Advanced Life Skills http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog Life Skills for Successful Living Sun, 05 Nov 2017 11:12:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 20 Ways to Save Your Brain http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/20-ways-to-save-your-brain/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/20-ways-to-save-your-brain/#comments Wed, 01 Nov 2017 04:45:07 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=1565 Do you feel like it is getting more difficult to focus your attention, or calculate numbers in your head? Do you ever feel like you have brain fog? I hope you haven’t accepted the notion that a slowdown in mental acuity is an inevitable part of getting older. It’s not! Many things can contribute to a decline in mental performance […]

The post 20 Ways to Save Your Brain appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
Do you feel like it is getting more difficult to focus your attention, or calculate numbers in your head? Do you ever feel like you have brain fog? I hope you haven’t accepted the notion that a slowdown in mental acuity is an inevitable part of getting older. It’s not!

Many things can contribute to a decline in mental performance and brain function, and one of the major contributors is what I like to call the use it or lose it syndrome.

20 Ways to Train Your Brain for Peak Performance

In order to stay sharp, it is important that you exercise your brain.  The less you use your mind, the duller it becomes.  There is a lot of emphasis these days on staying physically healthy, but you should also be concerned for your mental well-being.

Your brain continues to expand and adapt to the stimuli it receives throughout your lifetime.  The more you take care of your brain, the better your thinking ability becomes.  Here are twenty ways that you can develop a training regimen for your brain!

1.  Read a good book. Reading a book stimulates the imagination.  Your brain can’t keep from drawing mental pictures when you read.  Reading gets your mind off its butt and to work.  I love to let a book carry me away.  I always have a book that I’m reading and sometimes I have 3 or 4!  I get most of my books from the library to avoid the cost of buying each one.  This also allows me to try a wide variety of books without risk.

2.  Brain training games. There are a number of brain training games that are fun and scientifically proven to stimulate and strengthen your mind. I personally think the ones by Lumosity are some of the best. They were created by scientist and game designers to be both effective and entertaining!

3. Practice meditation. Don’t worry; I’m not going off the new age deep-end here.  There are a lot of different forms of meditation.  To me, in its simplest form, meditation is about spending a little time alone to relax and center your thoughts.  It is amazingly therapeutic.

4. Get plenty of rest. A lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to assimilate new information.  This means those all-nighters you pulled back in college were much less effective than you thought.  Your brain needs rest to operate at its peak performance.  This may be why things always seem clearer and brighter after a good night’s sleep.

5. Exercise regularly. You didn’t think you were going to get away without a little time on the treadmill did you?  Cardiovascular exercise improves blood flow to the brain which improves brain function.  One study found that physical exercise actually helped to increase the volume of the brain.  So, if you want a bigger, better brain, then get to exercising!

6. Eat a good breakfast. It is not a myth.  Eating a good breakfast does get you off to a better start.  You should eat a breakfast high in protein and good carbohydrates.  A couple of pieces of whole-grain toast with peanut butter will fit the bill.  Eggs are also an excellent source of protein.  Nuts, milk, and fresh fruit are also great ways to feed your brain.

7. Think positive thoughts. Encourage yourself.  I am convinced that positive thinking increases the effectiveness of the brain and helps to avoid things like depression.  I like to say that your brain works much like a computer, garbage-in, garbage-out.  Find positive, encouraging people to hang around, read material that jazzes you up, do whatever it is that makes you feel good about yourself.  These things will also help you be more mentally productive.

8. Be a continual learner. Never stop being curious about your world.  Seek out new experiences, skills, and knowledge.  Think of something that you’ve always wanted to learn to do and then get started.  A now famous study, showed that certain areas of the brains of London cab drivers were more developed compared to the average citizen.  This was due to their need to learn how to navigate the maze of downtown streets.  You can use this technique of challenging your brain to improve your abilities.

9. Lighten up on the alcohol. Alcohol is of course a depressant.  It slows down brain function.  The negative effects of alcohol on a person’s cognitive ability are well-documented.  If you need peak mental performance, then stop drinking alcohol.  In addition to its obvious effects, it also decreases the restfulness of one’s sleep which, as we have already discussed, impedes your ability to think clearly.

10. Keep the romance in your marriage. Studies have shown that there may be a link between intimate physical contact and improved brain performance.  Love-making increases hormone levels that are tied to better mental performance.  Of course, the mental benefits probably do not outweigh the risks, unless you are in a faithful, monogamous relationship.

11. Break your routines. Drive a new way to work.  Try writing with your less dominant hand.  Mix things up a little.  This perks up your brain because it requires you to think more.  You aren’t just running on auto-pilot.  Challenge your brain by getting out of your routines and it will respond.  This is a great way to get your mental juices flowing.

