Are You Addicted to the Approval of Others? 5 Ways to Overcome It

Are you living life how you want to live it? Or are you living life for other people? What you might not realize is that while you think you are living the life you want to be living, you’re really living for other people.

How can you tell? Professionally, are you full of potentially groundbreaking ideas that could move the company or your department to the next level of success? Do you contribute to the conversation or do you keep quiet out of fear of what your coworkers might think?

Personally, is there some big change you’ve wanted to make, perhaps try a new hairstyle, shade of lipstick, or even feel young again by buying the two-door convertible, but are terrified how this could change the way your friends or family members look at you? Do you often just go with the flow and do what your friends want to do out of fear they will reject your idea?

In your intimate relationship with your spouse or partner, is there something new you’ve been wanting to try in the bedroom, secretly fantasizing how it could take your sexual relationship to the next level, but are so terrified of what your partner might think that it brings on more anxiety than pleasure to think about it?

In any situation when you are afraid to show your true feelings or say what you’re really feeling because of the fear of what other people might think, you are suffering from approval addiction. It’s extremely debilitating because it’s conformity at all costs. The misguided thinking of the approval addict is, “I won’t be loved or accepted unless others approve of my behavior.”

Overcome Approval Addiction
The good news is that once you overcome approval addiction even to a small degree, you become free of the psychological chains holding you back from reaching success and happiness.

On a scale of one to seven, seven being highest, how high is your need to be approved and validated by other people? Next, ask your spouse or best friend to rate you on the same scale, and then compare answers.

Some other ways to overcome approval addiction:

1. Learn to say ‘no:’ Time is your most valuable resource. As you grow personally and professionally, additional projects, favors and various burdens threaten to eat away at your time. Identify an activity that is not giving you the results or satisfaction you thought it would. Make a commitment to discontinue it. Get in the habit of saying “no” more often in order to protect your previous times.

2. Respectfully disagree with others: If everyone agreed with each other all the time, think how boring life would be. Having a difference of opinion whether it’s with a family member or a complete stranger is a good thing. Of course, always be respectful about it. By sharing your point of view and then listening to someone else’s take on the matter, you are opening yourself up to possibly learning something new.

3. Don’t always play it safe: Many times the reason you are stuck in a rut is because you’re approaching the same situation the same way you have for years or even a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and try something new. Be open to new things and stop worrying what others might think.

4. Stop ‘Iffing’ on yourself: The approval addict is notorious for being a ‘What if” thinker. What if they don’t like me? What if they think my ideas are dumb? What if I’m being too aggressive? Change your what if thinking to “So what if” thinking and answer the question. So what if they don’t like me? It’s their loss. So what if they think I’m dumb? Well at least I contributed and I can find someone else who will appreciate what I have to say.

5. Play the “If I should die tomorrow” card: Ask yourself this critical thinking question: If I should die tomorrow, am I truly satisfied with the life I have lived? Be honest. Most people go through life trying to arrive safely at death. We only have so much sand in the hourglass, so make sure to live life how you want to live it.

When it comes to overcoming approval addiction, remember this: you are responsible to your employees, customers, associates and friends, to be honest, sincere and to act with integrity. But you are not responsible for their attitudes or behavior towards you. Hopefully they like you because it’s more pleasant that way, but if not, it’s not your problem.

Are male staff seen as more creative than women professionals?

It’s considered a great idea to hire women to boost productivity in the workplace, but looks like it’s going to be some time before they’re viewed as great when it comes to boosting creativity in the office.

A new report from Duke University has found that men are viewed as more “creative thinkers” in the workplace than women.

Researchers conducted various studies about why people view creative thinking more common with men than women.

“Our research shows that beliefs about what it takes to ‘think creatively’ overlap substantially with the unique content of male stereotypes, creating systematic bias in the way that men and women’s creativity is evaluated,” said lead researcher Devon Proudfoot of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Proudfoot’s team found that “when people think about creative thinkers they tend to think of characteristics typically ascribed to men but not women, including qualities like risk-taking, adventurousness, and self-reliance”.

