Sheryl Sandberg and the 3Ps

Richard Martin




Her message that in the face of any challenge you can choose joy and meaning and her exhortation to recognise and correct the 3P's (Personalisation, Permanence and Pervasiveness) are absolutely on point. Everything that happens to us does not happen because of us, sorrow will not last forever and a bad thing does not affect all areas of your life - you can still celebrate every moment of joy and be grateful for each breath in and out. unknownx500

My colleague Matt recently posted about Sheryl Sandberg's address to the Berkeley students and her reference to the 3Ps - personalisation, permanence and pervasiveness - in the context of how we react to events - in her case the death of her husband. Just to join the dots, these are all fine examples of the way our unconscious unhelpfully influences (perhaps hijacks) our thinking - so called negative automatic thoughts (NATS) - contributing to stress as much as the other aspects of our wellbeing referred to by Sheryl and Matt.

When she talks of permanence - things will always feel this bad - and pervasiveness - this bad thing has happened in one aspect of my life which means all aspects of my life are a disaster - these are examples of the generalised thinking and catastrophisation that I have talked about in previous posts. Her personalisation, in which she talks about how we so easily assume something was our fault, that we should have known, should have done something, is precisely the personalisation NAT that contributes to our stress in other situations.

A great example of how different aspects of our wellbeing connect, and how we would be able to be so much kinder to ourselves if we could keep a tighter rein, or at least a closer eye, on our unconscious thinking.

The speech is also a great example of how powerful vulnerability can be - in leaders like Sandberg as well as in each of us in our day to day lives.