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The Gentle Rebel Podcast

A monthly podcast for introverted and sensitive type creative misfits, hosted by Andy Mort

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Make a Positive Difference…Stop Being Offended by Everything

How often do you hear the words sensitive and offended used in the same breath? It's one of my real bugbears because it highlights a problem with the term highly sensitive people.Now more than ever we are surrounded by highly offend-able people. We love taking offence to stuff and sharing our self-righteous indignation online. Public shaming for ill-considered social media updates, and Twitter trending of an unknown person who said something vulgar.Often it is offend-able people that are called 'too sensitive' or 'snowflakes' (urgh that word). But highly sensitive people are NOT highly offend-able people, au contraire.In this episode I explore why I believe that. And how to stop the out of control juggernaut of violent language and name calling. We need to stop taking offence in the way we do.By actively taking offence and responding in kind you become involved in the cycle and strengthen the object of offence. It is usually 'allies' that suffer most because they become fearful of saying the wrong thing and being cast out. We are in danger of demanding unattainable perfection by saying 'yeah but...' every time a person or organisation does something positive. A highly offend-able society runs the risk of shutting down the good voices. Being easily offended leads to a reactive and defensive culture, rather than a positive transformative culture - conversations are defined by what you are against rather than what you are for (it's safer) You don't have to channel offence in the current normal ways - be self-aware, have perspective, and empathy: learn HOW to ignore provocateurs in the most appropriate ways; don't indulge them (or your own fascination with them). Turn off the voices that make you angry (stop exposing yourself to stuff - ahem YouTube comments I'm looking in your direction - that doesn't make you feel good about life, and doesn't make you feel good about other people or yourself). Learn how to process offensive, harmful, and hurtful language without responding in kind - identify when it's speaking to you because it is actually something that hits home in a potentially helpful way. Stop sharing offensive voices - if you find something offensive STOP SHARING IT. By sharing it you strengthen it, simple as. I've learned about many figures because of Twitter trending. Huge platforms have been built because of enemy support. It's absurd and ironic. But quite understandable why it happens as well. Be open to being wrong about stuff. Very few of us set out to offend people but most of us will offend at times in our life, it's just a part of being human. Admit that and it makes it a lot easier to hold less tightly to the mistakes and foibles of our fellow peoples. Stop taking everything personally and focus on what you can do to make the world better, rather than how you can shut down other people. Don't be defined by what you're not, be someone who actually IS something. That's the starting point for truly making the world a bit better.PatreonThere is a Patreon page for this podcast. This allows you to communicate your support for the show and encourage me to remain consistent in the creation of this content and in constantly seeking to take it to the next level. I am so incredibly thankful to those of you who continue to listen every week and for those of you decide to show your support by becoming a Patreon supporter (list of supporters here).


17 Mar 2017

Rank #1

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#160: 6 Characteristics of Relationships Where Introverts Can Thrive [Podcast]

No one wants to 'feel' alone in the sense of feeling isolated and lonely.We understand the importance of alone time and solitude, but we also know that as humans it's vital for all of us to engage socially. But it doesn't always feel great. Sometimes relationships can feel a lot more trouble than they're worth.However, this doesn't always have to be the case. Relationships are an inevitable part of life, and create plenty of great stuff that you can't find when you're alone.The truth is when we find 'our' people things change for the better.In this week's episode I explore 6 characteristics of relationships in which introverts and highly sensitive people can truly thrive. And what we can do to create the foundations for such a relationship to develop.The 6 characteristics that many of us truly need in relationships:A Relationship That Fills Your (creative) Energy Reserves A Relationship With a Shared Sense of Humour A Relationship That Makes You Feel Good About Your Hopes and Dreams A Relationship That Brings Comfort to Discomfort A Relationship That Understands The Need for Space Without Explanation A Relationship In Which You Can Be Alone TogetherOver to YouAre there any other characteristics of a relationship that allow you to thrive and flourish as an introvert and/or HSP? Please leave your response in the comments below.PatreonThere is now a Patreon page for the podcast. This allows you to communicate your support for the show and encourage me to remain consistent in the creation of this content and in constantly seeking to take it to the next level. I am so incredibly thankful to those of you who continue to listen every week and for those of you decide to show your support by becoming a Patreon supporter (list of supporters here).


