Monthly Archives: June 2019

5 Steps to Resolving Any Conflict

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photo credit: Chris Liverani @chislivderani – unsplash

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Dale Carnegie

Conflict happens to the best of us and, depending on how we handle or (or don’t handle it), it can be a healthy and healing experience or an emotionally trying disaster. The problem with conflict is that most of us see it in a negative light as something to be avoided at all costs. And many of us have never learned how to handle it properly, in a healthy and constructive manner. However, conflict can be, not only necessary but also very healthy and educational.

The fact of the matter is that conflict happens as a result of people having unmet expectations which clash with the unmet expectations of others. We communicate inefficiently or sometimes not at all about what we want or need.  People hurt people and people are irrational emotional creatures. But when we can break down and understand the anatomy of conflict ( and understand the process),m we can actually turn conflict into a learning and growing experience.

The book entitled Conflict Resolution: The 8 Vital Principles, by Bill Lewis, breaks down the process of conflict resolution to help us become better at handling the “people problems” in our lives. The first three principles are really the foundation for beginning the resolution process, the groundwork if you will.

  1. Confront the Person (or persons) Immediately and Directly
  2. Speak Directly to Them Rather Than Gossip About Them
  3. Speak Face to Face

Step One: Affirm Your Relationship

At this point, before anything else can take place in terms of resolving relationship or communication issues, it is important to let the other person know that you value the relationship. It may be uncomfortable or even feel awkward to do so, but this must be done if you are hoping to resolve conflict, even when it involves people who are close that you see every day At this point, the nature or substance of the conflict is not important because the focus is on re-establishing the foundation of the relationship.

It is also important to communicate something along the lines of ” There was probably a misunderstanding and perhaps there is something I could have done to prevent this. I would like to know what I can do to make it right” In this way you are turning the table and putting the ownership of the problem on yourself rather than accusing the other person, which means that the other person will be more likely to open up and discuss the situation with you.

Above all, do not skip this most important step because it is the most important step in the process. As Steven Covey taught, people have an “emotional bank account” where negative words/ criticisms are withdrawals and sincere praise and kind words are deposits in the account. Thus, it is important to make a deposit in the emotional bank account before talking about resolution or reconciliation to “balance the account” because if the other person has an emotional deficit, he or she will not likely want to engage in the process.

Step Two: Be Genuine In Trying to Understand the Person

The focus in this step is to genuinely understand where the other person is coming from. You might be tempted to bombard the person with questions, but you should refrain from doing so. You do not want the other person to feel that they are in the middle of an interrogation. Instead, give the other person space to explain in their own way and words. Your job at this point is to listen with intention. What you want to understand, as Steven Covey taught, is their thoughts and feelings.

The best way to do this is by using the Mirroring Technique, which is actually the practice of reflecting back what was actually said so as to confirm what you heard. In fact, if you are not mirroring back their words, then you are not truly listening. During this process, the person doing the listening does the following:

Listens

Asks “mirroring” questions to clarify and understand only

Clearly restates the other’s position

Expresses genuine concern to make things right again

It is important to remember that, it is counterproductive to go on the defensive.

“You should empathetically accept that hurt was given and seek to make it right. Hurt is caused by unmet expectations by one or both parties” (p. 47)

What mirroring can do:

Heal Hurts

Release Misunderstandings

Release Mistakes

Build People

Step Three: Present Your Perspective In a Loving Manner

Only after steps one and two have been completed can you move on to step three. This step requires a huge dose of love and patience. You will need to convey your words as lovingly as you can so that they can be received in the same spirit. Otherwise, the other person may perceive your words as hostile and not wish to pursue the discussion. Remember that what the person perceives are feelings and not necessarily the actual words, so you need to convey your message lovingly without any negative undertones.

A keyword in this step is share. In this step, your goal is simply to share information with the objective of seeking resolution. Keep the focus on the goal and do not blame, justify or lecture (we all do these almost automatically). If we get off track and fall into one of these patterns, we can easily risk making withdrawals from the emotional bank account and thereby lose ground. The key here is to let the other person know how you felt. This step of sharing your feelings is very important in the process because the other person needs to hear your side to have a complete picture.

Some things to remember:

Don’t assign motives to the other person

Don’t speak in a way that is attacking

Don’t justify, blame or lecture

Step Four: Own Your Responsibility And Apologize

Hopefully, during the first three steps, you have taken as much respo0nsibility as you can for the conflict. Of course, it is important to do this as honestly and sincerely as possible. Being humble and owning responsibility for whatever you can truthfully own shows the other person that you are acting in good faith with the intent of doing your best to restore the relationship

Why is owning the responsibility so important? It is not only an act of good faith towards the other person; it is also very healing. It sets you free whereas not doing so can hold you prisoner to the situation and the other person. Taking responsibility also builds up your “Trust” bank account with yourself and others. Actions speak louder than words and when people see that you are willing to own your share of the responsibility, they are more open to trusting you.

When you take responsibility, it is equally important to apologize and apologize sincerely from the heart. You can not apologize before you have owned your responsibility, only after. Otherwise, your apology will not be seen as sincere.

Some things to remember:

Stay humble

Take responsibility for your part in the conflict

Aplogize sincerely after owning your part of the responsibility

Step Five: Establish Agreement

The importance of this step is to move the relationship forward in a positive direction. As much as the resolution of the conflict is necessary, it is equally essential to feed the relationship with positive sustaining “food”. No one wants to go through this process over and over. If the relationship is not nourished, it will not just remain the same (or stagnate); it will actually begin to deteriorate again.

At this point, it is helpful to agree on a game plan for how to move forward. Find areas of potential tension/conflict and resolve to put strategies in place to prevent these scenarios in the future. For example, you might agree to give one another the benefit of the doubt, or discuss issues immediately and not let them fester or push them under the rug.

You do not want to repeat negative patterns. Fixing the situation is a very good step, but strengthening the relationship is far better.

Some things to remember:

Agree to avoid repeating the same mistakes

Learn from the conflict

Discuss/brainstorm how to have unity in the future

Turn the conflict into a victory

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne loves to travel, pursue self-improvement and debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca


4 Proactive Tips For A Positive Attitude

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photo credit: Drew Beamer @drew_beamer -unsplash

Our attitude is really the only thing we have control over in our life. In a world where so many things happen to us and around us, it is sometimes hard to see clearly and get on top of the circumstances. Things happen. Life happens. One day does not resemble the day before or the day after. We wonder why things happen and why they happen to us. It is often hard to see the big picture when you are driving through the mud.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Viktor E. Frankl

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.- Winston Churchill

Our attitude is more important than our situation, it is more important than our relationships, it is more important than our job or lack thereof, it is more important than our work, it is more important than our problems and it is more important than our financial troubles. Everything that happens is filtered through our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. -. Charles Swindoll

In his book, The Power of Your Potential, author, and speaker, John Maxwell lists 4 proactive ways to have a positive attitude;

1.Stay Humble

Humility is an important quality to develop for anyone who is interested in bettering themselves. It is also fairly rare in today’s society where the prevailing attitude (at least from what we see in the media) is “me, myself, and I”. As much in the corporate world as in most other sectors of society, lack of humility leads to conflict, loss of trust, and disconnection from those around us.

