Senin, 14 Juli 2008

Harness the Power of Skill Sets and Mindsets

When you have a problem, sometimes you need a new skill or skill set to deal with it. That was an epiphany generated from listening to a speaker the other day. Everything seemed so clear in that moment. Yes, it made sense.

Sometimes when you wrestle with problems, you might not see an immediate solution and you struggle to find one. After a while, you might give up completely, thinking that it is impossible to find a solution for that particular problem. At that moment, the idea that you might simply need new skills or knowledge to overcome the difficulty can be very empowering.

Making that mental connection allows you to escape being stuck and giving up, it focuses your mind on a solution. It doesn't allow you to think that there is no solution which can only lead to depression or feeling 'down'.

But then you might think that you lack knowledge or skills in a certain area. Yet, you know that you could either find that knowledge or develop the skills to solve your problem.

Alternatively, you could hire someone to solve your problem. NO killing please, that is not a solution, but a doorway to greater problems. However, under normal circumstances, hiring someone with the right skills is perfectly acceptable. For example, you might higher a plumber if you have a problem with your shower or sink. You could take the time to learn the skills but you have to weigh the value of that learning curve against how much it would cost to actually hire someone with the skills already.

Maybe you have decided that there is no one with the skill set you need available or that it is worth your time to develop a new skill. What are some sources of knowledge and places to develop these new skill sets? Libraries, books, online searches, bookstores, Internet, circles of influence, brainstorming, mastermind groups and even asking someone you don't know for their viewpoint can sometimes yield new ideas, leading to new results.

The bottom line is that there are resources everywhere for you to tap into, you just have to open your eyes and allow yourself to become aware that this is the case. There is always a way to find new resources and you can keep tapping those resources for expertise until you find what you are looking for and you develop the new skill.

There are also ways to reframe existing problems. Questioning the underlying thoughts that support your belief that you even have a problem in the first place can sometimes yield interesting results. Sometimes we get stuck in a mindset and asking ourselves questions to understand the legitimacy or redefine the reality of situation can be most useful.

By Dave Snape

The 99 Percent Rule

It's Friday night, you're sitting at a restaurant, and as your meal arrives, the server says, "Now, don't touch that plate. It's hot." What's the first thing you do?

Well, 99% of the time you're going to touch that plate, right?

I call it the 99% rule. It's closer to 100%, but I give myself a little "out" for those who wish to find a loophole in it.

After years of studying human behavior, I've come up with a few of these 99% rules that I wish to share with you today. Looking for these common denominators in everyday conversation will help you read between the lines more quickly.

When someone starts a sentence with it's not, they're usually trying to tell you what something really is without hurting your feelings.

When someone starts a sentence with I don't, they're trying to direct you without hurting your feelings.

Here are some examples of the first rule in action.

When they say, "It's not you, it's me," they're trying to tell you that it is you. (Since I date quite a bit, I hear this one quite often!)

When they say, "It's not that you're too short," they're trying to tell you that they think you are too short.

When they say, "It's not that I have a drinking problem," what probably comes out of their mouth next is a story about how they drank too much.

Get the picture? But please don't take my word for this. Listen for yourself. It will amaze you.

Here's how I use the 99% rule in everyday activity to help me cut to the chase and find out what's really on someone's mind. Let's say a salesperson comes into my office and begins his sentence with, "It's not that we're trying to raise money, we're simply trying to help you gain a new product line for your corporation."

Now, whatever comes out of his mouth next doesn't really make a difference, because I know by using the 99% rule that he really wants to raise money. So I would interrupt him mid-sentence and say, "Listen, you need money, and I could use the product. Forget the five dollars that you want for each unit. I'll save us both time and give you what you could really use: two dollars each. Do you want it?"

You see, once you master listening to what people are actually trying to tell you, it puts you in control and it can save a lot of heartache in the long run.

The other example I mentioned was the phrase I don't. When someone starts a sentence with I don't, the 99% rule tells you that they're actually trying to direct you without hurting your feelings. Here are some examples.

"I don't want to tell you how to raise your children, but . . ."

"I don't want to tell you how to drive, but . . ."

"I don't want you to take my side, but . . ."

See what I mean?

Now go out and use this information for yourself. Try it out with your friends, business associates, and dates. They'll be amazed at how well you can read them, and you'll look like a star by simply using and applying the 99% rule.

By Keep Smilin

Perfectionism - The Dangerous Trap!

