Gifted? Genius? What’s the difference?

Giftedness versus Genius

 

I’d like to spend a moment looking at this distinction– because it’s basic to how many people see themselves and evaluate their capabilities. But just for a moment, let’s assume that giftedness and genius really are the same thing. In that case, a person who jumps very quickly through the hoops of elementary school should continue jumping for all the years to come. But very often this isn’t what happens.

Do you know if you are gifted?

You see, our perception of giftedness and genius has often depended to some extent on the age of the person we’re considering. Sooner means smarter, in other words. The sooner a child learns to read, or learns to play the piano, or learns to do long division, the more genius-like that child is perceived to be.

There are a couple of things wrong with that perception. First, a number of the world’s all time great geniuses were at first thought to be anything but gifted.

Secondly, it’s by no means the rule that prodigious children turn out to be genius adults. To some extent, this may be because of the extra stresses that are placed on obvious prodigies. A lot is expected of them, and burnout is a frequent consequence. But it’s also possible that many seemingly gifted children aren’t really gifted — or, rather, they’re no more gifted than the boys and girls around them. The fact is, childhood is simply a time when there’s a lot of emphasis on measurement — and it’s also a time when things are pretty easy to measure. Standardized tests are a staple of American education, as they have been for almost fifty years. There are all kinds of instruments for measuring a child’s achievement levels, as well as their innate capacity to reason and to learn. And sometimes there’s a dramatic difference between those two measures. When that difference exists, the concept of the “underachieving child” comes into play. It’s the definition of a child who has unusual potential which is not showing itself in equally unusual achievement.

But at some point, we stop measuring people in the same way. If we kept it up, we would see some things that are obvious to the casual observer, but are rarely documented by the kind of standardized tests that we’re constantly giving to children. Even as casual observers, we see that other often people catch up to the gifteds and the prodigious. The child, who finished his math workbook before everyone else even started, did something impressive — but sooner or later everybody else finished their math workbooks too. Sooner or later, everybody learned to read and to spell. I might mention, in fact, that a huge and very profitable industry has grown up around the idea of giftedness in children, but there’s no such profit motive in the grown up world. Sure, we know there are highly talented adults who don’t access all of their capabilities. Or who don’t get the recognition they deserve. We know that Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and that Emily Dickinson only published three poems in her lifetime. Still, there is no readily accepted concept of “underachieving gifted adult”….

We all are the sum of our choices, or are we?

Which is a pity, since I can almost guarantee that that’s exactly what you are. I can virtually assure you that you’re a latent genius…and once you understand what genius really means, I’m certain that you’ll come to agree with me.

The word genius happens to have a very rich heritage. Today we talk about people being geniuses, but in the past people had a genius. Instead of something that you were, genius was something that you possessed, or, that possessed you. For the Romans, the word genius referred to a guardian spirit that protected people throughout the journey of their lives. Every individual was born with a unique genius that looked after them, helped them out of difficulties, and inspired them at crucial moments. At someone’s birthday, the Romans celebrated the birthday of the genius as well as the person. They celebrated the mysterious power with the person as well as the physical human being.

Do you know someone who has been told they are gifted or a genius? What impact has that label been on their lives? Do you think we try and stick our children into certain “boxes” and ask them to be something they may not be?

Let us know what you think in the comment section of this blog. Your thoughts and experiences may serve to help others!

 

Do birthdays bring more knowledge or just another mark of time?

 

Dr. Tony Alessandra has authored 14 books translated into 17 foreign languages, recorded over 50 audio and video programs, and delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches since 1976.  This article has been adapted from Dr. Alessandra’s Nightingale-Conant audio CD series, Secrets of Ten Great Geniuses, available at http://www.alessandra.com/products.asp

 

What Are YOU Aiming For? Critical Reading.

Most People Aim At Nothing In Life… And Hit It With Amazing Accuracy
By Dr. Tony Alessandra
There’s an old saying: “Most people aim at nothing in life . . . and hit it with amazing accuracy.” It’s a sad commentary about people, but it’s true. It is the striving for and the attainment of goals that makes life meaningful. Lewis Carroll stated this point beautifully in Alice in Wonderland:

What Can You Do?

