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May 2016




Is the World a Safe Place?

"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.”

… Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878 - 1969) US clergyman

Here's a question for you. Do you feel that the world is predominantly a safe place or a dangerous place?

Take some time to answer this question before reading ahead.

How you have answered that question goes a long way to establishing your values and your ways of being in life. For example, your political stance will be coloured by your response. Those who see the world as more dangerous will tend to have a conservative view and focus heavily on issues such as national security and closing the borders. Those who see the world as predominantly safe will tend to more progressive views on those subjects. This is well known by those in politics and so political parties seek to portray themselves as strong on national security to capture the more conservative voters. It is also why it is in some politicians' interest to make us feel less safe and so we find ourselves subjected to various scare campaigns.

Our general assessment of a safe or dangerous world also underpins our responses to everyday situations. If someone tends to see the world as unsafe and people as a potential threat then their initial stance is likely to be a defensive one. This approach has people deal with the threat first leading to aggressive/defensive and passive/defensive responses that focus on getting away from the threat. On the other hand, tending to see the world as a safe place allows us to focus our energy on what we want to create rather than what we want to avoid which leads us to a more constructive approach to life.

Let's look at how these stances play out in the context of organisational culture. Any organisation is going to include people who exist right across the spectrum of the world as a safe or dangerous place. Most organisations who undertake culture initiatives focus on people's behaviour and rarely consider the impact of the organisational climate in which their people work. Organisations that continue to heap more and more pressure on their employees, turn a blind eye to bullying and regularly go through major redundancy programs can hardly expect a constructive culture, but many do.

So if you are looking to develop a better organisational culture, give some thought to how to give people a stronger sense of safety and certainty as part of that process. I am not implying that organisations should not be adaptable or ask people to perform at reasonable levels, however how those things are done can speak volumes about an organisation's values and the culture it seeks to evolve.

Mind Health Matters

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

“Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.”

... Mark Twain (1835-1910) US novelist

Can’t see the forest for the trees? Can’t see the trees for the forest…

In last month’s piece on what might be behind a mental health empathy deficit we took a look at the link between preconceived values and beliefs about what having a mental illness and what that might ‘mean’ about a person.
Continuing in the series of posts about some of the reasons why there might be an empathy deficit when it comes to dealing with people living with mental illness, this month’s topic takes a look at the impact of being in denial about one’s own or a loved one’s mental illness.

Potentially challenging territory here. My approach here is to offer some thoughts about the link between the empathy deficit and denial. I won’t be discussing how it can be fixed or what you can do on a personal level. This post is to simply get you thinking, or get you thinking differently, about the impact being in denial about a mental health challenge can have on the empathy we can, or can’t, demonstrate for others.

Imagine if you will a parent, who is struggling on a day-to-day basis with their mental health. Rather than putting their hand up and asking for help, they list a myriad of reasons why life is as hard as it is for them. They don’t have time to exercise. They’re too busy to eat right. They’re tired all the time. Their boss is a controlling narcissist. Their partner doesn’t understand or appreciate them. They never get any time alone and don’t forget how annoying it is when the barista wishes them a great day! This could be a grand scale denial!

Now imagine that their teenage son is overtly displaying a significant number of the recognised signs and symptoms of depression. They’ve been occurring for at least two weeks and are significantly affecting his ability to learn, socialise and function effectively.

In denial of their own mental health challenges, this parent might take a less than empathic approach to dealing with their son. The parent sees themselves toughing life out… they know life isn’t fair and, if you can’t deal with it, tough luck. And a well-recognised impact of denying, ignoring or avoiding the signs and symptoms of depression or other mental illnesses is that they get worse. The ‘sads’ will go away by themselves. Depression won’t.

So, no right or wrong here. Just what’s helpful and effective. When a person is in denial of their own mental health challenges it can increase the likelihood of them denying similar issues in others that they love, live with or work alongside.

Maybe the next time you notice someone protesting loudly that there is nothing wrong with them or nothing wrong with so-and-so in the face of evidence to the contrary, you might like to re-think what might be going on under the surface of their protestations.

Next month I’ll take a look at how a lack of awareness or understanding of the causes of mental illness can add to the empathy deficit!

Why? Because your mind health matters.

For crisis support in Australia call Lifeline 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 13 11 14. In Australia, in case of an emergency, call 000. 

DisclosureDisclosure 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 North Americans 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). I am told the e-books are coming soon!

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


'But I Feel Good' Radio Show

Remember to tune in to ‘But I Feel Good’ ...talking pink elephants and black dogs 3WBCbroadcasting 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 12-1pm AET.

The ‘But I Feel Good’ Content Only episodes are available for your perusal and listening pleasure at http://jacquichaplin.com/BIFGarchive.

‘But I Feel Good’ is still heard via syndication in central Victoria on 94.9 MAINfm Mondays 1-2pm AET.

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. Thanks to those of you who have done so already.

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!

“Smile, it's free therapy.”

... Douglas Horton

The Monthly Diversion

This one just tickled my fancy.

A duck walks into a bar and says to the barman, "Got any bread?"


"Got any bread?', the duck asks again.


"Got any bread?', the duck continues.


"Got any bread?', the duck asks once more.


"Got any bread?', the duck asks.

"NO and if you ask me again I will nail your beak to the bar!"

"Got any nails?"


"Got any bread?"


"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

... Don Marquis

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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