through my research I discovered that the majority of people did not believe that spiritual awareness was related to any religious belief, as one might first assume; but moreover as alluded to above that it is based on the belief that that there are no such things as coincidences; as the Richard Gere’s character (Edward Lewis) explained in the film, endorsing the fact that he was meant to meet Vivien Ward (Julia Roberts), and as such they were meant to be together.

Fascinated by this belief that everybody you meet you meet for a reason, as additional research I read other books on spiritual awareness and started to believe in this principal even greater after reading The Celestine Prophesy by James Redfield, which had such a profound affect on me that I have followed the principles within this book ever since. I also believe in “Karma Neutral”; by this I mean what you give is what you get, this belief also is partly based on my reading The Celestine Prophecy.

Although a work of fiction, The Celestine Prophesy attracts many readers because it deals with spiritualization, growth and even our reason for being here. This may at first be seen as quite “heavy stuff”; the learning though is interspersed within the story. In brief, this is the tale of a man who goes in search of ancient manuscripts in the rain forests of Peru, having been told about them by a friend. The book then follows his journey and as he finds each manuscript, he shares the insights and messages with the reader.

The Celestine Prophecy contains secrets that are changing our world and the way we think. Drawing inspiration from ancient wisdom, the book urges the reader to make connections amongst the events happening in their own life right now, which the book describes as not a mere coincidence, but a message or indication from a different energy level.

There are several insights that build on the above, below are the key ones that most of the women I interviewed resonate with:
1. Everything happens for a reason, there is no such thing as coincidence
2. We should keep ourselves open and should be ready to receive from others
3. Think about every meeting we have and be aware of the energy we give out and take from others.

So next time you experience or have a ‘‘pretty women’ moment just stop and think why it might have happened. Who is it you have met through this experience and why have your paths crossed. You never know you might meet your own Richard Gere…….your very own “Soulmate”

Selling your soul

Selling your Soul

My novel “Soulmate” focuses on love, lust and psychology! It gets into the mind of the main character, Tillie, as she experiences the highs and lows of her life, when trying to find her "Soulmate" and all that this has taught her; Lessons about ‘selling your soul, lesson on false flattery, betrayal, injustice, deceit and the hardest lesson of all, the lesson of love; Was Pluto right do we only ever have one “Soulmate”?…….

So what did I discover about the lesson on ‘Selling your soul’?

It is often said that we, inadvertently or sometimes deliberately ‘sell our soul to the devil’ but what does this mean? According to traditional this was the pact between a person and Satan, the devil, or any other demon for that matter when a person offers his or her soul in exchange for diabolical favours. Such tradition it is said is where those favours vary, but tend to include youth, knowledge, wealth, or power. It was also said that some people made this type of pact just as a sign of recognizing the devil as their master.

Likewise when lovers believe that they have found their ‘soulmate’ all too often one partner becomes the ‘master’. The master is the person that quietly and skillfully manages to take control over the others life; leaving the other person feeling trapped. Regardless, of whether this person has or has not really sold their soul to the devil the position they find themselves in is an uncomfortable and dangerous one.

People that use the phrase ‘‘selling your soul to the devil’ will often say that they believe in the afterlife, as many people do; however believing in the devil, now that is another matter entirely. One many people find a little silly. When you ‘sell your soul’, to the devil or not, you begin racking up a type of human debt that must be paid back, not necessarily with money, but to be paid back in some way. This is because you have become indebted to somebody, this person may have got you out of a bad situation, leant you money, or done you a huge favour in some way.

Numerous people will undoubtedly say that this would be too high a price to pay; to owe another person in this way. To be beholden to another human being is most certainly a big price to pay and a large cross to bear. Selling your soul can result in hellish experiences as many people who have embarked on such a route have found out to their cost.

Selling your soul is selling your integrity, your values and your self worth. So before you consider doing so ask yourself these three simple questions:
1) What is the real reason you are even considering it, wealth, fame or power?
2) Is the eventual price really worth it?
3) Will the outcome (the price) scorched itself into your brain like a soldering iron, never to be forgotten?

Oh yes there are occasions when at first glance the rewards for ‘selling your soul’ may appear very sweet and therefore attractive. But do you proceed ask yourself if you really want to live like this, and above all remember that nothing in life is free, ‘what goes around, comes around’……..Choose your path wisely.

Have you ever been tempted to ‘sell your soul’?

False Flattery

False Flattery
I wrote my novel “Soulmate” for three reasons:

(1) I appeared to be a ‘mother confessor’ to most of my girl friends and discovered that under their outward bravado that they wanted to find a ‘soulmate’….and I wanted capture the similarities of their love lives.

(2) More interestingly they all, without exception talked about the lessons that they had learnt, about themselves, their friends and their lovers during their search for their ‘Soulmate’.

