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Postcards from Scotland

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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 21/06/2005

Iím just back from doing a workshop with a group of women entrepreneurs on assertiveness. I know this often seems irrelevant these days and old hat and yet it is so pertinent to peopleís lives Ė men as well as women. The great thing about any assertiveness training is how practical and relevant it is to every aspect of life. Within minutes of leaving a training session it is possible to be putting into practice what youíve learned.

What I find is that so many people in Scotland operate mainly in two modes Ė passive (keep your head down, donít rock the boat, just fit in) or bolshie (say what you think, be blunt, sock it to them). In other words, people donít say what they think until they feel worked up or lose their temper. Seesawing from passive to aggressive and back is not a great way to feel good about yourself or build relationships. What is needed is to learn to be assertive at an earlier point. It makes sense to say that you arenít happy or whatever and ask for changes when you are still able to converse and be rational rather than wait until youíve lost your temper.

At tonightís session there were some people whoíve come to live in Scotland from abroad and each one of them agreed that there is something underconfident about many Scottish people. Indeed a woman from Denmark said she couldnít get over the fact that if she ever bumped into someone, they apologised to her!

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