Tuesday, December 22, 2009

[Tim LeBon] Tim LeBon's December Xmas Special Newsletter - Personal Development through A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life

"It's Christmas!", in the immortal words of Noddy Holder. After listening to too many old Xmas records, eating too many mince pies and drinking too much Xmas tipple, what else is there to do but slouch in front of the tele and watch one of the Xmas staples they put on for us every year.  In this, your  Xmas special Personal Development through Philosophy and Psychology Newsletter, I'm suggesting that if you can see through the haze of sherry and turkey, there might be some enlightenment to be had in a couple of old favourites.

Feel free to forward this newsletter  to any friend or colleague you think might be interested.

To enquire about psychotherapy, counselling, supervision or coaching consulations e-mail me at : tim@timlebon.com

My warmest seasonal greetings


Personal Development through Scrooge and A Christmas Carol
charles dickens and a christmas carol

We all know that Charles Dickens knew a thing or two about writing a good story. Rereading A Christmas Carol recently let me to the conclusion that he also know a lot about the human psyche and personal development. I haven't seen the new film version of the story yet, but I wonder if it emphasizes the universal existential themes of the story as much as the book. 

For Ebenezer Scrooge, read not just a money-obsessed miser but anyone  pursuing material goals more than familial or spiritual. The ghosts of Christmas past and present are a particularly vivid way of presenting someone with lost ways of life - their own past life, and those of their happier fellow humans respectively. Most terrifying of all, the ghost of Christmas future shows Scrooge what the future holds if he carries on in his current misguided trajectory, providing massive motivation for change.  I am reminded of nothing so much as some of the methods of psychotherapy and practical philosophy, including thought experiments, guided imagery and pre-mortems, and also the findings of positive psychology , that altruism and gaining a purpose larger than ourselves is more conducive to happiness than making money. Dickens really was ahead of his time ...

For a full page of further ideas and links related to A Christmas Carol visit

I was so inspired by another Xmas favourite, It's a Wonderful Life, that I named an exercise in Wise Therapy in its honour
Here it is The 'It's a Wonderful Life' Thought Experiment

Imagine that you had never lived. What difference would it have made?
Do not dismiss this question with "not much, alas", but think careful about  how, in your personal, social and professional life, you have

1) Encountered and affected other people

2) Accomplished tasks that were worthwhile

3) Experienced things that made life worth living


Use these insights to

i) Reassess your past life (as the James Stewart character did in the film)

           ii) Think about what values you might want to satisfy in the future


Recommended Links

It's Film as art: "It’s a Wonderful Life has often been called Frank Capra’s darkest film, and certainly contains some of his most obvious dabbling with noir" Read more

100 films: "Oddly enough, It's a Wonderful Life was a box office flop upon it's release in 1946, but managed to become the beloved Christmas tradition it is today largely by accident". Read more

Crazy for Cinema "A film to watch whenever I feel a little down about my life. " Read more

My Very Best Seasonal Greetings and wishes for 2010


UKCP Registered Psychotherapist
SPP accredited Philosophical Counsellor
Author, Wise Therapy (Sage, 2001)

To enquire about psychotherapy, counselling, supervision or coaching consulations e-mail me at : tim@timlebon.com

You can also now follow me on Twitter

If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up yourself by sending an e-mail to


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tim LeBon's October Newsletter - Positive Psychology course, Which ancient philosopher is your guru ? & new CBT for Therapists blog

Here is your October Personal Development through Philosophy and Psychology Newsletter.

Feel free to forward this to any friend or colleague you think might be interested.

To enquire about psychotherapy, counselling, supervision or coaching consulations e-mail me at : tim@timlebon.com

Have a  really great October.


