If I told you I could teach you two sets of skills – one anticipating and the other defensive – which would you choose first? Which would you be more excited about learning?

I’ll give you concrete examples. I was teaching some great MBA students this past week, and my colleague and I were teaching them both types of skills.

* How to have a good-communications relationship so that misunderstandings are less likely to happen, and good interactions are more likely to occur?
* How to increase the strength of your immune system by being more aware of the good things going on around you?
* How to use your strengths more to bring you more productivity and enjoyment?

* When something bad happens – like your boss calls you into his office with no warning, and says, “I have a concern,” how do you react and how do you handle yourself?
* When someone seems to lose trust in you, what do you do?
* When everything seems to go wrong, how do you pick yourself back up and put yourself together and keep going?

Which of these sets of questions attract you more?
I’d be very interested!



  1. Irina
    Posted Friday April 25, 2008 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Which would I choose first? the second. which would be more excited about learning. the first. it is easier to measure the effect of the second skill.

  2. Posted Monday May 19, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Defensive- I need to get out of the mess I am in before I can focus on avoiding the next one- and I will get in another one soon enough. I’d like to know both things though.

  3. Posted Tuesday May 20, 2008 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    My first answer could have been ‘anticipating’ but after a little (very little) of thinking out I would rather say ‘defensive’.

    That is because I beleive that relying too much on anticipating skills will make us weaker when something goes _really_ wrong. (and it usually happen)

  4. grimo1re
    Posted Tuesday May 20, 2008 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Definately ‘anticipating’. It seems to be more pro-active and long-term. I suppose ‘defensive’ can be handy, especially in the short term….but I’d like to just not get into any messes I need to get out of :)

  5. Jeff Dustin
    Posted Monday May 26, 2008 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Anticipating skills would handily prevent lots of problems. Plus, there’s a natural flow into optimism strategies and I’m a fan of learning optimism.

  6. Rebecca
    Posted Tuesday January 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I would suspect that anticipating skills would be better to begin with because these skills are more frequently applied in the course of an individuals lifespan, to promote positive interactions with onesself and with others. I would enjoy learning about how to maintain equilibrium in everyday life before learning how to undo a wrong. Defensive skills seem to be incredibly useful in situations they are required for, but as a base do not seem to provide the means of effective communication with onesself and with others.