I Challenge You To Be Better.: Knowing Yourself, Becoming A Friend Of Journaling & Self Evaluation.

I believe that in spite of all that is going on in the world; in your community, in your home for instance, it is possible for you to live a more meaningful life.
Whatever you choose to do in your life that is positive, can move from just being an idea in your head to becoming a reality.
So, what do you want for yourself? Do you want to become a better father or mother, student, athlete, business person or spiritually minded person for example.
I want you to read through this book and truly find value from the information that is placed within.
I challenge you to be better because I know you can.

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How to Impress Anyone in 30 Seconds or Less

Few things in life will help you more than knowing how to make an immediate great impression. Make note of these impressive habits.

Some experts estimate that 85 percent of your financial success comes not from your skills or knowledge but from your ability to connect with other people and engender their trust and respect.

Within seconds, everyone you meet forms an impression that largely determines whether they’ll like, trust, and respect you.

Whether you’re job-hunting or fundraising or leading an organization, making a good impression is absolutely critical. (No pressure, right?)

So whether you are looking to raise money for your company, or you are managing your team or leading your business, connecting to people and making a great impression is very important.

Here are some tips to help you win hearts and minds in 30 seconds:

Neutralize the fight-or-flight response.

The first few seconds of a first encounter are driven by instinctive reactions. Each person makes unconscious immediate appraisals that center around how safe they feel. Be mindful of your immediate signals, and make sure they could never be perceived as threatening.

Respect boundaries.

Be mindful of personal space and respect the boundaries of others. If in doubt, follow the other person’s cues: if they lean in, you lean in; if they stand back, you do the same. Remember that concepts of appropriate personal space vary by culture.

Feed expectations.

In business, first impressions are frequently colored by expectations. We expect people to live up to the image we have created in our minds from their reputation, phone calls, emails, or texts. We expect consistency with that general image — and without it, we feel some degree of disappointment and confusion. It’s not the time to surprise others with a new side of your personality.

Be mindful of body language.

It accounts for more than half of what others respond to initially — so it literally does speak louder than words. Hold yourself in a way that signals attention and an open heart, and keep a facial expression that combines authority with approachability and eye contact.

Stay positive.

The language of the brain is pictures, sounds, feelings, and to a lesser extent, smells and tastes. It’s much more difficult to translate negatives into brain-friendly imagery than positives. Work to develop a positive explanatory style.

Keep control of your attitude.

The general energy you give off is one of the first unconscious things people respond to. If you’re frazzled, project calm. If you’re distracted and unenthusiastic, project positivity. (You’ll not only make a better impression, but you can influence your own mood.)

Manage your moods.

People are drawn to warmth, enthusiasm, and confidence more than anger, arrogance, and impatience. Whatever is going on around you, manage your responses to get the best response from others.

Synchronize.

Make sure your words, your tone of voice, and your body language are all saying the same thing. Mixed messages put off others, but consistency gives you clarity and credibility.

Use sensory language.

Activate people’s senses, and mix up your imagery to make sure you hit their strength. Whenever possible, use descriptions of visual images, sounds, textures, motion, and feelings to add meaning to what you’re saying.

Be curious, open-minded, and interested.

If you can get the other person talking and keep them talking, odds are they’ll be drawn to you. Be interested and open-minded; ask questions that spark their imagination and ignite conversation.

Dress for success.

Find a personal style that represents who you are and the message you want to send about yourself. Look at your dress and appearance as packaging a product.

Have a personal statement.

Have a personal statement prepared and memorized so you can tell others concisely and eloquently what you do, what it means to you, and why it makes a difference. Think of it not as a sales pitch but an engaging and artfully crafted mini-presentation.

Work through these points and you should have a great first impression all lined up.

One final tip as you get out there:

Treat every connection you make as if it’s the most important thing you’ve ever done. Because, frankly, you never know when it actually will be.

 

Original article: http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/learn-how-to-impress-anyone-in-30-seconds-or-less.html?cid=sf01001

6 Tips to Rule the Art of Conversation

How to talk to anybody, anywhere, anytime

The art of conversation is a necessary skill for almost everything in life. Conversations introduce you to people, important people who could be your mentors, employers, employees, partners or friends. Without conversations as the foundation for those relationships, you’ll have a hard time building a social circle, starting a business or advancing your career.