Book: Wise Therapy

Positive Psychology course - starting at City Uni on Thursday evening, October 8th

This Thursday evening we start another exploration of the exciting new subject of Positive Psychology and it would be great to have you join us.
The course is much more than  a survey of the subject, it's an interactive experience of positive psychology. Last year it resulted in  a significant
increase in the happiness of most participants. How do I know that? Because students did questionnaires at the beginning and end of the course.
Moreover, this wasn't boosting happiness by osmosis - as part of the course students carry out many of the most effective interventions that have
been found to boost happiness.
We'll also have lively discussions, videos and student presentations. No previous experience of
psychology required.

To sign up, visit

or call 020 7040 8865 between 9.30am and 5.00pm quoting course ref  CE1941

Course Code: CE1941
Start date(s): Thursday 8 October 2009
Class Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Number of Classes: 10 weekly classes
Course Fee: £300.00

Here is the course blurb:-

Understanding psychology can improve your well-being and success, both at work and in your personal life. Positive psychology is the growing branch of psychology that focuses on the positive, including strengths, positive states and happiness. This course will have a particular emphasis on applying positive psychology in your personal and working life.

Topics studied will include:

  • Happiness
  • Goals and meaning
  • Strengths
  • Flow
  • Hope, luck and optimism
  • Emotional intelligence and resilience
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Positive relationships and empathy
  • Wisdom and decision-making

Read more about positive psychology

Which ancient philosopher is your guru?

The prolific writer Mark Vernon has produced a short on-line quiz to help you discover your ancient philosophy guru.

You will be asked questions like
Do you think it's more useful to think about how to be happy or how to cope with suffering?
Do you prefer pondering big issues or practical matters?
I wasn't sure  how to answer the question about the relative importance happiness or suffering, but when I plumped for happiness my ancient guru turned out to be Epicurus, which was uncannily accurate. I do have a lot of sympathy for Epicurus's values of friendship, philosophising, reason and happiness.

When I took the test again and answered "suffering" to the first question my guru turned out to be the Stoic Zeno, which again was pretty much on the money.

Just for fun, I also tried answering questions to reflect  the opposite of my real views, and my anti-guru turned out to be the sceptic Pyrrho. So I  now know not to read more about him ....

Vernon's quiz isn't meant to be taken too seriously.  I'd  be uncomfortable thinking of Epicurus or Zeno as my guru, and would  turn just as happily to  Aristotle, Plato or Socrates if looking for  wisdom. But the quiz is good fun and could well give the reader some good ideas about which philosophers to turn to next .To read about a variety of ancient gurus, you could alwasys turn to Vernon's new book, Plato's Podcasts.

To take the quiz, go to http://www.markvernon.com/quiz/my-philosophy-guru/

New CBT For Therapists Blog

I've just started writing a new blog which may interest you if you are a therapist or counsellor interested in elarning more about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy),

The first article is called Giving a rationale for CBT

Some clients (or patients) may come to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) knowing exactly what CBT is and how it will benefit them. However the majority probably won't - they may be ambivalent about the therapy and start with misconceptions about CBT.

If they understand the potential of CBT for them it will not only increase their motivation but also give them a better opportunity to engage fully in the collaborative CBT process. So it's a good idea to provide a rationale for CBT, and explain how it works, early on in the first session.

So how best to do this?

Here are some alternative ways to present CBT to the client in the first session
1) Give a handout on CBT for the client to read after the session
2) Explain the CBT rationale in session using short case vignettes and a diagram
3) Use similes and metaphors to tell the client what CBT is like.
4) Use a "naturally occuring moment" to link the client's own situation to how CBT can help them.

Read more


Note: my low cost CBT scheme is now full, but please do contact me if interested in being added to  the waiting list

To enquire about psychotherapy, counselling, supervision or coaching consulations e-mail me at : tim@timlebon.com

You can also now follow me on Twitter

If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up yourself by sending an e-mail to


Tim LeBon's September Newsletter - new Low Cost CBT Scheme (cognitive therapy) & new book on Positivity

New Cost CBT Scheme in London for Stress, Depression, Anxiety or Low Self-Esteem

One in five people in the UK suffer from depressive symptoms. Many others suffer from anxiety-related symptoms  such as stress at work, social anxiety, general anxiety, panic attacks or phobias. Who knows how many other people are seriously adversely affected by  other,  less diagnosed problems  like low self-esteem.  What can be done to help?