 

ALICE: Mr. Cat, which of these paths shall I take?
CHESHlRE CAT: Well, my dear, where do you want to go?
ALICE: I don’t suppose it really matters.
CHESHlRE CAT: Then, my dear, any path will do!

No matter what kind of traveling you’re doing, whether it’s through life or across the country by car, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know if you’ve arrived. Taking just any road will leave your fulfillment to chance. That’s not good enough.

People who have no goals feel emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, and professionally unbalanced. This can only cause anxiety. People who have goals are respected by their peers; they are taken seriously. Making decisions that affect the direction of your life positively is a sign of strength. Goals create drive and positively affect your personality.

The 3-Percent Solution

Time magazine reported on a national survey several years ago that only 3 percent of those surveyed had written personal goals; 97 percent of the people had no goals at all or had only thought about them. They had not committed their goals to writing. Interestingly the 3 percent who had written goals were found to have accomplished much more than any of the 97 percent.

Stepping-stones to Greatness

Achievements come from awareness, which starts with evaluating your strengths and weaknesses in the light of your current situation. You then expand your beliefs (assumptions) to accept more goals for yourself. This leads you to set plans and expand your actions to eventually achieve your goals. The model for this process is:

AWARENESS > BELIEFS > GOALS > PLANS > ACTIONS > ACHIEVEMENTS

One step leads to another. After an achievement, you reevaluate yourself and find that each new feather in your cap makes you feel capable of accomplishing more and more. Your beliefs (assumptions) then expand, making more goals possible. The effect gains momentum and grows like a snowball rolling downhill. In this way, greatness is achieved through small steppingstones.

Rules Of Goal Setting

Most people, when asked, “What are your goals in life?” say something like, “To be happy, healthy, and have plenty of money.” On the surface this may seem fine. As goals leading to actions, however, they just don’t make it. They don’t have the key ingredients necessary to make them effective, workable goals.

Your goal must be personal. This means your goals must be uttered with sincerity. It must be something you want to do rather than something you think you should do. Know your reasons for having the goal. Whether you want to achieve something for status, money, or good health is secondary as long as you want it badly enough to work hard for it.

Your goal must be positive. Try not to think of green elephants! You can’t do it. It’s an automatic response to think of the thing you’re told not to think about. This is because the mind cannot not think of something when told to. We tend to focus on ideas and actions from a positive framework. When you think a negative thought such as, ” I will not smoke today,” your mind perceives it as “I will smoke today.” You end up thinking more about smoking than if you phrased it differently. “I will breathe only clean air today” is a statement that serves the same purpose and is more effective.

Your goal must be written. Writing a goal down causes effects that are a bit difficult to explain. It does, nonetheless, prove effective. Written goals take a jump in status from being nebulous thoughts (which you didn’t care enough about to bona fide entities on paper. Perhaps their being written serves as a visual reminder and thus continually reconfirms their importance. Another possibility is that they can be seen in the statement from the movie, “The Ten Commandments”: “So let it be written, so let it be done.” When things are “put in writing” they become official in our minds. A written goal strengthens our commitment to accomplish it.

Your goal must be specific. If you set your goal by saying “I will increase my sales next year,” chances are you won’t do it. You need to be specific to avoid the lack of commitment that comes with being vague. A more workable and motivating goal would be, “I will increase my sales next year by 10 to 15 percent. This revised statement has several advantages. It defines the increase that you are striving for as well as the range of the desired increase. Giving yourself some leeway is more realistic than expecting to hit your goal at exactly 15 percent.

Your goal must be a challenge. A goal must motivate you to work harder than you have in the past. It must move you forward. Set your goals just beyond your reach so that you’ll have to stretch a bit. The more you stretch, the more limber your goal achieving abilities will become.

Your goal must be realistic. Everything is relative to time and space. What is unrealistic today may be totally within reason five years from now. For years it was believed that the fastest a man could run a mile was in four minutes. It was unrealistic to aspire to running any faster until Dr. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954. Since then hundreds of runners have done the same. In any field, we never really know what the upper limits are. How, then, do we define realistic?

For our purposes, the best definition must come from you and your values. You must ask yourself, “What price am I willing to pay to accomplish this goal?” You should always weigh the payoffs and the sacrifices involved before coming to a conclusion. Realistic is ultimately your decision.

