Postcards from Scotland are published by the Centre for Confidence and Well-being, a registered charity based in Scotland. Registered No. SCO37080

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Book 11 | Knowing and Growing

Insights for developing ourselves and others.


Alan McLean


This extraordinary book provides insights and practical tools to help you navigate everyday human interactions, balance your own and others’ needs and utilise your emotions to create a more fulfilling life. Drawing on decades of experience, Alan McLean argues persuasively that it is identity, not personality, which is the key to personal growth. The powerful insights readers glean from ‘McLean’s Ring’ are not only helpful for parents, teachers and leaders they are also essential for anyone aiming to encourage others to grow and develop as individuals.


‘Alan McLean shows a profound regard for people and writes with an essential quality of hope. The book integrates learning from different disciplines of psychology into a coherent framework for understanding how people grow to know themselves. This is then unpacked in a number of powerful tools that can help individuals, teams and organisations to grow in awareness and efficacy. It is a major contribution to the subject of mental well-being.

Derek Brown, Head of Education, Fife Council


‘McLean’s Ring of Preferences gives us a deep understanding of ourselves and our relationships. How to balance these preferences is an essential theme to be pursued by all not only in Eastern culture but in Western countries. The preferences are powerful concepts for increasing happiness, peace and productivity.’

Ayako Ito, Associate Professor, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo


Alan McLean is the author of The Motivated School and Motivating Every Learner and his work on motivation is of interest to educationalists worldwide. Until 2011 Alan was a Principal Psychologist in Glasgow City Council and the creator of various staff development programmes including Promoting Positive Behaviour and the award winning Bullyproofing our School. In recent years his research focus has widened beyond motivation to human development.