Whereas a few years ago there was little but anecdotes and  personal prejudice to choose between any number of therapies, now  the evidence for dealing with these problems clearly  points  to the efficacy of one type of therapy.
And its name is .... CBT - or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Whilst I myself would advocate (and indeed practice) philosophical counselling,  coaching  and existential psychotherapy for help with  making wise decisions and changing direction in life, I've come to  recognise that CBT is the treatment of choice for many of the more common and  specific psychological problems many people face. If you go for CBT you are picking an evidence-based, practical therapy designed to produce results relatively quickly.
If you think it's time to give CBT a try,  I'd recommend first of all consulting your GP.
It's possible that you may be able to get CBT on the NHS in your area, though it isnt available  in all areas and even if it is there may well be a waiting list. If NHS CBT isn't available quickly, then 
I may be able to help.
I have just started a low-cost therapy scheme  for clients  with  stress or other anxiety issues,  depression or self-esteem related problems.
The therapy will normally be for up to 12 individual weekly sessions. The fee will be just  £30 per 50 minute session.
Acceptance to the scheme is subject to suitability and places are strictly limited.
Sessions are held in Fleet St, London.

If you are interested in more details then please contact me asap on tim@timlebon.com

For more information about CBT incl
uding links to other free resouces see my CBT web page

It begins ...

CBT  (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is one of the most popular and respected forms of therapy practised in the UK, probably because it is evidence-based and can produce results  relatively quickly.  The central idea of  CBT is that our emotions are connected to our thoughts. By becoming aware of your thoughts, and substituting realistic thoughts for unrealistic ones, you can overcome emotional difficulties such as depression, anxiety as well as low self-esteem and relationship issues.

Although coming to prominence in the 1960s through Albert Ellis’s REBT and in the 1970s through Aaron Beck’s Cognitive model its roots lie in the ancient philosophy of the Stoics. Epictetus’s “ People are disturbed not by things but by the views which they take of them” is not so very different from David Burns’s: “By learning to change your thoughts, you can change the way you feel”

Read more

To find out more about the low-cost CBT scheme, e-mail me at tim@timlebon.com asap

One of the most interesting books I read over the summer was the long-awaited Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson.

Barbara Fredrickson is a hard-nosed social scientist, who since the inception of positive psychology has often been cited and praised as the originator of the Broaden-and-Build Theory of positive emotions.

In this, her first book, Fredrickson sets out her ideas for the general reader, adding personal anectdotes and speculations to hard data. The book includes a positivity toolkit to help the reader raise their own positivity. Overall, I enjoyed this book and think it is a useful addition to the positive psychology literature. I think it can even tell us something useful about "the good life". But I do have some reservations, which I'll come on to later.

The Broaden-and-Build theory has been concisely summarised by its author as follows:-
"I encapsulate two classes of these benefits into my broaden-and-build theory. First, when we experience a positive emotion, our vision literally expands, allowing us to make creative connections, see our oneness with others, and face our problems with clear eyes (a.k.a. the broaden effect). Second, as we make a habit of seeking out these pleasing states, we change and grow, becoming better versions of ourselves, developing the tools we need to make the most out of life (the build effect). And strikingly, these twin benefits of positive emotions obey a tipping point: When positive emotions outnumber negative emotions by at least 3 to 1, these benefits accrue, yet below this same ratio, they don't."
So - when we are positive we become more open and creative (positive emotions broaden us) and we also grow (they build us). But, surprisingly, only when the positive outweighs the negative by more than 3 to 1. Fredrickson is arguing for positivity as a means to the good life - whether or not feeling good is itself the good life, feeling good (in these ways) helps us get in to a state where we are more likely to achieve these and other elements of the good life. This is an important point for philosophers to bear in mind - hedonism (the idea that happiness/pleasure and the absence o pain is the good life) has had a hard time recently but if it's really true that positive experiences are a means to other parts of the good life (creativity, achievement, making a difference) then a refined version of hedonism may appear more attractive.