Working Toward Your Goals

Now that you know the rules for setting goals, you can apply them to the goals you set for yourself. Here’s an explanation of each of the areas you need to complete while Working Toward Your Goals…

Define your goal. Your first task is to determine whether your goal meets all the requirements of the rules listed above. If it does, then write it as clearly as possible at the top of the worksheet.

Examine obstacles that stand in your way. This is a time to guard against negative assumptions and other self-defeating thoughts. Remember the definition of realistic. An obstacle blocks you only if you let it. You should also write down your innovative ways of overcoming obstacles.

W.I.I.F.M.-What’s in it for me? Why do you want to achieve the goal? What kind of payoff is motivating you?

Plan your action. You need to carefully list the steps you will take which will bring you closer to your goal. The smaller the increments the easier they will be to accomplish. There is a German proverb that says, ” He who begins too much accomplishes little.” As the American Dental Association is fond of saying, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

Project a target date for your goal. State your deadline range, such as, “between March 15 and April 1st.” Think carefully about the amount of time you need. Too little time will increase the pressure and frustrate you. Too much time may reduce your drive.

Know how you’ll measure your success. Goals should be described in terms of the final outcome of an activity rather than as the activity. This is part of being specific. Instead of saying “I will be running more in four to six months,” you could say “I’ll be running three miles instead of two miles in four to six months.” How will you measure this? Probably by having one-third more blisters on your feet.

VISUALIZING: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

Visualization is an indispensable tool in helping people attain their goals. Olympic athletes have proven that visualization is an effective substitute for real practice. In visualizing your goals, you will live your accomplishments in your mind’s eye. The more of the five senses you can involve in this exercise the greater your chances are of accomplishment.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to be the Salesperson of the Year in your company. You know that each year an awards banquet is given during which a plaque is presented to the year’s sales leader. You may choose to focus on this banquet for your visualization exercise. Here’s what you do:

Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and relax. Slowly and systematically go through all of the five senses. Imagine what you would be experiencing at the banquet.

Sight. Imagine what you would see there. You’d see other salespeople and their spouses. Imagine what they are wearing. You’d see tables decorated and waiters scurrying about. You’d see the bar and people standing around talking. Keep going for several minutes.
Sound. What would you hear? You’d hear the chatter of people. You would hear laughter, the tinkling of glasses, and music from a band, people talking. You would also continually hear people coming up to congratulate you. Imagine that.
Smell. Imagine all the smells you’d experience. Women’s perfume, food, alcohol, men’s cologne, the smell of polyester suits (not yours, of course).
Feel. What would your tactile sensations be? You’d feel people rubbing up against you in the crowded room. You’d feel others shaking your hand.
Taste. Taste in your mind the champagne you’ll be drinking. Taste the food you’ll be eating. Experience the sweet taste of success! In advance!

Most importantly, imagine the exhilaration you’ll feel when your name is called to receive the award! Take your time during this exercise and enjoy it. The more you can “visually” attend this banquet the more motivated you will become. (You might even learn something about the catering business!)

The Visualization File

To aid in your visualization exercise, you might want to start a visualization file. This is an envelope or file into which you put pictures, clippings, letters, and other reminders of what it will be like to succeed. Your file should also contain letters or awards that you have received in the past. Anything that makes you feel good about yourself can be included in the file. It can then be used as a source of motivation and inspiration, especially if you begin to feel a little down or demotivated. We all need to be reminded of our past accomplishments once in a while. Be your own best friend- remind yourself!

ROLE MODELS

Many people concentrate only on the goal they wish to attain. There’s more to the picture. Successful people in every field have certain character traits in common. These common traits do not occur by chance, they are an integral part of goal attainment. It is worth your time to analyze the constructive characteristics of people who are now where you’d like to be.

One effective method is to choose role models. These are people to look up to and emulate. Your choices can include people who are dead or living as long as you are familiar with their personalities and accomplishments.

Harry Truman knew the value of role models. When he was in the White House he reportedly went into the Lincoln bedroom, looked at the late president’s picture and asked, “What would Lincoln have done if he were in my situation?” The answers to this question gave Truman the insight and direction he was seeking. It worked because Truman felt Lincoln was a man worth emulating.