Once a conversation gets going, you should have little problem maintaining that momentum—but for most of us, getting it started is the hardest part. Master these “talking points” to get (and keep) a conversation going:

1. Lead with a compliment.

Compliments are the best possible way to begin a conversation. Not only do they provide a perfect opening line and a possible door for discussion, they also make the person feel good about themselves. Starting the conversation off on a positive note is crucial to keep the conversation going.

Just remember, the more specific your compliment is, the better—for example, commenting that a person is well-dressed is nowhere near as satisfying or flattering as saying something like, “Your shoes are cute.” It’s concise, sincere and specific—and now you’ve opened the conversational door because your partner has something to talk about.

2. Embrace small talk.

Small talk is taboo to some people, and while it’s not the most fulfilling type of conversation, it is both functional and necessary. Small talk is what leads the way to deeper conversation, much in the way that a car must gradually accelerate to a certain speed rather than hitting 60 miles an hour instantaneously.

Small talk topics are easy to pull—you can talk about the event you’re attending, comment on a food or drink item, point something out about the venue, or if you’re desperate, you can talk about the weather. These are all shared experiences that anyone can relate to, so they can work for any individual.

3. Ask lots of questions.

If you want to move from small talk to real conversation, you have to look for any opportunity that leads you to change the subject. Don’t try to abruptly change gears and talk about something deep or substantial; instead, patiently wait for the opportunity to present itself.

Questions are conversational lubricant. Pay attention as much as you can to the conversation and use them to move it forward. You should be scouting the entire conversation for “tell me more” opportunities. Keep potential questions in the back of your mind. Try to be as specific and inquisitive as possible.

4. Be nice.

This should be obvious, but don’t neglect it. Your level of friendliness can make or break the receptiveness of the other party involved. Walk into the conversation with a big smile and open body language, and keep yourself open, receptive and smiling politely for as much of the conversation as you can.

Try not to cross your arms, appear distracted or let your eyes wander. Maintain eye contact when you can and go out of your way to show that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.

5. Let the other person do the talking.

This is another major point. If you go into a conversation and immediately begin dominating it with your own anecdotes, comments and explanations, the other person may immediately become disinterested. Instead, try to keep the focus on them as much as possible.

Utilizing frequent questions is a good strategy to this end. If you find that the conversation is dwindling, or if the person simply doesn’t respond well to questions, feel free to jump in yourself. Tell an amusing story or a personal anecdote—it may be exactly what the conversation needs to keep going.

6. Keep it light.

Try to keep the conversation as light and approachable as possible. If you immediately start complaining about your job or talking about what’s wrong with your life, people will want to avoid you. If you tell a joke or an amusing story, they’ll be far more likely to stay.

People tend to gravitate toward others with a positive attitude, so keep your conversational material positive. If you struggle with this, try memorizing a handful of good jokes or good stories to use when you meet new people.

These tips are written from a practical perspective, so they can be used in almost any environment, from a professional networking event to a bar or restaurant. The key is to get over your preconceived notions and hesitations and to embrace the reality of small talk. With a little practice and more confidence, you should have no problem starting a conversation with anybody, anywhere.

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/6-tips-to-rule-the-art-of-conversation#sthash.sLTCAGnm.dpuf

The Scientific 4-Step Process to Become World-Class at Anything

By Benjamin P. Hardy

If you want to become world-class at what you do, you must get to the point where it becomes unconscious and automatic.
IMAGE: Getty Images

Learning new things engages your prefrontal cortex, which operates via your working (i.e., short-term) memory. Your working memory is used for conscious decision-making and planning, directed at the attainment of your goals.

However, once you automatize a skill, it becomes subconscious; and thus, you free up by 90 percent your working memory, which allows higher-level functioning. For example, you can drive for minutes at a time without even thinking about driving.

In the context of learning and performance, automaticity allows you to apply and deepen your learning in novel and enhanced ways. Developing automaticity is the process of going from doing to being–empowering you to become an expert and innovator.

As Josh Waitzkin, author of The Art of Learning, has said, “Just as the yin-yang symbol possesses a kernel of light in the dark, and of dark in the light, creative leaps are grounded in a technical foundation.”

Here’s how it works.

1. Repetition!

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. –Earl Nightingale

The first step toward automaticity is repetitiously learning small sets or bits of information. If you’re learning a new language, it’s repeatedly hammering the same word types and roots. If you’re golfing, it’s practicing the same shot over and over.

