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 … >>>
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.
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 … >>>
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. … >>>
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
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.
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.
When you’re living in times of uncertainty and stress, it’s important to embrace kindness. This means being kind both to others and to yourself. It’s normal that when under stress, people have “short fuses.” Little things can quickly spiral out of control as negativity prevails. The good news is that you can help lessen the effects of the current situation’s turmoil in one simple way: Embrace Kindness.
As a youth I developed this attitude of kindness that I still use to this day. I make it a habit to choose to be kind to not only others, but also to myself. I learned at an early age that I was not perfect, that I made mistakes, and that sometimes I … >>>
Visualization is a key to success. Did you know that your brain is so powerful that even your imagination can propel you to your goals? The fact is that the images you visualize in your mind impact your reality. Knowing this, what images are you focusing on? Are they positive, and propelling you to success? Or are they negative, and holding you back from accomplishing everything you want in life?
French psychiatrist and philosopher Pierre Janet pioneered guided imagery, AKA “visualization,” in the 1890s. It developed from the discovery that a person’s imagination can affect his or her inner state of being. Certain images stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to experience feelings of calm and well-being.
People do better when they feel good—not when they feel bad. This is a simple fact of life.
When your guide your thoughts and others’ thoughts to focus on the positive and constructive, then the self is nourished and enriched. That’s when people feel good.
Andrew Carnegie, the first great industrialist in America, understood this concept well. At one point he had 43 millionaires working for him. A reporter asked him how he managed to hire all of those millionaires. He responded that none of them was a millionaire when he hired them. The reporter inquired, “Then what did you do to pay them enough money so that they became millionaires?” Carnegie responded that you develop people the same way … >>>
Disagreement between people causes stress; there’s no doubt about it. Whether the disagreement is large or small, it can quickly ruin a relationship.
Sometimes, even for small matters, the disagreement escalates to the point of verbal fighting. Once that occurs, the stress levels of both parties will be high, and agreement will be elusive. Fortunately, you always have a choice in how you handle a situation.
Chances are you can tell when a disagreement is escalating. This is when you must take control and direct the conversation. Rather than letting a disagreement get out of hand, you can reduce stress by doing the following.
Say to the other person, “I don’t want to win. I just want to understand what … >>>
The dictionary defines appreciation as the recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things. When was the last time you felt truly appreciated at work or at home? When was the last time you genuinely showed your appreciation for others? Is showing appreciation really that important?
One of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Dr. William James, spent his professional life studying human behavior. He wanted to know what made people tick, and he wanted to know what brought out their best. He wrote a number of books on these subjects.
Near the end of his life, he was in hospital and received a plant from a friend. Dr. James wrote a note of thanks for … >>>
It’s true that life can be challenging at times. But no matter what you’re going through, it is possible to project positive expectations. And when you do, you’ll become more effective in everything you do.
Realize that becoming more effective is a way of traveling rather than a destination. In other words, it’s a state of mind, not a single event. That’s where projecting positive expectations comes into play.
The only advantage of being a pessimist is that all your surprises are pleasant. But that’s pretty small stuff compared to the big payoff that comes from projecting positive expectations.
The fact is that much of our happiness or unhappiness results from not by what happens, but how we LOOK at … >>>
How do you visualize yourself and your situation? The fact is that the pictures you reflect on in your mind are often what your reality becomes. Are you filling your mind with positive pictures or negative ones?
Too many people focus their mental energy on the challenges they are encountering or the pain they want to avoid. They visualize their setbacks repeatedly. While you certainly can’t ignore your daily struggles, you also don’t have to let them dominate your thoughts. Give yourself a break. Take some time to focus on what’s good in your life and to paint positive mental images of what you want, rather than what you don’t.
The choice is yours. You can visualize success, or you … >>>
Chances are that at one point you’ve attempted to change another person. We’ve all done it. Unfortunately, most people try to prompt change in others the wrong way.
Dr. William Glasser, the originator of “Reality Therapy” and “Choice Theory,” believed that attempts to change others by using “external control psychology” (including the common approaches of imposing punishments or rewarding to control) are eventually doomed to fail. He referred to such “external approaches” as the “seven deadly habits.” He listed them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.
To prove his point, just respond to the following:
Fear is often negative self-talk about a perceived situation. You’ve probably heard that FEAR is actually an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. However, even knowing this, there are times when it is most difficult to think that a situation is not real. So rather than attempting to eradicate your fear, warm up to it.
Too many people have the mindset of “If I’m afraid, I can’t do something.” But the truth is that you can do it even if you are afraid; it’s just less comfortable than doing something you are not afraid to do. But if you do it a couple of times, you won’t be afraid to do it anymore, and it will become more and more … >>>
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 … >>>
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