In choosing a role model, several things must be kept in mind:

1. Keep them off the pedestal. There is no doubt that you will choose people whom you see as being “above” you because of what they have accomplished. That’s good. What isn’t good is to put them on a pedestal, thereby making them larger than life. We are all human. We all have strengths and weaknesses. You must not lose this perspective on people. Putting them on pedestals only further separates you from them.
2. Isolate their strong points. You need to look at the person you wish to emulate and analyze the precise qualities he or she possesses which you need to acquire. Sit down and write out the characteristics that seem to encourage their success. Use concrete examples of their behaviors that you can adapt to our own situation. For example, if you admire a corporate executive, one of the many traits you might isolate is her policy of “early to bed, early to rise.” Write out approximately when she does each and why. You can then do the same and know the reason why you’re doing it.
3. Remain yourself. Quite often the tendency when admiring someone is to try to become his clone. People who seem to “have it all together” have done all the “work” for you. All you have to do is imitate them. This is a dangerous way to think because you are not working on your own personality.

In the final analysis, you are you. It is impossible to become exactly like someone else. And why should you want to? So remain yourself while you acquire new traits to help you achieve your goals.

Sometimes it is helpful to have a symbol or another person’s virtues. This symbol will actually remind you of that person and his or her qualities. It can take the form of a picture, a possession (e.g., your father’s pocket watch), or some abstract thing such as a rock. It will be useful as long as it makes the association in your mind.

MENTORS

A mentor is someone you admire under whom you can study. Throughout history the mentor-pro  relationship has proven quite fruitful. Socrates was one of the early mentors. Plato and Aristotle studied under him and later emerged as great philosophers in their own right. Mentors are worth cultivating if you can find one.

The same cautions hold true here as for any role model. It is better to adapt their philosophies to your life than to adopt them. Be suspicious of any mentor who seeks to make you dependent on him. It’s better to have him teach you how to fish than to have him catch the fish for you. That way you’ll never starve.

Under the right circumstances mentors make excellent role models. The one-to-one setting is highly conducive to learning as well as to friendship.

The THOUGHT DIET

The thought diet, developed by my friend and colleague Jim Cathcart, is a tool that you can use on a daily basis to help you become the person who will achieve your goals. It breaks down goals into daily actions that are bite-size and easy to do. By showing you the steps along the way, the thought diet will keep you from being overwhelmed by your lofty goals.

Thought Diet Action Plan

On your though diet card, write out the “minimum daily standards” which you will perform every day to move you closer to your goal. Be specific.

The following are some examples of minimum daily standards:

o Mental: I will spend 15 minutes every evening doing visualization exercises.
o Physical: I will do at least five push-ups and ten sit-ups every morning.
o Professional: I will read something related to my career for at least 15 minutes before going to bed.
o Financial: I will keep a complete record of every expense and financial transaction.
o Spiritual: Each day I will do a good deed to help someone less fortunate than I.
o Family: I will relax over dinner and enjoy a meaningful uninterrupted conversation with my family.
o Social: I will take time during my coffee breaks in the office to chat with co-workers.

Inspiration and Motivation

Read the thought diet card twice a day until everything becomes a habit. Once you’ve developed constructive habits, you can move on to new goals and behaviors. Fill out a new card and practice the new challenges every day until they become habits. In this way, you will painlessly move closer and closer to your goals.

The dividends reaped by investing in yourself are unlike any other found in the financial world. When you clarify your values and set goals in all the major areas of your life–mental, physical, family, social, spiritual, professional, and financial– the right roads appear in front of you like mirages in the desert, yet they are real. Choices become infinitely easier to make because you are aiming at something specific, and you’ve taken a giant step toward hitting your goals…with amazing accuracy.

 

THE PLATINUM RULE-WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT APPLY TO YOU?

