Centre For Confidence And Wellbeing

Posted by editor 05/09/2013 0 Comment 2723 views

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Questions by Jenny McBain // Answers by Carol Craig

You are founder of the ‘Centre for Confidence and Well-being. What are the issues you are inspired to tackle?

Obviously I have an interest in personal confidence and well-being but increasingly as a Centre we are interested in social and cultural change including social justice and environmentally sustainability.

What led you to this work?

Originally I was very interested in confidence as a topic as I was involved in training and personal and team development for about fifteen years. During that time I was acutely aware of how many people were operating well below their potential. Since I set up the Centre my ideas and interests have continued to evolve.

You are in the midst of publishing a series of books called Postcards from Scotland.  What topics do these books cover?

The series arose for two reasons. First Scotland is at a cross roads and we need to discuss what type of country we would like to be, and not just focus endlessly on constitutional issues. Second, those of us involved in the Centre are increasingly of the view that life as we know it in Western societies is not sustainable – economically, socially, culturally or environmentally. We need to start focusing on new ways of thinking and living. These are the types of themes that the Postcards books are addressing. They are all short books to encourage people to engage with these ideas. So far we’ve published four books on public health, materialism, inspiring community projects and local food.

Which individual would you credit with mentoring you in relation to your work?

Since 2003 the person who has inspired and guided me most, and mentored me in an unofficial way, is Phil Hanlon who is a professor of Public Health at Glasgow University. He is on the Centre’s Board and co-author of the first Postcard from Scotland.

In your opinion, is there any crossover between issues which are of relevance to Scotland and those that exist south of the border and, indeed, in other parts of the UK?

My first book, The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence is naturally concerned with Scotland and I maintain an interest in Scottish cultural issues. However, our work on well-being, confidence, mindset etc is of great relevance to people outside Scotland and we get people from lots of different countries contacting us about what we’re doing. My own book for the Postcards series is called The Great Takeover: how materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives and its subject matter is relevant to the whole of the UK.

How do you feel next year’s referendum will impact on the confidence and well-being of Scots?

This is a huge topic and I’m not able to do it justice here. I argue in The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence that the personal confidence issues many Scots face arise much more from the prevailing culture and social interaction and do not simply result from Scotland’s constitutional position. For example, I argue that Scotland has a very critical, judgemental culture which, paradoxically given our egalitarian values, encourages people to know their place. As a result I do not see independence as a silver bullet which will automatically improve personal confidence or well-being.

What is next for you in your working life?

I would like to spend some time thinking, and perhaps writing, about spirituality. The Great Takeover is a short book and it doesn’t even get into arguing that one of the best antidotes to materialism is spirituality. So it’s something that I would like to give some thought to in the next couple of years.

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