But note well that Fredrickson does not equate positivity with pleasure. Far from it, she actually excludes bodily pleasures from her definition, since they narrow your focus and meet a survival need - whereas her ten positive emotions broaden your focus and, in the long run, she claims, "matter most" (p. 38)

So what are these top ten positive emotions?
  • Interest
  • Awe
  • Hope
  • Serenity
  • Joy
  • Inspiration
  • Gratitude
  • Pride
  • Amusement
  • Love
I personally remember these by the acronym
                I HAS JIG PALWrite to me if you can think of a better acronym!

Now this is very interesting. What Fredrickson has done is suggest 10 emotions which can also be considered as candidate values, as parts of the good life. If it's true that they are good in themselves and also broaden and build us, then their candidacy looks promising. Indeed, I'd like all of these to be part of my life - though there are of course questions about their appropriateness to a particular situation and getting the right balance (bring back Aristotle!). I also wondered whether all of these were really emotions and why some other possibles had been left out (e.g. sense of purpose, sense of meaning, being loved versus being loving, friendship, empathy, compassion). Fredrickson says her ten are "colour people's lives the most" (p. 39) but I wonder how she found this out.

My second problem is similar to the one Eric Wiener expresses in his review. Hard-nosed data has its value, but sometimes it seems to only confirm the bleedin'obvious and on other occasions its difficult to distinguish the author's own speculations from ideas that have firm backing. This is particularly true when it comes to the Positivity Toolkit. The ideas here are all plausible enough - be open, create connections, cultivate kindnes, develop distractions, dispute negative thinking, find nearby nature, learn and apply your strengths etc - and some have solid scientific backing. But this section does come across as a bit of a hotch-potch of techniques rather than a tried-and-tested programme that is guarenteed to raise your positivity.

Which brings me to my third and final issue with the book. One finding that certainly can't be criticised as being mere common-sense is the discovery that there is a tipping point of 3 to 1. If you have twice as many positive as negative experiences you wont start to get the broaden-and-build benefits. They only start accruing above 3 to 1. But what follows from this is surely that we should focus more on reducing negative episodes than increasing positive ones. Suppose I have 3 negative episodes a day and 6 positive ones. My positivity ratio is 2 - not high enough! But to get it up to 3 I either need to add 3 more positive ones or have 1 less negative one - so the effort should be in reducing negative episodes. It seems kind of ironic that a book on positivity has this implication - should we actually be spending more energy on using techniques such as that advocated by CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) than on those aimed at increasing positivity?

Overall, though, I'd recommend this book. Fredrickson has a jaunty style, comes across as basically human and likeable (not always the case in social science books) and does provide a lot useful tips as well as an authoritative account of her own research.

Read On

Have a great September



Monday, January 19, 2009

Newsletter January 2009 - 3 ideas to help you achieve your goals for 2009

Barely three weeks into January - plenty enough time for mostNew Years Resolutions to have been broken and forgotten. But what's a constructive way to deal with the"Three Weeks into New Year Irresoluteness phenomenon"?

Today I'm going to suggest three useful ideas that can help a lot more than New Year's Resolution.First, individual Life Coaching. Even if it does nothing more, one-to-one life coaching provides a regular boost to your motivation and some objective feedback to your progressin achieving your important goals. Good Life Coaching will offer much more than this, and the ideasthat I use most with clients come from practical philosophy (what would a wise person advise about this?),,positive psychology (what does research tell us will help me become happier?) and cognitive therapy(how can I change the way I think to change the way I feel?). I've just opened up some extra slotsfor life coaching in Central London on Friday afternoon/early evening. If you are interested in findingout more about how this can help you, drop me an e-mail at tim@timlebon.com

A second acitivity that can be very useful and enjoyable is to attend an adult education class. London mayhave many faults, but lack of good adult education is not amongst them. Adult Education classes at centralLondon locations like the City Lit near Covent Garden and City University in Islington are a great way of getting the brain stimulated instead of vegging out in front of the TV.I'm running three courses that might be of interest in the next week.There's a one-off workshop on Philosophical Life Coaching next Saturdayat the City Lit - no previous experience of philosophy or coaching required - and two ten-week courses at City University, on Personal Development ThroughPhilosophy (Tuesday evenings) and Positive Psychology (Thursday evenings) respectively.None of these courses require previous experience of philosophy or psychology, and allthat is needed from you is an interest in the subject and a desire for it to help you in practice.

