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Embrace Failure and Mistakes

Too many adults have a fear of failure. Unfortunately, they pass this fear onto their children. But what many people don’t realize is that failure and mistakes are a vital part of learning. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that no great success ever occurred without failure.

We’ve all heard about Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create the light bulb. He wasn’t alone! It took James Dyson 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner. And did you know that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos failed at many things? Ever hear of Amazon Destinations, Amazon Auctions, or the Fire Phone? Probably not, because they were all epic failures.

Whether we like it or not, failure is necessary to learn, … >>>

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Develop the Habit of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is a vital success habit. When you develop your skill of asking reflective questions—those that foster self-evaluation—you can see problems in a new light, become more proactive, and ultimately reduce stress.

Even better is to foster this skill in others, including your children, teammates, and employees. You will empower others when you help them develop this skill. The dynamic behind asking reflective questions is that it encourages ownership because people don’t argue with their own viewpoints.

Here are some suggestions for asking effective reflective questions that encourage self-reflection:

  • Focus on the present or future—as opposed to the past. What’s done is done and dwelling on it won’t help anyone. Instead, keep focused on what you can do
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Are You Sending Mixed Messages to Your Child or Teen?

We all want to raise responsible children, but many parents often send mixed messages to their child or teen. This creates confusion about what the expected behaviors and actions really are. The misunderstanding occurs because what the parent says to do and what the parent actually does are quite different.

One of the keys to effective parenting is to know the difference between implicit and explicit modeling and how you do both each day. The fact is that parents are the first teachers. Parents are always modeling how to behave. What are you modeling and are you sending mixed messages?

Examples of Mixed Messages

The following examples from the book Parenting Without Stress demonstrate the difference between explicit and implicit … >>>

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Don’t Worry About Grade-Level Expectations

With many schools around the country resuming classes—either in person or virtually—we are hearing a lot of talk about grade-level expectations and how today’s new reality may affect them. Parents, in particular, fear that their children may be “behind” since missing part of the previous school year.

The fact is that our current school systems are founded on a series of grade-level expectations that certain learning goals should be achieved by a certain age or year in school. Yet there is no reason to suspect that the brain pays attention to those grade level or age expectations. In reality, young people of the same age show a great deal of intellectual variability.

These differences can profoundly influence classroom performance. For … >>>

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How to Make Good Choices in any Situation

Do you consistently make good choices? In other words, are you in control of your actions? Or do you let others determine your actions for you? The fact is that most people are simply responding to stimuli. This limits their ability to make good choices regarding their next move. Without knowing why you are doing something, you set yourself up to make poor decisions in the heat of the moment.

Consider these three very simplistic examples to illustrate the difference between making a thoughtful choice (and thus being in control of your actions) versus reacting to stimuli.

  1. Assume for a moment that you are looking forward to watching a special program on television. You have had your dinner and are
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The Most Important Question to Ask Yourself

If there were one key question to ask yourself to gauge your relationships and your effectiveness, what do you think it would be? How can you really know how others view you? How can you know that you’re being the best person you can possibly be?

Self-evaluation is critical for personal growth. After all, you can’t improve unless you know what to improve upon. This is true for all aspects of life, whether on the job or within your family. Of course, self-reflection and self-assessment can be difficult. Libraries are filled with hundreds of books on the topic, each offering their own version of how to do it effectively.

But what if there were a simpler way? A single question … >>>

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Understanding Personality Styles for Better Relationships

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, personality styles vary from person to person, and no two people are the same. Each individual, young or old, views the world differently, interacts with others in a distinctive way, and processes information uniquely.

Differences in personality styles are good. It would be boring if everyone acted, behaved, and thought the same way. But sometimes, interacting with people who are vastly different from you can be stressful.

Noticing behavioral and personality styles among people is nothing new. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first to categorize behavioral styles. Jung postulated that every individual develops a primacy in one of four major behavioral functions: intuiting, thinking, feeling, and sensing. If you and others operate from >>>

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Influence versus Force: Which Works Better to Encourage Change?

How many times have you interacted with someone who you deemed difficult and wished you could somehow encourage change in the person? Maybe it was a co-worker, a family member, or even a child. It’s natural to want others to change and be more agreeable or friendly or even more like us. But is it possible to make people change?

Many people try to encourage change in others by using force. Depending on the relationship, they may use dominance to initiate the change (as in an employer/employee relationship). Or they may use nagging and criticizing (as in a family relationship). Or they may use coercion, bribing, or punishment (as in a parent/child relationship). However, they quickly learn that none of … >>>

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Why Everyone Should Know the Levels of Development

For years I’ve focused the teachings of my Levels of Development on students and schools. But in reality, the Levels of Development is a tool appropriate for every person of every age from every walk of life. In fact, when people become aware of the levels, they become conscious of their own behaviors, their decisions, and their relationships with others.

Here are the 4 main ways the Levels of Development helps all people.

 

1. Serves as a means of communication

The Levels of Development offers everyone—adults and youth—the same conceptual vocabulary. This helps bring clarity of understanding and assists communications between all people, whether it’s between a teacher and student, parent and child, or even two co-workers.