However, automaticity goes beyond the initial point of mastery, to what has been called overlearning. To overlearn, you continue practicing and honing long after you know something inside-out.

Becoming grounded and proficient in the left-brained technical rules and skills frees up your right brain to creatively break or manipulate the rules.  As the Dali Lama has said, “Learn the rules well so you know how to break them properly.”

2. Find your zone and stay there as long as you can.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”―Richard Marcinko

The second step toward automaticity is making the practice or training progressively harder. If you’re at the gym, increase the weight and intensity. If you’re giving a speech, include elements outside your comfort zone.

The goal is making the task increasingly difficult until it’s too hard. Then you drop the difficulty back down slightly to stay near the zone or threshold of your current ability.

3. Add a time constraint.

The third step toward automaticity is making the training more difficult while adding a time restraint. Do the same activity (e.g., writing an article), but give yourself a shortened timeline to do it in. Your focus should be process, not outcome on this. Quality over quantity.

Adding a timeline forces you to work faster while at the same time it requires you to think about the time, which loads up your working memory (think Chopped on Food Network).

4. Load up your working memory with purposeful distractions.

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”–Sun Tzu

The final step toward automaticity is working/training with an increasing memory load. In other words, doing the task with greater levels of distraction. Math teachers leverage this strategy by having students learning an obscure fact and having them recall it immediately after completing a math problem.

Eventually, you can perform the activity in a flowlike state, where the external distractions and pressures no longer influence your unconscious ability to act.

Conclusion

Watching our 8-year-old foster son learn how to read is teaching me a lot about the development of automaticity. For months, he did everything he could to avoid reading. Yet, we were persistent in working with him.

Eventually, he developed confidence himself and began to see the utility of reading, and his motivation shifted from extrinsic to intrinsic. Now we have a difficult time stopping him from reading.

If you want to become world-class at what you do, you must get to the point where it becomes unconscious and automatic. Once you get to this level, you’ll be able to innovate and make your craft your own, because you’ll be operating at a higher frequency.

Original Post: http://www.inc.com/benjamin-p-hardy/the-scientific-4-step-process-to-become-world-class-at-anything.html

The iceberg of life: Helping children understand others.

It is vital that children be taught how to demonstrate respect for other persons. It is also of importance that children learn how to identify types of verbal, emotional and physical responses displayed. This podcast touches on the importance of these as well as tips on how to teach a young child or adolescent.

Children need reasons and direction to engage task

Many years ago, it probably was easier for an adult to say to a child ‘do this, or do that’. And what happened? The child engaged the task, without even asking, why? But children are at an early age engaging in discovery learning and critical thinking; they are inquisitive. It is true, children still go through the various stages in thinking and development, but being exposed to various media, as well as socialization that take place, they are encouraged to question and to explore different ways of thinking.
What adults are finding is that children no longer simply do as they are told but seek reasons as to why they should engage a specific task.
In some task, because of a lack of experience not all children can engage successfully, unless they receive direction. It is therefore left to their parents or/ and teachers to offer the necessary rationale for why they should engage a specific task and also offer the necessary directions to complete the task successfully.
Stay tuned as today’s podcast discuss this.

5 Soft Skills to Teach This Year

With our continued shift to a technology driven society, few days go by that I don’t have a conversation with someone concerned about “today’s kids’ ” lack of “Soft Skills.” As the mother of 2 of these aptly named “GEN Z” babies…I can understand the worry. As an adult who has simply adapted to the culture, not grown up in it, I often find myself buried in my mobile phone rather than having an actual conversation. I’ve even recently learned a “wear your ear buds to avoid conversation” trick when I’m exhausted…from my twelve year old.

Yet soft skills remain some of the most important things employers look for when hiring according to the Jobs Can Blog https://www.jobscan.co/blog/top-resume-skills-for-2016-2/  .  As educators our job is to ensure our students are prepared for success when they leave our classrooms/schools. I wholeheartedly believe a HUGE portion of this success will increasing revolve around how well our schools teach students soft skills.