For anyone who wants to improve in every area of his life. an attitude of humility is a must. First, humility is an attractive quality that inspires others and attracts them to us. People are easily drawn to someone who is accepting of themselves and others just as they are. Where arrogance or pride can turn people off, the humble person who is willing to admit his weaknesses and learn from others makes people more willing to associate with and work with him. The humble person admits that he or she does not have all the answers and readily admits to being wrong when this is the case.

Contrary to the opinion that a person needs to be competitive and ruthless in business, humility is actually a quality that will bring the best advancement as well as open up more opportunities and increase business networks. When a person is able to share the credit with others, play down their own strengths to build others up, turn to others for their opinions and listen to them, their professional opportunities will increase.

What does lack of humility look like? A person lacking humility tends to:

  • Not listen to others and believes he or she is right
  • Be easily frustrated of defensive when encountering problems or when criticized
  • Be unwilling to take into account other viewpoints
  • Focus on being the best rather than bring out the best in people
  • Be slow to apologize or recognize faults
  • Be unwilling to improve

2. Be Teachable

Teachable is really the desire to want to learn from everyone and every experience. It is an attitude of open-mindedness. Aas a prerequisite, being teachable requires that we appreciate what is around us especially people. It means living with the expectation that there is always something new to learn.

A teachable person is also a humble person willing to accept their own limitations and shortcomings. They are usually avid listeners who have no problem changing their own viewpoint when given enough evidence to merit it. Teachable people do not rely on their own understanding of everything and are willing to seek out the help of others and ask questions to learn.

Being teachable also enables us to increase both in knowledge and understanding, thereby increasing our ability to solve problems, find solutions, innovate, communicate and improve any number of skills needed for success. We become more productive and more valuable, professionally speaking. people who have a teachable spirit open themselves up to more opportunities and experiences which ultimately lead to a happier, more fulfilled life all around.

Where the teachable spirit enjoys many advantages, having a closed-minded or resistant spirit can limit our possibilities.

The unteachable person

  • Fails to ask questions
  • Doesn’t cultivate a habit of  listening and reading
  • Resists change
  • Is not comfortable with his views being challenged
  • Resists correction and criticism

3. Be Resilient

Resiliency is a very important tool in the positive attitude toolbox. Adversity will come in various forms and being resilient helps us to use adversity as an ally rather than an opponent. Adversity can give us a different perspective. Difficult challenges can train us to not worry about the little things (or annoyances) in life and to focus on the more important things. Adversity also helps us to be thankful.

Adversity, Jeff Keller ( Attitude Is Everything) says, can help us to discover hidden potential or abilities we may not have known we had. We come out of adversity emotionally stronger. It may also encourage us to make new decisions, try new things or get back on track if we have somehow lost our way. Adversity can open new doors and close those that need to be closed. And finally, but not least, adversity builds up our confidence and belief in ourselves. So resiliency is a response to adversity.

When we develop resiliency, we choose to focus on what we can control and not on what we have no control over. We choose to recognize that all difficulties have a time limit and there we keep them in a temporal perspective rather than succumb to their influence. Resiliency also means refusing to carry around emotional baggage from the past such as grudges or hurts. Rather, resilient people tend to focus on the present, the only time they really have, and impact the present the best way they can.

4. Maintain Perspective

Everything is about perspective. Reality does not change but our perspective on reality can distort reality, that is to say, we “lose perspective” ( an accurate depiction of reality). sometimes we do not see the forest because of all the trees. Our mind focuses on the number and height of the trees and not on the fact that they are part of a big forest. We see problems as catastrophic rather than as something to be resolved. We get caught up in the little details and have difficulty imagining the longer road of time.

Maintaining perspective helps us to focus on the larger picture and maintain a positive attitude because we understand that the little details will work themselves out, that nothing is catastrophic in the big scheme of things. Maintaining perspective helps us to not become blinded by opinions, and changing circumstances. It is like looking out the windshield of a car at a distance and focusing on where you want to go rather than on the raindrops that might be hitting the windshield.

Handling Adversity: Coach John Wooden

Well-known and respected UCLA basketball coach gave his players two sets of three rules to live by. The second set of rules (for handling adversity) are:

  1. Never Whine
  2. Never Complain
  3. Never Make Excuses

Never whine. Whining is the first step in having a bad attitude. It is the first clue that a bad attitude is starting up. We could say it is akin to the common cold noticeable by the nasal way of speaking. It might be a good idea to nip it in the bud at this juncture before it gets worse or turns into a habit. Whining begins with our thoughts and is the initial stage of the process of becoming a victim.

Never complain. Complaining is akin to the cold turning into pneumonia. It may have begun with a bit of whining, but now it has gotten more annoying. Complaining points a finger at circumstances or people indicating that they are the reason for our troubles. This behavior disempowers us by taking us out of the solution finding process. Complaining never has and never will help us find a solution.

Never Make Excuses. Like complaining, making excuses doesn’t fix the problem and often makes the problem worse. By the time we are at the point of making excuses, we are at the end of the process. We have given up the ball, so to speak. Many people give excuses for why they didn’t try: it was too hard, I didn’t have time, I was too busy, or I forgot.

Jeff Keller, in his book, has a chapter called Change Your Problems into OpportunitiesWhat a wonderful way to see things. Like the wine glass that is either half empty or half full, it really depends on how we choose to look at a problem. it may be that a problem is hiding a lesson that we need to learn. What may have begun as a disappointment or “bad luck” might actually turn out to be a “golden opportunity” as he calls it.

Attitude is everything! Our attitude is the rudder of our ship keeping it on course or steering it way off course. We are the captain and we hold the wheel. It’s all about choice, not circumstances. It is about decisions and outcomes as well because our attitude will determine how our future will go. No matter what happens to us, we can decide at any point to steer our lives in a positive direction or a negative one. The ball is in our court!

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diane Lynne enjoys traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her at livingandstuff.ca

 

 

 


12 Critical Areas For Success In Life

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photo credit: Allie Smith @creativegangsters – unsplash

You can pay now and play later, or you can play now and pay later – John Maxwell

We really only have today since yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised to us. What we do today will determine tomorrow and the tomorrow after that. In fact, each today determines our future, every thought, every decision, and every action. We all have the same 24 hours, not a minute more, not a minute less. It is our gift that we receive each day. When we open this gift, what will we do with what is inside the box? That is the question we need to ask ourselves.

In his book,  Make Today Countinternational leadership author, and speaker, John Maxwell addresses this very subject: How to make the most of today. John Maxwell begins with the premise that we are accountable for each day and the decisions that we make today will determine our tomorrow. And, while we may not all be inclined to be as systematic or even intentional as he is, there is a lot we can learn from what his book has to say. John Maxwell highlights what he calls: The Daily Dozen for his own life, principles by which he lives by.  Here are the 12 critical areas for success in life.

