“If you create success for yourself, you will transform your self and your brain, psychologically, physically and chemically.”
Ian Robertson is Psychology Professor at Trinity College Dublin, University College London and University of Texas at Dallas and best selling author of The Stress Test, The Winner Effect, a Mind Sculpture and How Confidence Works.
He is one of the world’s leading researchers in neuropsychology and as a trained clinical psychologist, Dr. Robertson is an expert at applying the latest psychological and neuroscience research to contemporary political, health, social, economic and business affairs in a very accessible manner.
His latest book (June 2021) “How Confidence Works: The science of self-belief how some people learn and some people don’t” If you have confidence, it can empower you to reach heights you never thought possible. But if you don’t, it can have a devastating effect on your future. Confidence lies at the core of what makes things happen.
Probing the science and neuroscience behind confidence that has emerged over the last decade, clinical psychologist and neuroscientist Professor Ian Robertson tells us how confidence plays out in our minds, our brains and indeed our bodies. He explains where it comes from and how it spreads – with extraordinary economic and political consequences. And why it’s not necessarily something you are born with, but something that can be learned.
In The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper, Professor Robertson, armed with over four decades of research, reveals how we can shape our brain’s response to pressure and answers the question: can stress ever be a good thing? The Stress Test is a revelatory study of how and why we react to pressure in the way we do, with real practical benefit to how we live.
Ian writes for several publications including Nature, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychological Bulletin and London’s Daily Telegraph, as well as for the Guardian and Times. His numerous articles and blogs on contemporary and business affairs in the international press have been widely acclaimed. One recent article, in London’s Daily Telegraph, was described as “a sensation” by its editor.
He holds the Chair in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and is a visiting professor at University College London. Dr. Robertson is also T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. He has held senior academic appointments at Cambridge, Edinburgh and Columbia Universities. He has also been elected a Fellow of the US Association for Psychological Science and the British Psychological Society.
Ian’s books, How Confidence Work, The Winner Effect, Mind Sculpture and The Mind’s Eye, have been translated into dozens of languages.
In The Winner Effect, Ian describes the mental and physical changes that take place in the brain of a “winner,” how they happen, and why they affect some people more than others. He explains the science behind success and how individuals, teams, businesses and even countries can build success by using this knowledge.
He is an engaging presenter who can hold an audience’s attention for extended periods through his uniquely interactive style of presentation. He captivates and activates audiences during his presentations and workshops at leadership, business, political, social policy and educational conferences across the globe. Participants leave with tangible take-home messages and practical strategies for change.
“A revelatory and practical new exploration of the science of confidence, which is important for everyone but crucial for women.’ Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
Why do boys instinctively bullshit more than girls? How do economic recessions shape a generation’s confidence? Can we have too much confidence and, if so, what are the consequences? Imagine we could discover something that could make us richer, healthier, longer-living, smarter, kinder, happier, more motivated and more innovative.
Ridiculous, you might say… What is this elixir? Confidence. If you have confidence, it can empower you to reach heights you never thought possible. But if you don’t, it can have a devastating effect on your future. Confidence lies at the core of what makes things happen.
Why is it that some people react to seemingly trivial emotional upset – like failing an unimportant exam – with distress, while others power through life-changing tragedies showing barely any emotional upset whatsoever? How do some people shine brilliantly at public speaking when others stumble with their words and seem on the verge of an anxiety attack? Why do some people sink into all-consuming depression when life has dealt them a poor hand, while in others it merely increases their resilience?
The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or enduring demotivation in extreme situations. However, the right level of challenge and stress can help people to flourish and achieve more than they ever thought possible.
In The Stress Test, clinical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist Professor Ian Robertson, armed with over four decades of research, reveals how we can shape our brain’s response to pressure and answers the question: can stress ever be a good thing? The Stress Test is a revelatory study of how and why we react to pressure in the way we do, with real practical benefit to how we live.
What makes a winner?
Why do some succeed both in life and in business, and others fail?
The ‘winner effect’ is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders. As Ian Robertson reveals, it applies to humans, too. Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win. But the downside is that winning can become physically addictive.
By understanding what the mental and physical changes are that take place in the brain of a ‘winner’, how they happen, and why they affect some people more than others, Robertson explains what makes a winner or a loser – and how we can use the answers to these questions to understand better the behaviour of our business colleagues, employees, family and friends.
“Ian has one of the best minds in the world on the understanding of brain performance. Coupled with his brilliant delivery, Ian’s impact on the commercial world can be as immense as that of a Steven Levitt or a Daniel Kahneman” Kusum Das Founder – Simply for Homes
Ian’s presentation to a group of European senior financial executives on harnessing stress for success was described as “fantastique”. His combination of cutting-edge neuroscience with real down-to-earth practical tip is hugely appealing to corporate leaders.
Neelam Sharma, The Insight Network, London
Ian offers both lucid and inspiring keynote-style addresses as well as more lengthy (two hours or more) workshop-style sessions: he can engage and enthuse an audience of 600 or more using a combination of micro-presentations interspersed with structured exercises that leave participants with tangible take-home strategies.
Ian is a master problem-solver who specialises in tailoring his presentation to the concerns and challenges of specific audiences and using structured interactive exercises to help solve real problems in real time during the session.
The Winning Mindset: Combining Achievement with Happiness
Imagine someone could find life-extending treatment equivalent to curing all cancers for all time. We would all live on average for four years longer if that was the case. But there is something that can extend life by an average of four years — success — albeit the rare and ultimate success of winning an Academy Award. Compared to Oscar nominees, Oscar winners live on average four years longer. Nobel Prize winners live on average up to two years longer than Nobel nominees.
