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BBC Interview



The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence

When we first began looking at Scottishness and Happiness, Carol Craig’s book was recommended to us, and this book and the work of the Centre for Confidence and Well-being gave the process a strong ideological backbone.

The book seeks to name and analyse some of the features of Scottish culture and question how these affect our society as a whole as well as individual Scots. We used the book along with our own experiences to come to a shared idea of the Scottish psyche and were interested in one idea in particular –
“The problem is not a crisis of identity for Scotland – Scottishness is strong – but rather what it means for the individual…Scottish culture constrains and limits individuality…we are all rather tyrannized by public opinion”.

In our search to create a piece from all these ideas, we clung to the proposition that “Scotland needs stories which encourage people to reduce their sense of social obligations so they can cultivate their individuality.” This concept in part led to us looking at the stories Scotland might already be telling about itself which in turn led to us to Sunset Song.

Dr Craig agreed to meet us to elaborate on the issues discussed in her book and she introduced us to the field of Positive Psychology as a possible strategy to tackle some of Scotland’s problems. We were given Professor Martin Seligman’s book on Positive Psychology, Authentic Happiness, and responded to the idea of using simple practical tips such as counting one’s blessings to overcome depression at an individual and possibly national level.

Below are the publisher’s blurbs for the two books. These can be purchased through the website for The Centre for Confidence and Well-being –

The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence
Carol Craig
“How do the Scots see the world? Why do they often lack confidence in themselves or their country? And why do they often find it so easy to be negative and critical? These are some of the themes Carol Craig explores in The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence. This is a bold, intelligent and important book: it offers a refreshingly different analysis of the big themes in Scottish culture, defines for the first time what it really means to be Scottish and spells out the type of thinking now required if Scotland is to become a vibrant, confident country.”

Authentic Happiness
Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph. D
“Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment.

Drawing on ground breaking scientific research, Professor Martin Seligman shows how Positive Psychology is shifting the profession’s paradigm away from its narrow-minded focus on pathology, victimology, and metal illness to positive emotion and mental health.”