Just when I have something figured out, along comes another how-to-article telling me how to be or do something better or even change my entire life. No matter where I turn, I am constantly reminded that I am not good enough in more ways than one. I am not smart enough, not rich enough, not slim enough, not efficient enough, not pretty enough, not powerful enough, not "with it" enough and probably "out of it" altogether.

That's me and it gets worse. In line with our education economy, yesterday's perfect diet is banned today and my car of the year was just recalled. My time-management is out of date and my writing achievements fade against the big authors. Yes, I am my own worst critic. Growing up with perfectionist parents didn't help either. It wasn't until their seventies, that my father could tolerate fingerprints on his freshly washed car and that my mother learned to enjoy a meal without matching table d├ęcor.

Perfectionism is driving us up the wall or around the bend and neither direction is desirable. No wonder half of the population is on Prozac and the other half copes on some other crutch. We live under constant pressure to be perfect and expect nothing less from others. Intensely glued to information that helps us conform to some perfect ideal, we learn less about ourselves. Detached from the core of who we are, we show up with fabricated selves to gain approval.

There is quite a difference between aiming for a successful life or relationship and trying to achieve perfection. Contrary to popular belief, perfection is not required to succeed in love and life. In fact, the perfectionism-trap has serious negative consequences:

We feel our accomplishments are never good enough

We don't achieve personal satisfaction

We value people based on their achievements

We believe doing our best doesn't cut it

We take mistakes personally and hesitate to try again

We are afraid to show our flaws

We are vulnerable to rejection

We do what we should, not what we want

We set impossible to reach goals

We are hard on others and ourselves

We expect perfection of others

We develop a obsession with perfectionism

We feel we never measure up

We fear failure in relationships and have difficulties being intimate

We don't pursue a relationship out of fear it might not be perfect

We become critical of our partners

To sum it up, we believe that unless we are perfect success and love will evade us. The biggest cost of perfectionism is our neglect of the humble core within and our failure to claim a life in alignment with our true self. Instead of focussing on our qualities and all that is right with us, we are busy fixing everything seemingly imperfect. Driven to live up to the perfect ideal we become pretentious, self-promoting, critical human beings. Because of our focus on achieving goals, we never enjoy the journey of getting there. As a result we lose the irreplaceable moments of relating to people and doing things.

Webster defines perfectionism as "a disposition, which regards anything short of perfect as unacceptable". The torment for perfectionists is that they never find anything perfect, simply because perfection does not exist. Instead they suffer from social and personal anxiety and strained relationships. To find peace, accept ourselves and nurture the best in us, we have to overcome perfectionism and:

·Use our mistakes as opportunities for growth

·Set goals in line with who we are and what we want

·Accept ourselves as human beings with flaws

·Give a little less than 100% and still experience success

·Enjoy the journey instead of just focussing on the goal

·Recognize that anxiety arises when we set unrealistic goals

·Understand that we get more done and feel better about ourselves if we don't strive for perfection.

·Give up the irrational belief that relationships must be perfect ·Stop second guessing ourselves

·Be compassionate with ourselves and our partners

Thousands of people give less than 100% to a goal, but 100% to the journey and succeed. Everyday people don't give all they've got, but still get done what they need to. If we try to give 100 % to everything we do, we never get enough done. Perfectionists operate on the assumption that unless they can give 100 % to a task, they won't even start. As a result, they become occupied with trivial details and put off tasks until they can make a 100% effort. Perfectionists tend to be procrastinators with endless to-do lists and dreams put on hold until "some day."

When it comes to relationships, perfectionists don't do that well either. Single perfectionists keep on dating without making a choice, thinking someone more perfect will be around the corner. When they are in a relationship, the fear that it might not be perfect, keeps their relationships from progressing. Even when they finally settle with a partner, second-guessing their choice and being critical of their partner ensures frustrating relationships. Compromise in love as well as in life is difficult for them. Perfectionists pay a high price for the misguided belief that choosing the right love partner will guarantee a perfect relationship.

The entire perfectionist-trap becomes a vicious cycle in life and love. The more we attempt to be perfect in every area, the more anxious we get. This anxiety is coupled with a feeling of always falling short or behind. Consequently we concentrate on what is wrong with us or what we didn't do. While doing our very best is admirable, more often than not, doing a good job is enough. The truth is that we are always half-cooked human beings in transition. Nobody will love us any more just because we are more perfect. We are being loved for the passion and spirit we bring to the table as genuine human beings.

By Allie Ochs

Life - The Teacher

You've probably heard the phrase "repetition is the mother of learning" well apparently it's also the mother of teaching. Often it seems, Life - The Teacher uses the tool of repetition to imprint into our brains the lessons it's needing to impart to us. At least this has been my experience.