2. Empowers
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Feeling Stressed? Change Your Perspective

Change Your Perspective

When it comes to making the best out of any situation, sometimes all you have to do is change your perspective. The fact is that how you view things—whether an event, a situation, or a person—has a direct effect on the stress you feel … or don’t feel. Your perspective can make something seem positive or negative.

Perspective influences every aspect of life. For example, up close, the earth looks flat; from outer space, it’s round. A student may dislike a demanding teacher; the following year the student praises the teacher for being so thorough. A customer may seem difficult and rude; the next day you realize the customer revealed a huge problem and by fixing it you save your … >>>

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Challenge Your Assumptions

Challenge Your Assumptions

In order to live your best life, it’s necessary to challenge your assumptions from time to time. Assumptions are beliefs you take for granted. They are so natural and involuntary they usually do not enter your consciousness. The fact is that you make assumptions every day. Some assumptions are helpful and make living life easier. For example, you assume that when you get out of bed, the floor will be beneath you. Or, you assume that when you mail a letter, the intended recipient will receive it.

However, there are also assumptions you make that may not be valid. For example, you may assume that someone is angry with you by the manner in which that person speaks to you. … >>>

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Improve Your Life with the Levels of Development

Improve Your Life

If you’re like most people, you probably want to improve your life in some way. Whether it’s improving your decision-making skills, your relationships, or your job situation, the desire for change and life improvement is an important human urge. No wonder there are so many books and websites dedicated to personal and professional growth.

In my own experience and in working with countless others, I have found that once you implement the Levels of Development into your life, change and growth are natural byproducts. That’s because the Levels of Development essentially gives you a rubric for making decisions and living your best life. It’s one of the simplest tools to use to improve your life

How is this possible? It’s … >>>

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The Levels of Development and Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility

One thing we could definitely use more of these days is social responsibility—that is, people doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. I’ve long been a proponent of fostering social responsibility in both children and adults. That’s one reason why I created the Levels of Development and have been sharing it with parents, teachers, and school administrators for decades.

But the Levels of Development isn’t just for children. The levels have great merit outside of the classroom and with adults. In fact, when people become aware of the Levels of Development, they become conscious of social responsibility in their own behaviors and in relationships with others.

Here are just a few of the main

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How the Levels of Development Help Us Understand Motivation

Motivation

I created The Levels of Development to help people of all ages understand the difference between external motivation and internal motivation. While it’s true that technically all motivation is internal, often external factors prompt us to take action. This is the case for both adults and children. Knowing why you’re doing something is important for decision making, acting responsibly, and ultimately reducing stress.

So let’s quickly review The Levels of Development. As with any hierarchy of levels, the most advanced or highest level is placed at the top.

Levels Of Development

LEVEL D – Democracy (highest level)

  • Develops self-discipline
  • Demonstrates initiative
  • Displays responsibility
  • Does good because it is the right thing to do
  • The motivation is INTERNAL.

LEVEL C – … >>>

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Use Positive Self-Talk to Reduce Stress

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is vital for stress reduction. In fact, I often say that it’s important to master your mind if you want to reduce stress. But what exactly does that mean? In short, it’s about using positive self-talk to focus your expectations. Do you expect success? Or do you expect failure? While most people claim to expect success, the reality is that their self-talk is setting them up for failure, which in turn leads to stress.

When you expect failure, you communicate your expectations to your subconscious mind. Your brain accepts the notion and prompts your mindset as if you will fail. You actually program yourself in a negative way to do the things that will lead to failure. This … >>>

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Top 10 Questions About Stress

questions about stress

People ask me a lot of questions about stress. Following are the top 10 questions about stress that I get asked the most. I’ve purposely kept the answers short. In future posts I’ll elaborate on some of the answers. You can also find many answers in my book, Live Without Stress. As always, if you have any specific questions about stress, please ask me!

1. What impact does stress have on our life?

Stress can shorten lives and have debilitating effects on health—both physical and mental.

2. What are some specific things we can do to reduce stress?

Master our mind when making decisions (in contrast to acting on feelings).

 3. What are some of the assumptions that >>>

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Human Connection Reduces Stress

Human Connection

One of the hardest things about living during a pandemic and times of social distancing is the lack of human connection. The fact is that human brains are wired to connect. We need other people to fully enjoy life. And that sense of human connection definitely lowers stress.

Even introverts need human connection. If you’re doubting how “wired” we are to each other, consider this: Both laughter and bad moods are contagious. Yawn in front of someone and watch what happens. This occurs because of what neuroscientists call “mirror neurons.”

When we realize that even trivial interactions can affect a person’s physiology, we have to take it more seriously. For example, scientists can now show by brain imaging and other … >>>

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Move Your Body to Reduce the Stress of Aging

aging

No one can escape the aging process. But aging does not need to be stressful! The key is to move every day and stay as strong for as long as you can. Remember, the human body is designed for movement, and muscles are not meant to be inactive. Aging is no excuse to stop moving!

Just like any other muscle, your heart functions best when challenged. Walk, swim, jog, use a treadmill, stair climbing machine, or some other weight-bearing movement in order to include moderate cardiovascular conditioning in your daily program. Aerobic exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood pressure, and keeps the arteries more flexible. In addition, aerobic exercise is one of the best approaches for handling stress. … >>>

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