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Develop Your Problem-Solving Skills

The most effective people aren’t magical or geniuses or any different than you; they have simply developed their problem-solving skills. Because of this, they have the ability to be persistent … to not give up. In fact, I’d say that those with good problem-solving skills achieve more because they use their skills to persist in the face of challenges. They can stick to a task, no matter how difficult it may be.

The best way to develop your problem-solving skills is to understand that there are many ways to overcome a challenge. Think of it as having a repertoire of problem-solving solutions. When you have the ability to think of different options, you can keep trying. In contrast, if you … >>>

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Hurt Feelings and How to Mend Them

Has someone ever said something to you that left you with hurt feelings? Or have you caused someone else to experience this emotion? We all have been on both the giving and receiving end with this one. Someone asks you for your honest opinion, you give it to them in a kind way, and the person walks away with hurt feelings. As my mother-in-law used to always say, “Be careful of asking for someone’s opinion. The person may give it to you.”

Honesty is always the best policy. But if someone asks you for your opinion and if the person perceives that your comments are derogatory, there is a problem. The good news is that you can alleviate any negative … >>>

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Positive People Achieve More

Who do you think achieves more in life? Positive people or negative people? I assert that positive people fare far better in all areas of life. Why? Because when you’re positive, you see opportunity in every difficulty. But when you’re negative, you see difficulty in every opportunity.

A negative person allows problems to rent cognitive space. But why think of problems when you can fill your head with solutions?

How you respond to a new idea is an example of what you put in your head. For example, do you immediately dismiss new ideas? Do you see something novel as foolishness? Or do you allow yourself to examine the idea, to try it on for size, and think, “It just … >>>

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Marv is Retiring … And Other Important News

After a long and prosperous career as a teacher, school administrator, speaker, author, consultant, and creator of the Without Stress trilogy, it is time for me to embark on yet another phase of my life: retirement.

Realize, though, that this is not an ending to the resources you have known and loved for many decades. Rather, this is the beginning of some great opportunities for you.

One of the top priorities of my retirement transition is to liquidate my remaining physical inventory of books. This means some great deals for you. If you’ve been wanting a copy of one of my books but have been holding off, or if you’ve always wanted a bulk quantity of materials for your school, … >>>

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Punishment is Not the Answer

If you believe a youngster is an adult, then punish the youngster as you would an adult. However, if you believe that young people are not yet adults and you want to prevent them from becoming incarcerated with the other 2,0000,000 people in this country, then punishment may not be the most effective approach.

Punishment is often confused with discipline, and it operates on the theory that young people must be hurt to learn. But can you recall the last time you felt bad and did something good? The fact is that people, including children, do not think positively with negative feelings.

Punishments kill the very thing we are attempting to do: change behavior into something that is positive and … >>>

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Why Giving More Creates Stronger Relationships

We all want stronger relationships with our family, friends, and co-workers. But strong relationships don’t happen overnight. It takes consistent daily action to make any relationship better.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the root of so many relationship problems is that people stop giving to each other—or they give the wrong things. This is very common in parent-child relationships. Parents are more likely to give children “things” rather than experiences. Because young people WANT “things,” parents mistakenly believe that is what their children NEED.

Many years ago, Charles Frances Adams (son of President John Quincy Adams, grandson of President John Adams, and President Abraham Lincoln’s minister to England) wrote in his diary one day, “Took … >>>

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The Truth about Raising Teens

Most theories about the stress and strain of raising teens have focused on the wrong things. Factors such as physical changes, emerging sexuality, new social demands, and struggles between being a child and an adult have dominated the parenting landscape for decades. But none of these is the real reason why the teenage years are often so tumultuous.

Realize I’m not saying that raising teens is easy. It’s not. However, we’re looking for solutions in the wrong places. The truth is that this period of adolescence is difficult for both youth and parents largely because the teen becomes so independent of parents that control of the teen is difficult. In fact, the parents’ continued attempts at control often lead to … >>>

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How to Sell Your Ideas to Others

If you want people to do something, you have to sell your ideas to them. Whether you want your child to clean their room, a co-worker to pitch in more, or even your boss to implement a new strategy, being able to sell your ideas is crucial.

Unfortunately, most people resort to telling or even yelling during these times. And those are the least effective ways to elicit real change or action in others. The good news is that there are three time-tested approaches for putting your ideas across that arouse interest and enthusiasm. So if you want to sell your ideas to others in a way that doesn’t alienate or come across as being bossy, here are three strategies … >>>

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Believe in Yourself

If you believe in yourself and trust your instincts, you can overcome almost anything. Of course, this is not new information. Epictetus (pronounced Epic-TEE-tus) lived and taught in both Rome and Greece in the first century. Like stoic philosophers that preceded him, he dealt with logic, physics, and ethics.

Epictetus taught that adversity introduces a person to oneself. When challenges arise in your life, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to your use. In other words, believe in yourself. Ask yourself, “How can this challenge be an opportunity in disguise?”