It has become clear to me that life gives the same tests over, and over and over again until we demonstrate that we've learned the lesson by passing the test. This teacher seems more than happy to show us again and again why it may be a bad idea to take a particular action, or choose one direction over another. The good news here is that it works both ways. Like any good teacher choose properly and life smiles. Choose improperly and life corrects.

Sometimes I wish and think that it would be simpler and easier if the teacher would just make all of my decisions for me and let me know exactly what I'm supposed to do, but of course that's not the way it works. In this teacher role life is just an administrator, not an advisor or counselor. Life is there to administer and grade the tests.

Once you pass the test however, Life records your grade and moves on to the next lesson. But don't completely discard the lesson you've just learned as over because it's not. You may not see or have to deal with this particular thing again for quite some time but you can bet at some point down the road you will see it again. The lessons and tests we've passed usually return in the form of pop quiz's. Out of the blue one day an opportunity to display this lesson learned will pop up and you'll have to conquer it all over again. If you fail or don't score high enough on this little pop quiz you'll have to deal with it more and more often until you pass the test again. Like starting over with it. The trick is to score high marks on the lessons because the higher the score the less often life throws it at you. Show a mastery of it, and it is presented as a test with much less frequency.

So the question: What are you tired of having to deal with day in and day out? What lesson do you feel life is beating you up with?

Want to get rid of it? Show life (and yourself) that you get it. Do whatever you need to do to display that you've mastered this particular lesson. Life will reciprocate by giving you a break from it. But remember, Life is smart. You can't trick it. The higher degree to which you display a mastery of the lesson, the less frequently life will re-present it to you.

Anyway, that's my take. What's yours?

Live some. Love some. Learn some. Everyday.


By Clyde Dennis

Business Ideas - Need a New Idea? Try Changing Your Perspective

One definition of creativity states that creative people look at the same thing everyone else does, yet they see something no one else does.

But even creative people (which includes all of you, of course) can run into roadblocks every now and then. Sometimes it's not possible to see something different. Sometimes you've just been staring at a problem for so long it's now impossible to look at it in any other way.

So what do you do in these situations?

Why not try changing your perspective?

Consider this: A friend of mind who does needlepoint has a design that's mostly black. Rather than simply stitching the design on white canvas with black thread, she's using a black canvas and is stitching the negative aspects of the design instead of the positive.

She changed the way she viewed the problem. And now she has a really cool-looking needlepoint design that's different from most other ones out there.

Or what about this: An art teacher has her students turn a photograph or object upside down and paint what they see -- not a picture but an arrangement of shapes.

By changing your perspective, you're changing what you see. And when you change what you see, you're more likely to create something completely different.

But -- I can hear you all saying right now -- that's art. That won't help me with my business problem.

Okay, so here's another story from the book "Thinkertoys" by Michael Michalko. Back in the 1950s, experts proclaimed the ocean freighter industry was dying. Costs were skyrocketing and delivery times kept getting pushed back later and later.

Executives at the shipping companies kept focusing on ways to cut costs while ships were sailing. They developed ships that went faster and needed fewer crew members to run.

It didn't work. Costs continued to spiral out of control and it still took too long to get the merchandise shipped.

Then one day, a consultant changed the perspective. Rather than ask the question: " In what ways might we make ships more economical while at sea?" executives asked: "In what ways can we reduce costs?"


Ships are big money-sucking machines when they aren't at sea actually doing their job -- shipping merchandise. And when aren't they working? When they're sitting in port being loaded and unloaded.

So, the industry came up with way to preload merchandise on land. Now a ship comes in, the container carrying the cargo rolls off, a new container already loaded with cargo rolls on, and the ship heads back to sea.

That one innovation saved an entire industry. And it happened because shipping executives changed the way they viewed their problem.

Creativity Exercise -- Change your perspective

So, how can you change your perspective and solve your business/marketing problems?

Try what the shipping industry did and change the question.

Instead of looking at a narrow part of the problem ("In what ways can we make ships more economical while at sea?") broaden the question ("In what ways can we reduce costs in general?")

Here's another example.

Maybe your question is "how can I land more clients?" What if you started broadening the question like so:

How can I land more clients?

How can I grow my business?

How can I make more money from my business?

How can I make more money period?

How can I be happier in my life? (I know, I know, money doesn't buy happiness. But it's certainly nice to have.)