28 Apr 2016

Rank #2

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The term 'empath' apparently entered our language in 1956. Through J.T. McIntosh's novel, "The Empath". A story about paranormally empathetic people (empaths), used by the government to oppress workers. It has also appeared through a character in Star Trek with magical healing powers, able to absorb and remove injuries. And John Coffey in The Green Mile who, through touching people, can see and remove their physical and emotional demons.It's a word that I've often struggled to navigate since I first learned about processing sensitivity. Through subsequent research, I frequently found it used interchangeably with HSP. This made it slightly confusing to understand and communicate."What I’ve observed in my own life and through coaching and teaching others, is an empath could be defined as having the ability to sense subtle shifts in energy fields." - Bevin NiemannI know many other people who are put off by the word, and its connotations with the paranormal, and unsubstantiated claims that some make about its meaning. But I also know many great people who use the word in ways that make sense. Because it relates to certain elements of processing sensitivity, which Elaine Aron defines through the DOES acronym. Not least the ability to notice and feel subtleties in the environment, even unconsciously. And to feel emotions deeply through their empathic processing of the world.OriginsFrom its Latin roots empathy means to be within the suffering of another person.Em (in/to put yourself into)Pati (to feel/suffer)It is to enter the feeling of another person. But I think there is a subtle difference between being empathetic and being what might be described as an 'Empath'.Empathy is a choice you make, to intentionally place yourself in the shoes of the other person so that you can see and feel things from their perspective.An Empath doesn't necessarily choose to be in the feeling of another person/environment. They unconsciously pick up on the feelings, moods, and emotions of other people and crowds without deciding to do so. Without adequate filters or boundaries, they can find themselves unable to cope with the subsequent onslaught of emotion.This has nothing to do with the paranormal or any other worldly stuff.An Evolutionary MechanismWe are a predominantly social species. It makes sense that we would be deeply connected to one another in ways that we cannot consciously comprehend. It's vital for our survival and ability to thrive, even though we are not the biggest or strongest animal.Psychiatrist, Judith Orloff wrote the Empath's Survival Guide; a book aimed at helping highly attuned people to not absorb the stress of the world. Interestingly, the evidence she uses to characterise empaths, support this interpretation of it being a largely under the conscious, but not paranormal experience of the world.1. The Mirror Neuron SystemA specialised group of brain cells have been discovered, which are responsible for compassion. They essentially enable people to mirror emotions and reflect another person's joy, pain, or fear. Some people are more sensitive to these neurons than others.Mirror Neurons are a source of connection with another person, where you feel what they feel. If someone is sad you feel sad, if someone is happy, you feel happy, if someone is afraid, you feel afraid, etc.2. Emotional ContagionResearch has shown the contagious affect of emotion. People pick up on a dominant mood, or amplify a behaviour which represents an underlying emotion. For example, a crying baby can set off the same reaction in a whole ward of babies. One person expressing anxiety in a busy queue can spread it to other people very quickly.Humans are great at spreading and catching emotional viruses in groups. It is a key part of synchronising, and building connections through relationships. It's likely a key survival mechanism in the story of our development as a species.3.


29 Mar 2019

Rank #3

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279 | Positive Thinking

What do you need to hear from people when bad things happen?Encouragement to realise that 'everything happens for a reason'? Advice about how to think more positively? A reminder that 'you might not see it now, but when a door closes, another one opens'?Or do you just want them to stand next to you and say something like, 'wow, this sucks, I'm sorry'x?The world is full of absolute guff that poses as 'positive thinking'. But much of it is barrier thinking. Driven by a fear of difficult emotions and situations that can't be controlled. This type of positive thinking is often used as a protection against grief, anger, and other 'negative emotions', which are necessary if we're going to move with mental fitness into the future.We mistake this stuff for positive thinking.But it's not positive to tell someone that 'everything happens for a reason', or 'good always comes from bad'. Whether you believe them or not, it can be a damaging message for someone who has just experienced profound loss, illness, or breakup. A person who needs to rumble in the pain before coming to their own judgements about how they will see and use the situation as part of their story in the future.I've never known anyone to adopt a new way of thinking because they've been told to. In fact, it makes us less likely to think positively if we feel like we're not allowed to feel and think the stuff that's there within us.Real Positive ThinkingAcceptanceReal positive thinking is rooted in accepting reality. Rumbling with it, and grieving those emotions we have in response to the stuff going on in life. It is the voice that allows the initial impression of something to breathe.Be honest about how you feel and what you think. If you're disappointed, angry, or devastated, then be those things. The alternative is to push those emotions down beneath an insincere smile and a mountain of bitterness, resentment, and pretence. And to project the same things onto others.A positive healthy mindset allows the truth to sit there, to rumble, to grieve. None of this is negative thought, it's real, it's authentic, and it's necessary.In time, as your brain begins to come to terms with this plot twist, you can begin to ask yourself how you will choose to respond to what has happened.MuscleAre you prepared for failure? For disappointment? For pain? Or will it come as an unexpected shock?The statement that 'everything happens for a reason', has an unspoken narrative of disempowering drive beneath it. The implication being that god has caused this thing to happen so that you will learn some great lesson or have an opportunity in the future to use it to change the world. This always strikes me as a troublingly egocentric view of the world (the universe revolves around me), while stripping all agency on the other hand (my life is being controlled by another being).Things happen for a reason. The reason is life. And life carries pain, death, and change. Nothing we can do about that.Are we ready for those things? Prepared so that we aren't taken by surprised when they occur. Rather than faffing around trying to find meaning in the inevitable, are we ready to give ourselves the permission to feel (grieve). And then to accept (reflect on and acknowledge reality as it is). And finally, to respond (choose how to use the experience in a positive way)?EnergyThe positive thoughts we obsess over, are usually rooted in our most entrenched limiting beliefs. It's impossible to think your way out of them. The more you try, the more draining it is. And the more disconnected you become from yourself.A Better Side of PositivityI am currently working on qualifying as a personal and small business coach. I was drawn to the philosophy of the school I'm learning with because it rejects the surface level aspirational stuff (think yourself rich, thin, successful). Rather than selling myths of success,


23 May 2019

Rank #4

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I Know it’s in There, So Let Your Inner Crazy Come Out To Play

