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 … >>>
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:
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.
Do you know how to foster happy relationships? Happiness always starts from within, so let’s start there. If you look around at your family and friends, you will see that the happiest people are the ones who don’t pretend to know what’s right for others. They don’t try to control anyone but themselves. And more likely than not, they experience many happy relationships in their life.
You will further see that the people who are most miserable are those who are always trying to control others. Even if they have a lot of power, the constant resistance they feel from those they are trying to control deprives them, and their relationships, of happiness.
Do you think the world is out to get you? Or do you think the world is filled with opportunities? The difference depends on your mindset. How you view the world affects every aspect of your life. Most important, your mindset affects relationships. We can see evidence of this every day.
For example, look around and you can often see two people engaged in similar tasks but providing different responses in how they help others.
One clerk at the counter invites the next customer up by saying, “Hello, how can I help you?” Another simply says, “Next!”
One bank teller, working in a bank adjacent to a senior retirement community, sees an older person approaching and says to the visiting … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
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 … >>>
Maintaining healthy relationships is one of the foundations for living a happy life. Whether you are interacting with your spouse, child, friend, parent, co-worker, or neighbor, you have the power to strengthen the relationship or to weaken it. The fact is that your words, actions, beliefs, and mindset shape every relationship you have—for better or for worse.
The good news is that no matter how stressed your relationships currently are, you can take positive steps now to change them. Following are 5 tips to help you develop and maintain healthy relationships with others.
1. Communicate using positive, rather than negative, messages.
Instead of telling others what you don’t want or don’t like, explain what you do want and do like. … >>>
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 … >>>
If you want to promote responsibility in your children, here is one important thing to keep in mind: Never do something for your child that they can do for themselves.
When you want the young person to do something and he or she does not, oftentimes stress is the result—for the adult. The youngster is aware of your emotions and (nonconsciously) derives a sense of power from it. What he or she is doing—or not doing—is seen as directing your emotions.
Let’s assume the youngster has a number of things to do and is lackadaisical about doing them. You remind the youngster, to no avail. Time passes. You give another reminder with the same result.
All teachers and parents want to help students succeed. The question is: How? Research shows that one of the most important factors that determine students’ success (in terms of what is important to students) is their feeling or belief that someone in school cares about them.
Knowing this, I’ve long proposed that the best way to help students succeed is to ask them questions. Why? Because a significant factor in asking a question is that there is an assumption that you care about the person with whom you are conversing.
Therefore, when communicating with others, especially students, instead of thinking of the right thing to say, think of a question to ask. The sooner you adopt the mode of asking … >>>
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 … >>>
We all know that positive communications are vital to maintaining positive relationships. Most of us, though, are not conscious of the power of our communications. As a result, we say things that seem innocuous to us but that may make the other party feel bad.
The fact is that the words and phrases we use in our daily interactions have three major influences:
(1) They influence how we think and experience the world.
(2) They shape the way others see us.
(3) They determine how much cooperation and success we have with other people.
Remember that when words come out of our mouths, they don’t just go to the listeners’ ears. We hear our own words too. So our words … >>>
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 … >>>
How you communicate with someone has a direct impact on how stressful the relationship is. But it’s not just about the words you use or the tone of your voice. Most people know that using kind words and not yelling is important for good communication. However, what many people fail to take into account is how the other person is perceiving your message, even if you deliver it with a smile.
For example, how many times do you politely tell others what to do? Maybe you tell your child to clean their room, tell your spouse to take out the trash, or tell your employees how to write a proposal. These are all normal, everyday things. But let’s flip it … >>>
For many people, the start of a new year is a time for change and fresh beginnings. But before making any life change, you need to be aware of your motivation for the change. Are you trying something new because others are pressuring you to do so (external motivation)? Or are you making a life change because it’s something that will bring you great satisfaction (internal motivation)?
Internal motivation really is the key to lifelong change. When you focus on what brings you joy and satisfaction—on what makes you feel good—you’re more apt to continue the behavior. To prove my point, consider the five questions below. They prove Aristotle’s conclusion that an emotional outcome like happiness is the appropriate end … >>>
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