The Platinum Rule

We have all heard of the Golden Rule-and many people aspire to live by it. The Golden Rule is not a panacea. Think about it: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated. The alternative to the Golden Rule is the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Ah hah! What a difference. The Platinum Rule accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”

A Modern Model for Chemistry

The goal of The Platinum Rule is personal chemistry and productive relationships. You do not have to change your personality. You do not have to roll over and submit to others. You simply have to understand what drives people and recognize your options for dealing with them. The Platinum Rule divides behavioral preferences into four basic styles: The Director, Socializer, Relater, and Thinker. Everyone possesses the qualities of each style to various degrees and everyone has a dominant style. For the sake of simplicity, this article will focus only on dominant styles.

Directors

Directors are driven by two governing needs: to control and achieve. Directors are goal-oriented go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of people and situations. They want to accomplish many things-now-so they focus on no- nonsense approaches to bottom-line results. Directors seek expedience and are not afraid to bend the rules. They figure it is easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission. Directors accept challenges, take authority, and plunge headfirst into solving problems. They are fast-paced, task-oriented, and work quickly and impressively by themselves, which means they become annoyed with delays. Directors are driven and dominating, which can make them stubborn, impatient, and insensitive to others. Directors are so focused that they forget to take the time to smell the roses.

Socializers

The Socializer’s primary strengths are enthusiasm, charm, persuasiveness, and warmth. They are friendly and enthusiastic and like to be where the action is. They thrive on the admiration, acknowledgment, and compliments. They are idea-people who excel at getting others excited about their vision. They are eternal optimists with an abundance of charisma; qualities that help them influence people and build alliances to accomplish their goals. Socializers care less about winning or losing than how they look while playing the game. As wonderful as Socializers may sound, they do have their weaknesses: impatience, an aversion to being alone, and a short attention span—they become bored easily. Socializers are risk-takers who base many of their decisions on intuition, which is not inherently bad. When given only a little data, however, Socializers tend to make sweeping generalizations. Some of them are, therefore, exaggerators. Socializers are not inclined to do their homework or check out information. They are more likely to assume someone else will do it.
Thinkers

Thinkers are analytical, persistent, systematic people who enjoy problem solving. Thinkers are detail-oriented, which makes them more concerned with content than style. Thinkers are task- oriented people who enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results. They’re always in control of their emotions and may become uncomfortable around people who very out-going, e.g., Socializers. Thinkers have high expectations of themselves and others, which can make them over-critical. Their tendency toward perfectionism–taken to an extreme–can cause “paralysis by over- analysis.” Thinkers are slow and deliberate decision-makers. They do research, make comparisons, determine risks, calculate margins of error, and then take action. Thinkers become irritated by surprises and glitches, hence their cautious decision-making. Thinkers are also skeptical, so they like to see promises in writing.

Relaters

Relaters are warm and nurturing individuals. They are the most people-oriented of the four styles. Relaters are excellent listeners, devoted friends, and loyal employees. Their relaxed disposition makes them approachable and warm. They develop strong networks of people who are willing to be mutually supportive and reliable. Relaters are excellent team players. Relaters are risk-averse. In fact, Relaters may tolerate unpleasant environments rather than risk change. They like the status quo and become distressed when disruptions are severe. When faced with change, they think it through, plan, and accept it into their world. Relaters–more than the other types–strive to maintain personal composure, stability, and balance. In the office, Relaters are courteous, friendly, and willing to share responsibilities. They are good planners, persistent workers, and good with follow-through. Relaters go along with other seven when they do not agree because they do not want to rock the boat. Relaters are slow decision-makers for several reasons: 1) their need for security; 2) their need to avoid risk; 3) their desire to include others in the decision-making process.

The Platinum Rule provides powerful life-skills that will serve you well in all your relationships: business, friends, family, spouse, and children.

Find out how The Platinum Rule can work for you!

 

Customer Service Equals The Five Cs

The Five C’s of Effective Execution


The Five C’s of Effective Execution Pay a Key Role in Superior Customer Service. To have mastered these five measures means that you have mastered the way to superior Customer Service which will produce results for your company!

1. Commitment – Across the entire span of people who will be responsible to accomplish any portion of Customer Service Plan. Commitment starts with writing down the goal and the plans necessary to stay on the path to success. Each member of the team must agree on the goal and take ownership of their roles and responsibilities, and get it all in writing!

2. Communication – On a constant basis, communication processes are necessary in order to inform one another what has sales meetings, reporting processes, public charting, etc., and should be designed before the process of execution starts, so everyone knows how to quickly and effectively get the information they need. Communication with your customer, finding out what they want, what they need, is vital to the success of the sale.