1. Attitude

Often we believe that we are somehow locked into our attitude as if it is part of our personality (“That’s just the way I am”), but, in fact, our attitude (in any given situation) is a choice. And, since it is a choice, we are responsible for it. We can not be responsible for the attitudes of others, just as they are not responsible for how we choose to think or act. No one is responsible for making us happy, though many people live as if it is the job of others to make them happy, which is an unfair burden to place on them. Often times the real problem is that we don’t want to change our own way of thinking. It is easier for us to blame other people or circumstances rather than assume responsibility for how with think.

So, one area of life is to work on developing correct thinking towards people an circumstances rather than abdicate our responsibility.

2. Priorities

It is always best to give most of our time ( and other resources) to areas that bring us the highest return. Who and what should receive most of our time and attention. Our time is given for us to spend wisely, so we should be wise in how we spend it and make sure that others do not spend it for us. Respecting priorities will mean that we will need to say no to some things even if they appear to have importance. To be able to say implies that we have already determined what our priorities are so that we can say no to lesser demands with confidence and without feeling guilty.

3. Health

Besides today being the only day we have, the health we have today is the wealth we have been given to accomplish what we have to do. Too often we take our health for granted and trade it off for the pleasures of the moment. We all do this from time to time. However, when infrequent health compromising pleasures become too regular or when we regularly neglect aspects of health, we can run into some serious problems. Health problems require changes in the way we think and in the choices we make. These changes must stem from a bigger vision of how we want our life to be and what we want to do. Until our “why” is big enough to bring about change, we will not make the choice to change.

4. Family

The time we give to our family is a reflection of our priorities. Time speaks louder than our words. Where we spend our time shows what our priorities are. Family is also complicated as most relationships can be, so it is also important in determining how valuable the relationship is and how much we are determined to invest in terms of building our family up and helping it to flourish. More than any other aspect of our lives, the family remains when all other relationships move on.

5. Focused Thinking

John Maxwell lists different kinds of thinking such as realistic thinking, bottom-line thinking and possibility thinking, among others. He writes that we think in different ways depending on circumstances and objectives. But the important lesson here is that we must actively choose to think, which is actually not all that common today.  We think are thinking, but do we actually take the time to think? John Maxwell suggests taking specific time and finding a specific place to do some thinking. As he says, good thoughts lead to good choices which lead to good actions.

6. Commitment

Commitment is another rarity in our society today. When the road becomes tough to travel or we feel overwhelmed, some of us throw in the towel, so to speak. We back down from promises, from what we said we would do because we “feel” that it has become too difficult. But, as John Maxwell writes, we should expect difficulty and inconvenience. We need to “count the cost” and be willing to “pay the price”. It should not be the circumstances or “what happens to us” that determine our choices, but rather our choice needs to determine what we will do in the circumstances.

7. Finances

Finances are not a mystery, but not being informed about them can make them seem mysterious. The bottom line is that healthy finances require a commitment and an informed perspective. Equally, they require having a healthy attitude towards money. For example, how do we feel about material wealth and possessions? Do we over evaluate the role and value of money? Are we trapped in the mindset of always wanting more or having to have the latest products? A healthy view of money will necessarily involve having a grateful heart for what we already have and a plan to manage the money we have now.

8. Faith

Everyone has faith. We are just wired that way. The question is: where do we place our faith? Sometimes we don’t realize that we have faith until difficulties arise. then we cling to the hope that somehow we will get through and circumstances will improve. So, in fact, we depend on faith to help us through difficult times. It has been said that faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted. It is in the difficult times that faith is built. It has also been said that faith is like carrying an umbrella on a sunny day, expecting it to rain.

9. Relationships

Relationships are people and people can be messy, but by placing a high value on people over things we can learn more about them and be more tolerant of their messiness. Most people are insecure (though they will not admit it). They want to be appreciated. They hope for better tomorrows. People are innately selfish and emotional creatures who want to to be successful and feel important. We are all like this, so, perhaps it is good to lower our levels of criticism and defensiveness and just be a kind human being.

10. Generosity

Generosity is a matter of the heart. John Maxwell writes: “wherever your money goes, your attention goes”.  When we have an add -value attitude and a generous heart, we are more willing to see our time and money as resources to be shared with the goal of building others up. When we give we share and we also receive back many times over. Too often we tend to wait. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time now (because we are so busy) and that later we will have more money to give. But we will not have more time later and money will not necessarily be more available later. Now is the time to do good.

11. Values

Do we know what our values are? Are they just in our head? We like to say that we have values, but often we are not really clear on what exactly our values are. One way to test values is to ask ourselves what we would be willing to die for. Can other people tell what our values are by the way we live? Does the way we handle money reflect our values? When we make decisions is it our values or our feelings at the moment that make the decisions? What happens when our values and our feelings collide? Which side triumphs?

12. Growth

It has been said that if we are not going forward, then we are going backward because nothing stays the same. So, which direction are we going in and where are we going since we are all going somewhere? Growth is a choice just as learning is a choice. We can choose to let life make our choices and “let the chips fall where they may”, or we can be active in our growth. For many people, this growing seems like hard work and something else to add to their already full plate of things to do. But what other choice is there? A plan not to grow is a plan to stay the same. A plan not to grow is putting a cap on our capacity to blossom and flourish.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

 


How To Get Things Done

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“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” —Henry Ford

Do you struggle with procrastination and distractions? Do you promise yourself that you will get around to doing something and then time seems to slip away and other obligations or “important” things come and fill up the time you needed? Do you have trouble motivating yourself to do tasks that you know need to be done, but somehow seem hard to start or finish? We all have these struggles. It is so hard to do what we know we should do, but don’t feel like doing.

We find all kinds of ways to get out of doing them. We find ourselves some very believable excuses and give ourselves rewards for doing literally nothing of importance. We pamper ourselves with the promise of “after I ____ (fill in the blank with your favorite reward), I will get down to the task. We let distractions ( a call from a friend, a sudden need to check facebook) keep us from our task. And then, later in the day, we look at the time and realize how little we have done and how fast the time has flown by.

In his book The Power Of Your Potential, Author John Maxwell writes about how to focus and follow through on tasks in order to be more efficient and waste less time. He lists 6 keys to do this.

1.Know What Is Important

Before we do anything, it is important to know why we are doing what we do. If we don,t know why we are doing a task or a project, it is very difficult to prioritize it or give it any time in our schedule. And when we don’ t prioritize our tasks, we end up wasting a lot of time on activities that take us away from more meaningful tasks or activities. We also end up falling into the “busyness” trap and lose control of our time and choices.

It is important to have a big picture of how each task or activity fits into the larger picture of our life – our values and goals. Imagine having a big box called our vision. inside the box, we place all the jobs, experiences and activities that are connected with or contribute to bringing us closer to that vision. When we have this box or framework of what we want then it is easier to put aside all activities which do not line up with this vision and classify them as ‘not important now’. How can we focus on what is important?

Have a big picture

  • Prioritize – set apart the important from the urgent, but not important. and the important from the nonimportant
  • People before things always
  • Focus on what is important now
  • Know why you are doing what you do

2. Get Rid of Excuses

We all, make excuses. They are so easy to make and the help us avoid doing what we don’t want to or don’t feel like doing. but excuses also prevent us from facing responsibilities, being accountable and even learning very important lessons. Making excuses can also hold us back from opportunities. In fact, they can actually cause us to go back and act as barriers to success. What are some of the excuses we make?