When do you let your inner-crazy come out to play in the world?On your own? With a significant other? With certain friends or family members?Chances are there is a whole world within you waiting to burst out. A side of you that many people have never experienced. This is no bad thing. It's not dishonest. It's a big part of being an introvert and/or HSP. The question is, when do you let it out? If indeed you do...What do I mean; "inner-crazy"?It’s the part of you that is playful, at peace with itself, excited about life within moments of joy, not striving for or scared of attention. Firmly rooted within the moment, expressing the essence of itself.It’s what you see in some of your dreams, displays of madness where the mind is trying to communicate with itself, some deep truth about how you see the world. A dance, in stark yet gentle opposition to the way things are done. It’s a cheekiness, a playfulness, a provocative curiosity which questions the world by rejecting certain constraints placed on it.Social Restraints Emotional Restraints Creative Restraints Physical RestraintsIn this episode we explore our inner crazy, and how we can let it out to play in a gentle, natural way. (I don't ask WHETHER you have an inner-crazy...I know you do. Everyone does!)Ever had someone say "and I thought you were the sensible, quiet one" in response to discovering some surprising fire in your belly? In the show I explain why this is a good thing to hear, however annoying it might be.We look at how to react when you fear that people don't like the "real you" as you open up. Hint, it might not be them...it might be you.When we hold stuff in, keep those pieces to ourselves, and save our inner madness for the shadows we deny the world something beautiful. In holding it back from the world, you deny it from something it needs: pure expressions of your authentic and refined self. It requires vulnerability and courage and it's not always easy. We address all of that in this episode...Links Mentioned in the ShowThe HavenMake a Positive Difference…Stop Being Offended by EverythingThe hidden power of not (always) fitting in | Marianne CantwellSupport the Podcast and get bonus extras:


25 May 2017

Rank #5

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How Overwhelm Can Actually Be Your Ally as An Introvert or Highly Sensitive Person

Would you say you get easily overwhelmed? Factors like like bright lights and sudden noises, the moods of other people, having a lot to do in not much time, and big changes in life circumstances, can all be sources of overwhelm for highly sensitive people.A lot of the time we think of overwhelm as nothing but a bad thing. We try with all our might to avoid it by removing all potential causes. While this kind of response is understandable and can lead to a slightly more peaceful life, it also runs the risk of numbing us to a full spectrum of experience. And it denies the possibility that on the flip side of overwhelm are important lessons about who you are, how you can be the best version of yourself, and what really matters to you.Overwhelm can be an ally...Isn't that just a stupid idea? Don't we just have to try and find ways to numb ourselves to the stuff that overwhelms us so that we can cope?By all means...this is a valid option if that's what you want to settle for. However, I struggle with that kind of resigned approach to life. I don't think it's helpful or necessary. None of us needs to go for the numbing approach to life if we don't want. We just need to be open to explore some questions, and to be willing to learn from the feedback we gain from our experiences.It sounds counterintuitive but I believe overwhelm can become an ally of highly sensitive people and introverts. And in this week's podcast I explain what I mean and how we can turn overwhelm from something to fear into something to accept and learn from.Ten Big Causes of OverwhelmCertain things might be more overwhelming to you that they are to other people, and vice versa. I settled on 10 specific sources that can produce that overwhelmed response within us. And anchored them to traits on Elaine Aron's self-test, so that we can see they are linked to the temperament.Emotional Responsiveness"I make it a high priority to arrange my life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations."Busyness"I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days, into bed or into a darkened room or any place where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation."Art Type Things"I am deeply moved by the arts or music."People/crowds"I am bothered by intense stimuli, like loud noises or chaotic scenes."Moods of people/groups/situations"Other people’s moods affect me."Environmental Factors"I am easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by."Over-thinking"I have a rich, complex inner life."Changes Outside of Your Control"Changes in my life shake me up."Performing"When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous or shaky that I do much worse than I would otherwise."In this episode I look at each of these 10 sources of overwhelm and suggest how we can see them as shining a light on "superpowers" rather than writing them off as curses.Over to YouWhat resonated with you in this episode? Have you any experiences of turning a moment of overwhelm into something positive? Please share your response in the comments below.


19 Jan 2018

Rank #6

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292 | Weird

“Blessed are the weird people: poets, misfits, writers mystics, painters, troubadours, for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”This is the first of a three part exploration of Blessed By The Weird by Jacob Nordby's. A book for the 'weirdians'...“Empathetic people – dreamers and idealists – have this sort of accidental power. Most spend their early years ridden with self-doubt, insecurity, and people pleasing habits. But their journey is inevitably derailed when this comfortable life gets uprooted by an unexpected darkness. Suddenly their trusted methods no longer seem to bring them happiness. At first this depression convinces them that they might never feel joyful again. But ultimately, it sets them on a quest for something more – for love, justice, and wisdom. Once this adventure begins, there is no stopping a dreamer. And when dreamers unite? Well, that’s how we start to change the world.”The Blessed Weird and The Gentle RebelIt was my friend Mark Pierce who first put me onto his book. He assumed I already knew it, and after reading I could see why. It resonates deeply with the heart of what it means to be a gentle rebel. Those who see the world differently and whose need to "express the song of their soul" is as critical as their need for food, water, and shelter.Fitting InNordby suggests that "everyone has weird little quirks in their personality, but not everyone has lived through the difficult experience of not fitting in." This is the feeling of being in a place but not of it. Alone in a crowd.The call for the dreamers to unite isn't a suggestion that we must form another kind of clic or insider group. This is not about creating an exclusive club for the weird rebels, so that they can resent the rest of the world. Just like the rise of introvert power is not about 'getting our own back' on, or pointing fingers extroverts. Otherwise we become the opposite of gentle rebels and blessed weirdians. We conform to the normal reality and become just like the prevailing way of doing things.The New RenaissanceThere are much more exciting implications from Nordby's book. It's one of encouragement, reassurance, and freedom. You will be reminded that you're not alone. And encouraged to continue trusting in the way you see the world, so that you might find the right way to process and express this unique lens.He says that "in this new renaissance, the highest-value currency is not money or faster machines; it is the ability to see and see and keep seeing the world through different eyes. And then do something with the unique way you see it."It is this call to 'do something with the unique way' we see the world that I get excited about. Because it is where we encounter the space between fitting in and belonging. We are confronted with a question: will we conform to the prevailing norms of our tribe so that we don't stand out? Or will we forge a new path and find belonging alongside the other weird misfit gentle rebels throughout history and around the world?The Curse and The BlessingFor many, high sensitivity and introversion is seen as a curse. They are traits that can inhibit us from meeting the expectations of an extroverted culture. To be 'on all the time', endlessly outgoing, and energised by excitement and adventure.But it is in the places we feel cursed that we find the heart of our blessing. We will get overwhelmed from time to time. It might even happen often. But this is surely better than the alternative..."I fear numbness. My raw senses that receive all the nuanced vibrations are not just icing on the cake for me. They are the whole cake, the plate, the table, and the music too. If I can’t feel, I can’t access what for me is the most vital fuel of existence."It's because we feel deeply that we experience the beauty and the pain, the vision and the darkness, the presence and the absence. But we can't have one without the other.We can however,


