Effectiveness

Good Listening Skills Reduces Stress AND Improves Relationships

Having good listening skills will make your life easier and your relationships less stressful. In fact, if you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you.

Without good listening skills, no relationship can flourish. Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.

This is true with children too. When the parent says, “It’s about time you started listening to me,” chances are the youngster is … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Anyone Can be an Optimist

Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? In simple terms, an optimist focuses on hope. A pessimist focused on doubt. An optimist thinks about the good that can be in a situation. A pessimist thinks about all the things that could go wrong in a situation.

Positivity (or what I call ‘conscious optimism’) promotes and induces responsibility in everyone, including children. A positive attitude, just like happiness, begins between the ears. Both are skills that anyone can develop.

In fact, the most important thing people can control is their state of mind. Is your state of mind more like an optimist or a pessimist? You really do have a choice! A state of mind is something that one … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Your Mindset Determines Your Success

One of the great approaches to successful living is to develop the art of prompting positive mindsets. The fact is that your mindset and success are intimately intertwined.

For example, suppose I lay a plank on the ground. Almost anyone can easily walk on the plank from one end to the other. But if I were to raise the plank 10 feet off the ground, how many people do you think would get across it without falling? I would guess quite a few people would fall off the plank.

Why can people walk the plank when it’s on the ground but not while it’s elevated? A prime reason is that when the plank is on the ground, people imagine success. … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Impulse Control for Kids

Teaching impulse control for kids can be a challenge. If you want to become a more effective adult when working with young people, then give up the desire to control. Instead, hand over to the young the responsibility of learning to control themselves. This is important for every child but especially important for those young people who have repeated discipline and impulse control challenges.

The key to fostering impulse control for kids is to use the Levels of Development all the time so that it isn’t associated with corrective discipline. In fact, the more you use the hierarchy, the more young people will understand the difference between external and internal motivation. They will also become open to using the hierarchy … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Influence Others to Succeed

When it comes to having an influence on others, it’s not only what you say, but also how you say it, as well as all the things you don’t say.

Words can be extremely powerful and influential. Every word spoken to another, especially a child, carries with it an underlying message about the person and his or her relationship to the world.

It’s the same for the non-verbal messages you give. Everything you do without using words can influence the other person and cause a response, whether positive or negative.

Once the other person internalizes a message, it becomes a belief that can affect many aspects of their life. Knowing this, you can certainly influence students to operate on Level … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Develop the Skill of Perseverance

Perseverance is a vital skill to develop. In fact, one of the most important principles we can teach children is that effective and responsible people persist in their endeavors. They don’t give up easily. In fact, a major quality that classifies people as successful is that they stick to a task. They display perseverance.

What is it that enables certain people to persevere? Usually, they have a repertoire. They create many different ways to solve a problem.

Why is this important? Because if people have only one way to solve a problem, and if they try it and it doesn’t work, they will have a tendency to give up.

People who persist, however, will try one plan. If that approach … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Confront Negativity with Positivity

Positivity is important. And sometimes we need to think of the meaning behind what we like to keep. This applies to both physical and mental keepsakes. Are your thoughts and possessions promoting positivity? Or do you need to let go of some outdated beliefs?

Here is a case in point.

For years I have had a little statue describing an ancient morality. The tiny statue that sat on my desk portrayed three little monkeys. One had hands over the eyes, another with hands over the ears, and a third with hands over the mouth.

The message was to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. The philosophy portrayed in the little figures is that good is found … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Your Words are Powerful

Your words are powerful. In fact, I often say that people do good when they feel good. This is true of adults and children. Children who act on Levels C and D of the Levels of Development chart feel good. While those who act on Levels A and B have more negative feelings. What are you doing to help others do good? Is your language uplifting others? Or are your words bringing people down?

Yes, your words are powerful and what you say often has a big impact on others. While many people don’t intentionally say outright mean or nasty things to others, they may use other subtle words or sentence patterns that disempower others.

Your Words Matter

The great … >>>

READ MORE >>>

The Real Key to Success

Image of cartoon people and a key

Being able to attain your personal definition of success requires many things. When asked, many people cite perseverance as being a key success factor. While perseverance is important, there is something even more vital.

More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. Resilience is a cousin of perseverance.

A person can increase his or her level of resilience, and thereby increase their chances of success, by developing mental and physical habits that foster a positive mental state.

How to Develop Your Resilience and Attain Success

A body of data, including studies of identical twins, suggests that certain personal characteristics that foster resilience may be at least partly … >>>

READ MORE >>>

The Benefits of Using Positive Words

Image of a brain with happy faces inside

Using positive words may be the most successful approach to reduce stress and increase your effectiveness. The reason is that this type of vocabulary empowers AND feels good.

Compare each in the following examples:

“I HAVE to go” versus “I GET to go.”

“I have no choice” versus “I am choosing to …”

“No!” versus “Not yet.”

“I only have two choices” versus “I have two choices.”

“I have a DEADLINE” versus “I have a DUE date.”

(The former connotes DEATH while the latter connotes BIRTH.)