12. Stop watching so much television. Researchers have found that too much television between the ages of 1 and 3 leads to attention problems later in childhood.  Let’s face it, TV is mind-numbing.  Get up off the couch and away from the television.  Sure, there is some good educational stuff for children and adults, but the average American watches way too much TV.  If you want peak mental performance, then turn off the boob tube.

13. Work with numbers. Do math problems in your head instead of on a calculator.  For many of us, it is use it or lose it.  We have become mentally lazy.  We rely on our gadgets instead of thinking for ourselves.  Working with and memorizing numbers is a great way to get your brain back in shape.  This could pay off big dividends down the road!

14. Stop relying on your GPS to tell you where to go. Remember the cab drivers in #8 above?  Using your brain to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B is good mental exercise.  You have to use your brain’s ability to determine spatial relationships to effectively read a map and navigate a city.  Traveling in an unfamiliar area is even better!

15. Recall old memories. Get out those old picture albums and start thumbing through them.  This taps into your brains memory banks.  Pictures will help you recall things that you thought you forgot.  Dig deep to see just what all you remember.  If you have other ways to stimulate your memory, like old letters or home movies, then by all means use those too.

16. Make beautiful music. Learning to play a musical instrument is a great way to super-charge your brain.  It requires a number of different parts of your brain to work together to make the melodies that you desire. Whether you learn how to play the clarinet, take piano lessons, or learn the violin, your brain will grow. Of course, if you are already a musician, then learn a new piece.  Push yourself to learn new techniques.  Music is a great workout for the mind.

17. Speak a new tongue. Many people agree that learning to speak a new language is a powerful way to give the mind a stretch.  If you’ve ever tried to learn even a few new words, then you know this can be difficult.  Of course, the harder something is for the brain, the better!  You have so much more mental capacity than you might imagine.  Give it a try!

18. Memorize a song. Many of us have lots of old songs stored in our heads, but why not expand your memory by learning a few new tunes?  It may take awhile at first, but if you keep at it, you will find it gets easier.  This is your brain getting back in shape.

19. Walk around the house blindfolded. It might seem like a strange activity, but your brain can handle it.  Once you try it a few times, you will probably find it fun and challenging.  Again, this one draws on your memory, motor skills, and reasoning abilities.  What a workout!

20. Expand your vocabulary. Decide to learn one new word a day.  There are several websites out there that can help you with this endeavor.  You’ll not only be expanding your mind, but you’ll also be able to impress your friends and co-workers when you work one of your new words into a conversation.

Get started today and be smarter tomorrow!

There you have it!  I have just given you 20 very practical ways to sharpen your mind and train your brain.  These suggestions will have your brain back in tip-top shape in no time.  Why are you waiting?  It is time to start exercising your mental muscles!

How do you keep your brain in perfect working order?
Do you have something to add to the list?
The lines are open!

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

The post 20 Ways to Save Your Brain appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/20-ways-to-save-your-brain/feed/ 10
10 Proven Tips for a Happy Marriage http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/10-tips-for-a-happy-marriage/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/10-tips-for-a-happy-marriage/#comments Mon, 30 Oct 2017 23:47:47 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=383 To have a really happy marriage, you need to work at it. As the saying goes, the only place you find success before work is in the dictionary. These happy marriage tips have been proven to work in a wide variety of relationships and I wanted to share them with you. Hopefully they will contribute value to your efforts to […]

The post 10 Proven Tips for a Happy Marriage appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
To have a really happy marriage, you need to work at it. As the saying goes, the only place you find success before work is in the dictionary.

These happy marriage tips have been proven to work in a wide variety of relationships and I wanted to share them with you. Hopefully they will contribute value to your efforts to build a lasting and happy marriage.

10 Tips to help build a strong and happy marriage

1. Build trust into your marriage. It takes effort to built a happy marriage succeed. So, be determined not to flirt or get too close with members of the opposite sex. If you do, in the back of your mind, you could begin to view someone else as an alternatives when your marriage goes through a rough patch. Having an alternative will weaken your resolve to make your marriage work. Trust is the foundation of a happy marriage and it’s something you need to work at.

2. Show respect by paying  attention. Listen to your spouse when he or she talks to you. Mutual respect is vital for a happy marriage. When you give your mate your undivided attention it shows that you respect them and value what they have to say. If your spouse talks to you when you’re in the middle of something important, explain that you want to hear what they have to say and suggest a time when you’ll be able to pay better attention.

3. Do fun things together. Find thing that you enjoy doing together and then make time to do them. Exercise together, go on walks, or take on mutually enjoyable projects together. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you both have fun doing it. Spending time together enjoying each other’s company will strengthen your happy marriage and add another meaningful dimension to your relationship.

