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Something to think about

Published on Friday, 18 Jun 2010
Illustration: Bay Leung
Book: The Mind Gym: Relationships
Author: The Mind Gym
Publisher: Sphere

The Mind Gym: Relationships is a treasure trove of hundreds of tips, tools and techniques for building the perfect relationship with people around you.

Compiled by the Mind Gym, a pioneering London-based corporate training venture, the book is the third in a series of bestsellers which contains ideas and practices that have been tested with up to 500,000 business executives in more than 50 countries.

The Mind Gym is known for its "bite-sized", 90-minute workshops on topics that are of pertinence to employers and employees, including engagement, change, leadership and management. Its clients include Google, Starbucks, Fujitsu and Pfizer.

The Mind Gym team starts with the premise that relationships make people happy, and that it is up to us to decide the terms of our relationships. The team argues that our ability to improve our relationship with one person increases our ability to improve our relationship with others.

The rest of the 300 or so pages guide readers through the "how" of building flourishing relationships by tackling topics from conflict resolution and negotiation skills, to improving self-confidence, developing the capacity to empathise and making an apology.

But readers need not plough through the book from cover to cover to get the most out of it.

They are encouraged to develop their own "relationship workout programme" by filling out a questionnaire to find out what aspects of relationship building they need to strengthen before dipping into the relevant chapters.

So, if you lack social confidence, go to the chapter entitled "shy to shine" for tips on beating shyness. There you will learn that shyness comes in shades. It can be "situational" (it occurs in specific situations), "transitional" (it kicks in at a time of change and then passes), or "pervasive" (it is a permanent feature in your life).

Depending on what type of shyness you suffer from, you will then be shown detailed steps in how you can overcome it in everyday life. You will also find out the causes of your shyness and given further advice and practical tools to conquer it.

Believing in the informing power of scientific research ("science is sexy"), the Mind Gym team has derived its arguments and approaches from scientific research. Boring academic data is presented in the book as interesting pieces of information that help to make it an easier read.

The conversational language, the use of anecdotes, questionnaires and grids (to show, for example, how attached we are to others), and the inclusion of pithy subheadings and amusing pictures (such as a child wearing a pair of oversized shoes to communicate the need to put oneself in someone else's shoes) have also made a book - packed with insights and advice - a lighter and more entertaining read.

Whether your relationships will thrive depends on your willingness and ability to put words into action. So start acting on the advice today and see your relationships transform.

For more information about the book and the Mind Gym, go to



  • Give me security: imagine the best in people and relationships will grow
  • Get fit: managing our energy and self-regulation is key
  • Many me: the ability to dance between different ways of thinking helps us have many relationships with the same person and the same relationship with many people
  • We choose how we think: we are 100 per cent responsible for our relationships. With choice comes control and responsibility


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