October 2016

Volume 16 Number 10 October 2016
Newsletter #183


  1. Welcome
  2. Reducing Stress
  3. Promoting Responsibility
  4. Increasing Effectiveness
  5. Improving Relationships
  6. Promoting Learning
  7. Parenting Without Stress
  8. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  9. Reviews and Testimonial



If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.
—Neil Simon

I have taken a risk. Since I have written two books about reducing stress and will soon publish “LIVE WITHOUT STRESS: How to Enjoy the Journey,” I have taken the risk of changing my prime website. My resources, blogs, Wednesday’s tips and this newsletter are all being transferred to my the new website. (The hurricane in the Southeastern seacoast of the United States may slow the process.)

My first “Discipline Without Stress Internet Mastermind Group” will be held next month. The Internet session will help you resolve any behavior challenge, reduce stress, and increase your effectiveness. It will be an opportunity for you to exchange ideas with like-minded people.

The free session will be held on Thursday, November 17 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. If you are interested in joining us, pencil in the event on your calendar.

Recently published Without Stress Tips:
33 Reflective Questions Relieve Stress
34 Computer Workstation
35 Not Angering Reduces Stress
36 Workplace Collaboration and Stress


Perfection is a goal that humans should not strive to achieve because it can prompt a crippling condition or an overly critical self-evaluation. A goal of excellence can be reached. But striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high standards too often becomes a stress-producing burden. This is especially the case for many young people in particular. They live with the idea that they have to be perfect for people to accept them. This is often the mindset of young girls who develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

With young people as early as kindergarten age, perfectionism can become so tyrannical that they develop anxiety attacks. This leads to the thinking pattern that they cannot perform or engage in the activity because they will not be good enough. The next stage is total paralysis.

Perfectionism has people become reluctant to admit mistakes or apologize when wrong. Failing is a natural outcome of trying, and it is a great teacher. That is, it can be if the choice is to learn from failure rather than be crushed by it.

The emphasis should always be on the effort, on trying. This positive mindset breeds a willingness to experiment, to try, to risk. This is extremely important since improvement only comes with practice.

Tip: Aim at continual improvement, not perfection.


Each time you coerce someone into doing something by using your power of authority, you deprive that person of an opportunity to become more responsible.


Years ago, my wife and I enjoyed a theatrical melodrama in Flagstaff Arizona. The production was about Black Bart and was so memorable that we periodically talk about it.

Black Bart knew that a person’s perception becomes largely the person’s reality. His reputation alone stirred fear. He terrorized the Wells Fargo Stage Line for 13 years during the 1870’s and 80’s by spooking the most rugged stagecoach drivers.

In journals from New York to San Francisco, Black Bart became synonymous with the perils of the frontier. He was credited with robbing 29 stage crews—all without firing a shot or taking a hostage.

His weapon was his reputation. His ammunition was intimidation. A hood hid his face, and so no victim ever saw him and no artist ever sketched him. No sheriff could track his trail.

As it turned out, Black Bart wasn’t anything to be afraid of. When the authorities finally tracked him down, they didn’t find a blood-thirsty bandit from Death Valley. The man whom the papers pictured as storming through the mountains on horseback was so afraid of horses that he rode to and from his robberies in a buggy.

Black Bart was Charles E. Boles, the bandit who never fired a shot—because he never once loaded his gun. But Black Bart knew that the perception he created was more powerful than any gun he could ever shoot.

The point: If you’re not getting the cooperation you need, then it’s time to ask what image you are projecting. Sometimes you have to stop pointing your finger at what the other person is not doing and look at the perception you are projecting.


Here is a simple but highly effective idea to improve relationships Periodically ask yourself, “Am I a joy to be around?”


The more emotion that can be prompted, the more memorable the learning—and the longer it will remain in long-term memory.

Here is an example. A high school history class is learning about the industrial revolution. The monotony of working on an assembly line is brought up.

If I were a student, I could read about it. However, I would have nothing to hook that information into my brain. The reason is that the brain thinks in visions and remembers experiences.

Perhaps, depending on how the description would be written, I may be able to remember it, but I wouldn’t have any real sense of what if felt like. One of the things we have learned about the brain is that emotion plays a very strong role in whether or not we retain information. Just reading information does not evoke any emotional responses—in contrast to reading a story, which often prompts emotions.

Here is an example of how emotion can be prompted so the learning becomes more effective on the topic in question. When the students come into the room, the teacher assigns them in rows and makes the classroom become a factory during the industrial revolution. The teacher changes her demeanor, becomes very stern, starts to bark out orders, and tests the students that they have to draw something over, and over and over. The teacher even fires a student because the student is getting behind in production of repeating the drawing.

After this experiential exercise, the teacher asks the students to generate a list of the pros and cons—the positives and negatives of an assembly line. No one opened up a book to find what the author had listed. They had felt it. They could say that it was really monotonous, that it was really boring, and that it was not creative.

That is a very different experience than reading about it in a text book.


When I ask parents of young children if they ever say, “No,” to their children, I always receive the affirmative answer, “Of course.”

After all, isn’t it natural to teach young children that they can’t have everything they want? Young people need to learn that they cannot get every thing they want. The question is how do you communicate this while at the same time not have the child develop negative feelings toward the parent or the situation?

The answer lies in resisting the natural tendency to “NO!” Instead, say, “Not yet.”

This phrase doesn’t prompt the negative feelings that “No” does while, at the same time, having the exact same effect—without cutting the relationship.

Many any other simple tips are available at ParentingWithout Stress: How to Raise Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own. 


I was asked the following questions, with my responses following.

Have there been any long-term studies on the effectiveness of the Discipline Without Stress approach in classrooms?

I have hundreds of testimonial from all over the world—from Pre-Kindergarten to high school teachers. The communications thank me for reducing their stress, improving their relationships, and for helping become more effective teachers.

Here is the critical point. Any research would not be reliable or valid because every part of the teaching model would have to be implemented for an accurate assessment. See

For example, if teachers are not positive in their relationships with students, if options are not continually given to reduce coercions, and if students do not feel empowered, the program would not have been implemented as designed and, therefore, would not be valid.

What age group would be most receptive to your classroom management strategy?

Pre-school to high school. I have testimonials from all levels indicating the success of using the system.

However, the Hierarchy of Social Development can be used as a rubric for living—especially differentiating between EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL MOTIVATION.

How would you modify it for preschool children?

The vocabulary or four concepts works for people of all ages. The concepts behind the vocabulary are modified depending upon the age. Example: Anarchy to a kindergarten teacher could me a mess of toys around the room; for a high school student, anarchy could be what is happening in the Middle East today. For adults, it could be following a herd mentality vs. doing what is right regardless of what others do or say.


“When I entered the teaching profession six years ago, I struggled immensely with classroom behavior. When I started to use Dr. Marshall’s Teaching Without Stress, it turned my classroom into a positive learning environment. His system saved me!”
—Brianne Siderio, Kindergarten Teacher Somerdale, New Jersey






Copyright © 2016 Marvin Marshall.

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