  • I’m too busy /I don’t have time
  • I don’t know how
  • I’m too old or too young
  • I don’t know how
  • I can’t do it by myself
  • I’ll do it when I retire
  • I don’t have the energy

Excuses hold us back and they:

  • Make us lose credibility in our eyes and the eyes of others
  • Cause us to lose confidence
  • Close doors in our lives

Imagine that you are driving down the highway on your way to the desired destination possibly a vacation spot. What would it be like if you got off at every exit on the way there? Probably it would take you a lot longer to get where you want to go and a lot of frustration would ensue. Making excuses is like getting off at all those exits. They prevent you from getting where you want to go or at least make it a long journey, and they cause a lot of frustration long term. They may even prevent you from doing what you would like to do or from going where you want to go. How many people put off traveling because they tell themselves that they will have time later. Later may never come, but regrets certainly will.

How can we overcome the excuse syndrome?

  • Decide to stop blaming people and circumstances
  • Decide to act
  • Break down the tasks into bite-size tasks
  • Focus on strengths
  • Take responsibility
  • Learn from mistakes

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” —Paul J. Meyer

3. Take Action Before You Feel Like It

We won’t always feel like doing what we know we should do. Feelings come and go, but they shouldn’t rule our life or our decisions.  We need to make decisions and accomplish tasks based on what is important and needs to be done. Sometimes we want to wait to be inspired, but if we wait for this to happen, we may be waiting a long time. And often a task that we don’t feel like doing is one that we don’t feel comfortable doing or that we feel less confident doing. Other times it is simply because of the task being uninteresting or tedious. So, rather than getting to work, we procrastinate.

There are some questions we could ask ourselves to overcome this “inertia”.

  • What is likely to happen if we don’t do this task? Is it or will it be problematic?
  • What can I do right now, today to move ahead? Can I break down the task into smaller “bites”?
  • Can I enlist the help of others to multiply the effort and get it done faster?

4. Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

Do you find yourself spending more time on jobs or projects than you need to or on tasks/ activities that don’t give you much in return? Are there other tasks/projects that will bring you more value?  In other words, do you find that you tend to waste time doing things that are not all that important and take time away from doing things that will bring you and others more value?

We all have this “busyness” disease. We scurry around looking like we are occupied, rushing from one task to the next or even multi-tasking and, in the end, we wonder where the time has gone and whether or not we have accomplished anything. We do a lot of things, but often we do not have much to show for all our activity. We get distracted by the urgent, but not important problems. We start a task only to be interrupted by something else, which leads to something else and then finally, we forget where we started or what we were doing,

Some things we can do to correct this situation are:

  • Learn to distinguish what is important from what is urgent, but not important.
  • Set priorities
  • Have a plan for the day, but allow for changes and interruptions
  • People first, then things
  • Learn to say no to what is not important

5. Be Aware Of Time

We all talk about time, how much we have or don’t have of it. We talk about it going slowly or flying by. Most of the time it seems as if time is in control of our day. But are we really aware of time as a tool or as a gift for us to use to live with, share with others and accomplish meaningful things? Time counts, literally. It ticks by often unnoticed. How well are we using this gift?

Sometimes we overestimate the time we have. We give ourselves large margins of time and then we end up wasting some of it because we somehow believed we had more than enough. We miscalculate and undervalue our time. We have all heard the misguided expression “We have all the time in the world”, haven’t we? No, we do not have all the time in the world. We only have today. So, the question becomes: what will we do with the time we have today? Tomorrow today will become yesterday.

  • Be realistic about the time you have and the tasks to accomplish
  • Give yourself challenging but realistic deadlines
  • Focus on what is important at the moment

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” – Zig Ziglar

6. Follow Through Even When It Hurts

We may be tempted to give up and throw in the towel when things get tough or when we just don,t feel like continuing. I think it is safe to say that we have all had times when quitting seemed like the best thing to do. But backing out of a commitment is the worst thing we can do. First of all, it opens the door to a habit of taking the easy path when the going gets tough. It can also diminish our confidence in ourselves and also the trust others have in us.

Whatever we commit to or start needs to be carried through to completion. By keeping to our promises, we can learn important lessons and skills as well as resilience and perseverance. Following through with our commitments also shows respect towards ourselves and others involved. The bottom line is: can we be trusted to do and finish what we said we would do and finish?

What things can we do to help in this area?

  • Count the cost – what sacrifices are necessary?
  • Be honest with expectations
  • Give yourself deadlines
  • Give yourself incentives and rewards (for accomplishments)

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne loves to travel, pursue self-improvement and debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca

 


Building The Leader In You

Category : Uncategorized

photo credit: Jehyun sung @jaysung – unsplash

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain

What Is Leadership?

It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. And what is leadership but the “art of Influence“? We are all leaders at certain points and periods in our lives whether we realize it or not. There will always be people over whom we have an influence to some degree; this is indisputable. But the question arises, what kind of influence do we or will we have? People around us are watching us. Our children are watching us, our colleagues are watching us and our friends and acquaintances are watching us.

Everything we do or say will have an impact on other people. People want to know if we are honest and trustworthy. They want to see if we are dependable and loyal. By our very words and especially our actions, we are influencers in our entourage. Do our actions match our words?  The degree to which people will listen to us, take us seriously and even follow us will depend on the degree to which we “walk our talk'”.

Building The Leader In You

You may say to yourself “I am not really a leader”, but I will tell you that many times when we are influencing others, we are, in some manner, leading them. We may not feel we are leading, but leadership is less about position or authority than it is about having an impact. In our spheres of influence, we are either impacting in a positive way or a negative way. And there is a ripple effect to this influence because we not only impact those close to us, but these people will, in turn, impact those in their spheres of influence. So leadership or influence can have ever-expanding ramifications around us.

Knowing this should cause us to think about what kind of impact (if at all) we are having. Sometimes we may think that our words, actions, and decisions might not make a difference because our sphere of influence is so limited. But just as a tiny pebble tossed into a lake makes a small insignificant splash and then causes ripples to expand out, so too will our smallest of actions move outward beyond what we imagine.

If we want to build the leader in us we will need to fight two battles:

The Internal Battle

We all know that working on ourselves, growing and improving is important, Very few will deny that growth is important t(whether we choose to develop ourselves or not). We all know that we need to be able to govern ourselves before we can lead well. However, the problem is that we tend to overestimate how well we are doing. We are quite adept at deceiving ourselves. We are often blind to our weaknesses and overestimate our strengths. We need others to open our eyes to our own weakness.

If we want to have a positive influence on others, we must first obtain internal victories. The internal victories come before the external victories. We must first change how we think on the inside before we can see change on the outside. It is a battle that we need to engage in continuously.

