Personal Insight: the foundation of success and happiness

A practical guide to personality, emotions, intelligence, memory and thinking based on the latest neuroscience.
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  • Lectures 73
  • Length 6 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 3/2014 English

Course Description

This is a course to help you to make the big decisions in life, such as:

  • what you should study
  • what career you should follow
  • is this person a suitable husband or wife

but it's also about what happens every day, it's about:

  • getting more done and being efficient
  • understanding and controlling your emotions
  • developing relationships and influencing others

This course will help you to play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. Ultimately it's a course about happiness and contentment ... and achieving the life that you want.

You are unique. There are no universal answers but there are perspectives which can help you to find the insights that will make you more effective and happier. In this course you will explore:

  • the three thinking systems in your brain: emotional, associative, rational
  • understanding intuition and gut-feelings
  • emotions - what are the primary triggers and how can you manage them
  • personality
  • unconscious drivers and schemas that determine your outlook
  • cognitive biases that affect perception, attention and decision-making
  • memory - the hidden flaws and how to improve your memory
  • irrational thinking and how to overcome it
  • intelligence - more than simply IQ

This is all based on rigorous research and I will share with you a comprehensive list of references. But let me stress - this is a PRACTICAL course. It is the distilled essence of my twenty years, in over 30 countries, helping managers to develop.

In addition to hours of video, you will gain access to questionnaires that provide insight into yourself, articles and links to other resources, including summary mindmaps.

What are the requirements?

  • No previous knowledge or experience is required

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of this course you will have a much better understanding of how your brain works and how to make the most of your own capabilities.
  • You will be better able to manage your emotions
  • You will understand your own personality - and gain insight into why others behave as they do
  • You will improve your decision-making from a greater awareness of cognitive biases
  • You will be more contented and happier as you learn how to control and prevent irrational thinking.
  • Your relationships will improve as you recognise the unconscious patterns of thought that distort you perspective.

Who is the target audience?

  • The course is intended for everyone; the insights that you gain will be valuable in business, study, social and family situations.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Course Introduction
Section 2: The 3R Approach
Introduction to The 3R Approach

An overview of the 3R Approach and the magic 57 minutes that are the foundation of personal insight.


How to capture and build on your insights. Click on the link below to get Evernote for free (plus a month of free premium)

Section 3: Neuroscience Foundation
Neuroscience Introduction

How Chinese food is linked to recycling - 'neurons that fire together, wire together'


Nature and nurture - how your brain's hard-wiring affects your thinking.


Heraclitus said: "You can never step into the same river twice" because new water is ever flowing - and your brain is constantly making new connections, meaning that you are a different person today from the person you were yesterday.


Your connectome predisposes to think in particular ways but you know that you can act differently depending on your mood - your thought processes can become channelled along different 'wires'.


Your brain is a 'pattern-recognition' machine - and this underpins almost everything in this course.


We think of memory as being like a 'recorder' - but it is a process, not a thing and it is much less reliable than we might like to think! Do you remember that hot air balloon ride as a child ...


Introduction to the 3 Thinking Systems:- Emotional : Associative : Rational

The EAR Model Overview Document
1 page

Our emotional system reacts before we are even conscious of danger. Once activated it can distort both perception and analysis.


We have all seen someone overreact - here's why.


Cascades of automatic connections:

"The real question is not whether machines think but whether people do."


The CEO of the brain - but easily fooled and often at the service of our emotions.


Putting all the pieces together to show how our 'team of rivals' operates.


A short overview of the neuroscience principles we have explored.

Section 4: Emotions

We are emotional first and rational second. But what are your emotional triggers and why do your emotions exert such a strong influence on your thinking?


We are 'wired for relationships'. Watch any group of friends and see how they unconsciously 'mimic' each other. In this video, we look back in time to see why that is.


To what tribes do you belong? If you are on vacation, what type of people do you tend to get to know? What types do you avoid?


There are probably for each of us certain situations and types of individual that increase our propensity to seek and follow advice. Can you identify what these are for you?


Think of the times in the past when you have been at your ‘worst’ or ‘best’:

  • happy
  • resilient
  • disciplined
  • selfless
  • efficient
  • inspired
  • passionate
  • caring
  • etc

Who were you with? What were the other situational factors? Can you identify common elements or themes? How can you apply your insights to your future plans?

These questions are to provoke your thinking on whether the people around you help or hinder your happiness and success. If it is the latter, what will you do about it?

Are there certain individuals whose approval, whilst perhaps not consciously sought, makes you feel good?

  • Do you find yourself wondering what particular people think?
  • When you have spoken in a group, which person’s reaction do you look for first?

We don't like to feel that we are in another person's debt - we like to pay our way. And this fact is often exploited by others to influence our behaviour - be on your guard!


Our watchword is consciousness and we should be aware of how our minds handle status:

  • What criteria do you use and are they helpful? If status to you means material wealth, shouldn’t you keep in mind that the most important things in life are intangible and hard to quantify and that being richer or poorer than the person next to you does not change how much actual wealth you have?
  • To whom do we compare ourselves? The tendency is to measure ourselves against those around us. But are they the most appropriate people? Are we trying to ‘fit in’ with the right reference group? Striving to match the standards of the highest achievers may push us to higher levels of performance but at what cost and if we fall short, wouldn’t we have been happier being a big fish in a different pond? Or perhaps, we have set our sights too low?

What triggers your sense of injustice? Perhaps the other person has a different framework for what is fair? What is important to you is unimportant to them - and vice versa.


A reminder about the 3Rs.


Much of emotional circuitry is primitive and has developed by new layers being added on top of others. As a result, we can sometimes misinterpret what we actually feel; is it really love?


Patterns of behaviour as a child recur later in life.