To investigate the link between gender and creativity in the real world, the researchers examined performance evaluations for senior-level executives enrolled in an MBA programme. The participants, 100 men and 34 women, were evaluated on their innovative thinking by both their direct reports and supervisors.

In examining the supervisors’ evaluations, the researchers concluded that male executives tended to be judged as more innovative than their female counterparts were.

However, when rated by their direct bosses, these same executives were rated as similarly innovative in their thinking.

“The authors interpreted this pattern of ratings as evidence of stereotyping on the part of the supervisors, as previous research has shown that those in relatively higher power positions are more likely to rely on stereotypes when forming judgments about others.”

In another study within the report, the researchers asked 125 participants to read a passage about either a male or a female manager whose strategic plan was described as more or less risky – this trait was classified in the report as “stereotypically masculine”.

As predicted, the male manager was perceived as more creative when his behaviour was described as risky than when it wasn’t, but there was no such effect for the female manager.

And the male manager who adopted a risky strategic plan was viewed as more creative than the female manager who espoused the risky plan.

The researchers also found that the male manager who took risks was viewed as having more agency—that is, as being more adventurous, courageous, and independent—and this boosted perceptions of his creativity.

Increased agency and creativity, in turn, led people to view the male manager as more deserving of rewards.

“This result suggests that gender bias in creativity judgments may affect tangible economic outcomes for men and women in the workplace,” the researchers wrote.

“In suggesting that women are less likely than men to have their creative thinking recognised, our research not only points to a unique reason why women may be passed over for corporate leadership positions, but also suggests why women remain largely absent from elite circles within creative industries,” said Proudfoot.

Here’s how much productivity you’re losing to staff depression


The term mental health has gained awareness among Hong Kongers in recent years but spotting and attending to depressed staff at the workplace is still a tough thing to do.

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggested more than half of workers who report symptoms of depression do not perceive a need for treatment.

The results were based on telephone questionnaires and an online survey of 2,219 adults aged 18 to 65 years old living in Ontario.

The Canada-based study investigated barriers to mental healthcare experienced by workers and the resulting impact on productivity.

Lead author Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, affiliated with the University of Toronto, said she discovered as many as 40% of participants experiencing significant depressive symptoms.

“Among the group that is depressed, 52.8% did not recognise a need to seek help. This suggests a significant number of workers who are experiencing symptoms of depression do not recognise they could benefit from help, and so do not ask for it,” she said in a press release.

Dewa and her team calculated workplace productivity losses due to depression could be reduced by 33% to nearly 50% if depressed workers are willing to to get treatment.

“Them not realising they need help has a significant impact on health and work productivity, and is an area where employers can focus efforts to reduce work productivity loss,” she said.

In addition to treatment needs, researchers also assessed attitudinal and structural barriers to accessing mental health services.

Attitudinal barriers included the stigma of mental illness and a belief that treatment is ineffective. Structural barriers included financial limitations and the difficulty in accessing appropriate mental healthcare.

When all three types of barriers were removed, researchers found that the loss of work productivity was reduced by nearly 50%.

“The most effective workplace mental health strategies will acknowledge the complexity of the problem and address all aspects in a comprehensive way,” said Dewa.

10 Personality Types You Should Never Hire

By Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily Staff Writer  

Is your company hiring? Don’t make the mistake of taking on a toxic employee.

Business News Daily asked business owners and career and hiring experts which personality types and traits they should avoid in the hiring process. From complaining too much to pointing the finger every time something goes wrong, there are a lot of red flags to look out for when hiring.

According to the experts, you may want to avoid hiring candidates if they’re guilty of the following:

They brag too much.

“You want to be careful about hiring the braggart or aggressive self-promoter. Someone who is too full of him, or herself, is also toxic to a team. It’s one thing to be quietly confident in what you bring to the table, and to express the results of your work naturally and in context. It’s entirely another to be aggressively pushy about those qualities and results.” – John West Hadley, principal and career search counselor, John Hadley Associates

They complain constantly.

