I wrote about enviousness between women at work last week. As I got some feedback to write more about enviousness, here we go. Enviousness, what is that? Psychologists distinguish between 6 main emotions: anger, fear, happiness, disgust, sadness and surprise. This is what is also easy to read in faces an behaviours. People are trained to recognise this in the facial expressions of people. But what about enviousness? Where does it belong to? It seems to be a mixture of more than one emotion. Let me get back to this later.

Where does enviousness come from? The answer is expectations. Expectations are in ourselves. A mixtures of what we planned to reach, how we would like to look like, and who we would like to be. All these points make us feel happy or disappointed of our lives. -so what happens if we are disappointed and see someone who reached all these things? We look at this person, we observe them, we are looking for something that is worse than ours. The more we search and the more we don't find anything serious, it gets worse. The human person is not able to accept someone being better than oneself. We can accept if they are similar, best slightly worse but just not better.

We cannot like someone who is prettier, has a taller house, a prettier wife, cuter children, a bigger car - and when this person is also nice and friendly? We cannot cope with that, there must be something wrong! Why do I not reach all these things but this neighbour does? And the worst thing about that: the neighbour thinks the same. Both are so much searching for weaknesses of the other that they forget what they have. There was one of these facebook memes, everybody likes which said: before you kiss another woman, think about how many would like to kiss yours. And that's it, we forget how happy we could be with what we have. Let me get back to the emotions. The fear of not being someone that children and others look up to, plus the sadness of not having reached what we planned to, makes us angry. This complex mixture of diverse emotions comes from our brain, we think about things. The awareness of the self makes us think about other's successes and our failures. 

Today, have a look at your life...and think about the things you could be proud of...and grateful for, I am sure, it's a lot! Don't compare, just be happy - at least today...

Women at work

Where should I start...I planned to write about another topic today but then I read a brillant article about women at work. Unfortunately it's in German, but for those who are interested in reading it, you can find it here. As a summary, the trainer and speaker Daniel Enz explained that women are on the rise in the economy. Women are the ones with fantastic grades and graduations at university, but there are still only 6% in management roles in Germany according to a study by the executive-search entrepreneur Guido Schilling. But how does this come?

Enz explaines it by the strive for harmony in the nature of women. They are going the way which is most harmonic, in salary negociations they are caving in quickly and accept lunch- or travel vouchers as a salary replacement. However, as soon as they find out what their male colleagues earn, they become unhappy and start to bitch about it with other colleagues. The before mentioned 6% are those who are very tough and don't care that much about this harmony. Woman who are like men. Enz recommends women to be more tough, to dare more...

From my point of view, Enz is absolutely right. If you ask a man if he speaks Spanish (if he learned it at School years ago), he says "yes", a woman answers: "maybe, I forgot a lot and not that fluent anymore, I need to practise a bit, I think." I am just the same, I am unsure about my own knowledge and skills - as most of the women in the world are. We have lots of distinctions and certificates, but we still mistrust ourselves. Well, but there is one big point that Enz left out. It's not much about man who don't entrust woman to overtake an important task. It's the other women.

As much as they don't have faith in their own performance, it's the same with other women. As a natural behaviour they rely more on the performance of their male colleages than on the performance of the females. Is this enviousness? Is this resentment of the own performance? Whatever it is, ladies...It's hard enough to survive in this jugle of men, why, - please - do you also give each others a hard time? Be tough without forgetting who you are: a harmonic individual.


After a long summer pause I am back to tell you some things to think about. Today I am writing about happiness. Happiness is a diversely discussed topic - what it is and where ist comes from. Actually, the feeling of happiness is just the combination of some hormones: mix dopamines with serotonines, some endorphins and a little bit of noradrenalin and you are happy. If you think about a very happy moment of your life it is very hard to believe that this is only a mixture of some proteins and lipides what made you feel like that.

However, you can start understanding drug addicts for a while if you see that drugs can make you as happy as a great success you would need to work very hard for -but of course this is not durable. Even though successes you worked hard for don't make you happy for much longer. Very often we don't even take the time to be happy about something and we just continue. What kind of success, work, relationship can enlarge that feeling of happiness? What is this hugely discussed secret? I am a psychologist, not a prophet, I can't tell you what will make you happy. I can just tell you what I observed.

What makes you happy are people who believe in you, people who put their needs behind yours, people who love you. This can be family, friends or lovers, it does not matter. But these people make sure that you enjoy life and that you are never lonely, even if you are alone. These people care. Think of these people now, everybody has some of them. And now please think about how much you do for them - how often do you make them happy and how often do you put their needs in front of yours? If you think about these people with this thinking you might realise that you could tell them more often what they mean to you. And please, understand what you mean to them. You can contribute so much to their amount of happiness in life. 

A teacher of mine once said that she cannot understand her mother that she forgets herself while caring for her husband. I have the feeling that this society often forgets what is really important: Altruism. Sometimes forget your own needs, sometimes they are not the most important thing. Make others happy and you will see this can make you far happier than satisfying your own needs.