Success is a key ingredient in not only health, but in every aspect of our lives — relationships, mental wellbeing, wealth and wisdom. The higher our status, the longer we live, the happier and wealthier we are. Success also makes us bolder and smarter. In his presentation, neuropsychologist Ian explains how success and failure in life shape us more completely than any drug or gene.
He explains how we can increase the success we experience in life and business and minimize the impact of failure on our minds and bodies.
See Ian Robertson’s 3 two minute videos on the winning mindset:
Power and Gender
Can women handle power better than men? Would the 2008 financial crash have happened had there been more women in the board rooms and trading floors of the financial centers? What is power and why does it change people so profoundly? Ian explains that power is one of the greatest brain-changing drugs in the world and that it can change for better and for worse. He explains that there are two types of power motivation — p power and s power and that s power motivation – where you want to hold power, but not for purely egotistical reasons, can act as an antidote to the drug-like effects of power. In this presentation, participants will learn to analyze their own power motivations and those of their colleagues and staff, leaving with a new set of analytic tools for understanding the most under-recognized source of risk, lost productivity and conflict in any organization.
The Winner Effect: The Science of Success and How to Use It
What makes a winner? Why do some succeed both in life and in business, and others fail? The ‘winner effect’ is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders and Ian shows that this applies to human beings too. Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you more focused, smarter, more confident and more aggressive. The effect is as strong as any drug. And the more you win, the more you will go on to win. But the downside is that winning can become physically addictive.
By understanding what the mental and physical changes that take place in the brain of a ‘winner’, how they happen, and why they affect some people more than others, Ian answers the question of why some people attain and then handle success better than others. He explains what makes a winner — or a loser — and how we can use the answers to these questions to understand better the behaviour of our business colleagues, employees, family and friends. And, more importantly, he shows how you can use these principles to boost their success.
Motivation — Insights into how to build highly motivated employees and a success-oriented organisation
What motivates you? What motivates your colleagues and staff? Understanding motivation is the key to understanding human behaviour. The secret to a happy, productive organization is that to find the right match between the role and the motivational profile of the individual doing that job. Our basic motivations — for achievement, acceptance and power — are matched by corresponding fears — of failure, rejection and loss of control. People will devote enormous amounts of mental and physical energy trying to satisfy their own type of motivation and — more importantly often — stave off their own particular fears. In this presentation, Ian will help you learn how to analyze motivational patterns and understand the sort of problematic situations that afflict every organisation and how to solve them. He can do this in a short keynote, or an extended workshop. There is no limit to audience size for the workshop.
The Psychology of Social Capital and how to build it in your organisation
Employers spend considerable time and money selecting the right person for a particular job, and the more senior the job, the more they spend which, of course is right, because an organisation is only as good as its people — particularly its leaders. But talent can be squandered if the social capital of the organisation is absent or diminished. The nature of power relationships — formal and informal — is crucial for determining social capital. This presentation will help attendees in:
Assessing the nature of the power relationships within workplace networks.
Assessing whether individual power-holders are having a negative effect on the network.
Assessing positive and negative relationships in the network.
Assessing degree of individual and group competitiveness in network.
Assessing whether individuals are identifying with the organisation/network
Pinpointing conflicting identities which weaken social capital
How well groups function, and how committed individuals are to group versus selfish goals, depends on a number of psychological factors.
Take this finding, for instance: when a chicken colony has too many high egg producers, the overall egg production of the colony plummets and profits fall. This is because the most productive chickens are the most dominant and too many dominant chickens end up fighting about who is top of the pecking order. Energies are squandered and so the profitability of the group is decimated.
Similar things happen in human groups — including sports teams — and the most productive groups tend to have a balance of people with high, medium and low dominance levels.
Many organisations suffer this loss of productivity because of high status managers fighting with each other as to who is top of the pecking order. This costs corporations billions of dollars every year.
This presentation will allow managers to better understand these crucial obstacles to productivity and give them tools for improving them.
Finding the Sweet Spot of Stress — How to turn stress into energy-giving challenge
While some people respond well to pressure and function better in difficult situations, others have the opposite reaction and fall apart. The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or demotivation. The right level of challenge and stress, however, can help people flourish and achieve more than they thought possible. This level varies hugely between individuals and situations, but when it is reached it is what Ian refers to as the ‘sweet spot’. This spot can be changed, and in this book, based on his own research and clinical observations, Robertson reveals how we can use the sweet spot to control stress and boost performance.
Solving Business Problems
Problems are a part of life. Ian is a master problem-solver and has developed a unique presentation that shows you how to apply a systematic problem-solving strategy to your own unique business and organisational problems. Ian can do this with audiences of a thousand in a 45 minute presentation or in small group workshops over the course of a few hours. Unlike any other conference presentation you have attended, Ian’s presentation starts with your current preoccupations and offers you a systematic strategy for analysing your problems, using specific techniques for identifying possible solutions and other techniques for homing in on the most promising solution. Ian also shows how you can use the relationships between people in your organisation as the best potential source of innovation, entrepreneurial ideas and solutions to business problems.
Understanding The Science Of Successful Learners
The compelling research underpinning Ian’s book, The Winner Effect, should inform the craft of all teachers. Ian will explore the power of success and failure experiences in shaping children’s brains and entire lives. He will show primary school educators are like brain surgeons, physically crafting the brains of their pupils at a time in their lives when their brains show exquisite malleability.