“Complainers are very difficult to deal with. I tell my clients to stay away from them. The best way to spot these individuals is that these are job seekers who will negotiate the smallest, most trivial aspects of their offer. Even if they are good [candidates], hard negotiation prior to coming on to a job — except from a C-level executive — shows that they are your typical complainer and fail to have empathy for the plight of a leader or manager.” – Kenneth Sundheim, CEO, KAS Placement 

They’re self-absorbed.

“People who think it’s all about them tend to end up being toxic players. You need people that want to make the vision work and that requires team play.” – Richard Rossignol, CEO, RTR Consulting [5 Personality Traits That Will Get You Promoted ]

They just coast by.

“This is an individual that has made it their life’s practice to put forth minimal effort — with the expectation of maximum return. In school, they were the ones who did no work on the group book report, but still got the ‘A’ because of the effort of others. These people will appear busy — shuffling papers, scrolling page after page online — but nothing is really happening. These personality types are toxic to a team environment and often breed resentment from those who are working hard. You can coach a lot of things, but laziness and lack of pride in the quality of work that is produced are inherent in someone’s makeup.” – Sean Koppelman, president, The Talent Magnet

They’re overly negative.

“There are personalities who can see the glass half-full, and those that see the glass half-empty, but it is very difficult to work with people who are always shooting holes in the glass. These people are not ever satisfied and complain about any and everything. They are negative, narcissistic, selfish and want to have total control. These personalities wreak havoc on companies and employees. They drive negative behavior and can create a lack of production and a lack of worthiness.” – Pat Goodwin, executive coach and career transition counselor, Pat Goodwin Associates

They show false modesty.

“Avoid the falsely modest type. These are people who, when asked to identify a flaw, answer, ‘I guess if I had to pick one, it would be my tendency to work 24/7 and put my personal life on hold.’ By framing what they think is virtuous behavior as a flaw, they are not only being disingenuous but aren’t answering the question. The interviewer wants to hear an example of something that didn’t turn out well but that the candidate learned from, not coy self-praise. Hiring this type is sure to result in a bad culture fit because they see work in terms of themselves, not the team.” – Lynda Spiegel, founder, Rising Star Resumes

They can’t take the blame.

“One key personality to avoid is the ‘It’s never my fault’ type. When this personality type is asked about conflicts or problems they experienced at previous employers, they will continually point the guilty finger at others. ‘It wasn’t my fault.’ The problem always lies with others. Poor performance, substandard results — all because of someone else’s actions or influence. As an employer, you or your employees will probably be in the cross-hairs of blame when things go awry with this personality type.” – Leigh Davis, partner, Davis+Delany

They have low self-regard.

“Someone with the personality trait of low self-regard won’t handle objections well. They will most likely be the one who takes a day to get over being upset for not doing as well as they would have liked on a deadline. Therefore, in an environment that is fast-paced and cutthroat, they won’t feel like they can handle it.” – Sonia Varkey, marketing director, Plum

They’re closed-minded.

“The personality type that one should avoid when hiring is closed-mindedness. One of the biggest predictors of job success is an open mind and capacity to incorporate new ideas into one’s work. … People who are set in their ways … may not adapt to work conditions as they change.” – Todd Horton, founder and CEO, KangoGift

They resist change.

“Avoid candidates that find ambiguity or change difficult. Always seek candidates that demonstrate their ability and enthusiasm to evolve with processes, priorities and the shifting focus of a growing and changing organization. An employee that is resistant to change, has no desire to innovate and is frustrated, as opposed to energized by an evolving company, will hold a team back from being successful. Look for grit in the candidates you are interviewing.” – Jacqueline Breslin, director of human capital services, TriNet

Business News Daily Senior Writer Chad Brooks also contributed to this story. 


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