We now know scientifically that what Henry Ford stated was accurate: “If you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you are right.” The words you use … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Ask for Help to Reduce Stress

Image of a hand holding a sign for help

Do you ask for help? Many people rarely do, even when they need it the most. Why is it so hard to ask others to help us? Some people’s ego deprives them of the benefit that comes from asking for help. We see this in the stereotype of men not asking for directions when they’re lost, assuming the car has no global positioning service (GPS).

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a way to display strength and a way to elicit collaboration. In fact, one of the most powerful phrases in all of life is “I wonder if you could help me with something.” This phrase breaks down barriers and enables anyone to easily ask … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Increase Your Positive Self-Talk

A prime goal of my approach is to increase people’s positive self-talk. I believe in the importance of positive self-talk so much that I’ve devoted pages to this topic in each of my books.

Researchers have acknowledged that in order to know yourself, you have to talk to yourself. They have studied children’s private speech for decades, but only recently have researchers focused on self-talk in adults. We use inner speech or self-talk for all sorts of things. We depend on it to solve problems, read and write, motivate ourselves, plan for the future, learn from our mistakes, learn language, and help regulate emotions.

Beyond helping people regulate their behavior in the present moment, positive self-talk is essential for learning … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Eliminate the Stress of Public Speaking

Image of a woman presenting in a business meeting

Many people fear public speaking. This tip will show you how to turn this stress into confidence.

Standing in front of a group to present can be very scary. Symptoms include dry mouth, weakness, memory loss, upset stomach, cold sweat, and tight throat muscles. Sound familiar? All of these are quite natural physical sensations when a person is frightened. Depending on the situation and how the person is responding to it, there may be just a little apprehension or there may be a full-blown panic.

Here is a very simple, proven, three-step process for overcoming your fear of public speaking. By following these steps, you can make speaking in front of groups a positive experience.

Step one:

Think for a … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Beware of the Herd Mentality

Image of a herd of sheep walking down a country road.

We’ve all succumbed to herd mentality at one time or another. Whether it’s watching the latest blockbuster hit even though that genre rarely interests you, buying the newest phone even though your current one woks fine, or even voting a certain way because polls put a certain candidate in the lead anyway, herd mentality can be seen every day.

In short, herd mentality describes the process of people behaving or acting like those around them—often ignoring their own feelings in the process. Think of it like sheep blindly following the flock no matter where they go just because that’s what the herd is doing.

While herd mentality can protect us in some cases, such as fleeing a burning building, other … >>>

READ MORE >>>

A Time Management Strategy to Reduce Stress

Image of a person holding a clock in each hand. There is a checklist of tasks behind each clock.

When it comes to time management, knowing the difference between what is urgent versus what is important is essential. Why? Because there is a marked difference between what is urgent and what is important. If you focus on the wrong one, or if you are continually diverting your attention between the two, chances are that your stress level will rise.

Think of it this way: An urgent task may not be very important in the long run; however, an urgent task may demand immediate attention. In contrast to something urgent, an important task is something that moves you toward your goal. Where do you think you should focus your attention for optimal time management and lower stress?

Before you answer … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Student Awards and Rewards: What Works and What Doesn’t

Image of a gold trophy.

I often say that doling out student awards and rewards is counterproductive. However, I must also say that I don’t condemn ALL student awards and rewards. Allow me to explain.

As a former instructional coordinator, I have come to the conclusion that awards ceremonies are counterproductive for LEARNING—especially when so many young people never find themselves in the winner’s circle and would therefore prefer to drop out rather than compete.

When it comes to learning, collaboration is much more effective. When people collaborate, they do not compete.

However, as a former high school athletic coordinator, I do believe in award ceremonies for athletics and other competitive activities such as spelling bees, high school band competitions, and academic decathlons THAT ARE … >>>

READ MORE >>>

What Influence Are You Spreading?

Image of a mother working on a computer and her daughter imitating her.

You are influencing others every day, whether you realize it or not. Some of the most important people you influence are children. Your children and students see and hear everything you do, and it shapes their outlook on the world. What influence are you spreading to the youth of today?

Consider this true story:

Charles Adams was the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain during the Lincoln Administration. He always kept a journal and taught his son, Brooks, to keep a daily journal as well.

When Brooks Adams was eight years old, he wrote in his diary: “Went fishing with my father, the most glorious day of my life.” During the next 40 years, Brooks referred to that day in his … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Feeling Stressed? Change Your Perception

Image of a dark gray background with a door in the middle. The door is opening to a peaceful sunny day to illustrate a change in perception.

How many times have you blamed an event or person for your negative reaction? If you’re like most people, it has happened often. Everything from traffic jams, to comments made by others, to sudden changes of plans can make people upset. But what if I told you that these events, no matter how bad you think they are, are not the cause of your stress?

Epictetus (A.D. 55-135) wrote: “It is not the event itself that is the problem; it is the perception of that event.” In other words, the things that happen to us aren’t problems; rather, it is our reaction to the events that determine whether we feel stress or not. This bit of information has made one … >>>

READ MORE >>>