A third practice that may help you achieve your goals this year is to read some good personal development books.
Regular readers will know that I am not one of those people who disparage all personal development or "self-help" books.
Sure, Aristotle, Sartre, Marx and Darwin were more original and profound thinkers than those that feature in the self-help section
of your local book shop - but how readable and practical are their great works?
The best self-help books distill this wisdom into understandable and practical advice -making it as simple as it can be, but no simpler.
This year you will see that whilst the top few classics remain much the same as last year, there are some new entries lower down the chart.
The new entries cover mindfulness, relationships, and changing habits - all very important topics. The recommended books on them provide
accessible and well-researched introductions. Hope that some of these books are of use for you.
1. The Seven Habits of Highly effective People Stephen Covey (1)
2. Man's Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl (2)
3. The Feeling Good Handbook David Burns (3)
4. Overcoming Low Self-Esteem Melanie Fennell (4)
5. The Conquest of Happiness Bertrand Russell (5)
6. The Mindful Way Through Depression Mark Williams, John Teasdale et al (-)
7. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -and it's all small stuff Richard Carlson (6)
8. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work John M. Gottman& Nan Silver (-)9. Changing for Good James Prochaska et al(-)10. How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie (9)
Bubbling Under
Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman (7)
The Consolations of Philosophy Alain de Botton (10)
The Art of Happiness Howard Cutler and the Dalai Lama (8)
Happiness - Mathieu Ricard (-)
The How of Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky (-)
Of course this list just reflects my personal opinion - I wonder what books we'll find helpful in 2009 ...

Whichever of these three roads you choose, or if you choose your own path, I wish youevery success with all your dreams and objectives for 2009

Tim LeBon


Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Positive Psychology: Recommended Reading

There are so many books published on positive psychology now that it is hard to keep up. All the more reason to note down books that I think are most useful. Please use the comments link to add any other recommendations or comment on any of these.


The first book in each section is my top recommendation



Boniwell, I (2007) Positive Psychology in a Nutshell (London: PWBC)

Compton W,C. (2005)  Introduction to Positive Psychology (Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth)

Seligman, M. Authentic Happiness (New York: Free Press, 2002)

Snyder, C.R . & Lopez, S (2002) Handbook of Positive Psychology. New York: OUP

Linley P. & Joseph,S Positive Psychology in Practice Wiley (2004)

Carr,A. Positive Psychology (Hove and New York: Brunner-Routledge, 2004)


Happiness and Well-Being


Lyubomirsky, S (2008) The How of Happiness (Sphere)

Gilbert, D (2006) Stumbling on Happiness (Harper)

Haidt, J. The Happiness Hypothesis  (London: Arrow, 2006)

Nettle, D. Happiness (Oxford: OUP, 2005)

Ben-Shahar, T (200) Finding Pleasure, Meaning and Life's Ultimate Currency  (McGraw-Hill)

Layard, R Happiness (London: Penguin, 2006)

Argyle,M. The Psychology of Happiness (London: Routledge, 2001)

Eysenck, M (1990) Happiness  (L.E.A)

Myers, D.M. The Pursuit of Happiness (New York: Morrow, 1992)

Keyes, C  and Haidt , J (ed) Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived

Weiner, E (2008) The Geography of Bliss (Twelve)



 Csikszentmihalyi , M.  Flow: The Psychology of optimal experience   (1990)

Csikszentmihalyi . M.  Finding Flow (1997)


Rath, T. (2007)  StrengthsFinder  (New York, Gallup)

Bolt, M  (2004)  Pursuing Human Strengths: A Positive Psychology Guide (Worth)

Peterson, C & Seligman, M  (2004)  Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (OUP)


Aspinall,L. & Staudinger, U. A Psychology of Human Strengths (Washington, APA, 2003)



Emotions, Emotional Intelligence and Resilience

Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ New York: Bantam

Reivich, K., & Shatte, A. (2002). The Resilience Factor.  New York: Broadway Books.