The External Battle

While most will agree that internal growth is important, what we may not be prepared for is the external battle, the opposition we will surely face. In general, our society likes it when we conform to the world and stay the way we are. It doesn’t like movers and shakers. It is not particularly fond of people who think about and question the status quo. Whenever we seek to try and change things, we shouldn’t be surprised by the wall that goes up against us because the status quo doesn’t like change.

To prepare for and fight this battle of mediocrity, we will need to band with like-minded people, those who share the same goals and who are on the same path. It is always good to have reinforcements because the status quo critics will try to say that they are right and we are wrong. They will be more than willing to show us why we should be satisfied with the way we are. In fact, the critics are afraid of change, both in themselves and in others.

A Leader’s Uniform

A leader wears a very unique kind of uniform that enables him or her to navigate through the rough waters of conflict, busyness, indifference and general messiness of life. This same uniform is available to us all, but wearing it will not be easy.

Have a Soft Heart and Thick Skin

In order to make a difference in people’s lives and in society, in order to be able to influence people around, a leader needs these two qualities: a soft heart and thick skin. So toughness on the outside, the ability to weather the storms, and a tender-hearted inside are crucial tools in the leader’s toolbox.

Building Thick Skin

So how do we develop this thick skin? The tough mindset and posture come from having proper thinking and self-knowledge. It comes from knowing who we are and what we stand for. Being thick -skinned also means having a proper perspective on things and not being easily swayed by opinions or events. We could almost call it an “outside ” view or even ‘”helicopter” view of life. Having thick skin means not taking ourselves or others and events too seriously.

To have proper thinking we need to control the story we tell ourselves about who we are, about what our purpose is and what our values are. We need to control what comes into our mind (and guard it jealously and also what we choose to think and believe. We need to always be aware that circumstances do not determine what happens to us, but that what we think and do, determine what happens. roper thinking enables us to take the gut shots of life not as defeats, but as challenges and lessons.

Remember, thick skin means, above all, having perspective. It means not getting caught up in emotional traps and endless and pointless arguments. It means keeping the focus, keeping the main thing, the main thing and not succumbing to distractions and emotional hijacking.

Have A Soft Heart

The other side of the uniform of a leader is a soft (or tender) heart. Please understand that I am not talking about being a pushover or a “carpet”. Rather, a soft heart maintains our humanity and connection to others. Where thick skin allows us to maintain focus and perspective, a soft heart allows us to be compassionate and share in the pain and struggles of others. a soft heart allows us to empathize and keeps us humble (two other important leadership qualities).

It is very hard to have a positive and transformational influence over people when they can not feel our humanity. If all they see (or sense) is a tough exterior and business-like mindset, then they will not be very willing to trust us or follow us. It has been said that if call yourself a leader but no one is following, then you are just out for a walk.

Parents, who have been given the responsibility of raising children ( and future adults), will have difficulty influencing change in the behavior in their children if all the children see is the tough, authoritative and no-nonsense exterior. Bosses and supervisors who do not seek to connect with their employees and listen to them will likely generate disgruntled and uncooperative behavior from them. A balance between a tough exterior and a  soft, humble interior is the true uniform of a leader.

Be Principled

Self-mastery is crucial to leadership and self-mastery stems from a solid foundation of strong principles. These principles, if built on a solid foundation of values, will affect and influence every sphere of our lives. Three of the most important spheres which are guided by our principles are:

  • Our character
  • Our tasks (what we do and how well we do it)
  • Our relationships

These three spheres come from the New York Best-Selling book:  Launching a Leadership Revolution by authors Orrin Woodward  and Chris Brady

Having solid principles allows us;

  • To know what is true and what is not and how to tell the difference
  • To not be swayed by the winds of society and the media
  • To make bold decisions
  • To be authentic
  • To confront reality
  • To confront ourselves

Create A Ripple Effect

Everything we do impacts the world around us. Even a small action or word can affect our lives. Whether we realize it or not, we are like pebbles being thrown into a lake which then create concentric ripples further and further out from the original splash (point of impact). The question is, what kind of ripple effect do we want to create in our lives and the lives of those around us? Our ripple effect can be a positive and impactful one, or it can be an unimpactful one. It is really up to us.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog, Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca

 

 

 


How to Bring Out the Best In People

Category : Uncategorized

photo credit: Alexis Brown @alexisbrown – unsplash

“You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
Alan Loy McGinnis

Whether we are talking about employers trying to motivate their organizations, parents trying to motivate their children or teachers trying to motivate their students, the cry is the same “we’re having trouble motivating them” or “we’re having trouble getting them to perform”. Not everyone has this difficulty. There are people who are able to get more for the people they lead. These people seem to have a knack for bringing out the best in people.

The book entitled Bringing Out the Best in People, by Alan Loy McGinnis, lays out twelve principles or guidelines to help people produce extraordinary performance while being ordinary people. These skills help the reader “master the art of motivation” (p. 16).

The Amazing Power of Motivation

The conventional idea of motivation is that all motivation must come from the inside. But is this really true? Think about some things that have motivated you. Perhaps it was watching the Olympics that encouraged you to get out and try a sport. Maybe it was listening to a concert that encouraged you to take up a musical instrument. The fact is, we are influenced and motivated when the motivation (or influence) comes from an inspiring source (be it an event or a person).

Think about Winston Churchill, who, against all odds, was able to rally the nation of England, though it was a sitting duck, to stand up to the Nazi threat. And England was able to call this moment in time “her finest hour”.

Everyone longs to be inspired, to be a part of a vision. It is erroneous to think that people are unmotivated (p.18). it is more accurate to say that a  person is not motivated in a particular situation.  Bored school children and “uninspired ‘workers have something in common. they uninspired by their environment and tasks. So, if we want to motivate people we need to find out what fuel their engines, so to speak, what would ignite the spark plugs.

Expect the Best, Get the Best

If we want to bring out the very best in people around us, we need to first and foremost believe in and expect the best from them. We need to see the potential in them and draw it out. focusing on the strengths of the person. There was a play written by George Bernard Shaw called The Pygmalion which illustrates this concept of bringing out the best in people. In the play, the main character is Eliza who seems to have nothing going for her. She is uneducated, poor with seemingly very little in the way of gifts and talents. One day a professor decides to take her under his wing and transform Eliza into a lady.

Through patient teaching and profuse encouragement, the professor gradually brings out Eliza’s talents and cause her to truly believe that she is an educated lady. He focused on her strengths, uncovered hidden talents, and built her up into something so much better than she ever imagined. This is the power of expecting the best to get the best.

Motivating People

How often do we hear teachers and parents alike lament how difficult it is to motivate children and teenagers. How frequently do we hear people speak about their job or job environment being unmotivating and that they feel disheartened to try harder? When we think about motivation, we tend to think of terms of ourselves being motivated to do a thing or lacking the motivation as if it were all on our shoulders. Teachers, parents, and employers try everything they know how to do to “get people to perform”.

However, the concept of motivation is more complex than simply ” I want to this or I don’t want to do that.  Other factors are in play. Sometimes failure to be motivated is a result of a clash between needs and expectations. Sometimes there is a difference in the belief system or values or between what one person considers important versus another person. And we can not forget that just as people change and grow, so do needs and perception of needs. Motivating other people should necessarily include dialogue about what is important to each person and their needs at any given time.