3. Collaboration – Several heads are always better than one. Having a collaboration methodology in place that allows team members to make decisions, run meetings, understand responsibilities, etc. is critical to success. Share tips on Customer Service. Decision-making is one of the key differences makers in successful organizations and it makes sense to have a methodology for decision-making that is consistent, time-efficient, and leads to action.

4. Consistency – Having a predictable way of operating together.  People are more successful who have a clearly established set of behavioral guidelines, and making them consistent ensures constant forward motion. Good Customer Service needs a plan and the tools to stick with what works!

5. Constant Awareness (Knowledge) – Making decisions requires knowing exactly where we are with respect to where we said we would be. In today’s competitive world, this is becoming more and more critical to organizations that are trying to integrate a goal-oriented culture. Effective use of technology is how successful companies and teams are creating a real-time knowledge base that allows quick allocation of resources, course correction, and decision-making. Someone needs to be responsible for making a report on a weekly basis on what is working and what is not working in reaching the customer. Knowledge is power and is needed to be passed to each employee who deals with the customers. Superior Customer Service comes from knowledge, teamwork, consistency, communication and commitment!

Teamwork = Superior Customer Service


How Do You Minimize Distractions?

Minimizing Distractions

 

You must eliminate noise and distractions in order to be an effective listener and communicator. These barriers may be in the environment, like noises in the room, other people talking, poor acoustics, bad odors, extreme temperatures, an uncomfortable chair, or visual distractions. Or they could be physical disruptions such as telephone calls or visitors.

Another kind of barrier is something distracting about the speaker. Maybe he or she dresses oddly, shows poor grooming, and has disturbing mannerisms, confusing facial expressions or body language. Or perhaps he or she has a thick accent or an unappealing presentation style.

Yet another barrier has to do with you, the listener, and can be either physical or psychological. Maybe it’s close to lunch or quitting time, and you’re preoccupied with how you feel. You’re hungry or tired, or angry, or maybe have a cold or a toothache. If so, you’re not going to be listening fully.

Another physical barrier could be your proximity to the speaker. If he or she’s either too close or too far away from you, you may feel uncomfortable and have a hard time concentrating.

A second sort of internal barrier is psychological. Perhaps you’re closed-minded to new ideas or resistant to information that runs contrary to your beliefs and values. Or maybe you’re bored, or daydreaming, or jumping to conclusions.

There are lots of potential distractions. If you can’t avoid them, minimize them. You do that by focusing totally on the speaker and paying attention. Here are four specific techniques that will help you concentrate while listening:

1.  Take a deep breath. This will prevent you from interrupting, and will provide your brain with invigorating oxygen. Try it now, and as you’re doing it, try to speak. It doesn’t work very well, does it?

2.  Consciously decide to listen. No matter who’s speaking, pay attention and listen for information that’s particularly interesting or useful. You never know what you might learn. As show-biz wit Wilson Mizner once said, “A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.”

3.  Mentally paraphrase what the speaker is saying. This will prevent you from daydreaming about irrelevant and superfluous topics. You’ll concentrate on the speaker instead of yourself.

4.  Maintain eye contact. Where your eyes focus, your ears follow. You’re most likely to listen to what you are looking at.

So, if you can’t eliminate a distraction, use one or more of these techniques to help you handle the distractions.

The Thought Diet-What is it? How can it help Me?

THE THOUGHT DIET

The thought diet, developed by my friend and colleague Jim Cathcart, is a tool that you can use on a daily basis to help you become the person who will achieve your goals. It breaks down goals into daily actions that are bite-size and easy to do. By showing you the steps along the way, the thought diet will keep you from being overwhelmed by your lofty goals.

Thought Diet Action Plan

On your though diet card, write out the “minimum daily standards” which you will perform every day to move you closer to your goal. Be specific.

The following are some examples of minimum daily standards:

• Mental: I will spend 15 minutes every evening doing visualization exercises.
• Physical: I will do at least five push-ups and ten sit-ups every morning.
• Professional: I will read something related to my career for at least 15 minutes before going to bed.
• Financial: I will keep a complete record of every expense and financial transaction.
• Spiritual: Each day I will do a good deed to help someone less fortunate than I.
• Family: I will relax over dinner and enjoy a meaningful uninterrupted conversation with my family.
• Social: I will take time during my coffee breaks in the office to chat with co-workers.