3 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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Some Gentle Reassurance For When You’re Holding On By Your Fingertips

There are times in life when the rhythm and pacing goes a little out of whack. Periods of overwhelm, uncertainty, and change. Times when the walls seemingly close in and everyday functioning becomes preoccupied with specific things that mean other important stuff gets neglected. And it feels like you're holding on for dear life by your fingertips, trying to pull yourself back to a place where you can find a firm footing again.These seasons happen to all of us and can be triggered by various sources. For example: Everything gets away from you because of an unforeseen change in circumstances (job loss, death of a loved one, illness etc) You feel spread thin because of choices you have made and opportunities that are presenting themselves (successes, a new project/hobby, having a baby, getting a promotion or new job etc)Either way we can experience the same kind of feeling that we can't cope with the chaos that comes with that stimulation. It's important to understand that even when we choose the things that can bring overwhelm, it's no reason to feel shame. It's natural. When we make progress in any area of life there may well be a period of time when it feels like we're holding onto other aspects by our fingertips.The question is, how do we respond?This is what I talk about in this week's episode. I go through a few of the sources of fingertip living I've been experiencing the past couple of weeks. Why there hasn't been a podcast episode for two weeks.It's mostly because of good overwhelm. Yes I believe there is such a thing. As I explain in the show, there are lots of really exciting things happening right now; creative projects, new music releases, changes in The Haven, and so on. Stuff I'm passionate and enthusiastic about. Stuff I've CHOSEN to pursue. Yet nonetheless it's still fingertip stuff because, being a finite being with limited resources, it's taking me away from other things (like the last two weeks of podcast episodes!)Overwhelm only gets bad when we believe it is a sustainable pace at which to live. Or that somehow we've got to last forever trying to pull ourselves up the mountain by our fingertips. We don't. We can't.I describe a few ways I've responded to this season in an effort to move through the chaos and out the other end. The release of this episode is evidence that I'm getting there!Over to YouDo you ever feel like you're clinging on by your fingertips? Do you have any techniques of your own that you use to keep yourself in tact? Please leave your response in the comments below.Support the Podcast and get bonus extras. Learn more:


15 Jun 2017

Rank #8

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7 Beautiful Things You Are Probably Keeping Hidden From People

Which parts of yourself do you keep hidden from public view? I’m guessing that there are a few things that you keep to yourself. Stuff that you fear would be seen as a bit weird, that others wouldn’t quite understand.Or is it just me..?Beneath a Facade?There was a documentary on the BBC recently about wildlife presenter, Chris Packham. It was his opportunity to be open about his life with asperges. In a part of the interview he talked about his struggles with reining in certain idiosyncrasies and traits in his job as a TV presenter.He had to hide the natural tendencies he has for fear of being seen as weird and not fitting in as he needed to.The documentary was an opportunity for him to be open about the truth of who he is beneath that facade. And there is something refreshingly beautiful about hearing someone share stuff that they are ashamed about. Or at least hidden because they feel they should be ashamed about it.This level of vulnerability not only gives a refreshing insight into Chris himself, but opens up the conversation for others living with asperges as well.The program filled me with hope. We could all learn something about ourselves and how we keep parts of ourselves hidden from others. Even those closest to us.It doesn't matter what your background or temperament is. You can learn something for your own life.It Takes TimeIntroverts and Highly Sensitive People naturally take time to let other people in. But even then there are certain parts of us that we might keep hidden behind a strange sense of shame. These are things that are foundational to who you are.Everyone has secrets that they don’t want others to know about. Many of these are actually beautiful things that can connect us more deeply to one another. You might even hide deep parts of yourself from loved ones and close friends.In this episode of the podcast I unpack how we keep these areas hidden, and why our lives could be improved if we were more vulnerable.Dreams Fears/Anxieties Gratitude Passion Hopes A Silly Side TastesIt might be that you don’t want to assert your opinions and demands on others. Maybe you feel like people would judge you or think you weird. But very often, it’s actually those things that we keep hidden from the world that are actually extremely helpful and even attractive to other people.Over to YouWhat quirks or idiosyncrasies do you keep hidden from people around you because you wonder what they will think? Please leave your response in the comments below.Support the Podcast and get bonus extras:


17 Nov 2017

Rank #9

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Do You Have Enough Courage to Be Disliked?