Threats to autonomy can come from: having to work with someone else or in a team, rules and regulations, bureaucracy, budgets, office politics, stakeholders, being micromanaged and imposed deadlines. Do you recognise any of these as triggers? If so, remember to press pause.

But can you identify the elements that contribute to you craving autonomy or power in your life currently? What are your hot buttons. Possibly you are sensitive about your expertise in some areas or dislike being patronized. Maybe you like to work in a methodical way and not be rushed. Or results matter. The more aware you are, the greater your scope for managing your reactions or proactively shaping your environment.


Why is a child afraid of the dark - because they don't know what is there? As adults, we share the same dread of the unknown.


What are the base requirements for a happy life - I think there are nine; what do you think?

Section 5: Personality

A brief overview of the different approaches to understanding personality: trait and type.


A simple model that can help you to understand the drivers of thought and action - yours and others. The model will help you to become more flexible in your relationships with others. There are links below to free online DISC profiles. (Note: The research which is the basis of DISC was undertaken by William Marston and he left his research in the public domain. Others have since added to his initial work and there are several versions of the DISC model. You may find it interesting to see how the different test results vary.)

9 pages

David Keirsey builds personality in a series of concentric rings - like an onion, with the inner rings affecting the outer. It builds to 16 different personality types and has similarities with the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) model. The 2 inner rings constitute a person's temperament and are unchanging through life according to Keirsey. They offer a very practical and informative perspective. Are you an Artisan, Guardian, Rational or Idealist?

A link to a free Keirsey assessment is provided below.

9 pages

The Five Factor Model is probably the most rigorously researched of the personality approaches. Unlike DISC and Kiersey, you do not become assigned to a 'type'. This, of course, makes it harder to apply but I think it is extremely useful in providing you with new perspectives by which to view yourself and others.

Links are provided in the document to free assessments.


Some psychologists question whether there is such a thing as 'personality'. In this lecture I explore some of the alternative views.

Don't forget The 3R Approach!
Section 6: Irrational Thinking

We are experts at fooling ourselves and in this lecture I explore how our rational minds can be misdirected.


How do we prevent our irrational thoughts taking hold? The ABCDE model is a core element of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and can help you to stop and prevent irrational thinking. It is particularly powerful when used in conjunction with the 3R Approach.


Throughout our lives we build a 'danger database', storing components of threatening situations in our emotional memory. When we encounter one of these components in the future, a 'match' is found in the danger database and unconscious automatic processes - scripts - take over to handle the danger. The problem is, there are a lot of false positives ...


We can easily fall into playing 'roles' with people, roles that we learned when we were younger. Think about how your attitude, language, posture changes when speaking with a friend, senior manager, doctor ...


Another perspective on 'patterns of thinking' or scripts.

3 pages

The link below is to a downloadable self-assessment of your working styles.


Practical steps to help you to overcome anxiety, frustration, worry, anger and other thought patterns that threaten your happiness and effectiveness.


What not to do!

The 3R Approach is Particularly Valuable in Preventing Irrational Thinking
Section 7: Self Concept

Philosophy, psychology and neuroscience combine to raise some interesting questions about who we are.


How our view of who we are is constructed - and then maintained, often in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary! Time to 'Get Real'!

Section 8: Thinking Traps and Decision Making

"We are not only irrational, but predictably irrational...our irrationality happens the same way, again and again."

The more aware you are of the glitches in the way that your brain processes information the better able you will be to manage them - increasing your understanding and helping you to make better decisions. This is not about being stupid or clever - these thinking aberrations are built into the way our brains function; we are all susceptible. And they are a big deal! They impact what you do every day and how you make the big decisions in your life.


In this lecture you will see the impact of the associative architecture of your brain, one of the elements we considered in the Neuroscience Foundation. Did you know that you are 30 times more likely to be killed by a piece of falling aircraft than by a shark ...


Your brain likes to organize information. That's how you can connect your friend with the house they live in. But many of the connections are unconscious and distort our thinking. You may hate the idea of stereotypes but you are still affected ...


How strong is your concentration? How well can you count?


How many passes?


Let's take a moment to think about what all this means ...


Our minds are 'relative processors'. Is this a long video - well it depends what 'long' is. I need a reference point - but reference points distort, as you will see.


We have looked at some of the negatives of our associative architecture; perhaps we can use it in a positive way.


What connects Beckham and Beyonce?


Why first impressions are important and why you should avoid psychiatric hospitals.


We label people too easily.


From homeopathic medicine to CEOs, we get it wrong.

3 pages

How to avoid our in-built cognitive biases.

Section 9: Intelligences

We over-emphasise IQ - your chances of happiness and success may be increased by playing to recognising your own 'bent'.


Emotional intelligence is possibly the best predictor of happiness and success - and you can develop it.


Links to EI questionnaires - and a note of caution.


A review of intelligences.


Another perspective on playing to your strengths is to be aware of which types of thinking require most and least energy for you.

Section 10: Conclusion
5 pages

A short summary of what you have covered during the course.

6 pages

This is a list of some of the books, articles and videos that have contributed to the content in this course. If you would more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Instructor Biography

Paul Taylor, Consultant

I originally studied law and graduated with a Masters Degree from Oxford University. After an early career in marketing I gained my MBA from Cass Business School, London and established my business importing designer goods from Italy and selling to major UK department stores such as Harrods and Selfridges. Seeking new challenges, I moved into business consultancy and for the last 20 years I have helped organisations ranging from startups through to multinational corporations, including Ericsson, Virgin, Philips, Maersk, Johnson & Johnson and Bausch & Lomb. Having worked in 35 countries with over a hundred different nationalities, I believe that I have a good understanding of what makes humans tick.

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