Inspiration and Motivation

Read the thought diet card twice a day until everything becomes a habit. Once you’ve developed constructive habits, you can move on to new goals and behaviors. Fill out a new card and practice the new challenges every day until they become habits. In this way, you will painlessly move closer and closer to your goals.

My Way or the Highway-Is Your Thinking Too Rigid?

                                                                                                        Rigidity

Rigidity can be described as holding the attitude: My way or the highway. It can also be disguised in such sayings as: “That’s just the way it is,” or “Those are the rules, mam,” or “That’ll never work.” Do those kinds of sayings ever come from your mouth? Those statements are indicative of a kind of mental paralysis. No new information is being allowed in.
Rigidity can be cloaked in a variety of ways that appear attractive, on the surface. You may value the fact that you’re a high achiever, a perfectionist, and a take-charge or no-nonsense person. And you should take pride in your accomplishments. But an inflexible, rigid attitude can get in the way of even greater accomplishments and a larger sphere of influence. Maybe you pride yourself on being cautious; you don’t like to leap before you look carefully. That’s fine except when your caution turns into an aversion to taking any risks at all.
Maybe you believe that you know the best way to get from Point A to Point B, or the best way to make a chili barbecue, or the best way to solve the recycling problems in your community. Everyone wants you on their committee – except when it turns out that “the best way” is the only way you know how to do that particular thing, and you’re not willing to learn anything new about it.
One of the things we can say with certainty about life is that everything changes. It’s a task for all of us to keep figuring out where we need to hold the line on what we know and where we need to let go of the rigidity that keeps us from learning new things.
The fact is that at least since the beginning of the decade, there’s been a greater emphasis on the value of collaboration, cooperation and interdependent networks of people. Who would have ever thought that archrivals IBM and Apple Computer would ever collaborate? But they have! Remember the hi-tech commercials during the Super Bowls in the mid 1980’s? Everyone watched to see what new outrageous ad Apple had come up with to sling at IBM. They weren’t rivals, they were enemies. Then they began to see the value of collaboration. At least to the point of being able to work on joint projects.
More and more companies are seeing the value of breaking up departments that used to compete against each other. Instead they’re putting people into teams with shared leadership and a mandate to cooperate with each other. As those companies move from a hierarchical structure to one that’s team-based you hear the same lament over and over: “Some of the people who’ve been around here for a while can’t seem to make the transition. They’re too “set in their ways,” they have too much of the old “command and control” style in their veins.”
If you suspect that you may have an underlying layer of rigidity in your personality that prevents you from being flexible where flexibility would be an asset, here are some tips. First and foremost, concentrate on listening to what others have to say. Not just passive listening, that is, hearing the words. But learn what’s known as “active listening” where you do more than simply pay attention. Active listening means you suspend your judgments about what the other person is saying while you listen. Active listening means that you are so clear about what the other person is saying that you could paraphrase it back to them in a way they would agree that’s what they said.
Being willing to listen without making judgments takes work. You can tell you’re NOT doing it when little thoughts like “that’s crazy,” or “she doesn’t know what she’s talking about” pop up in your head as you listen. But if you’re able to achieve the ability to listen first, and then decide how you feel about something, much more information and new insight will filter into your brain. That’s because the rigid guard at the door of your mind has been asked to take a break.
Another way to combat rigidity is to admit a mistake when you’ve made one. That’s so easy to say, and so hard to do! Start by admitting it to yourself. “Darn it, I made a mistake!” That’s the first step. Some rigid people can’t even do that much. The next step is to say it out loud to someone who’s affected by that mistake. “Sorry, but it looks like I’ve made a mistake here.”
And one more tip: remember that in many things, the process is as important as the goal. HOW you arrive at a result in a work project or on a community committee or in your family affects everyone involved. And the process has a direct impact on the success of the next undertaking. Your ability to be flexible, to let go of rigid expectations, to allow for disagreements, are all measures of your maturity in those situations.