I recently finished reading, The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change Your Life, and Achieve Real Happiness by Kishimi and Koga. It's a great introduction to Adlerian psychology; the school of thought developed after Austrian psychotherapist, Alfred Adler. Not someone I had been familiar with, despite being a contemporary of Freud and Jung.In this week's podcast I share a few initial takeaways from the book, which hooked me right from its title. There was something within me which connected to the idea of finding the courage to be disliked. I bet it will strike a chord with many introverts and highly sensitive people too.It's not that I want to be disliked. No one wants that. And that's not what this is about. But rather learning to accept that despite not desiring it, there are still people who dislike me. You. Us. Everyone. And this fear of being disliked, or the drive to be liked, can lead us to make horrific compromises on our values and to hold back from bringing the best of our uniqueness to the world.However Hard You Try...Some people react to the fear of being disliked by shying away from life. They don't want to draw attention to themselves so they hide for fear of being judged by others. While other people go the other way. They try to earn the affections of others by sharing anecdotes about their amazing lives, name dropping, and showing off their talents.The truth is, neither of these options actually achieves the goal of being liked. They more likely lead to the opposite and accomplish the thing that the person feared in the first place.There is only one option: to act courageously in the right way, deep in the knowledge that we will be disliked. To accept that, and to even be mindful of it. "I will be disliked whatever I do, so I might as well be me and create the world that I believe in in the process".It's not a case of acting IN ORDER to be disliked. It's acting DESPITE being disliked. Being liked or disliked isn’t the driving force…your deeper values and principles are.Preferred IndifferentsThis is a Stoic concept. You might prefer things to be a certain way, but ultimately whether or not that occurs is outside of your control. One doesn’t want to be disliked, but you don’t mind if you are (because you have no control over it).In Stoicism this applies to other things:"I don’t want to be poor, but I don’t mind if I am" (because things outside of my control might happen to make it so). "I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t mind if I am".The pursuit of being liked, being wealthy, and being in a relationship, can lead to a life of compromised values and integrity.Switch from Attachment to Self (how others see me) - to Concern for Others (how I see others)We can get confused between self-affirmation and self-acceptance. On the one hand, self-acceptance is acknowledging your 'incapable self as is' when you can't do something. You then move on to do whatever you can, and ask, "what can I do to get closer next time?" Self-affirmation, on the other hand, is entitlement. It's the voice that says "I failed this time but I was unlucky, I should have succeeded but was hindered"."One cannot change what one is born with. But one can, under one’s power, go about changing what use one makes of that equipment. So, in that case, one has to simply focus on what one can change, rather than on what one cannot. This is what I call self-acceptance."Enjoy Not Being at the Centre of the WorldYou are not at the centre of the universe. When interacting with people use this knowledge to move from 'what will others give me’ and ‘what do people owe me’, to the question, ‘what can I give them?’This shift in perspective, takes power away from fear. If you are but one small part of a wider context, the significance of someone disliking you becomes weakened. Without 'Harmony of Life' people judge the whole based on one small part that they see.


18 Oct 2018

Rank #10

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#163: Why It Might Be Good For You to Stop Taking Personality Tests [Podcast]

In his latest book, The Path: A New Way to Think About Everything, Michael Puett presents 8 things to do if you want to make positive and lasting changes to your life.I had not come across Puett's writing until recently when I saw him interviewed about the book. One of his points in particular made me sit up and listen:...Stop Taking Personality TestsPuett is an expert in Chinese philosophy and a professor at Harvard, so I was really interested in his ideas. My immediate thought was ‘what? No! ludicrous’. But then as he explained what he meant it quickly became clear that this was more of a click bait headline than the full story:"It’s a fun exercise to learn that you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or anything in between. But beware of taking any labels too seriously. All the Chinese philosophers would have been surprised by our modern-day penchant to diagnose our personalities: I’m a hothead, I fear intimacy, I’m a dreamer and so on.Labels can be damaging because they drive our behaviour and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘As a result, too many of us wake up one day feeling stuck inside a narrow definition of ourselves... You might think, ‘I’m the sort of person who gets annoyed easily,’ but it’s likely that you have become that person because that’s how you have behaved for years. ‘By being loyal to a “true self” you ended up concretising destructive habits.’ "I agree with Puett. Although I don't believe we should write off personality tests. They have a very important role to play. I know from conversations that personality tests have been life changing and dare I say even life-saving for many introverts and highly sensitive peopleWhat do you do with the results of personality tests?This is an important question. It is one that holds the key to whether or not these kinds of tests are beneficial to us (and the world).I believe that personality tests can either release us and imprison us depending on what we do with the results.In this episode of the podcast we think about certain do's and don'ts of processing our discoveries, so that we don't fall into the traps that Puett believes make personality tests a negative thing...Don'tAllow a Label to Think for You See Personality Type as a Diagnosis Remove Yourself From All Others Pigeon Hole Everyone Into Your Favourite Latest Personality Test Try Finding YourselfDoAllow them to Help You See the Bigger Picture Allow them to Be the Foundation of Better Interactions and Relationships Use them to Understand Relational Friction Be an Advocate for Different TypesOver to YouHave you taken personality tests? Have you found them liberating or do you relate to the negative impact that we explore in this episode of the podcast? Please leave your response in the comments below, I'd love to hear what you think!PatreonThere is a Patreon page for this podcast. This allows you to communicate your support for the show and encourage me to remain consistent in the creation of this content and in constantly seeking to take it to the next level. I am so incredibly thankful to those of you who continue to listen every week and for those of you decide to show your support by becoming a Patreon supporter (list of supporters here).