(3) I wanted to share with other women the lessons and experiences that my friends had learnt, to let women of the world know that they weren’t alone with their crazy mixed up feelings when searching for their one true love, their ‘soulmate’.

And there you have it the backdrop to my first chick-lit novel, which focuses on love, lust and psychology! 

So what did I discover about the lesson on ‘false flattery’?

This was one of the most fascinating elements of my research because it wasn’t just men that indulged in false flattery but women also. Most women I found expect a touch of false flattery from men, especially when they first meet them.  Several women I interviewed said that they actually looked forward to it; false flattery was often disguised within their first few initial ‘chat-up lines’; some of this false flattery was described as ‘cheesy and old fashioned’…”What a good looking girl like you doing in a place like this?” type of cheesy; to other types of false flattery that bordered on the hilarious……”It’s uncanny, you have a remarkable resemblance to my mother, you must meet her, she has just had a brilliant facelift and you really can’t tell”……..

These tales are amusing but on a more serious note false flattery can really damage a person’s self confidence. If you a lady looking for love, for your ‘soulmate’ then you instinctively want to believe everything you are told; as foolhardy as they may seem.

Whether it is a work colleague complimenting you on your new hair style or perhaps a piece of work you have delivery, or a man saying that you look great when in fact you have been up all night and look hideously tired with eye bags down to your knee caps! False flattery is just another method of lying.  It is manipulative, duplicitous, deceitful, insincere and downright two faced!  When you are told an untruth by a man such as “you look fabulous”, when you don’t, this is almost certainly a forerunner to an attempt to what my girlfriends called “a quick fumble of flattery”.

Not all flattery is bad, sincere compliments and genuine feedback is good and can boost morale and self worth. There is a distinct difference between a compliment and false flattery which is not always easy to detect.

Everyone lies, even if just a little bit. You don’t want to embarrass your friend by telling her what you really think of her dress, so you tell her you like it. You don’t want to risk telling your boss how dumb you think their ideas are, so you say the idea is “interesting” or “worth looking into.” As a society we recognize the need for these small departures from the truth and excuse them by calling them “white lies.” these, too, are attempts to influence by manipulation, but they are clearly more benign than the colossal fraud perpetrated by false flattery which is designed curry favour or gain an unfair advantage.

You have to think about and understand the psychology behind what is being said, or in some cases not being said; seeing the insincere compliment, the false flattery, for what it really means. All false flattery whether delivered by a male or female is low level communication, very often stomach churning, usually ingratiating and most definitely shallow. Never doubt that false flattery will lead to some form of doubt dealing, and if you are looking for your ‘soulmate’ beware, because as many of my girlfriends discovered, you will be hurt in the end.

My novel “Soulmate”, is definitely one for the ladies and gets into the mind of the main character, Tillie, as she experiences the highs and lows of her life, when trying to find her “Soulmate” and all that this has taught her; Lessons on false flattery, betrayal, injustice, deceit and the hardest lesson of all, the lesson of love; Was Pluto right do we only ever have one “Soulmate”?…….

Honesty is the best policy

Benjamin Franklin
“Honesty is the best policy”

It is believed to be Benjamin Franklin who first said that “Honesty is the best policy”.  Franklin was a man who through-out his substantive 84 years demonstrated ‘honesty’ and ‘integrity’ over and over again. Working with other historic figures such as George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Franklin was elected to the Second Continental Congress and worked on a committee of five that helped to draft America’s “Declaration of Independence”; although much of the writing is said to be that of Thomas Jefferson’s, a vast amount of the contribution is known to be that of Benjamin Franklin’s.

A man of many parts Benjamin Franklin is an interesting character, who in his early years involved himself in printing and soap making. In his latter years he started concentrating his energies on science, experiments, and inventions. In 1743, he had already invented a heat-efficient stove, called the Franklin stove. Sadly his honesty and uprightness cost him dearly financially because as the stove was invented to help improve society, he refused to take out a patent.

Among Franklin’s other inventions are swim fins and bifocals. In the early 1750’s he turned to the study of electricity. His observations, including his kite experiment which verified the nature of electricity and lightning broughtFranklininternational fame.

As well as thisFranklinis of course also best known for his involvement with the merging American political scene during the time of their declared independence. Franklin died on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84 years. 20,000 people attended the funeral of the man who was called, “the harmonious human multitude.” One of his last public acts was writing an anti-slavery treatise in 1789. His electric personality, however, still lights the world today as does the immortal phrase “Honesty is the best policy”.

Most of us are taught the value of telling the truth when we are young; but sadly somewhere into adulthood, when we are under pressure at work or at home, when the real competitive world kicks in with all its deceptions and temptations, honesty can sometimes be a far distant memory and hard to find. So what does this mean to us today, in today’s modern society?  Does honesty mean different things to different people? Is there a male vs. female divide?