Goleman, D. (1998) Working with Emotional Intelligence: Bantam

Epstein,S (1998) Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence (Westport, Praeger)

Barr-On, R & Parker, J (2000) The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence (Jossey-Bass)


The positive psychology of Buddhism and Mindfulness

Levine, M. (2000) The Positive Psychology of Buddhism & Yoga (LEA)

Goleman, D. (2003) Destructive Emotions (London: Bloomsbury)

H.H Dalai Lama & Cutler, H (1998) The Art of Happiness (London, Hodder and Stoughton)

Benson, H.  (1975)The Relaxation Response (New York: William Morrow)

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005) Full Catastrophe Living (London: Piatkus)

Langer, E (1989) Mindfulness (Perseus)

Ricard, M  (2007) Happiness (Atlantic)


Hope, Optimism and Luck

Seligman, M Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life New York: Pocket Books

Snyder, C.R  (2000) Handbook of Hope. Orlando FL: Academic Press

Gillham, J The Science of Optimism and Hope Philadelphia, PA: Templeton Foundation Press (2000)

Wiseman, R.  The Luck Factor (Arrow, 2004)

Positive Relationships - Love and Friendship

Gottmann, J. & Silver, N. (1999) The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work  (London: Orion)

Sternberg, R, (1988) The Triangle of Love (New York: Basic)

Wisdom and Decision-Making

Sternberg,R.  & Jordan, J. (2005) A Handbook of Wisdom (Cambridge: CUP)

Philosophy relevant to Positive Psychology

Aristotle (2004) Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin)

Russell, B. (2006)) The Conquest of Happiness (Routledge)

Fromm, E (1995) The Art of Loving (Thorsons)

LeBon, T (2001) Wise Therapy (London: Sage)

Bellioti, R (2004) Happiness is Overrated (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield)

Schoch, R (2007) The Secrets of Happiness (London: Profile)

Revel, J-F & Ricard, M (1998)The Monk and the Philosopher (New York: Schocken)

Self-Help books relevant to Positive Psychology
(Note: Many of these  are based on empirical research, but are included because they contain interesting ideas that may be the starting point for research)

LeBoef, M. (1980) Creative Thinking  (London: Piatkus)

Buzan, T  (2000) The Mind Map Book London:BBC

Buzan, T  (2000) Use Your Head London:BBC

de Bono, E. (1982) de Bono's Thinking Course. London: BBC Books

de Bono, E . (2000) Six Thinking Hats.  London: Penguin

Gelb, M (2004) How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci  Element Books

Harris, R. (1998) Creative Thinking Techniques

Osborn, A. (1953) Applied Imagination.  New York: Scribners

Rawlinson, J. (1986) Creative Thinking and Brainstorming. London: Gower

Hammond, J, Keeney, R & Raiffi, H (1999) Smart Choices (Boston: Harvard)

Paterson, R.  (2000) The Assertiveness Workbook (Oakland: New Harbinger)

Sharma, R (1997) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Ontario: Harper Collins)

Popovic, N. (2005) Personal Synthesis. (London: PWBC.)