Have a lovey an loving week,

yours Marika

Motivation 2.0

Last time, I told you some things about motivation - e.g. that it needs to come from inside to be stable and to stay at a high level. However, many of us know that it is not always that easy. Maybe we used to be motivated but nobody cared, everybody seemed to stop us or we are stuck in the same job for years without any promotion or reward. What can we do to get back to the former level of motivation?

The problem is that we often desire a change of something. Something is broken and former expectations have not been met. The thing that holds us back from change is fear. We fear that we might lose the current position if we tell our bosses that we are not happy with the situation, we fear that it might be even worse after saying something. Unfortunately, this fear is often reasonable. Bosses often think their staff is happy, especially if we didn't say anything for years. Sometimes the bosses perceive our needs of change as too early - or said too directly. We can't be motivated if we don't expect changes of a dissatisfying situation. At least we need an outlook. We need to change things softly. We must to make indirect hints that we would be ready to change our position or to get an additional task. Being brave and patient is the secret.

Motivation is the inner drive to behave or act in a certain manner. So if we have this drive, we should act like this but should try not to force it. If we can do more then we have to show it by performance not by demanding. Especially to all the women who read this: Make sure colleagues and bosses see special target achievements  and underline it in promotion conversations. We expect too often that a change or a reward is offered to us because people must see that we are talented or that we deserve a better position. This will not happen - so go forward: Love it, leave it or change it - be motivated and stay motivated.


Motivation! What is it? There are many people who never find any - and others seem to have too much of it. How can it be that we are that different in the thing that  gives us the power to reach things and to make more of our lives? What motivates us is for example curiosity, interest, rewards or group pressure. Motivative reasons that come from ourselves are called intrinsic motivation, for example curiosity and interest. The other reasons are calles extrinsic motivation, for example rewards or group pressure. 

What motivates us depends on the situation, on how we grew up and on our personality. Studies have shown that instinsic motivation lasts much longer and is stabler than extrinsic motivation. People who have a natural inner drive can stand disappointments much easier than people who are just motivated by extrinsic incentives. Thus, successful people are seldomly only motivated by money. 89% of people would still work if they won 1 million pounds. This shows that work is not only about money, it's about having social interactions, activity and a daily structure - and interest. So try not to see your work just as something to own money with.

For you it means to get up to become more sucessful. See the sense in what you do, set goals and structure goals in sub-goals. Let reaching the goals make you happy, breathe and continue. Say yes to your life and as soon as you see that you are good at something it gets automatically more interesting. Use extrinsic aims as well, buy something nice or have a lovely dinner with the people you love as soon as you reached an aim. Let the positive spiral catch you and be motivated. Start now and share your happiness.

About Depression and Burnout...

This week I would like to talk about depression and anxiety that might lead to burnout. Unfortunately burnout is still an underestimated and hardly understood illness. People say that everyone is sometimes afraid of work but how does this distinguish from depression?

A couple of years ago I met the first person with depression and could not really understand what happened. The described person cried for hours without being able to tell why. It was just  general dissatisfaction with work, the family situation and maybe more. The second person I met was even more interesting. The person was a happy person and seemed satisfied but suddenly he ended up with burnout. The person told me later that so so-called emotional back-pack was just empty.

The personal emotional back-pack has to be filled up during the entire life. This happens by appraisal, nice words, demonstration of love and affection and recognition. The most important packages are filled by family, friends and loved people. Sadly most of us hope that the important packages come from bosses, colleagues and appraisal at work. As this does not happen in the required amount, the back-pack empties and dissatisfaction grows. If then the private life becomes neglected (what also happens quite often because: no appraisal leads to more effort at work and this leads to stress and less time for the family), it empties even more - when it is really empty, it leads to depression and ends up with burnout.

If someone tells he or she is or was depressive, he or she won't get a job ever again - even though most of us sometimes have phases of slight depression. However, depression is an injury of the soul and needs time to heal. If a fox steps into a trap and has a deep wound it lays down until it can walk again - and the time it takes depends on the depths of the wound.  It is the same with depression. The wound of the soul usually evolves by a loss...a loss of a person, a loss of the job or just the loss of an expectation. The time to heal depends on how bad the loss has been perceived. 

I hope this blog entry can help you a bit to understand how depression and burnout can happen - and that it can happen to everyone. So please accept it as an illness but help to avoid it by filling the emotional back-pack of people around you.

Have you already said something nice to someone or demonstraded affection today?

How to engage Generation Y employees?

Last time, I explained you why the young generation is how they are....this time I wanted to tell you more about how to motivate, engage and get them staying. As said in the last blog entry, the young generation is used to give their opinion about everything because their parents loved them enough to let the young people's opinion count. 