Set the Bar High

Bringing out the best in people should also include having high expectations of their potential. that is to say, we should believe that they are able to go above and beyond where they are currently at. Setting the bar high for people requires this solid belief that they have both the potential and the ability to reach their potential. With regards to people that we oversee such as children, employees or students, we need to give a clear portrayal of what is expected as well as a clear direction of how to reach these expectations for their benefit.

To help people reach their potential, we may need to step into the role of mentorship to provide encouragement, course correction, and feedback. We need to have a long term vision and see the path ahead (have an objective perspective) in order to help the other person avoid the landmines and press on to achieve what we believe they can achieve.

“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.”
Alan Loy McGinnis

Failure Must Be Part of the Plan

No matter who we are leading or influencing, people are people. they will trip up and fall. They can also get back up and continue on their way. When we are seeking to bring out the best in people, we should create an environment that sees failure as a necessary step to success in whatever the person is trying to accomplish. Failure and setbacks need to be factored in and even encouraged.

It is useful to help people see that failure such as rejection, errors, mishaps, and poor judgment or whatever else classifies as a step backward, are learning experiences necessary for course correction and doing better the next time. People naturally tend to see failures as somehow reflecting on their own ability or lack thereof, so it is very important when helping people to be better, to encourage them to see failure as positive.

What to Do

How can we take concrete steps to motivate, encourage performance, and embrace failure as positive? The very best way is to notice and point out any successes. Highlight and praise even the smallest achievements going in the right direction and minimize (but not ignore) and negative performance. Be on the lookout (be a scout) for improvement in any shape or form.

Of course, as was explained, failure must be recognized as integral to success, but it is also not to be overemphasized especially in a negative light. The whole point is to help people become more confident in their abilities and believe that they can improve and succeed.

What Not to Do

Avoid flattery

It is one thing to highlight achievement and notice improvement. It is a whole different matter to praise for the sake of praising. Flattery flatters no one and can be very destructive to the relationship. People can see through the veneer of the superficiality of flattery and they will not appreciate you for doing this and, probably they will trust you less as well.

Don’t compare

No one, I repeat, no one appreciates being compared to other people. Comparing people sends the message that they are not good enough, that they have not met our standards. In their mind, it also sends them the message that the person they are being compared to is somehow better than them.

Avoid Manipulation

Manipulation can take different forms: overt manipulation through threats and bribes or covert (less obvious) manipulation in the form of guilt imposition, or passive-aggressive behavior. Manipulation is controlling and operates in complete opposition to the goal of bringing out the best in people.

Some More tips

The following site, Next Level lists 10 ways to bring out the best in people:

1. Think how, not what – How are they doing?

2. Work it out now – conflict now

3. Just say thanks – simple sincere appreciation

4. Take action inclusively – teamwork and collaboration

5. Turn up the differences

6. Make a point of asking- what do you think?

7. Tell stories – become a positive gossiper

8. Engage people in return – take the time to listen

9. Show your emotions

10. Be the real you

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diane Lynne enjoys traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her at livingandstuff.ca

 

 


Life Is Too Short – Let’s Start Living

Category : Uncategorized

 

photo credit: Nathan Lemon @processrepeat – unsplash

Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.

We have all heard this expression: “Life is short”, but do we really believe it or do we live as though we had a thousand years (Marcus Aurelius)? Do we believe what we say or is it just a flippant cliché, a passing phrase that we repeat because we heard it somewhere.? The Bible talks about a lifespan is 4 score and 10 (90 years or so). That is not a long time, is it? Of course, when we are 16, it can seem like a long time because time seems to stand still at that age. It seems like a long way away and puts us into the mindset of thinking that we have”forever” to live.

Life really is shorter than we care to think and sometimes it sends us curveballs that shorten it “prematurely”, or prevent us from doing some of the activities that we talked about doing in the future when we “have more time,” when the kids are grown or when we retire etc.. We put off doing what would like to do, what we dream of doing in order to take care of the busyness of today. We fall into the routines and obligations of our everyday lives, but the clock keeps ticking. The grains of sand in the hourglass sift through the funnel from top to bottom continually and we can not turn the hourglass upside down and start over again.

Today is the only day we have. Yesterday no longer exists (except in our memory). Tomorrow is only hypothetical. It does not exist yet and it is not a guarantee. So what are we doing with our today since it is the only time we have? Each morning we wake up is an excellent opportunity to be grateful for this wonderful gift of being alive. We may have problems and burdens, but we also have life and that is what is most important. Perhaps if we focused more on realizing how amazing an opportunity we have to be alive, we might focus less on our problems.

There is a saying of Jesus in the Bible: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough troubles of its own”. What wise counsel. We tend to sacrifice the future on the altar of today when the future isn’t even a given. Worrying steals today away from us and it definitely will not solve any of our problems, nor will it give us more life. So why worry and steal joy away from ourselves? By worrying – about our finances, our relationships, our job or whatever, we are not allowing ourselves to live and appreciate the day we have, actually, the only day we have.

Enjoy every moment you have. Because in life, there are no rewinds, only flashbacks. – Anmol Andore

What if you knew that this was your very last day on this earth and that your life would be taken from you? How would you spend this time? For many people, this is, in fact, a reality, but they just don’t know it. I am quite sure that none of us would be concerned with the usual things we complain about or would be spending our time scrolling on Facebook. We probably wouldn’t spend our time bickering with loved ones. Most probably we would value every minute and tell anyone and everyone how much we love them.

Since we really do not know what life has in store for us nor how long we have, maybe it is a good time to take stock of all that we have been blessed with, spend time with the people we are blessed to have in our lives. I am not only speaking of our families but also our neighbors in our communities. Do we actually know them? Do we speak to them? Do we share a little of our time with them?  There are probably many people around us who long to have a conversation to break out of their loneliness. Isn’t that what it means to live? Isn’t really about relationships and connecting?

Each day the sun rises is a new opportunity to seize, savor and share. Each day brings new ideas, experiences, challenges, and solutions. Each day is a new day for doing something different and something meaningful. It is a new opportunity to forgive, to love, to grow, to do something we may have never considered before. Early morning birds singing is a daily reminder of how much we truly have. Every day we have a new opportunity to use and share the gifts and talents we have been given to benefit ourselves and others. The Bible says that God’s mercies are new each morning, which is wonderful news. We have a chance each morning to start over, to begin something new, to repair what was broken and build up our relationships.

Life is a contact sport

And while we are at it, why not live the life we want to live now instead of just talking about it and waiting on the sidelines. Life is not a spectator sport; it is a contact sport, to use an analogy. Sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the right time, the right opportunity or circumstances is a sad way to live. There will never be a right time or perfect circumstances because the time is now. You might say that you don’t have the finances or the time, but I will say “where there is a will, there is a way”.  We are not going to necessarily have more time or money later. Life has a funny way of making sure there is always something to occupy us and some “financial responsibility or crisis” to take care of.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

A palliative nurse listed the most common regrets of the dying and put these findings into a book called “The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.” Here they are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

There are some very important lessons we can learn from these confessions.

