The balance of giving and taking

Balanced bird
It’s normal to be imbalanced; it’s a natural thing. But at the same time we need to learn from these imbalances and take conscious steps towards living and working in outer as well as inner balance. Photo: Jonny Lew/Pexels

The late Alice Miller (1923–2010) was an influential and also controversial Swiss psychologist and psychoanalyst and spoke about positive and negative narcissism.

The difference lies in
how much we like ourselves
and what we want to
contribute to our world.

It could be a good thing to stand in the spotlight and to be given attention for what we do if we are in touch with our own self-realization and contribute because we want the best for everyone.

If we end up in a situation where we will do anything to satisfy our own needs we end up in negative narcissism. This will not work in the long run.

An imbalance occurs
when we don’t give
as much to our world
as we take from it.

Neither will it work to put others needs first and give up on our own, i.e. giving more than we get back. Cutting back resources and keeping the expected performance level can lead to long term sick leave and early retirement for many.

The more aware we get, the more we will understand that giving and taking needs to be balanced over time.

It’s normal to be imbalanced,
it’s a natural thing.

At the same time we need to learn from these imbalances and take conscious steps towards living and working in outer as well as inner balance.

We can all contribute in our own unique way by having the courage to stand up for what we believe is good for ourselves and others, long term as well as short term. To make that happen, it will probably help if we are content with ourselves and are in touch with our own self-realization, i.e. positive narcissism.

Hans Akerblom
Creator of LOTS® and founder of Scandinavian Leadership

The balance of giving and taking

A book for a fast moving world



We have visited LOTS® founder Hans Akerblom to talk to him about LOTS® 19.0 and the new book that is currently in the making. It is one week after midsummer in Sweden, the days are long and the evenings add a golden glow to the view of the waters near the house. With many of his family to visit it has been a hectic and eventful week, but Hans Akerblom is looking quite relaxed.

With his new version of LOTS® and the book he is looking forward to helping leaders in todays’ world full of stress and hectic to learn the process of LOTS® faster than before and to find the time to apply LOTS® in their everyday work.
– We are making the process even more efficient with fewer steps and simplified questions, he explains. Less steps and simplified questions will shorten the time needed to to reflect through an issue.

LOTS® has, since it was first developed in 1973, regularly been updated and this version will be 19.0. The book about LOTS® will be part of the material for every Lotscoach®, together with the manual and reflections tools. Also the manual and the reflection tools are being renewed and edited. You will soon be able to read more about this here at the blog.

With what am I then rewarded when I read this book? I ask Hans Akerblom. He thinks for a moment and concludes:
– There are two reasons to read this book. One is that you will learn about a way of seeing things that consists of two parts. One is to think Outside-in and Inside-out in balance over time. The other part is the Five Aspects where we can learn more about ourselves and others to facilitate the releasing of our potential and to help the organization reach better results in a more fun and efficient way. The other reason to read this book is that it will give you a practical tool for your own reflections or reflections with others.

The book will be released this fall.

A book for a fast moving world

Contributing to your team



It is so difficult to find the balance between what is good for everyone and what is good for myself

The whole
We may agree that we are all part of the whole. It is a matter of how we see our own life. We may, on the one hand, see that we are all interdependent and that we are all part of the whole. We may also see ourselves as individuals trying to maximize our own individual outcome. This will, of course, change from day to day. We are always being challenged by changing circumstances. How we respond to the change will lead to either Ego traps or to being here and now and experiencing the strengths of belonging. Intellectually we all understand this.

We react according to our environment and the people around us. What happens within when we have supporting people surrounding us and what happens when we are surrounded by critical people? Supporting people make us feel connected and give us a sense of belonging. Critical people can make us react defensively and excluding.

Some of us are very emotional and we live our lives as a yo-yo. These people go from happiness to sorrow in seconds. Others are more mental and do not allow the surroundings to influence our emotional reactions. As we grow into adulthood we may need to take on a leadership role, perhaps as a parent or as a manager at work. How do we then cope with our emotions?

Projections and/or taking responsibility
When we feel okay and enjoy life we are generous to those around us. When we feel out of balance we get stressed and try different ways to blame our problems on others. Sometimes this is true and sometimes not. How aware are we about our projections onto others and how relevant are they? What role do I myself play in this “game”? The easiest way might be to blame my own shortcomings on others? The most difficult thing is to reflect on my own behavior and its’ consequences for my surroundings. How did I get into this situation and how much of this is my responsibility?

What can we do?
The first thing we can do is to reflect upon how we are contributing to the whole as a member of our team. Our team may be our family, friends and those in our work place. In what way did you contribute to our team today?

Let us reflect upon the constructive or destructive contribution you gave your team lately:

– What did you say or what did you do?

– How constructive was it?

– How much were a team member and how much did you act out of your own Ego trap to better your own situation at a cost of the team?

Share your reflections with us!

We also recommend you to watch this:

“The real reason for investing in our space programs was to make it possible to see ourselves from the outside leading to a cognitive shift allowing us to enjoy who we are and make good decisions for the future.”

Best regards

Hans Akerblom
Founder of LOTS®
CEO of Scandinavian Leadership

Contributing to your team

I am responsible for where I am and where I will be

Are you ready for a change?
You are in charge of your own future. Are you ready for a change? Photo:

The future is always subjective
We need to remind ourselves of how we create our private and professional life through our positive and negative self-fulfilling prophecies including projecting our own disowned selves onto others. (Our disowned selves are that part of ourselves that we do not wish to recognize.)

