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Author: admin, 30.12.2013. Category: The Power Of Thinking

You would think that after a lifetime of practice, our thoughts, conversations, and behaviours would be constructive. The Life Styles Inventory (LSI) by Human Synergistics is one such approach that shows promise. The Life Styles Inventory, or LSI, is a model that describes our thoughts and behaviours using twelve styles positioned on what is referred to as a Circumplex. The aggressive and passive styles that are positioned towards the bottom of the Circumplex are defensive, meaning we often use these styles based on a need to feel safe and secure. This stress triggers our innate fight-or-flight responses to help us survive in contemporary society. Defensive styles are just that – defensive responses to real or perceived threats.  We tell ourselves that these styles keep us safe.
We have many examples in society of defensive responses, but we do not have as many examples of a Constructive response. Through my coaching conversations, I have heard many people defend their defensive behaviours. The second part of the LSI is where other people provide feedback on the person being assessed. I do not believe we are a slave to our habitual responses. Because of our upbringing and personality, I believe some people may be more challenged than others to overcome certain defensive styles.
Even without actually taking the LSI, there is value in understanding the approach as a way of thinking. Do I know my boundaries? Do I own what is mine, and do I let go of what is not mine to own?
Your answers and feedback from those who know you may give you some insights into the styles of your response.
This blog for me represents my own constructive engagement as I define the boundaries of where I want to play in the world, work towards my goals of making a positive difference, encourage as many people as possible along the way, and support a broad community of like-minded people around me. If you found this beneficial and you feel it would be constructive to others to learning about different thinking styles, I invite you to share through the social links below.


My day job role is as a Community Manager for an innovation hub, developing capacity, capability and resiliency in individuals and local communities through entrepreneurship. I believe in helping people realise their full potential within the organisations and communities in which they serve.
We think, say, and do things that are not all that helpful and can limit us from getting where we feel we need to be.
Centuries of research in fields of psychology, philosophy and theology have developed a myriad of responses to this question. Developed around 50 years ago and used by millions of participants, the LSI gives an insight into why our responses are not always beneficial as well as a clear description of what a constructive response looks like. These styles are grouped into three colour-coded categories: red for aggressive, green for passive, and blue for constructive. Previous unsuccessful attempts to break out of thought patterns and behaviour cycles can lead to a false belief that we are our habitual response. Being overly competitive and perfectionistic in an aggressive environment can get short-term results. We also tend to create situations that we are familiar with and allow us to respond in ways that allow us to use our skills. Seeking approval, keeping things the same, waiting for others to set goals, and avoiding conflict may work for a while. We learn these styles from examples we had growing up, reinforced by our inherent personality. It is not my position to say whether certain styles of thinking are or are not appropriate. While the strategies for constructive thinking will be different for different people, everyone has access to more effective outcomes and stronger relationships.
If you have questions or stories about the LSI, I would love to hear your constructive thoughts in the comments section below, or you can connect with me on LinkedIn for a direct conversation.
I believe that can only be done by challenging convention and taking a perspective that is sideways to the norm.


We can even get into habits of thinking, saying, and doing these unhelpful things over, and over, and over again. The greater the need for security, such as when we are under stress, the more intense the defensive thoughts and behaviours may be. This energy manifests itself as worry, stress, and anxiety, which can then have negative impacts on our relationships and our physical and emotional health. Being overly agreeable and avoiding conflict in a change-resistant bureaucracy may mean you keep your job during times of organisational upheaval. A lack of results may then result in a shift towards trying to make things perfect, winning at all costs, taking control, and opposing that which we see as stopping us. At every step of your life, you come cross teachers who devote their entire life in the enlightenment of students like us. Inevitably, however, we may encounter feedback in the form of personal stress or loss of opportunity that tells us that these defensive behaviours may not help us get to where we want to go in life.
When life seems to single you out for the same issues over and over, there may be an opportunity to ask about whether this might be a learning opportunity.
We may think the only alternative to being passive is an aggressive response, and vice versa. Like any skill, developing an alternative to a natural fight or flight reaction takes practice. Many a times in life, you feel like thanking your teacher but you do not find a proper occasion.



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