Here are 5 Soft Skills that are currently the “Most Often Looked for by Employers” (Jobs Can Blog) and some suggestions on how to incorporate them into your classrooms/schools this year:

1) TEAMWORK:

  • Working together toward a common goal.
  • Functioning successfully in different team roles
  • Putting the “Team’s Success” before personal success

Classroom/School Translation

Admittedly, I was a student who cringed when the teacher would say we were “working in groups.” I would end up doing the entire project/assignment myself due to my Type A personality (among other things)! There was NO Teamwork in these groups.

Thankfully, today I can say I have seen group work done so well I would’ve asked for it when I was a student! The key to this awesome group work I’ve been has been 1) Assigning roles to each team member (which changes with each assignment/project) 2) Clear expectations of the duties to be performed by the student assigned each role 3) A system of checks/balances in place to ensure the group is functioning as a TEAM with each student staying on task with their role. GROUP WORK IS GREAT…but it takes A LOT of work on the front end to establish norms, systems, and behavioral expectations to make “Groups” into functioning TEAMS! Teaching successfully in groups is one of the more masterful arts of our profession.

Another outstanding way to promote teamwork in your school is to encourage participation in an activity, club, or sport school-wide. (For example- Many schools require all entering Freshman to participate in at least one activity.) Increased social activities along with the group activities/teamwork are great ways to build soft skills in even the most introverted student. These can be done during an “activity” period in the day, during excess lunch or recess time, or even after school (if that’s the only option).

         2) Decision-Making

  • Making a choice based on evidence gathered
  • Being definitive…based on goals

Classroom/School Translation

Allowing students to choose from a variety of assignment types to show mastery of a skill is a great way to cause students to begin to critically examine their individual decision-making. Instead of “just doing what my friend does” students begin to look at what they would really prefer to do or what allows them to show they have mastered the skill in the most efficient (fastest and best) way.

Another example is providing students “student voice” within the school. Give them spots on committees and other duties that require responsibility. This demands a huge amount of decision-making; 1) are they willing to do it 2) decisions they have to make through the process This is a great way of giving students a “window” into the world of the adults in the school.

Soft Skills MATTER!

Soft Skills MATTER!

3) Communication

  • Talking face to face, making eye-contact while speaking, understanding social norms in various situations
  • Appropriately using Social Media for communication

Classroom/School Translation

Modeling appropriate ways to communicate can go a long way. Educators must assume students are not being taught these skills at home (most are not). Assignments that require interviewing adults, peer-to-peer questioning, and other communication via non-technology means (no emails please!) are great assignments for this. Make sure you do not assume students know how to do properly do this (they usually don’t); provide live examples for them.

Telephone (land line & cell) conversation etiquette is something that needs to be taught. What you should or should not say, text, or post to social media is a very important piece of information that can impact your students’ futures long after their lives in school.

As a school why not train students to greet visitors and give tours. No better way of learning communication skills than actually putting them to use in an important setting.

 

4) Planning & Prioritizing

  • Scheduling for optimum production over time
  • Doing what is most urgent first then following with items in order of importance

Classroom/School Translation

Educators have a great opportunity to scaffold students’ abilities to plan & prioritize. Long-term goals provided at the beginning of a class that have multiple components and will not be due until far into the term are a perfect example.

For younger students, allowing them to prioritize what needs to be done first in a project versus giving them step-by-step directions is a great way of building students’ prioritizing skills.

As a school it’s important to plan and prioritize and your students can be part of this. Student leaders can maintain an activity schedule they create among the different clubs and activities in conjunction with school administration. Along with planning and prioritization…this also requires the other soft skills we’ve already discussed.

5) Research Skills

  • Finding information from a variety of sources
  • Ensuring information is truthful & meets actual research needs
  • Ability to cite research

Classroom/School Translation

Long gone are the days of the card catalogue and the bound encyclopedia from our students’ research repertoire. Teachers are now responsible for instructing students on how to navigate “the Web” for their research needs.

Students must understand the difference between a credible source on the Web and one that may not be credible as well as where to go to find each. Along with this tall task we also must make sure our students understand the importance of citing works and how-to do this when using electronic sources. Thankfully, there have been several tools created to make this simpler.

As a school, moving to e-portfolios that require students to keep a sampling of their work for each term (with various different specifications for different schools) makes great sense. A requirement like this would not only provide evidence your students had appropriate research skills and were applying them in their classroom; it would also show the growth of these skills over time.

Post:http://daisydyerduerr.com/5-soft-skills-to-teach-this-year/

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