Branden, N. (2004) The Six Pillars of self-esteem (Random House)

Clegg, B & Birch, P  (1999) Instant Creativity Kogan Page


Positive Psychology Coaching and Interventions

Biswas-Diener, R & Dean, B Positive Psychology Coaching.  (New Jersey, WIley, 2007)

Frisch, M. (2006) Quality of Life Therapy (New Jersey: Wiley)

Shane J. Lopez (Editor), C.R. Snyder (Editor)  Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures


Precursors to Positive Psychology

Levinson, D. Season’s of a Man’s Life (New York: Ballantine, 1986)

Maslow, A. Motivation and Personality (Longman, 1987)

Pervin, L & John, O.  Handbook of Personality. New York: Guilford.

Vaillant, G.E. Adaption to Life (Harvard University Press, 1995)

Bowlby,J. (1971) Attachment and Loss Volume 1: Attachment Penguin Books, Harmondsworth

Creativity and Creative Thinking

Sternberg, R (1999) Handbook of Creativity Cambridge, UK

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Newsletter 6 - New Years Rules for Happiness and January courses

Regular readers may recall that in general I am not in favour of New Years Resolutions
(See last year's article New Years Resolutions? You must be nuts ...)
However, today's Times features a really interesting piece by none other than the Chief Rabbi,
Jonathan Sacks, entitled Count your blessings and begin to change your life
The apparent contradiction is resolved because Sacks isnt so much recommending unrealistic
resolutions as pretty wise-looking rules for living well. You can read Sacks's whole article online, but here's a list of his 10 recommendations.(the bits in brackets are my gloss on what he says)

Read more of this article .... including 5 more tips for living happily suggested by Tim LeBon

(The above article is the most recent article on Tim LeBon's Socrates Satisfied blog).

One of Sachs's tips is to engage in livelong learning - here are details of 4 courses that may be just the ticket ..

4 courses in practical philosophy and psychology starting in early January

If learning, personal development or well-being are amongst your new year's goals, then you might like to sign up for one of 4 courses I'm running in the next couple of weeks.
They are:
Frankl and the Search for Meaning
Friday 18th Jan 2008 1030-1730 Location: City Lit, Central London
Viktor Frankl's ideas can inspire everyone aiming to find more meaning and purpose in their life.
This lively and highly-rated workshop will help you start the New Year focusing on this important issue.
Call 020 7831 7831 to enrol or visit the City Lit website

Philosophical Life Coaching
Saturday 19th Jan 2008 1030-1630 Location: City Lit, Central London
"Move over Carole Caplin. The new gurus of self-help are philosophical counsellors from beyond the grave” proclaimed the Independent recently.
Lead a more satisfying and meaningful life by using insights and methods from the great thinkers. This introduction will show you some of the most interesting ways it can be of help.
No previous experience required
Call 020 7831 7831 to enrol or visit the City Lit website

Personal Development through Philosophy

This 10 week course will show how studying philosophy can help you discover how they can be true to themselves, make wiser decisions and develop more enlightened values.

Course Information

Course Code: CE1944
Course Fee: £100
Start date: Tuesday 15 January 2008
Class Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Number of Classes: 10 weekly classes
Accreditation: 10 credits at level 1

To enrol call 020 7040 8268 between 9.30am and 5.00pm.or visit the City Uni website

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the growing branch of psychology that focuses on the positive, including strengths, positive states and well-being. This course will have a particular emphasis on how positive psychology can make you more effective in your working life in terms of your strengths, emotional intelligence, creativity, decision making, meaning and purpose.

Course Code: CE1941
Course Fee: £180
Start date: Thursday 17 January 2008
Class Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Number of Classes: 10 weekly classes
Accreditation: 10 credits at level 1
Call 020 7831 7831 to enrol or visit the City Lit website

Labels: , ,

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Newsletter 5 - December 2007 - 3 new useful sites

Wouldn't it be useful to read  wise quotations, short articles about insightful books and films and news of relevance for personal development? I thought so too, and much as I like other sites, I decided a few months ago that they didn't give me quite what I wanted.
So I've been busy creating three new blogs in addition to Socrates Satisfied.
If you have visited my home page, http://www.timlebon.com recently, you'll have seen highlights from the 3 new blogs when you scroll down the main page. In case you haven't, here's what they offer.
The three new blogs are called Wise Quotes, Wise Books & Personal Development News.