We can change our private and professional life if we want to. The future is always subjective and that is why it can be changed. We can create new and more rewarding private and professional self-fulfilling prophecies. It is possible, however, it is not necessarily easy. We are being influenced by our past, our present and our beliefs about the future. Our self-fulfilling prophecies are deeply rooted within us, so where do we start if we want to change?

Where have my self-fulfilling prophecies taken me up to now?
If the future is always subjective it goes without saying that each one of us have to answer this question and reflect upon whether we want to change or not. If we want to change we can start an individual private and/or professional change process that can take us to the next step in life and at work.

We have to take into account, though, that my country, culture, religion, parents, school teachers, colleagues and more have led to my positive and negative self-fulfilling prophecies of today. It will most likely help us to understand why we are where we are before we take actions for change.

If we want to change we need to bring to the surface a provocation to the way things are in our world. This antithesis will challenge our thesis (the way we think our world is) or our self-fulfilling prophesy. What is then my antithesis if I really want to change and develop? Once we have found our antithesis to challenge our thesis, we will work toward a synthesis of these competing ideas. We need to repeat it 100 times every day as the thesis or self-fulfilling prophecies are so deeply rooted within ourselves.

Take a few minutes for reflection.
– Which positive and negative self- fulfilling prophecies do you have/have you had?
– Where have they taken you?
– What would you like to change?
– What new antithesis and thereby synthesis would you like to see in your life?
– What are your new self-fulfilling prophecies?

I know it will be easy for us to integrate our new self-fulfilling prophecies in our private and professional life. (If we said something else it would become a negative self-fulfilling prophesy.)

Finally a question to you who have just read this reflection letter: ”What positive or negative self-fulfilling prophesy steered your reading and reflections?”

I recommend you to watch this video again and again: RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilisation

Best regards

Hans  Akerblom
Founder of LOTS®
CEO of Scandinavian Leadership

I am responsible for where I am and where I will be

Did you know? About Scandinavia

The definition of Scandinavia varies. What countries belong to Scandinavia can be defined by history, culture and language. Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and, depending on whom you ask, also Finland and Iceland. Our definition of Scandinavia includes all these Nordic countries.

Under the tag #didyouknowaboutscandinavia we will share interesting facts about these countries with you. First out is Finland, whose citizens today go to the polls for the parliamentary elections. Finland was the country in Europe to make way for women’s right to vote in 1906.

Finnish women were the first in Europe who had the right to vote
The first European country to introduce women’s suffrage was Finland, at the time a grand duchy of Russia. Finland had been a Grand Duchy of the Russian empire since 1809. After Russia’s defeat in the war against Japan, internal political opposition against the imperial Tsarist regime increased. This unrest spread to Finland, where a general strike began at the end of October 1905. As a result of the unrest the Tsar issued a manifesto, which decreed that a Parliament based on universal suffrage would be established in Finland. The administrative reforms following the 1905 uprising granted Finnish women the right both to vote (universal and equal suffrage) and to stand for election in 1906.

From the book “Did you know? About Scandinavia” by Hans Akerblom and Scandinavian Leadership.

Did you know? About Scandinavia

Easter traditions in Sweden

Easter in SwedenEaster is the first extended weekend in spring and a well-deserved break for many Swedes. Depending on where you live in this long-stretched country, if it is an early or late Easter holiday as well as depending on what mood Jack Frost (in Swedish “Kung Bore”) is in Swedes can enjoy both warmth, sun and snow on this holiday.

Many Swedes have what they call summer houses, a getaway outside of town where they spend summer holidays and weekend breaks and some take advantage of this long weekend escape the city and do a spring cleaning of the cottage.

Others might take the chance to take the boat out for the first time or stay at home and just enjoy some precious free time with the family.

When I was a child Easter meant going to the Swedish mountains and enjoying some skiing. Easter in the Swedish mountains is usually very special with the spring conditions that offer icy hard slopes in the morning, lunchtime on a sunny terrace and some slushy afternoon turns. The days after a long dark winter are getting longer again and the light-deprived Swedes are soaking up the sun as much as they can. What is your most precious Easter memory?

But what about the Easter traditions? Apart from celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the end of Lent, 40 days of fasting, Easter in Sweden also means eating lots of eggs, herring and salmon, as well as giving away sweets wrapped up in beautifully decorated paper eggs (see picture) and “påskris”, birch branches decorated with brightly colored feathers.

For the children this holiday is an opportunity to dress up as Easter witches (“påskkärringar”), wearing ragged clothes, paint their faces, bring an old broomstick and ring the neighbor’s doors asking for treats. This tradition is supposed to derive from the witch trials in the 17th century and the Easter witches are said to use their broomsticks to fly to “Blåkulla”, a legendary meadow where the Devil held his Earthly court during a witches’ Sabbath. For more peculiar Easter traditions around the world, check out this link:,28804,1889922_1890008_1889927,00.html

Easter is of course also a time to think about those less fortunate and share some of your fortune with others. This Easter I will make a donation for Barncancerfonden,, an organization that supports research for children with cancer and work towards better treatment and an improved quality of life for these children. Who will you be thinking of this Easter? Share your thoughts with us.

Sara Vogt
Scandinavian Leadership
Easter traditions in Sweden