Image from Wikimedia Commons licensed under Creative Commons

We’re soon all going to be pitched against one another in a very public way — here’s how to make sure it doesn’t get personal.

It was some time around last Summer I first saw someone in my local shop without a mask on.

A young man, casually dressed, strolled in and started looking along the shelves at the back of the store.

At first I couldn’t work out what it was that was wrong with what I was seeing but I knew something wasn’t right.

Then it clicked. I could see his nose and mouth. He’d walked right in without a mask on.

I was surprised. I felt angry.

My mind judged him to be inconsiderate. I know the owners of the shop —…

Stone walls by Andy B licensed under Creative Commons

How to understand what your boundaries are and to get better at standing by them, for less stress and a more creative life.

New: This is the audio version of the post below — stream here or download to your device.

Being boundaried is not just about pushing back on the things you can’t accept.

When we have a clear sense of our own boundaries, we have a clear sense of who we are — distinct from our family, friends and colleagues, but better able to play the role we are suited to.

The trouble is that very few of us understand what it means to live in this way, and both our education and work systems encourage us to lose a sense…

Photo by Quin Dombrowski licensed under Creative Commons

There’s a model in psychology called ‘The Drama Triangle’, created by someone called Dr Stephen Karpman in the 1960s. It gives us a way of understanding patterns and roles within relationships.

In it we learn about three archetypes that all of us slip into at some point: the victim, the persecutor and the rescuer.

The ones we tend to focus our attention on most are the first two.

The victim is not an actual victim — it’s that person within us that sometimes feels helpless and blameless in a cruel world where others have the power. …

Why we need to stop worrying about climate change — Happy Startup Summercamp 2019.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post that developed a life of its own. It was my way of making sense of the despair and anxiety I’d experienced as a result of ecological breakdown and climate crisis.

I had come to a place where I understood what was happening for me, and how I could relocate myself in the middle of the mess I found myself in. I think a lot of people felt the same because it went a bit crazy. I had…

Picture by Don Sutherland, licensed under Creative Commons

When we’re triggered we feel urged to act immediately. But those actions often come with unintended, unhelpful consequences. Here’s how to change that.

(This is part two of a series on how to engage in healthy conflict, as taught in my practice of How to fight well — you may like to read Part One first).

Your heart rate’s up, your mind is racing, you’re feeling angry or scared.

Someone else — a partner, a colleague, a friend at the pub — has said or done something that triggered a reaction and all your internal fireworks are going off.

The only thing you’re certain of right now is that you have to act: make a sharp retort, storm out or force them to…

Image by Rose Juliet, licensed under Creative Commons

When we fight, it’s so easy to make things worse just by the language we use. This is how to change that.

Think about a fight you had that still has a bit of a sting in it.

What did that other person do or say? How strong was the feeling that they were ‘wrong’ or needed to know how their actions had hurt you?

Maybe, after it had all settled down, you could see that they didn’t intend to hurt you. That their motivation was entirely separate from the indignation they caused you.

There’s a good reason for this.

When we get triggered, what’s really happening is that another person has touched on something unresolved — the edges of a story…

Image credits: Rodrigo Canisella Fávero licensed under Creative Commons

You’d have to either be a psychopath or superhuman to not feel overwhelmed by the volume and scale of the climate stories we’re being exposed to — so here’s a guide to staying sane for the rest of us.

When I’d written “Why we need to stop worrying about climate change (and what to do instead” we’d already had the UN report that told us one million species are at risk of extinction and the paper that prophesied outright social collapse in the near-term future.

It seems to me that pace and tone of our current narrative on the environment has only intensified since then.

I feel like I’m being told that my mother has terminal cancer and that my house is on fire. Oh, and there are no exits.

And I’m being told all this by social media…

Image credits: Ashley Rose licensed under Creative Commons

We are told that uncertainty is hard for people to cope with. But what if it’s certainty that’s been killing us? And what if we have no other option?

Once upon a time I had a sort of map for my life.

It only existed in my head —as unquestioned assumptions — and it was vague but clear.

It went something like this:

Now, you’re 16. In a few years you’ll go to university and get a degree.

From there you’ll choose a career and you’ll work hard, increasing your earnings and rising in importance and responsibility, in some way.

Image © Max St John

I’m writing this from my little desk in my children’s ‘reading room’ (where we also keep the xbox). I’m surrounded by their books, piled up on shelves, scattered on the floor. ‘Brave Bitsy and the Bear’ gawps at me as I tap at the keyboard and, if I glance out of the window, I can see a picture perfect view of spring in rural Cornwall.

And this morning I read about the collapse of the insect population, decimation of soil productivity and saw — for the fifth (or is it sixth?) …

Image by Andrew Ingram licensed under Creative Commons

When we talk about needs, we imagine them as sacred and fixed. But just like any aspect of our worldview or identity, they can be changed. If you want.

Once upon a time, when you were very small, you were a blank canvas.

Or rather — your brain was a mass of potential, with all the connections that could possibly be made, available for wiring up as needed.

Like a sculpture forming from an uncarved block of stone, as you experienced the world some of these connections grew stronger and some fell away.

Each experience left its own imprint. Each…

Max St John

Showing people the way home by connecting to what’s there and working with what is. Get clear, fight well, move naturally. www.maxstjohn.com

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