Maybe one of those questions is a better place to look for a solution. Because maybe one of those questions is the "real" question you want to solve, but since you never took a step back to look at the big picture, you've never discovered the right question to ask.

And if you don't ask the right question, your muse will never give you an answer that actually solves your problem.

By Michele Pariza Wacek

Accelerate Your Learning

Although you may not currently be a student, learning is a life long process. Perhaps you need to learn something new for your job, or you would like to learn a new language before you take a vacation abroad, or you want to "brush up" on math so you can help your children with their homework. For many of us school and/or learning were not pleasant experiences, so we may hesitate to attempt to learn something new. Fortunately there are ways to enhance the learning experience to help make learning fun, easy, and successful. (This process works for kids too.)

"Accelerated Learning" is a system based on studies of the human mind and how knowledge is acquired. It is a powerful process that engages both the analytical and the emotional parts of the brain and uses both the conscious and the subconscious mind. The body is important to learning as well. Many of us need movement to learn. We also need to take into consideration our learning styles and our multiple intelligences. One of the important components of Accelerated Learning is the use of music.

Although any music can have an effect on your mind and body, there are particular types of music that can enhance learning, just as there are certain kinds of music that can interfere with learning. The founder of the Accelerated Learning movement, Dr. Georgi Lozanov, experimented with a wide variety of music in his research. He found that Baroque music affects the emotional centers of the brain as well as the heart and breathing. Today there are a number of composers who have designed music to enhance our learning abilities. I use both Baroque music and the specially designed music in all the classes I teach. At the end of this article there is a list of music that my students prefer.

This is by no means a complete list. Experiment to find out what suites you. One of the most important considerations is that the background music does not have words that you might sing consciously (or unconsciously), as that would interfere with information acquisition. You can use highly rhythmic music as a base for creating rhymes or raps or jingles to help you memorize lists or processes.

Preparation for learning is another key component of Accelerated Learning. There are several things you can do to assist your body and mind to get into a receptive state for learning. In addition to your traditional learning tools (books, computer program, paper, pens, etc.) you will need a cassette or CD player and your "learning" music in your learning space. If you prefer comfort to learn, you might choose an easy chair, if you need structure, a desk or a table would be better for you.

Before you open your book, or start your program, spend a few minutes getting ready to learn. Since an ideal state for learning is in a relaxed body with an alert mind, do a brief relaxation exercise with the music in the background. Then bring to mind a successful learning experience that you have had in the past - any kind of learning. Try to re-create the joy and pleasure you felt while you were learning and the satisfaction you felt when you succeeded.

After spending a few moments in this pleasant experience, begin your current learning experience. If you find that you start to tense up, pause, take a few deep breaths, listen to the music for a few moments, and resume learning. Take frequent breaks and briefly review what you have learned when you return.

Some Baroque selections include Handel's Water Music, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Pachebel's Canon in D Major and Mozart's Symphony in D Major ("Haffner"). OptimaLearning has created several volumes of specially compiled Baroque music for learning and productivity. The Sound Health Series by the Center for Psychoacoustical Research includes classical music for learning, concentration, thinking, motivation, inspiration, and relaxation.

Some of the specially created music by Stephen Halpern has subliminal messages, but you can find his Music for Accelerated Learning and Music for Creativity without subliminals. He has a variety of relaxing CDs as well. Daniel Kobialka uses Pachelbel's Canon in his composition Timeless Motion and it is my personal favorite.

So, use music, relaxation, and positive visualization to make learning easier and more fun.

By Lorna Minewiser Ph.D

Let the Seeds Grow

The thought that every great thing that has ever happened, been spoken or invented began first with a single idea is not a new one, but one I don't think many people have taken to heart.

I find that many people are constantly getting ideas. That is their mind is producing many new thoughts on a regular basis. This is incredible because that means that the seeds for great things are right there in the soil of our minds and hearts.

Unfortunately, we all too often do not let those seeds grow.

Instead we dismiss the idea.

We will never know, but I wonder who it was that first thought of the light bulb, but dismissed the idea. I wonder who it was that first saw the automobile in his or her mind's eye, but dismissed the idea. Who was it that thought up the way to run computers but allowed the seed to slip away?

Let these seeds grow! Do not dismiss any idea as a bad one immediately. Write your ideas down. Look at them for a week or a year. Brew over them. Consider them. Let them GROW. In the end you may need to dismiss them, but not before you give them a chance to grow into something incredible that may change your life, your family, your business, your community or your world. If you let your ideas grow, you will surely see many great things happen in your life.

Let your seeds of ideas grow - see what they may become!

By Chris Widener