During the 1960’s and 70’s the female movement certainly did belie that there was indeed a male vs. female divide. Fortunately, for the most part, we have come out of this cycle where if you were a man being honest and forthright you were seen as ‘assertive’; whereas a woman delivering the same message was often seen as ‘aggressive’.

On gender based assertiveness classification, an article written in the New York Times several years ago said that women are expected to be nurturing, but seen as ineffective if they are too feminine.  They are expected to be strong, but tend to be labeled as strident or abrasive when acting as leaders. “Women have to choose between being liked but not respected, or respected but not liked,” Joan Williams author of the book “Unbending Gender” says.  This is a tough choice if all you want is to be open and honest but not judged as ‘aggressive’.

At work, as business owners or employees we are all encourage to be ‘honest’; to provide ‘honest feedback’.  Yet still in the new millennium, for many being able to provide ‘positive, honest comment or feedback’ without causing offence is difficult. It is a sad refection on society; a society that claims to have ‘free speech’ that many believe that giving any form of ‘honest comment’ may damage their relationships or may cause offence. Is this not diluting their integrity, the opposite of honesty in fact?

Most people do still believe that ‘honesty is the best policy’. That said, all too often we see many things around us which are not honest. Sadly some people are inherently dishonest, either because that is what they have been taught; or equally as bad, because the culture of their organisation encourages them to be dishonest. Some may believe that dishonesty may shine from time to time; it may even momentarily earn money and power. But experience has certainly taught me that this is generally for only a short time.

Honesty is courageous, dishonesty is cowardly. I truly believe that honesty always wins the day. It is said that it takes a hundred lies to hide one act of dishonesty. Therefore honesty surely has to be the best policy.

The great Benjamin Franklin also said:

  • A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
  • An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
  • Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one
  • A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Trisha Proud  – Partners in Solutions Ltd

Elephant in the room

Deal with your ‘elephant in the room’

One of the most poignant stories I have of dealing with “the elephant in the room” is not business related, but one that really demonstrates that if you can cling onto your integrity, in the face of even the deepest adversity, then out of something bad will come something good.

The story relates to a girlfriend of mine who had just come through an exceptionally acrimonious divorce. Just days after the final divorce hearing, and after three years of intensive marketing of her martial home, she received an offer on her house She was delighted not only because it would signal the end of an unpleasant era in her life, but also because sh e simply could not afford to keep the house, which was already under threat of repossession.

With renewed vigor she contacted her solicitor who promptly told her that as attractive as the buyers offer was, that she was unable to sell her home without the potential of a challenge from her ex-husband, as the divorce settlement had been based on her remaining in the former marital home with her children. This, her solicitor informed her, she would be obliged to do for a minimum of six months to avert such a challenge. She was beside herself with the worry and the thought of losing her buyer after three years of trying to sell her house in a depressed and falling market. At this point my friend sought my advice.

My advice to her was that was to deal with “the elephant in the room”, she was more than likely going to lose her buyer anyway, and so why lie about the situation I told her. I suggested that she contact her buyer and invite them over for tea and a chat. She asked me to join her.  On behalf of my distraught friend I explained the situation to the intrigued buyers, who, as I unravelled the story started to smile. They were extremely sympathetic.  As the conversation evolved it transpired they were buying my friend’s house as their first home together. They too had been through divorces and said that they ‘understood the awful procedural processes’ and the limitations that individual settlements can place on divorcees.

Then, completely unexpectedly the dealing with “the elephant in the room” and its honesty pay-back was delivered!  The woman said that she really wanted the house. The man took a moment to digest all that had been said before announcing that they were renting at the present time and that he would be prepared to rent for a further six months if my friend agreed to take the house off the market, and sell it to them at the same price. His only concern was that his mortgage offer would run out, but that he would deal with this.

The story has a happy ending as contracts have been exchanged and both parties are now living happily in their respective new homes. My friend, by her own admission, is not necessarily the best communicator and she readily acknowledges that she would have accepted her fate of loosing her buyer. As I have said to her since there is a real and valuable lesson to be learnt from this, not only in terms of effective communication skills, but also in the power of being honest. Being honest and equally important dealing with “The elephant in the room”; the chances of my friend having a successful outcome without firstly being honest and secondly dealing with ‘the elephant in the room’ were very slim indeed. A real life’s lesson was learnt that day.

Elephant in the room” is an idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes un-addressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.  This was so obvious to me in my friend’s case. 

Few phrases evoke such perfect imagery as “the elephant in the room.” What could better represent something in a room that you can’t help but notice than a six-ton-plus animal? How could you not talk about something like that?

The more we encourage people to give honest opinions, and deal with “the elephant in the room”, the more likely it is that accuracy and trust will increase and relationships, personal, business or otherwise, will deepen.

Trisha Proud – Partners in Solutions Ltd