  1. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  2. If it can be done, do it now.
  3. Today is all we have.
  4. Our happiness is our choice and our responsibility
  5. Work is not our life but passion and purpose make life fulfilling
  6. We are responsible for living our own lives, not the lives of others.
  7. Be kind to ourselves  and to others
  8. Prioritize relationships
  9. Don’t be a prisoner of guilt or you will become a prisoner of regret.
  10. Life is a contact sport.

The Takeaway

Life is precious and life is short. In fact, we often do not catch on to how short it actually is. We calculate life in terms of months and years. But what if we measured life in terms of experiences and how well we sowed into the lives of others. What if we changed from living according to the dictates of the calendar to being in charge of the calendar and filling it up with meaningful activities and using it to record cherished moments in time. I hope that you have been encouraged and inspired by this post. May joy be with you always.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 


20 Bible Quotes on Joy

Category : Uncategorized

photo credit: Aziz Acharki @acharki95 – unspalsh

What is joy? Joy is a state that is independent of feelings and emotions. It can not be classified in the same category as happiness because it is a state of knowing and understanding that all is well. Joy is independent of circumstances whether good or bad because it is a strength given by God. It is a strength that allows us to withstand the winds of calamity, of poverty, injustice, and anything that comes our way to bring us down.

Joy is profound. It is not a surface feeling and it is not temporary like happiness or sadness. It is an undercurrent, a foundation of strength that gives us the power to carry on in the midst of pain and the power to encourage others who are going through tough times. In fact, the Bible says:

The joy of the Lord is my strength

Here are some quotes on the subject of joy to inspire and strengthen you:

(1) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.

(2) For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control

(3) .And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

(4) Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

(5) May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

(6) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone.

(7) Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen.

(8) Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

(9) The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.

(10) Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart

(11) .I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with joy.

(12) For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy.

(13) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

(14) .For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning

(15) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,

(16) So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

(17) I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

(18) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

(19) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(20) Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 


Why You Should Think Differently From The Crowd

Category : Uncategorized

 

photo credit: Chuttersnap @chuttersnap – unsplash

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” Mark Twain

Crowd thinking is nothing more than pressure to fit in or conform. When you think differently than most people, when you choose to go a different path, it is not easy. Society, in the form of media, schools, peer groups all seem to protest status quo thinking and embrace what is current or trendy, without considering whether or not is good, right or the best for us. When we go against the grain of collective thought, we feel somehow different (even if people still like us and accept who we are). We feel somehow isolated because we can no longer think like everyone else.

Choosing to go against the grain, to evaluate information, and measure up what we are taught against what is true may not be popular, but it can make the difference between living our life authentically, true to ourselves and living for others. It can mean the difference between living just to live for each day and living a life of meaning and purpose.  The following information was taken from and inspired by the book: How Successful People Think,  by International leadership expert, John Maxwell. I hope that this post will inspire you to be more, live a life true to your calling and authentic in every way.

Crowd Thinking Often Means Not Thinking

Crowd thinking is easy and safe, so we believe. It is easier to just go along with the way things are, with the way people are doing things. Why rock the boat and be different? Thinking like the crowd means going along with the current trends and general (collective) thought. It does not require any work, reflection or questioning. It means putting our brain on the shelf and letting it rest while we just accept what everyone else thinks. The trouble is, most of the time, the crowd is wrong.

Crowd Thinking Often Gives False Hope

Crowd thinking often fails to see the big picture because of the fact that it focuses on the now. It is a short term way of thinking that can not offer any hope since it does not have vision and wisdom. What has short term thinking done? Well, for one, it has produced the buy now-pay later mindset and has led millions into personal debt. It is a shallow way of thinking and does little to help us prepare or equip ourselves for the future.

Crowd Thinking Is Slow to Adopt Change

Status quo is the safety zone of crowd thinking. If it works, why change anything?  The collective thought is generally very resistant to change and close-minded to innovation or new ways of doing things. And crowd thinking offers the same worn out excuses:: “It can’t be done”,  “We tried that before”, Why change what works?”, “That would take too much (time, money)”,  “Let’s just stick with the program”.

Crowd Thinking Is Average Thinking

Above average thinking is not found in collective thought.  The crowd way of thinking has to limiting beliefs of can be done or of what is possible; it sets the bar low. Action follows thought and when the way of thinking is limited, clearly, any action will remain limited as well. Great thinkers, innovators and do not think like most people; they question and evaluate. they ask the question; “Why not?”

How the Crowd Thinks

  • Follow the rules
  • Don’t ask questions
  • Don’t be different
  • Think of your image
  • Don’t be foolish
  • It can’t be done / It’s never been done
  • It will be too hard / too complicated
  • We don’t have time
  • Stay inside the lines
  • Yes, but….
  • We tried that before

“Chances are, if you are following the crowd, you’re following the wrong path.” Bob Proctor

How to March to a Different Drummer

The proverbial marching to a different drummer has some merit. Sometimes people explain odd (or nonconformist) behavior in someone with the flippant “oh, he (or she) just walks to the beat of a different drummer. It is our way of explaining away what we don’t understand or don’t really want to accept in another person. But how many people in the world have walked to this different drum beat? I can think of a few: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Elon Musk, Winston Churchill, Crazy Horse, Socrates.. and the list can go on

Before Joining the Bandwagon, Think

Every day or week it seems that there is something new to believe, to do, or to buy. The information circulates and builds momentum until it becomes popular.  sometimes people jump on the bandwagon without reflection. Do you remember the ice bucket challenge? There is an example of everyone following without really understanding or at least asking themselves why they were participating in something like that. Those who do not follow the crowd, choose to do what is best, not what is popular at the moment.

Learn New Ways of Thinking

Expose yourself to other people, cultures, or segments of society to see through their eyes. Be open to new ideas and viewpoints. You do not have to agree or change your own, but you can be open-minded enough to learn from them. Expose yourself to other people’snew backgrounds, experiences, and interests. It is very hard to evaluate our own way of thinking if it is not measured up against different ways of thinking and new ideas.

Re-evaluate Your Own Thinking Regularly

If we fail to re-evaluate how we think and why we think this way, if we fail to measure our way of seeing things with new information, ideas, and perspectives, then we are just choosing to remain in a rut. We are, in fact choosing to remain close-minded. Maybe what we thought last month needs to be changed. Maybe we were wrong. But how will we know unless we hold it up against outside information? If we are right and our way of thinking is good, it will stand the test.

Do New Things in New Ways

We can’t just stay on the proverbial sofa and expect to grow. Growth requires risk-taking. It requires gathering up the courage to leave what is comfortable and try new things. Maybe it will require doing the same things we have always done but in new ways. Maybe it will mean asking new questions about old problems. Perhaps it will mean using our own brain cells and creativity to challenge what we have thought to be true and right.

The Takeaway

Be more. Do more. Think more. Act more. Action preceded by a thought. When we change the way we think, when we begin to understand why we think certain ways and consider where our thoughts come from or what the influence is, we can begin to get free from other people”s thinking and expectations and start living the life we were meant to live.

