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July 26, 2014

Concluding entry on Becoming more Assertive

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Over the last month and a half, since the workhsop on becoming more assertive, I have tried to improve my assertive behaviour.

My first action point was to use a work and exercise routine plan before my holidays in order to act more assertively. Although my exercise plan to go to the gym regularly did not go exactly to plan, I managed to play football and do room exercises as an effective substitute. Moreover, with the use of word quotas and many hours set aside in the library my work routine worked extremely well.

My second action point was to remain in the adult ‘ego-state’ during heated debates. Whenever I found myself in an argument or discussion over the last month or so, I tried my best to remain calm and composed whilst I expressed my view point. Although this did not always go to plan, I made sure I learned from both positive and negative experiences.

My third and final action point was to research into imposter syndrome. I learned that the syndrome was a psychological phenomenon which affects many people’s self-confidence.

Since the workshop on becoming more assertive in June, I have learned that assertive behaviour is extremely useful in completing objectives and becoming a more mature person. Knowledge of the desired adult ‘ego-state’ for example has taught me that remaining calm and composed in heated situations can make you happier and more confident about yourself. Furthermore knowledge of imposter syndrome has put some of my previous negative thoughts and feelings into perspective. The realisation that many people feel this way about themselves is taught me to appreciate who I am and what I have achieved. All in all, I believe that the workshop and action points covered have taught me the importance of emotional maturity.


July 21, 2014

Update to Action point 3 on Becoming more Assertive

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My third and final action point from the Becoming more assertive workshop was to research further into Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter syndrome, coined by Pauline Clance and Tommy Cooper in 1978 and also known as Imposter phenomenon or Fraud syndrome, is a pyschological phenomenon in which sufferers are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Imposter syndrome affects a person in such a way that they are unable to receive praise for their achievements and hold beliefs that they are in some way a fraud.

Although it is not classified as a mental disorder, Imposter syndrome has been the subject of much research for many psychologists. Evidence suggests that the syndrome is not a personality trait of sufferers but is in fact a common reaction to certain social situations.

According to research, Imposter syndrome is predominantly, but not exclusively, suffered by certain minority groups who have achieved success in some shape or form. Research shows that women, ethnic minorities and even graduate students ending university and beginning a new line of work have all reported to have suffered from Imposter syndrome. As a postgraduate student myself, this realisation is particularly telling. Sometimes I feel inadequate to participate in any form of conventional work because I have been a history student for so long. However, if most grad students are in the same position as me, it has become clear that I should really think more positively about my position. After all there are plenty of students out there just like me.

This realisation is also the the exact form of therapy for Imposter Syndrome. According to my research, therapy begins with recognition that the syndrome exists followed by overcoming certain assumptions about yourself (e.g that one mistake is not the end of the world). The final step to therapy is to avoid negative and destructive thoughts which could hamper your emotional progress.

After having recognised the facts, it is then easier to relate your personal situation to reality and to become aware of the flaws in your thinking. It is said that even writing your accomplishments on paper can held one rethink their accomplishments. I have found this and even reflecting on my progress to help. Despite negative thoughts about my continued MA study over the last year, recently I have realised that if I can achieve a Merit in my MA History, achieve the Warwick Award, learn to drive and perhaps apply for as many internships I can, then I can safely say that this year was not wasted at all. Although I have no direct plans for the coming academic year, the fact that by September I will have two degrees from two excellent top ten universities (as well as my extracuricular activities to boost my CV) puts me in good stead for either future study (such as a PGCE course) or work (e.g the civil service).

Researching into Imposter Syndrome has not only made me learn about a psychological phenomenon I knew very little about, but has also helped me realise that thinking positively about my achievements and the future is a very important exercise in emotional maturity.


July 14, 2014

Update to Action point 2 on Becoming more Assertive

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My second action point from the workshop on Becoming more assertive, was to remain in the ‘ego-state of the adult’ during discussions, arguments or deliberations over the last five weeks.

Over the last month or so I have not found myself in many environments prone to arguments or discussions. However, when I have been dragged into potential confrontations, I have found that I have effectively remained in the adult ego-state. Remembering what I had learned from the workshop, I have tried to remain calm and composed when someone has tried to put me, deliberately or otherwise, in the ‘child’ or ‘parent ego-state’.

However, there have been occasions as there always are, when I have found myself slip out of the ‘adult ego-state’ and I have found it hard to rectify my spirited and emotional reactions. As unfortunate as this is, these kinds of mistakes are inevitable when you are trying to improve yourself and I am prepared to learn from both successful and failed experiences.

That said, I feel that even the knowledge of the three ego-states of Transactional Analysis has put me in good stead for the future. I will always try to remember to remain in the ‘adult ego-state’ no matter what others do or say. I am a lot more controled than I used to be in heated debates or discussions, however I know there is always room for improvement.


Update to Action point 1 on Becoming more Assertive

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My first Action point from the workshop on Becoming more assertive, was to stick to a work and exercise plan before going on holiday on June 28th.

This was a work and exercise routine which maximised the amount of dissertation work and exercise I did before going away to Germany and Czech Republic (as I knew I would be neither working nor living healthily during my travels).

However, exercising during my routine did not go exactly to plan. I found it hard to go to the gym as many times as I had planned to. That said, instead of going to the gym regularly, I spent most of my time playing football or doing room exercises. The latter allowed me more time to work, as I did not need to leave my flat. On reflection I could have balanced out football, the gym and home exercises more evenly. However, my exercise routine still functioned relatively effectively which helped my overall work routine.

My thesis for dissertation writing was particularly effective, as I completed nearly 8,000 words of my 20,000 word dissertation. For the three weeks leading up to my holiday I made sure I was in the library every day researching and writing for the first section of my dissertation. With this routine and the use of word quotas to reach for each working day, I found I could write quite lengthily on my dissertation topic without much trouble. Although I will now have to thoroughly look over my work having returned to university, the psychological effect of completing a large part of my dissertation before going away was extremely satisfying for me.

All in all my work and exercise routine, allowed me to act more assertivenly than I had done in the past. I found that by acting more assertively I could complete complicated or long tasks quite quickly and even enjoyably. I will try to remain just as assertive in the future in order to complete my dissertation and remain fit and healthy as I do it.


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  • Hello David, Thanks for writing such a reflective final entry for the WSPA – what a pleasure to read… by Lisa Faulkner on this entry
  • David, Considering the lack of presentation opportunities that you have had over the past few weeks,… by Nathalie Dalton-King on this entry
  • Excellent extrapolation of the technique, David. I am pleased that you have continued to use it in t… by Nathalie Dalton-King on this entry
  • David, What a good way to practice when you don't have a presentation any time soon. And then of cou… by Nathalie Dalton-King on this entry
  • Hi David, Well done on completing this module and filling in four blogs for this. I have enjoyed rea… by on this entry

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