Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Power of Humility: Why Confidence is Overrated

Any good self-help book will tell you to be confident. Stand up straight, see past your critics and believe in yourself. I’d like to break tradition and argue the opposite. That humility is a useful tool and confidence can be overrated.

Deluded by Your Own Hype

Whipping yourself into a motivational frenzy may temporarily make you feel better, but it has hidden side effects. The major disadvantages from false confidence are:

  1. Inability to Learn. Too much confidence and you can’t acknowledge faults, weaknesses or ignorance. Learning needs to start from a place of ignorance, and you can’t do that when you already know what is best.
  2. Avoid Humbling First Steps. In this article, I wrote about how “I Suck” moments can create positive changes. The reason is that to get better in a lot of areas, you have to take a step back. A pay cut to work a job you love. Dating failures to find the right relationship. Confidence can actually pull you away from these humbling first steps.
  3. Arrogance Swingback Effect. Faked confidence has an emotional backlash. A tendency of people with low self-esteem is to go from thinking they are fantastic to feeling miserable, all after a minor mistake. Building a house without a foundation won’t create a stable structure. Similarly, building up your ego without the foundation of competence and skills can lead to an emotional collapse.
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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Discover the 90/10 Principle

It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).

What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.
We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in Traffic.

We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%. How? ……….By your reaction. You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what Just happened.What happens next will be determined by how you react.

You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and Criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt.
Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye.

After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse.

You look forward to coming home.

When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? …. Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?
A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?

The answer is “D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "Its ok honey, you just need to be more careful next time".
Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window
And see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on
How good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.

Why?

Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off Like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive?

Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job. The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take outpour frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control Over what is going on. Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is
incredible. Very few know and apply this principle.

The result?

Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Better Life

Thoughts can only be formed in the present moment. And thoughts can only exert effects in the present moment. If you can grasp these two concepts, you’ll be able to discard some forms of delusional thinking and craft much more effective intentions.

Here’s an example to help clarify: Suppose you like the idea of tithing 10% of your income to worthy causes. But your finances are too tight for you to feel comfortable tithing right now. However, you tell yourself that you intend to start tithing once you experience a greater state of abundance. So you’re acknowledging the reality of your present situation while holding a positive intention for the future. This seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

In actuality, however, this type of thinking is self-defeating.

Consider the thoughts/intentions that are being put forth:

  1. The intention to tithe (future).
  2. The intention to experience limited finances (present).
  3. The intention not to tithe (present).
  4. The intention to experience abundance (future).

Now collapse all of these intentions to the present, since other times are merely illusion. This yields the following:

  1. The intention to tithe (present).
  2. The intention to experience limited finances (present).
  3. The intention not to tithe (present).
  4. The intention to experience abundance (present).

Is this a congruent set of intentions? Obviously it’s in conflict because 1 cancels 3, and 2 cancels 4.

Unfortunately, this is how most people go about forming and holding intentions. No wonder their intentions fail to manifest. If you hold intentions like the ones above, you can invest tons of energy and have very little to show for it.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

15 Extra Ways to Keep Your Brain In Shape

“If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.”
- Brian Koslow

It’s simple, your brain is at the center of everything you do, all you feel and think, and every nuance of how you relate to people. It’s both the supercomputer that runs your complex life and the tender organ that houses your soul. So it is very important to focus on keeping your brain in shape.

By regularly engaging in the right activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity. Here are some extra tips on how to keep your brain in top nick.

1. Just stop.
Take 20-30 minutes out of your day to think about nothing. But don’t sleep – you’ve got to meditate. Sit still, reduce sensory input, and try to focus your mind on something like a calm scene or a color (to begin with thinking about something rather than trying to think of ‘nothing’ is easier). A study at the University of Kentucky revealed that subjects who took a late-afternoon test after meditating for 30 minutes had better scores than those who napped for the same time.

2. Hit the streets.
Lace up your running shoes and get moving. A study from the University of Illinois, US, revealed that aerobic exercise actually increases brain volume. They put two groups through different regimens - one did aerobic training three times weekly for one hour; the other group did just stretching and toning exercise. The aerobics group had increased their brain volume and white matter, which forms the connections between neurons.

3. Mix it up.
Exercise has long been hailed as an aid to brain-power longevity. But to ensure you’re not leaving the gas on in your eighties, vary your workout routines now. Try changing things up on a regular basis and you’ll stimulate your brain more because you’re not using the same pathway over and over again.

4. Read a book.
Choose from classic literature, science fiction or personal development books and give your brain a boost. Pick up a novel before your next flight or vacation. On top of the cerebral benefits, the escapism that comes from reading can be very relaxing. Reading helps you exercise your cognitive skills and increase your vocabulary. Do it regularly and you’ll be amazed at the information you absorb, which will make you a more interesting conversationalist.

5. One-cup-manship.
Swilling coffee could be the perfect accompaniment to the cryptic crossword. Austrian researchers measuring brain activity found short-term memory and concentration improved after consuming 100mg of caffeine - equal to an Americano. But after 40 minutes those guinea pigs were back to the dumbness levels of a twice-a-day Deal Or No Deal viewer.

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