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Have you heard about EQ? (DW#448)

What do you think of when you think of when you think of someone who is intelligent? Are they logical, good at learning, solving problems, taking tests? 

This is the traditional view of intelligence which is defined as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. Intelligence or IQ can also be defined as the ability that intelligence tests measure.

For the last few decades, however, psychologists and scientists have begun to question this limited understanding of intelligence. 

The most famous challenge, perhaps, was launched in 1996 by Dan Goleman with the publication of his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman claimed that emotional intelligence or EQ is another aspect of intelligence that is often overlooked but it is what often determines success or failure in our lives. 

Before we go any further, let us understand what we mean by EQ. 

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Can you grow comfortably? (DW#390)

When we are talking about making changes, we need to confront the reality that it will be uncomfortable. Our habits and routines may feel familiar and comfortable even if they do not work for usor lead us where we want to go. If we want to make positive changes in our lives however, we need to let go of the familiar and get comfortable with not being comfortable for the moment. 

When I want to retreat towards safety rather than moving forward towards growth, I remind myself that ships are safe in harbour but that is not what ships are built for

So let us leave our safe harbours and venture out to the scary but exciting open sea. Let us be brave enough to bear the discomfort of stretching ourselves to discover the limits of our own potential. 

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Where do you need to grow? (DW#387)

As we said, we need self-awareness to begin the process of growth and self development. 

But here’s the thing: we don’t know what we don’t know. How then do we recognize a growth edge or opportunity in our lives? How do we shift it from the unconscious zone in our minds and bring it into conscious awareness?

Here is one idea: break down your life into domains: mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual. Give yourself a score from 1 – 10 in each domain to assess how well you are doing or how satisfied you are in this domain of your life. 

Hint: when giving yourself a score, consider not only yourself but your loved ones as well. What do they most complain about you? This question can reveal some personal blind-spots we may have by shining the light of awareness on them. 

Now ask yourself: Am I happy where I am? What would it mean for me and my life if I could move from a 6 to an 8 in the physical/health domain, for example? How would my life...

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Your mindset and your love life (DW#383)

One of the most profound applications of Dweck’s research on mindset has to do with its application to our closest relationships. 

Dweck and her colleagues found that people’s mindsets greatly impacted how they dealt with their personal relationships. 

Over the next few days let us look at key ways in which our mindset can help or hinder our family relationships. 

Firstly, Dweck’s research implies that people with a fixed mindset tend to believe that there is one special ‘soul mate’ for them, a ready made person who will complete them, make them happy and provide them with everything they have ever longed for. According to Dweck, "In the fixed mindset, the ideal is instant, perfect, and perpetual compatibility. Like it was meant to be. Like riding off into the sunset. Like "they lived happily ever after."

People with a growth mindset on the other hand, are more likely to engage with someone who has a realistic perception of them, who may see...

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What is your internal dialogue? (DW#377)

Since our mindset is "an interpretative process that tells us what is going on around us", it not only helps us make sense of the world and how it works, it also determines how we engage with the world. 

According to Dweck, one of the ways we can determine our mindset is by noticing the internal dialogue that goes on in our minds. 

She explains that in a fixed mindset, there is an internal monologue of constant judging and evaluation, and every piece of information is used as evidence either for or against the assessment of whether you’re a good person, whether you are smart or talented enough, whether your partner is selfish, or whether you are better than the person next to you. 

In a growth mindset, on the other hand, the internal monologue is not one of judgment but one of learning and curiosity. The feedback from the environment (including things that have not gone well) is used as information on learning how you can do better next time. 

So let us...

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What is your belief around failure? [DW#376]

We have been talking about Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and the value of reflecting on our own mindsets. 

Dweck explains that "When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or...

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Set yourself up for success (DW#313)

Many of us believe that we need lots of self-control and willpower to be able to achieve our goals and keep our resolutions.

It turns out that the people who end up achieving their goals have no more willpower or self-control than the rest of us. They achieve their goals by setting up their environment for success rather than relying on willpower or self control.

Studies on willpower and self control show again and again that the spaces and situations we find ourselves in can keep us on the path to achievement or nudge us toward failure.

So the people who appear to have lots of willpower take steps to minimize temptations rather than give their self control a workout. They put their smart phones away, they do not buy junk food and they leave their credit cards at home.

When such people want to instill a habit or start doing something new, they set reminders on their calendars, set out their workout clothes the night before and keep their food journal on the kitchen counter.

They...

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A good time for a fresh start DW#310)

It is true that you can make changes and begin a journey of growth at any time of the year.

AND it is also true that there are times during the year when it is relatively easier to do so.

Dr. John Norcross (a leading researcher in behavior change) studies new year resolutions. One of his studies found that people who chose the beginning of a new year to make a positive change in their lives were much more likely to successfully make these changes than those who tried to make these changes at other times of the year.

Various experts have suggested that the reasons for improved odds of success at the new year may be:

a) the culture surrounding the tradition of making resolutions which encourages people to stop and reflect
b) the tendency to share these resolutions of change with others which helps keeps people accountable
c) the idea that people who have been thinking about changing for a while pick the new year as a start date because they are ready to move from contemplation to...

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Go ahead, set some goals! (DW#309)

Aristotle taught us that human beings are teleological creatures. Telos is the Greek work for target. In other words, human beings need something to aim towards.

Modern Philosopher Tom Morris puts it this way: "we are hard-wired to live purposively, to have direction. Without a target to shoot at, our lives are literally aimless. Without something productive to do, without positive goals and a purpose, a human being languishes. And then one of two things happens. Aimlessness begins to shut a person down in spiritual lethargy and emptiness, or the individual lashes out and turns to destructive goals just to make something happen". The Art of Achievement

As human beings we are also hard-wired to have dreams and aspirations for a better future. Without a plan or goal however, these dreams and aspirations have little chance of being realised. Worse, they can weigh on our psyche as regrets of an unfulfilled life and of unrealised potential.

So ahead, dream a little. What do you wish...

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A fixed mindset versus a growth mindset (DW#308)

A big difference between people who set goals and those who don’t is the mindset around growth and change.

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset and one of the leading researchers in the field of motivation, differentiates between a "fixed mindset" versus a "growth mindset".

With a fixed mindset, people believe that they either have what it takes or they don’t. They are not open to trying new things, accepting challenging opportunities or learning new things. They resist change because they simply don’t believe it is possible. Failure to them is a sign that they don’t have what it takes so they do not try things which they might not succeed at.

People with a growth mindset on the other hand, embrace challenging opportunities because they believe that they can only reach their highest potential by consistently challenging themselves and playing outside their comfort zone. They believe that failure is a necessary to learning and growing.

Here is what she says about...

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