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February 2016




The Damage of Short Term Thinking

"Never compromise your principles, even if it leads to difficulties in the short term.”

… Alan Casden

Anyone with an interest in politics or business has seen it. Politicians making decisions based on short political cycles with an eye to the next election and a fickle electorate. CEOs who come in with the expectation of a short life in the role and a big reward if they can achieve a big difference in the bottom line who make decisions with that in mind but not for what might happen beyond those next few years.

Individuals do the same thing. They want something now so they buy it and assume they will be able to pay for it later.

We live in a world of short term thinking and it is damaging us. Many would say it is destroying us. Yet it is a habit that persists.

In politics, attempts at longer term thinking are undermined by the next opinion poll, focus group result or bad piece of economic news. In business, people are assessed by the latest quarter's results and not by the long term trends. Individuals are constantly bombarded with the temptation of the latest and greatest and the need to maintain their aspirational life style.

All this short term thinking may allow some of us to feel like we are getting things done but the absence of a longer term perspective and therefore the narrower context means the decisions we make often lead to unexpected and unwelcome outcomes. As a result, we lurch from one mini crisis to the next.

Why do we continue to think in the short term when even a cursory examination tells us that such a way of being does not serve us well over time?

It seems one answer to that question lies in the human predisposition for survival. When we perceive a threat or a quick reward we act to take it. It also seems humans will almost always act to address the concerns of themselves and those close to them before considering the wider community or the environment.

And our world is set up to play on those predispositions. Politicians seek to scare us. Organisations constantly apply the pressure to do more with less. Our digital mediums pump out messages that we are always in danger of missing out. There are so many people seeking to manipulate the way we think and feel.

So, rather than thinking of the long term consequences, we succumb and deal with what is in front of us in the quickest way possible.

So what can we do about this?

Finding a definitive answer to that question is a big challenge. However, there are a number of things that can help us think more long term.

The first is self-awareness. When we are aware of how we are feeling at any moment in time, we can start to get a sense of when we feel under pressure and when we might be acting too hastily based on our immediate reaction to something. Appreciating our emotional states and what they mean is good step to achieving this.

Secondly, it is important to be able to create space in the day for reflection and the setting of priorities. Based on my coaching experience, it is a rare person who spends time every day to be clear about the direction in which they are heading and the clear priorities for the day. This is often one of the first things that I work with people on and it makes a profoundly positive difference to not only what they achieve but also how they feel.

Finally, it is useful to have a simple vision and set of foundational values on which to orient oneself each day. I discussed the idea of foundational values last year. How to use effectively use a vision will be the subject of a future e-zine.

Thinking in the long term is not as easy as it seems. The busier we get, the more challenging it becomes as we lose sight of what we really are seeking to achieve in the detail of the day.

So here is an invitation for you. Take a minute to reflect on whether you are trapped in too much short term thinking and, if so, what would you like to do about. It may open your eyes to some new possibilities.


Mind Health Matters

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

“I like the idea that every page in every book can have a gem on it. It's probably what I love most about writing - that words can be used in a way that's like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around.”

... Markus Zusak

Days like these

Do you ever want to run screaming for the hills?

Do you ever want to hand your adulthood back to anyone who’ll take it?

Do you ever find yourself with your head slumped in your hands?

There are so many things in our day to day life that just happen. Many of them are like water off a duck’s back. They’re the stuff of life… the challenges that appear just to assure us that we are alive.

The more strategies we have to handle these events, the less likely these series of moments are to transform from gentle waves that a toddler can frolic in on the beach to massive walls of water that wash us off our feet, slam us face first into the sand before sending us colliding into a palm tree.

It’s this daily negotiation of events that can come undone when layer upon layer they compound into challenges that test even the more resilient amongst us.

When the boss is being especially difficult. When the IT department decide to upgrade their systems in the middle of the day you have a tender due by close of business. When your assistant resigns: effective immediately. When Human Resources are insisting that you counsel an underperforming employee today. When your colleague preparing the tender with you goes home sick, not with stress – who could blame them - but because they are having trouble staying on task without needing urgent bathroom breaks.