9 Jun 2016

Rank #11

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The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Still Has a Lot to Teach Us (a chat with Bo Miller)

You may well be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It's one of the most recognised and used personality tests in the world. It is based on the psychological theory of Carl Jung along with Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers.In this week's podcast I chat with Bo Miller, who is an author, blogger, podcaster, introvert, and certified Myers-Briggs practitioner.He helps people identify and maximise their unique gifts through his website, iSpeakPeople. It's a site for INFJs (a Myers-Briggs personality type). However, Bo publishes great stuff for introverts of all colours. You can download his free ebook, The INFJ Personality Guide, which is a fantastically in depth look at life as an INFJ.Criticisms of The Myers-Briggs Type IndicatorI loved talking to Bo about the MBTI, and its use in our lives. Over the years of working with introverts and sensitive types I have come across various critics of the test. It was lovely to talk with Bo though, who recognises that while it is not perfect, it carries a huge amount of value. It helps us better understand ourselves, others, and maximise our own impact on the world.Escaping Tribalism and Reductionistic LanguageConversations about introversion can be deterministic; a pre-determined set of characteristics and values. Introverts have no control over what they are capable of...and what they are incapable of.We are good at building walls around ourselves, using labels to justify the behaviours and attitudes we want to get away with.But this is not helpful, necessary, or healthy.What I love about Bo Miller's approach to this topic is that he sees the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a tool we can use to free ourselves. It's not a tool to label and thus restrict our self-understanding, but one to help us better understand who we are and how we can create conditions in our lives for the best way of being.It's important for all of us to embrace this approach. To enjoy the validation of recognising ourselves in a certain personality profile, whether that's as an INFJ. But then to use it as a way to understand ourselves within the context of the richly spiced variety of humanity, of which we are but one small speck.In the interview you will learn: Why the MBTI is still relevant today What it helps us understand about ourselves and other people Why Bo wanted to be a licensed practitioner Bo's favourite kind of resources to create (as a podcaster, writer, YouTube creator etc) What advice Bo would impart to his younger self if he could How Bo balances family, work and business life, without burning outOver to YouWhat did you enjoy about this interview? Has it changed anything in your understanding of yourself as an introvert? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.Support the Podcast and get bonus extras:


1 Apr 2018

Rank #12

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#159: 7 ways NOT to Respond When Information Overload Strikes [Podcast]

Do you believe everything you read online?Of course not. What a dumb question.But I reckon that most of us believe more than we would like to think. We show that in the way we respond with outrage and hype whenever someone deserves the wrath of the mob.Why do we react like this? I believe one of the reasons is information overload.Battling Information OverloadWe are all engaged in a constant battle to sort through the overwhelming quantity of information flying around the world. And it is up to us to decipher the useful and must know, from the stuff that is just noise that seems important but has no consequence (distractions).When we respond to information overload without true consideration we do ourselves a potential disservice. We open ourselves up to all kinds of negative thoughts and actions.In this episode I look at 7 ways we must not respond when information overload strikes. Fling Mud and Hold People Ransom Throw The Baby Out With the Bathwater Have Your Labels Think for You Have Others' Labels Think for You Assume and Second Guess the Motives of Others Become A Highly Offendable Person Stop Learning and GrowingOver to YouWhat is your response to information overload? Do you recognise any of the tendencies I've mentioned in today's episode? Please leave your response in the comments below.Links:Jon Ronson: So You've Been Publicly ShamedCalm Amidst Chaos: Discover your inner-peace and keep your focus with life-changing insights from highly successful quiet influencersThe Haven Doors are open (25th-28th April 2016)PatreonThere is now a Patreon page for the podcast. This allows you to communicate your support for the show and encourage me to remain consistent in the creation of this content and in constantly seeking to take it to the next level. I am so incredibly thankful to those of you who continue to listen every week and for those of you decide to show your support by becoming a Patreon supporter (list of supporters here).


22 Apr 2016

Rank #13

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8 Slightly Unusual Ways to Create More Energy in Day to Day Life

The world can get pretty overwhelming. When you're attempting to balance all of the commitments and pressures that unrelentingly come at you from all angles.Where do people find the energy to actually do anything other than the urgent and necessary?I like to think of energy, not as something we either have or don't have enough of. And I don't believe that we can divide ourselves into energetic people and non-energetic people.I see it instead as something we all have the ability to create for ourselves in ways that make sense to us as individuals. And in this sense you create energy through a experimentation.The Science LabDo you remember setting fire to magnesium ribbons at school and seeing that incredibly bright and volatile reaction? The intense energy was created from simply mixing a flame with the metal. And the energy of the flame created by mixing fuel (gas/oxygen) with a spark.We can think of our own energy in similar ways. We are all different so the same kinds of experiments are not going to work universally. And different combinations lead to varying degrees, amounts, and time-frames of energy creation. But we all have the opportunity and ability to create more energy in our day to day lives.How do you think about your own energy levels? Do you feel like you have any sense of control over your motivation, or does it feel like the external world dictates the amount of energy you have to live your life?In this week's podcast I look at some of the common drains of energy:Open Loops The News Critical Words and Unprocessed Negative Moods Anxiety and Worry Clutter and ChaosAnd then I suggest a few ways we can take it into our own hands to create more energy. Some of the suggestions may seem a little counter-intuitive, but I explain why I don't think they are. So if you're feeling like you could do with creating a little bit more energy in your own day to day life, listen to the show and hear how I elaborate on the following:Make Contact With Someone Exercise Creativity Write a List and Tackle It De-Clutter Experience Something a Little Different Be Generous Be CourageousWe all have it in us to create the energy we need to do the things we want to do with our lives. It takes creativity, and that little initial nudge to get started. But once we do the batteries refill and we can accomplish all sorts. And don't always rely on "re-charging", embrace your ability to "pre-charge" as well.Over to YouHave you ever used any of these techniques to create energy? Do you have any other suggestions that have worked for you? Please leave your response in the comments below!Support the Podcast and get bonus extras:Pre-order The Arrow of Time EP (by subscribing to the Bandcamp Backstage Area)


