Effectiveness

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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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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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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6 Tips for Better Life Balance

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges most of us face is knowing how to live a balanced life, within a 24-hour day. Between our work, family, personal development time, inundation by the media, the attraction of the Internet, so many good books to read, wanting to get enough sleep, maintaining social relationships, and the list goes on and on—how do we do it? It is no wonder that seminars on time management, books on life balance, and even garage and closet organizers for all the “stuff” accumulated are selling so well.

One way to become more effective is to evaluate how you use—or don’t use—some of your time. Following are some tips that may assist in increasing your effectiveness and … >>>

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Focus on Self-Acceptance

Many people are searching for acceptance outside of themselves when they haven’t yet learned to accept themselves. Self-acceptance means being okay with WHO you are and WHERE you are. It means being kind to yourself even when you make mistakes, fail, or do really stupid things. Self-acceptance is a close relative to self-esteem. It is difficult to have one without the other, and, if you have one, you will tend to have the other.

There are many reasons why people have low self-acceptance, but most fall into one or more the following areas:

  • A perceived desire to be perfect
  • A focus on imperfections rather than on blessings
  • The desire for approval and to be liked
  • A strong desire to please
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The Secret to Better Communication Skills

If you want to have better communication skills, listen up! In fact, listening is the single most crucial factor of all communication skills. It is more important than stirring oratory, more important than a powerful voice, more important than the ability to speak multiple languages, and more important than a flair for the written word.

Good listening is truly where effective communications and relationships begin. It’s surprising how few people listen well. Those who do are the ones who have learned the SKILL of listening.

The fact is that people love being listened to. It’s true in the business world and at home. Actually, it’s true of just about everyone we meet in life.

Dale Carnegie wrote that the secret … >>>

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The Most Empowering Mindset

Your mindset is a choice. You can choose to be a victim and feel disempowered and negative. Or you can choose to be a victor and feel empowered and positive. Which do you choose?

I urge everyone to avoid the victimization mentality. It is toxically disempowering and limits you in so many ways. Empowerment is so much more effective. And even if it were not, you would still be happier in an empowerment mode rather than in a victimhood mode.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed many teachers who needed to change their mindset in order to leave the victimhood realm. These teachers believed that when students come from unstructured homes, from poverty, or have some other situation that cannot be … >>>

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What Happiness Really Means

When you hear the word “happiness,” what comes to mind? Many people think happiness is about belly laughter, euphoric thrills, and feelings of joy mixed with boundless energy. While these things certainly contribute to happiness, they’re not what people should be focusing on for long-term fulfillment.

What is important is how frequently, not how intensely, you are happy. For example, winning the jackpot in Las Vegas, the thrill of the quadruple loop roller coaster, or belly laughing at the Saturday night comedy club show are wonderful moments. But they are not the hallmarks of sustainable long-term happiness.

In truth, real happiness comes from being content most of the time. This occurs when you have thoughts and feelings of well-being and … >>>

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Use Attentive Listening for Better Relationships

Attentive listening is the most valuable tool we have for enriching the quality of relationships. Yet, many people neglect it.

Attentive listening means listening without distraction. I have met very few people who have practiced this approach to the point of making it a skill. My financial planner was one such person. Cory had the knack of conveying the feeling that, when you were with her, you had her undivided attention. I don’t know if she learned the skill or if it was just natural with her. But I remember the charismatic impression it made on me.

Unfortunately, all too often, we experience the opposite of attentive listening. As the chair of an accreditation team representing the Western Association … >>>

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The Best Way to Help People Succeed

We all want the best for those we love. Whether it’s by giving advice, providing necessities, or gifting our time, our goal is often to help people succeed. Unfortunately, sometimes our best-efforts backfire, especially when giving others verbal instructions, warnings, or assistance.

Before I continue, it’s important to point out that the human brain thinks in pictures, not words. Think back to the last sleeping dream you remember. Are you visualizing the dream you had in words—as you are reading now—or are you visualizing it in pictures (images)? If you’re like the majority of people, you will conclude that you dreamt in visuals. (Remember that in human history reading is a relevantly recent development. Only in very recent times has … >>>

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Conquer Your Fear of Failure

Here’s a question for you: “What trait or mindset do you think makes people truly self-confident and have a positive self-worth?” The answer is: “These people have overcome their fear of failure.”

Truly confident people—from business leaders to politicians, from teachers to lawyers—do not let the possibility of failure intimidate them. Of course, they do fail at times. But they don’t alter their actions because of this possibility.

Unfortunately, many people today don’t try to win; rather, they try not to lose. They don’t try to succeed; they try desperately not to fail. That is a sure route to nowhere. Personally, I’d rather be going somewhere, even if I fail to get there, than assuredly going nowhere. Remember the old … >>>

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Focus on the Positive to Change Your Life

Maintaining a positive attitude, speaking positive words, and thinking positive thoughts is essential to a happy, stress-free, and productive life. I learned to focus on the positive early in life. Like many, I was brought up on a principle my mother instilled in me: “If you can’t say something nice about a person, then do not say anything at all.” I took that to mean that we should not only refrain from negativity, but that we should also focus on the positive.

My mother’s advice eventually became the bedrock of my first principle to reduce stress: POSITIVITY. I now think of it whenever something negative pops into my head or if I am about to say something that can be … >>>

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Focus on Strengths to Enhance Learning

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Which is better to focus on for learning and success? Should we strive to improve our weaknesses no matter what? Or should we accept our shortcomings and simply focus on our strengths to achieve success and happiness?

In our society, we are trained in a deficit model—to fix what is wrong. And, in a very real sense, our attention is geared at fixing others. This is true both in school and in the workplace. So many performance reviews at work gloss over the employee’s strengths and instead focus on “areas for improvement.”

We see this in education as well. For example, after a meeting with teachers, the student said to his mother, “Why didn’t … >>>

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