Read on and follow the links to find out more ...

Wise Quotes serenityprayer1

It's always good to hear wise words from great thinkers old and new. Sometimes they tell us something we didn't truely appreciate before. At other times, as Christina Feldman's quote below reminds us, the hardest challenge is remembering to put our knowledgeinto practice. Looking at wise quotes regularly can help you learn knew insights and remind you of how much you already know.

The Secret of Eternal Happiness (Robin Sharma)

Find out what you truly love to do and then direct all your energy towards doing it

Remembering to be mindful is the great challenge - Christina Feldman

Christina Feldman

is neither difficult nor complex;
Remembering to be mindful is the great challenge

Christina Feldman

Keywords: Mindfulness, Meditation, Wisdom, Christina Feldman

Read On: Christina Feldman on Stillness and Insight and Dependent Origination

Read more Wise Quotes
at http://quotes.timlebon.com

Wise Books -and Films  itsawonderfullife republic

This is probably my favourite of all the blogs I write. Although Plato's Republic is shown above, you are just as likely to read about films like It's a Wonderful Life here. Whenever I see a film or read a book which I think helpful for wise living, I add an entry. You'll find plenty about recent philosophy and psychology books - as well as some more off-beat entries, like the one below ..

Monday, July 30, 2007

Blink - Doctor Who and the Existentialists

Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. image

The first time I watched this stand-out episode from the latest season of the British children's science fiction programme Doctor Who, I didn't think too much about philosophy. I was far too busy consoling my terrified children. For some reason weeping angels who send you back in time, ageing or killing your present-day self, were much, much scarier than Daleks or Cybermen.

The second time I saw Blink I couldn't understand how I missed the existential theme the first time around.

The episode's title - BLINK - as in " blink and life will pass you by" - is the first hint.

Then there are the experiences of the characters. After a visitation by the time-stealing angels, all that is left of Sally's friend Kathy are her remains in a graveyard. Billy, a young and sassy policemen, fares little better. One moment he is chatting up Sally Sparrow with the immortal line

Life is short and you are hot.

The next time we see Billy, he is an old man in hospital, about to die. As he catches sight of young Sally he laments

Look at my hands. They're old man's hands -- how did that happen?

We know that Billy and Kathy's fate await us all - weeping angels are but an exaggeration of the human condition.

Generally Doctor Who reminds us of the downside of immortality. The Doctor lives for hundreds of years and regenerates when his old body gets damaged beyond repair. The Doctor can help us be aware of problems with life going on too long - boredom, too much knowledge, too many memories and the loss of loved ones being some of the afflictions associated with extreme longevity.

BLINK firmly reminds us of the opposite reality. Life is short - and we have no idea just how short. Life is short -so we need to make the most of it. Life is short - so treasure every moment.

And remember:

Carpe Diem.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

And - whatever you do - don't blink.

You can read more about wise books and films at http://wisebooks.timlebon.com

Personal Development News news

This blog, which lives at http://news.timlebon.com, announces interesting events and courses - as well as news relevant to personal development and featured in the press.
Here's news about an free event in London in a couple of weeks time - maybe you would like to come along.

Free talk on Philosophy in Schools, London Friday, Dec 14th 2007 630pm

Talk on Philosophy in Schools

Peter Worley is giving a free talk on "Philosophy in Schools" at 630pm on Friday December 14th in Central London

Peter studied philosophy at University College London and Birbeck College, London. He is a philosophical practitioner who for the last four years has been developing his own approach to teaching philosophy to London primary school children.

Venue: David Wynter Room 2nd floor Swedenborg House 20-21 Bloomsbury Way London WC1A 2TH

The entrance to Swedenborg House is in Barter Street and doors are open from 6.00 p.m.

The nearest underground stations are Holborn and Tottenham Court Road

Please e-mail spp@timlebon.com in advance if you would like to come.

Very best seasonal greetings -

Hope to see you soon


Labels: , ,