9 Sep 2017

Rank #14

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Sensory Bugbears For HSPs and 8 DIY Ways to Improve Your Emotional Regulation

There are four key aspects of sensory processing sensitivity. Elaine Aron uses the acronym DOES to highlight them:Depth of Processing: the tendency to process information more deeplyOverstimulation: they are drained sooner than other people when there is lots happeningEmotional Reactivity/Empathy: more reactive to positive and negative experiences and responsive to the emotions of other peopleSensing Subtleties: notice little details that other people might overlook or missI don't talk about Emotional Reactivity much, but it's been on mind of late. Elaine Aron suggests that HSPs are "more motivated to think about things by our stronger feelings of curiosity, fear, joy, anger, or whatever. But this intensity can be overwhelming, especially when we have negative feelings. That’s why we need to learn emotional regulation skills.”Emotional RegulationEverybody regulates their emotions. It's a basic human brain function whereby consciously or unconsciously you influence your emotions. There is some control over what emotions are expressed, when they are experienced, and how these things occur.But it is a little more complicated than this. A lot of this regulation occurs at an unconscious level, which means that reactions happen without conscious thought. These can be influenced by childhood or under duress (outside of your control).For example, when you are upset it may feel intolerable, but you don't know why. Perhaps as a small child you were left without help when you experienced overwhelming emotions. Or you witnessed adults around you unable to regulate their emotions or control themselves. What would make you think you could possibly regulate yours? You're just a child after all.On the other hand, when you were a kid you might have learned great emotional regulation skills.Luck is One Side of the CoinYou can't do anything to change your upbringing.We all experience luck when it comes to the cards we were dealt. But while this is true, our story doesn't have to end there.We can learn to regulate our emotions.Researchers in the Australian Journal of Psychology found that HSPs are less likely to engage in 5 particular strategies that non-HSPs do more. These are processes that people use to regulate their negative emotions:Accept your feelings. Do not be ashamed of them. Believe you can cope as well as others do. Trust that your bad feelings will not last long. Assume there’s hope–you can do something about your bad feelings eventually.In this episode of the podcast I ask why HSPs are less likely to do these things. We explore 5 sensory bugbears that might lead us to emotional reactions. And we will think about 8 DIY approaches to improving our emotional regulation skills.DIY Approaches to Improving Emotional RegulationMeditate Build Routines Breathe Deep Practice Get Creative Close the Loops See the Mind and Body as One Get SleepOver to YouDo you feel like emotional regulation is a problem for you? Which of these strategies will you start this week? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your response in the comments below.Support the Podcast and get bonus extras:


31 May 2018

Rank #15

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The Gentle Rebel Love/Hate Relationship with Goal Setting

Right then. It’s that time of year again. A moment to pause as we reflect back on what has (and hasn’t) happened since the start of the year. And to think forwards, with hopes and dreams at what would be nice to see happen next year.Are you sick of the word “goal” yet? It’s absolutely everywhere, and I know from the conversations I have with readers/listeners, that introverts and HSPs don't always have a good relationship with it...but still. I'm kind of into goal-setting in quite a big way, and in this episode you'll find out why.I have just completed my annual goal setting process. It’s the fourth year running that I’ve gone through the 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever course. It's become a week each year that I really look forward to. A sanctuary of reflection, gratefulness, and dreaming, which has kicked into action some massive changes in my life since 2014.You might have been put off setting goals. It's important for you to see where this has happened, so that you can develop a better relationship with this stuff.Maybe you recognise one of these?Goals are Externally Forced (corporate goals, teacher’s goals, things YOU SHOULD improve) You’ve Not Been Allowed to Truly Dream Comfort Zone is Something that Others Dictate (you’re told you need to step outside of it, but not for any reason other than to fit in more) It’s Associated With Dissatisfaction You’ve Had Bad Experiences in the PastI have been the same at different points throughout my life. But since 2014 my relationship with personal growth and goal setting has completely changed. Rather than setting myself up for inevitable failures that I can use to judge myself by, goal setting has become something to actually enjoy and celebrate. The realisation that “should” has no place in the setting of compelling, exciting personal goals, is one that opens up a world of interesting possibilities.In this episode you'll discover some of the reasons introverts and highly sensitive people may be averse to goal setting. I share some of the reasons we are really well placed to make exciting changes, and move our lives in the direction we actually want to.Goal setting can be highly invigorating when you realise:You are in Control The Process is Inside Your Comfort Zone (one thing at a time) Excitement is a Pre-Requisite If It’s Not Compelling, It’s Not Coming In Your Value is Not Tethered to Your GoalsIf you’ve set goals in the past and failed then this is the episode for you. And if you’re serious about developing your skills, growing into yourself, and making the changes necessary to live your best possible life.Links:5 Days to Your Best Year Ever Webinar/CourseOver to YouHow do you feel about the idea of goal setting? What do you think has informed your view of them (whether good or bad)? Please leave your response in the comments below.