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life.  You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca


How to Think Like a Rascal – Rascal Leadership

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photo credit: Jeremy Bishop @jeremybishop –

Our greatest fear should not be that we won’t succeed, but that we will succeed at something that doesn’t matter – D.L Moody

Have you ever thought of yourself as a rascal? Have you ever been frustrated with the crowd-think and carbon copy culture? Do you have a sense that there is so much more and that we need to be doing something of significance? How much do you value comfort and safety? How much do you live for the opinions and ideas of others?  Have you ever wondered about those great men and women in history who made a difference and impacted how we live today? What did they have and how did they think?

In his book, Rascal, author and leadership speaker, Chris Brady, examines what a rascal is and how they think. In his book, he expands on what he calls”Rascalinity” – the rascals of this world. At the end of the book, the author has quite a thorough test to evaluate “Rascalinity” as well as a “Rascal Manifesto”. Here are some of the ideas inspired by this thought-provoking book.

What Is a Rascal?

A rascal is a rather unique individual, unique in the way that he or she thinks, acts,  and lives. The rascal is not interested in following the status quo, but rather runs in the opposite direction. He is a rebel, but not for the sake of being a rebel. He chooses not to conform, but not just to stand out. The rascal is strong n convictions and principal. he is courageous and authentic and seeks justice for all. He will take a bold stand even under fire in order to do what is right and what should be done. The rascal takes risks and lives in the zone.

“Rascals do not waste their lives. Rascals do not live for meaningless purposes. Instead, rascals are a breed apart. They strive for greatness and significance, knowing deep down that it matters how they live their lives and what they do with the time they’ve been given”. – Chris Brady

Some Examples of Rascals

There are many examples of rascals throughout history. We have heard about them and perhaps think that they were brave men and women. But have we ever thought about them as rascals for Truth and Justice? Many were criticized, hated, mocked, ignored and even killed for going against the collective thought. They were nonconformers because to conform meant to ignore injustice or remain in apathy. Here are some rascals:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Gandhi
  • John Wycliffe
  • Lakota warrior-leader Crazy Horse
  • Rosa Parks
  • Martin Luther King
  • Socrates
  • John Locke
  • Elizabeth the Ist (England)
  • Queen Boudicca of the Iceni tribe

How Do Rascals Think? What Do They Do?

Rascals Are Driven by a Purpose

They do not “live their lives as though they have a thousand years” (Marcus Aurelius), but choose to have a vision, a sense of direction for their lives and focus their lives on pressing on towards that goal. They align decisions and actions with their convictions.

Rascals Make the Most of Their Time

Rascals want to live a life in a way that matters and so they make use of the time they have been given to do the best that they can to bring about the most benefit for the most people around them. They have priorities and live by them and choose not to lose focus and get caught up in distractions.

Rascals Feel Fear but Act Courageously

“Do the thing you fear and the fear goes away” – this is a maxim of a rascal. Fear is their enemy, but they choose to confront it head-on rather than avoid what needs to be done. Courage is the uniform of a rascal. Winston Churchill stood alone against his government and the Nazi threat of invasion. It was his courage and determination that drove him to bring England to her “finest hour”.  His courage rallied the courage of England.

Rascals Are Risk Takers

A rascal does not “play it safe”. They don’t have time for that. They live on the edge and in the zone, so to speak. Nothing of any significance gets done in the comfort zone, so why stay there? Harriet Tubman, another rascal, could have stayed in the comfort zone of being free, but she chose not to. She chose to go back again and again, risk after risk, to rescue others so that they too could be free.

Rascals Have a Sense of Justice

Like William Wilberforce in his lifelong fight to abolish the slave trade, a rascal’s comfort is overridden by a sense of justice and righting what is wrong. He can not just stand back and hope that someone else will fight. The rascal believes that justice is for all, not just for some people. He fights against indifference, cynicism, and shallowness.

Rascals Are Originals

There is no being a carbon copy for a rascal. They are the real deal. A rascal does not have time for thinking about what everyone else is doing since he por she is so focused on what he or she is doing. Rascals are authentic. They have a clear sense of who they are, what their job is, why they are here and where they are going. They have no interest in being like everyone else or following the crowd.

Rascals Have a Healthy Dose of Skepticism

They don’t believe everything they see, hear or read at face value. They check sources and prefer to get their information from “the horse”s mouth”, so to speak. They are able to do this because they also have a clear understanding of what truth is. they are not easily fooled or led down the proverbial rabbit hole.In other words, they are fully awake and all cylinders are running.

Rascals Know Who Their enemy Is

Fear: The author of the book, Rascal, calls fear the “enemy of mass destruction”. This weapon is launched to paralyze a rascal from accomplishing his or her purpose. It keeps them in a holding state.

Doubt: This is another “weapon in the arsenal”.  There is doubt about a lot of things: our abilities, our judgment, our beliefs, the outcome of things and more. Doubt is exceedingly dangerous because it attacks at the very core of the rascal’s convictions.

Pride: Pride sneaks up on us suddenly when we are not aware. We can easily become oversensitive. self-promoting and aspire more an more of the limelight. When we lose focus and get caught up in distractions and the opinions of others, pride happens.

Distractions: Speaking of distractions, many of these come from other people’s expectations and our own loss of focus. Distractions cause a rascal to lose sight of his vision, to give up and fall back. “Broken focus leads to broken dreams”.

Mediocrity: This is an arsenal against the mind. It tells us that we are doing “pretty good”, so “why not be happy”?. The mindset of mediocrity is an obstacle to improvement and growth. But a rascal can never be satisfied with “pretty good” when there is so much to change.

Crowd-think: This is the committee of “they”. Or maybe the committee of “everybody says”. We see the power of this committee in political correctness, buying, and spending habits, and even in the education – career mindset/ paths. But the rascal is not fooled by the herd. He knows where he is going and why.

The Love of Money: Financial troubles can be a difficult obstacle and can send people off track or prevent them from doing what they want to do. They can also create divides and destroy relationships. But the rascal knows that “The real measure of your wealth is how much you would be worth if you lost all your money”.(p. 108)

Discouragement: Frustration and setbacks can easily discourage. but usually, when they do, it is because we have lost our belief and have “grown weary in well doing” (p. 110). Thes are assaults by the enemy used to take a rascal off course, to sabotage his efforts and stop him in his tracks. But a rascal knows and expects this assault and uses what he knows and his belief to put everything into its proper perspective

.”My friend, why should you wish to shorten my life by taking from me my shadow”? – Crazy Horse (Historical Rascal)

The Takeaway

Becoming and being a rascal is a far cry from “the Little Rascals” in the book and movie by the same name. We are not talking about boyhood mischievousness, but about Character strength, purpose, courage, vision, and conviction. The true rascal is a rare breed, a mustang with a mission. Anyone can become a rascal, but not anyone will. It takes guts, and a solid knowledge of who we are, where we are going and why. And it takes a tough armor on the outside and a tender heart on the inside. Rascals are real and authentic and they are very much needed in our world.

Did you enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below.

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Diana Lynne loves traveling, learning, and  living a debt free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and her dog Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca


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