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Personal growth begins in the mind (DW#374)

What do you believe about your ability to grow and progress in your life?

Do you believe that you can and must grow in every area of your life? Or do you believe that you are born with a certain set of talents and abilities that are fixed? 

Do you think or say things like "I am too old to change" or "That’s just the way I am" or "Some people are just born that way" or "I could never do that"? 

Do you believe that the reason that some people are smarter or more successful than you is because they have "what it takes" in their area of success and you don’t?


Science is telling us that the way we think about our ability to grow (or not) has a major impact on all areas of our lives. 

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. is one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation and is a renowned Professor at Stanford University. In her recent and highly acclaimed book, Mindset, she employs rigorous science to help us understand why we do what we do. 

She explains...

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Boundaries online (DW#359)

In the age of digital technology, giving in to temptation is only a click away. 

On social media, for example, it is easy to track down old friendships that may have meant something in the past. Or you may encounter someone who appears to have the same interests as yourself, who likes the same things, responds to your actions on social media. You find yourself looking for them and their interactions when you are online. Their engagement and reactions to your postings begin to mean something to you. 

Even if you realize that you are in close call territory at this point, the nature of social media interaction is such that you find yourself unable to stop. You are faced with the choice of stopping it or hiding it. In such situations, hiding it usually wins. You convince yourself that you are not doing anything wrong. That no one is being harmed. 

At times like this we need to remind ourselves that the above thought process itself is a sign that we are on the threshold of...

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Emotional boundaries (DW#358)

All of us crave to be seen, known and understood. We benefit from having relationships where we can share our hopes, dreams and fears, occasionally vent our emotions and also seek advice. When we allow ourselves to be known in this way, it creates vulnerability and a deep emotional bond. 

It can be difficult for one person (our spouse) to meet all of our emotional and friendship needs, and both men and women benefit from having good friends outside our marital relationships. 

Having said that, sharing such an emotional bond with a member of the opposite sex leads us into a big danger zone. Confiding in the opposite sex opens doors to emotional bonds that can easily turn others into more than "just friends". 

As Shirley Glass explains, "The new infidelity is between people who unwittingly form deep, passionate connections before realizing that they’ve crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love. Eighty-two percent of the unfaithful partners...

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Evaluate your vulnerabilities (DW#353)

One of the most important and proactive conversations you can have with your spouse is to evaluate your vulnerabilities to temptation.

While it is tempting to ignore these and even hide them, one of the best things you can do for your relationship is to discuss these openly. This way you and your spouse are a team fighting a challenge to your relationship rather than alone on opposite sides.

So do you have a job, a volunteer position or a passion that involves being away a lot? Being away from home in tempting environments can create challenges. What is your plan for dealing with these challenges and temptations? What rules and boundaries do you have in place to keep connected with your spouse and stay away from temptation?

Do you have a personality that is very empathetic or affectionate? Are you a really good listener? Do you naturally help those who are distressed? While these are positive qualities, they do attract many people towards you and they also leave you vulnerable to...

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Be mindful of greetings (DW#349)

Here is your daily dose of Wisdom for Living Your Best Self!

Ever have a day when things have gone completely off track? Everything seems to have gone wrong, you are at the end of your rope and you cannot wait for your significant other to get home to vent. To "have it out" with them or just to "let it all out".

Consider this: The first few minutes of the interaction after you have been away from each other sets the tone for the rest of the evening.

If you can just hang in there for just a little bit longer, greet your significant other and welcome them, the effort will be worth your while.

It is much more productive to have a de-stressing conversation when both of you are calm, connected and ready to listen.

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The biology of love is momentary (DW#339)

As we have been saying, when two or more people are sharing micro-moments of connection, it creates a back-forth exchange of warmth and positive energy that sustains itself and can grow stronger with each exchange.

The positive energy or "positivity resonance" (aka love), however, only lasts as long as the connection. When the connection wanes, so does this resonance or biological love response.

This is of course inevitable, because it is how emotions work. They come and they go.

In order to sustain these feelings and the positive energy they generate, we need to keep finding OTLs and keep practicing these gestures to create these micro-moments of connection.

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Start, then finish (DW#320)

While some of us have a hard time starting things, there are others of us who are "chronic starters". We are high achievers, we aim high and we always have a ton of projects on the go.

Finishing those projects, or completing those goals, however, is another story (again, don’t ask how I know this . . . ). Perfectionism greets us along the way and uses every tactic under the sun to block us from getting to the finish line.

I just finished reading a great book by Jon Acuff: Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. It is full of practical ideas on beating perfectionism and completing projects. And it is SUPER FUNNY (was laughing out aloud throughout J )

Here are the three things that I am working on, inspired by this book, to get to the finish line:

Cut your goals in half
This sounds contrary to what we have been talking about, but it is not. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a given amount of time (in the future, that is, not in the present). We always think we will have...

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Get in motion (DW#319)

Do you remember Newton’s First Law of Motion?

"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by some outside force."

This is also known as the law of inertia or the law of momentum.

How does it apply to us with regards to goal setting?

Well, some of us have a hard time getting started towards our goals. We have a case of ‘paralysis by analysis’. We think and think and think and think without taking any action. We plan and think of obstacles and do ALL of that.

And we get the booby prize for goal setting. The prize for knowing the most theory and having the most knowledge (please do not ask me how I know this)

There is however, no actual change in our lives. Oooops!

Life, in turns out, only rewards actual effort. And movement.

Here’s the good news though. Once we take that first step, we are in action and then Newton’s law kicks in. The moment we take a little bit...

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Dream big – then get real! (DW#318)

It is important to dream big and visualize success when we are setting goals.

There is, however, a potential downfall of such dreaming.

The mind is a strange and powerful thing. When we continue to dream about achieving our goals, we begin to feel good, right? Well, this tricks the brain into believing that we have already achieved the goal!! In essence, feeling good about our progress can make us reduce our effort.

So what should we do instead?

WOOP your goal.

Gabrielle Oettingen is a world-class researcher who has spent her career studying the science of making your dreams come to life.

In her book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she explains that although it’s very important to start with a vision of our ideal lives, it is not enough. In order to keep moving forward, we then need to "rub the vision up against reality."

Here is her WOOP formula:

W is for Wish
O is for Outcome (or benefits—the "why")
O is for Obstacles
P is for Plan

Start with the Wish. What do you want in...

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Get support for your goals (DW#317)

Should you tell others about your goals? Or should you plod along on your own, not telling anyone in case you do not manage to achieve your goals?

There is a good deal of research that social support (encouragement, information or help) that we receive from others is an integral part of reaching our goals.

A 2008 study demonstrated how social support helps when we encounter hurdles. The lead author of the study, Simone Schnall, said "We showed that when a friend was actually present, or when participants merely thought of a supportive significant other, a steep hill looked less steep. This suggests that people rely on close others when considering how difficult tackling a given environment might be."

Wow. It turns out that our loved ones can support us in achieving our goals even when they are not physically present!

We can also access social support for our goals in other ways of course. We could join an in-person support group (such as weight-watchers or toastmasters) or a virtual...

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