8 Dec 2017

Rank #16

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#174: Subtle Sensitivities and the HSP…From an Annoyance into a Gift [Podcast]

What type of HSP are you?The more I've worked with and got to know highly sensitive people the more I understand that no two HSPs are the same.Our sensitivities are unique to each of us in that we are more sensitive to certain things than others. What is it for you? Textures, Tastes, Smells, Sounds, Sights, The Emotions and Plights of Others, Ideas, Foods, Chemicals, Moods, Art?Whatever it is (or they are), when you become deeply aware you can begin to bring it to the world as a gift rather than feeling like it's some kind of curse.In this episode I want to think about the different types of sensitivities we can have towards subtleties around us. I talk about how we can begin to understand our own unique sensitivities by listening to feedback we get. Then how we can actively notice the world in ways natural to us. And also how those things that deeply affect us can often be both gifts and curses depending on which side of the coin we look.Basic SensitivitiesSensitivity is how responsive our nervous system is to certain stimuli. It's not something we can turn off, it's our natural reaction to the world when our bodies and minds are left to their own devices. Every person on the planet is sensitive in this respect. We all respond to stimuli.For Highly Sensitive People, those with high processing sensitivity this just happens more deeply and more acutely. It has been shown to be a part of the human evolutionary history. A trait very helpful in spotting dangers early enough to avoid the harm that could come from them.I like to return to the very basics of what it means to be a highly sensitive person from time to time. It's a trait that transcends emotion and psychology. It's a hard wired state of being that predisposes us to be more sensitive to certain subtleties in our environment.In the episode I spend a bit of time re-emphasising the difference between highly sensitive people and highly offend-able people. Too often this line is blurred in our conversations about high processing sensitivity.Over to YouWhich external stimuli are you most sensitive to? How has that impacted you in your life so far? I'd love to hear your thoughts, please leave your response in the comments below.PatreonThere is a Patreon page for this podcast. This allows you to communicate your support for the show and encourage me to remain consistent in the creation of this content and in constantly seeking to take it to the next level. I am so incredibly thankful to those of you who continue to listen every week and for those of you decide to show your support by becoming a Patreon supporter (list of supporters here).


9 Sep 2016

Rank #17

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Why Hustle is a Terrible Strategy for Introverts and HSPs

If you’re an introvert or highly sensitive person then it may well be that you love creating things. You’re a sucker for a good creative project, an interesting hobby, or even a side business that you can get your teeth into. There’s something innately fun about bringing new things into existence and seeing the affect you can have on developing ideas. You find yourself naturally drawn towards creative hustle.You might be someone who, when you connect with something, you throw yourself into it…big style. Perhaps you lose hours at a time. Maybe even days. In the zone, beavering away without awareness of time’s passing. Once you get focussed, “hustle” comes naturally. Maybe even too naturally!How do you maintain a healthy rhythm when you’re working on something new and interesting? Are you able to keep perspective and set boundaries around your projects so that you come up for air every so often?If you’re anything like me then this can be an issue. And I bet you feel the tug between a desire to do interesting, meaningful things, and a need to stay sane, healthy and socially connected to those around you. It’s all too easy to let other things go neglected and get out of hand while you pour your heart and soul into this point of focus.Lack of “Hustle” Isn’t The ProblemHave you heard the word “hustle” used to positively describe the mindset of people who make things happen?It has become a desirable trait for people to develop if you want to get things done and work on the stuff that matters to you.For example, the notion of “side hustle” tells you to use those moments in the margins of life. Never waste a minute. Utilise your lunch break at work to write emails, jump on social media, make phone calls. Go to bed an hour later to create content for your blog. Squeeze the juice out of every second you’ve been given. Never waste time, or else don’t complain.But this mindset carries some inherent dangers and insidious risks. It can create an attitude of self-abuse which manifests in certain ways. For example:An Inability to Switch Off Working Harder Not Smarter Using People and Loving Tools (rather than the other way around) Becoming a Taker Rather than a Giver Being Out of Whack with Your Natural RhythmsThere are times when it is necessary and appropriate to work a bit harder to get something done. Hustle in this respect can be a positive trait, because it is grounded in a focus on making something specific happen at a certain time. However, this only works if it’s the exception, not the rule.When it becomes a default state of being, it can be ruinous to our health, our relationships, and even our sense of identity. We become so associated with doing, that we lose sight of how to just be.Where is this mindset coming from?Society's Attitude Towards Doing and Rest Our Own Tendency to Add More (without taking away) The Noise of the Online World Relationship-Building Through Social Media The "Truth" of Hustle as The Route to SuccessSurely There's Another Way...In this episode I share some alternative ways of thinking about, and approaching your tasks so that you don't get caught in the unending Hustle Mindset. You will be equipped with questions and ideas to help you live with more clarity about what's important so that you can stay focussed on the important stuff: self-care, relationships, and your health.Over to YouWhat do you think of when you hear the word hustle in the context of getting stuff done and becoming successful? I'd love to hear what you think. Please leave your response in the comments below.Support the Podcast and get bonus extras:


10 Nov 2017

Rank #18