In an organisation, bosses often feel offended if young people tell their opinion without being asked. They are trying to get this out of them by becoming angry, ignoring them or telling them that they are nothing in the organisation. Often, this is  one of the biggest problems. Of course it can be annoying if young people who are just coming from school or uni, think they know everything better. Organisations: You should consider that you employed these young people for a reason - maybe they are cheaper or there wasn't any better applicant - but by employing them you gave them the feeling that they count in the organisation as a full member. The young generation does not distinguish between hierarchical steps, they have conversations with everyone in the same way. The so-called psychological contract, so the feeling of belonging and importance feels violated for young people if they have the feeling that their word is not important.

Good employers like the Virgin Group consider these things. Maybe the opinion is really not necessary but would you like hearing that as a young person? Probably you even had to....Please understand that their opinion counted until now: in the studies, at school and at home. Give them the chance to learn, explain to them why it might sometimes be better not to say anything or to await decisions. Don't treat young people as brainless and annoying workers, treat them as a help that still needs to learn - and you will wonder - they will learn faster than expected. The generation strives for perfection (as being told in the last blog), so why not giving them the chance to perfectionise your organisation? If you coach them, they will learn from the best and this can only be a win-win for the entire organisation.

Are Generation Y employees spoilt and impossible to engage?

I recently read a very interesting article about generation Y. The author of that article underlined that this young generation can never be satisfied. They are steadily striving for perfection. There must be perfect studies, a perfect job, a perfect partner, a perfect flat - no area of living is ever satisfactory until it's perfect.  -  Why is that? This generation had everything from their date of birth on. They had enough food, more than enough toys, clothes and not to forget: a lot of love. This love by their parents led to a generation that has always been in the centre of attention. They were eligible to choose the destination for a holiday and their opinion always counted - even if they had none. Most of them have already been overseas before they have seen 5 springs.

So where does this lead to? To a tough generation that enjoys telling their opinion and being able to change every situation within minutes - they can wake up at a totally different place tomorrow - if they want to. They can have a partner from everywhere in the world - how can they be happy with someone who is not perfect then? Why am I telling you all these points? It is to understand the young generation a bit better and to be ready when no other employees enter the business market anymore. Organsations have no other chance than accepting this generation how they are - and maybe use this strive for perfection for their advantage. To answer the question from the headline: Yes, they are spoilt in a way but it is not impossible to engage them. How this is possible and how Thinking Cap might be able to assist can be read next week  (or by asking in between). 

Have a lovely week!


The mentioned article is in German but can be found here: http://www.vice.com/de/read/ueber-die-unmoeglichkeit-des-zufriedenseins-053

How can Thinking Cap add value to your Recruitment Process?

You are asking yourself why you should need a Consultant for your Selection and Assessment? What is so special about Psychologists to create a Recruitment Process?

The difference ist the knowledge not only about classical recruitment but also about teams, leadership, generation Y, motivation and personality. To combine this knowledge, we can find someone who is not only able to do the work but fits into the team, fits to your leadership style and to your company goals.

It is often difficult to say what kind of person you need. Do you really need an extravert for selling? Maybe an introvert can sell far better to introverts. We help under consideration of team, partners, customers and other factors to find a holistically fitting person. - Try it out! We are looking forward hearing from you! 

Have a great week!

Talent Management

An important and growing segment in the life of Businesses is Talent Management. The demographic change will lead to a massive shortcut of talented people during the next decade ("Global Talent Risk" World Economic Forum survey 2011). Talent Management is not only about gaining and retaining good people but also about motivating them and keeping them engaged. In combination with the growing group of the Generation Y it becomes even more important to find and keep good people as this generation is even more difficult to keep and to motivate. Main factors of engagement are not anymore salary and pay but leadership, colleages and tasks.

This topic applies to almost all organisations. If you think you might need some support or if it just interests you, feel free to contact us. Our team has a high expertise in Talent Management and Generation Y.

Psychological games at work

Psychological games.jpg

Are you suffering psychological games at work? Did you experience situations where you just don't understand what has happened? Are there any tips or tricks to understand what is going on beneath the words an behaviours?

An article from the Association for Business Psychology by Jackie Sykes and Chris Welford gives advice to step back and look at the situation again in depth. Try to understand it from the start to the end. This helps to understand the other person better and being more self-aware. Read more about this here:


Some conflicts are already too deeply anchored to be solved with these tricks. A personal coaching might help here. In such a case do not hesitate to contact us by email: info@thinkingcappsychologists.com or call us: +01 902 989 1440


Virtual Consultants

You are used to consulting companies where people are often around and consume a lot of time? Make use of the new generation of consultants who are always there and never around, who are international and national at once. Learn about the advantages of virtual consultants.

Have a great and successful week! Best wishes, Marika

Conflict management workshop

Scott from our Thinking Cap team led a workshop about conflict management at the NSC College - Pictou campus in Halifax last Saturday. The participants were government and health care workers. Their feedback has been very positive and their conflict management skills improved. If you also have some conflicts in your organisation that need to be resolved, please get in touch - we might be able to help. I wish you a great week and enjoy your conflict-free time.

Best wishes, Marika