Fortunately, these days don’t happen too often. But they can happen! And where your resilience levels are at the start of the day will have a crucial impact on your ability to get through the day without damaging your identity (among other things, like furniture, your keyboard or your forehead from being knocked against a wall repeatedly).

I am an advocate of the eight research based resilience strategies plus one that I know works for me. I have created a memory aid to keep them front of mind.


B is for BODY

A is for ARTISTRY or ANYTHING that works for you

E is for EMPATHY

And there are lots of elements in each area that help me keep my resilience levels as strong as possible. My offer to you, if you are feeling particularly fragile, worn down or simply lacking any type of resilience, is to just start with ONE THING. Pick one thing that you will enjoy doing from the list above. It might be eating more raw food. It might be a 30 minute early morning walk. It might be doodling or colouring in. It might be listing three things at the end of the day that you are grateful for. It might be offering a hand to someone from grabbing them a coffee to offering to help them move house (that’ll win huge brown points for ages to come). Or you might spend five minutes sitting on the edge of your bed every morning just breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.

The key? Pick one and give it a red hot go! Let me know how you go!

Because your mind health matters.


Disclosure Now Available Globally


Check out Disclosure: Casting Out The Shadows plus Strategies for Mind Health Resilience.

For European readers you can purchase the book by clicking here.

For the Americas you can purchase the book by clicking here.

And here in Australia the book is listed but as yet unavailable in online book stores. So, for a limited time I am keeping distribution going for those in Australia. Email me your postal address and I will email you a PayPal invoice for the Australian RRP of $39.99 (plus $5.50 P&H).

This option also provides the opportunity for you to request the book to be signed.

I’ll be travelling around like a Leyland Brother talking about the lived experience of mood disorders and how to build resilience! Hook up any way you prefer to keep yourself informed of the latest news... follow the news at my website or sign up to Talking About's monthly, complimentary e-zine (that’s what you’re reading now).

'But I Feel Good' Radio Show

Radio ShowRemember to tune in to ‘But I Feel Good’ ...talking pink elephants and black dogs at its new home broadcasting in Melbourne's inner east on 94.1fm 3WBC, on your fav smart phone app or streaming live at www.3wbc.org.au every Monday 12-1pmAET or listen on demand to over 100 episodes at www.jacquichaplin.com/bifgondemand

‘But I Feel Good’ will still be heard via syndication in central Victoria on 94.9 MAINfm Mondays 1-2pmAET.

I’d love to hear your ideas for mind health topics you’d like to hear about and any mind health resources you’ve found helpful. Email me at butifeelgood@jacquichaplin.com

If you’d like me to speak about mind health matters and resilience at your conference or to your organisation please contact me at jacqui@jacquichaplin.com or +61 (0)412 741 531

We invite you to read Jacqui's blog here

More on Mind Health Matters next month!

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

... Margaret Mead

The Monthly Diversion

Some more from the Bill Murray parody account on Twitter. I love a good one liner!

I call in sick on full moons just to make them wonder.

People ask me why I don’t have any tattoos and I respond with, would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?

Taking shots of Tequila is just another way of saying, “I like where I wake up to always be a surprise.”

“I don’t know why people dislike jury duty. I think being able to play god with others’ lives sounds fun!” – How I got out of jury duty

My boss said “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Now I’m sitting in a disciplinary meeting dressed as Batman.

You can kill your attraction to anyone by watching them chew.

Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves aren’t happy.

No one has ever been in an empty room.

I’m terribly conflicted when people I hate from work, bring cupcakes.

Disappointed to learn that ‘landlady’ isn’t the opposite of a mermaid.

I really need a day between Saturday and Sunday.

I have cat-like reflexes. If I hear a loud noise, I keep napping.


"Humour is by far the most significant activity of the human brain."

... Edward De Bono

Join Us Online

LinkedInDo you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn Group and share any insights you may have. As others have done, we also invite to offer your own thoughts and conversations if they relate to the ontological approach. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting Group dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.


Chris has also written some in-depth essays on a number of topics related to the ontological work. If you would like to explore any of these essays then please click on the relevant image below.


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