There is only one form of security we can attain during our lives, and that is inner security. This kind of security … >>>

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Make Time for Self-Reflection

Do you schedule self-reflection time into your day? Most people do not. However, if you want to reduce your stress, increases your focus, and develop the mindset to create your ideal life, making time for self-reflection is key.

Think of living your life like an artist painting a picture. An artist cannot be continually wielding the paintbrush. The painter must stop at times to step back, reflect on their work, and freshen their vision of the painting. Without this crucial step, the artist will never be able to express their full vision on the canvas.

In this way, living is also an art. We can’t become so absorbed in life’s technical process—the day-to-day tasks—that we lose sight of our general … >>>

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Change is Hard … Or is It?

Have you ever tried to change something about your life—whether big or small—and ultimately gave up and said, “I can’t do this – change is hard!” We all have. This, of course, begs the question, “Why is change so difficult?”

The fact is that even though we think change is hard, it really isn’t. It just feels difficult because it is different from what we are accustomed to doing.

We are all creatures of habit. And when we do something out of our comfort zone, it feels funny, awkward, hard, and sometimes even overwhelming. Here’s a simple example you can do right now that illustrates how doing something even slightly different can cause discomfort.

First, fold your arms across your … >>>

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How to Live a Happy Life

What is the secret to living a happy life? Is happiness something that results from an action or state of being? Or is happiness a choice you can make regardless of the situation? I believe, in more cases than not, that happiness is definitely a choice.

Success does not bring happiness. In fact, if we equate happiness with success, we will never achieve the amount of success necessary to make us happy. There is always more success than we can achieve. However, as long as what we do is JOYFUL and MEANINGFUL, happiness will ensue.

Money is not the root of happiness. Some unhappy poor people have the illusion that money will make them happy. Have you ever noticed how … >>>

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5 Tips for Better Relationships

We all want better relationships with those we care about. Whether it’s a relationship with your partner, kids, friends, or co-workers, you have to work at strengthening the relationship every day. The good news is that when you strive for better relationships with others, you also improve your own mindset and self-esteem. Following are 5 tips for improving relationships with others as well as with yourself.

  1. Give affirmations. A simple acknowledgment can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have heard their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship.
  2. Use quality
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Two Words That Will Change Your Life

I’d like to share with you two simple words that will change your life. Some may even say this is the greatest two-word tip of all time.

These two words are the single, best advice for improving your effectiveness in any endeavor.

I encourage you to write these two words down and perhaps tape them to your bathroom mirror so you will look at them every morning as you begin your day. These two words can enhance your career and bring more satisfaction and joy to your life. If you are a classroom teacher, use the two words with your students. Likewise, if you are in an educational or leadership position, use these two words to prompt improvement in others. … >>>

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Tell the Truth to Build Strong Relationships

We all know it’s important to tell the truth, but we don’t always do it. Why? Because telling the truth can be uncomfortable. It may not make you look your best. However, telling the truth even when it’s difficult is a sure way to build good relationships.

I like the way one wealthy individual told the truth. He was asked how he had amassed a huge fortune. He said, “It was really quite simple. I bought an apple for five cents, spent the evening polishing it and sold it the next day for ten cents. With this, I bought two apples, spent the evening polishing them, and sold them for twenty cents. And so it went until I had amassed … >>>

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Cultivate a Problem-Solving Mindset

The questions you ask yourself determine both your mindset and your perception of the world around you. In fact, your internal questions influence every decision you make—good or bad.

Here’s a simple example of how your questions influence your thinking. Let’s say you’ve decided to buy a new four-wheel-drive vehicle. You probably ask yourself, “Which one should I get?” Now that your mind is focused on four-wheel-drive vehicles, you can be sure that the next time you are on the road, you will notice Jeeps, Explorers, and Range Rovers in record numbers. You will also start to see articles and advertisements featuring these types of vehicles, and you may even discover that some of your friends and acquaintances own one.… >>>

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Focus on the Future for Better Relationships

If you want less stress and better relationships, then focus on the future. Unfortunately, many people live in the past. They replay conversations and events in their head repeatedly, analyzing what happened and what each party said. While it is good to understand the past so we learn and grow, living in the past often results in negative emotions. That’s why it’s important we all focus on the future.

This advice is especially important today. As we all start engaging with family and friends in face-to-face settings again, focusing on the future will promote healthy relationships. So here’s my best advice: When you interact with family, loved ones, close friends, and other valued people, don’t begin a new conversation with … >>>

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You Can’t Change People, but You Can Influence Them

Many of us try, unsuccessfully, to change people. Whether we want our partner to be more loving or our kids to be more responsible, we waste precious time trying to force the other person to change. The fact is that, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot change another person.

Does this mean that people will never change? That the way someone is now is how they’ll be for the rest of their life? Of course not. But change does not happen by you forcing it. Rather, people often change based on your expectations for them. So in a sense, the way you change people is to influence them to want to make a change on their own.… >>>

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