4. Learn from your experiences. Figure out when to do, or not do, certain things. For example, if you find that you tend to be tense and cranky when you’re hungry, minimize your conversation with your spouse during those times. Similarly, if you see that your spouse gets worked up whenever you mention the name of a certain person, don’t mention that person’s name unless absolutely necessary. Build a happy marriage by being smart enough to learn from the past.

5. Be polite to your mate. When speaking with with your partner, use phrases like please and thank you. Being polite should not be viewed as a formality. It is a way that we honor our mate and it helps them to feel appreciated and respected. Being courteous is like the oil that helps a happy marriage run smoothly and reduces unnecessary friction. If you can be polite to a stranger, then it should be even more important to be polite to your marriage mate.

6. Never say “I told you so.” Strike the phrase “I told you so” from your vocabulary.  They already know that you told them so, why rub it in? Saying so only creates ill will between you and your spouse. We all mess up from time to time. And when we do having it rubbed in our face doesn’t help. A little support and encouragement will do a lot more toward building a happy marriage than taking a shot at your partner when they are already feeling bad.

7. Don’t Keep Score. Marriage is not a contest so don’t walk around with a watchful eye making sure your partner carries there share of the load. Instead, take the view that it doesn’t matter if you end up doing more than half of what needs to be done. Trying to make your relationship fifty-fifty proposition will cause a lot of unnecessary tension and you don’t need that. So unless your spouse is a total slacker,  recognize that in a happy marriage both partners try to help their mate carry the load.

8. Don’t sweat the small stuff. A family court judge once commented that in 99 percent of the divorce cases he presided over, the couples were upset over very trivial things. Wouldn’t it be ironic if a marriage was strong enough to stand up to all the big challenges, but couldn’t get past the minor irritations of daily life? Here’s a secret from my own happy marriage. Learn to view your partners little idiosyncrasies as entertaining rather than irritating. It works, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

9. Greet your partner with a smile. We all want to know that our mate is happy to see us. Well, when they greet us with a smile it reassures us of that, and our smile does the same for them. A smile can do so much and requires so little effort. It has the power to lift someone’s spirits and it sets the stage for a pleasant reunion after a long and perhaps difficult day. If you want a happy marriage, lead with your smile and let that be the first impression you make when you greet your mate.

10. Respect your spouse’s privacy. Don’t go through your partner’s things out of curiosity or in an effort to check up on them. We all want our privacy to be respected and when someone violates that it feels offensive. Don’t let a sense of insecurity cause you to become overly suspicious of your your mate. On the other hand, being secretive can create suspicion. A happy marriage should be built on open and honest communication. So, if there is something you need to know, ask, don’t snoop.

Do you have a favorite happy marriage tip to share?
Does one of these really strike a cord in your relationship?
Share your thoughts on facebook or google+

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

Ladies, want to know how to rewire your man’s brain so he will pay more attention to you and treat you better? You’ll want to read this article.

The post 10 Proven Tips for a Happy Marriage appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/10-tips-for-a-happy-marriage/feed/ 14
What Do Your Instinctive Preferences Say About You? http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/what-do-your-instinctive-preferences-say-about-you/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 02:58:01 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=13542 The post What Do Your Instinctive Preferences Say About You? appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>

Many things in life exert an influence on your preferences. Some common examples would be social expectations, gender, education, and upbringing.

On a deeper level, your choices and preferences are also influenced by instinct or what we might call intuitive intelligence?  Have you ever wondered how this powerful force is being expressed in your life?

Seeing your instinctive side!

We often describe ourselves by our life roles and job titles. As important as those descriptions may be, they generally have nothing to do with instinctive preferences. For that kind of description we would need to use questions like:

1. Are you primal or ethereal?
2. Are you demanding or nurturing?
3. Are you more influenced by internal or external forces?

But even these questions can’t give you a clear picture because they are subject to your own intellectual analysis. So how do you separate instinct from intellect long enough to identify your instinctive preferences?

Would you like to find out?

One way to reveal your instinctive preferences is to be presented with a series of choices that have no intellectual basis. In the absence of cognitive involvement the mind becomes quiet enough for your instinctive preferences take over.

This fun little multiple choice quiz is designed to give you some insight into your instinctive preferences and how they are being expressed. The average time to take the quiz is only about one minute!

What Do Your Instinctive Preferences Say About You?

 

Do you feel that your results were accurate?
Were the questions easy, or did you have to think about them?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this quiz!

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

The post What Do Your Instinctive Preferences Say About You? appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
How to Get More Enjoyment Out of Every Day http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-to-get-more-enjoyment-out-of-every-day/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-to-get-more-enjoyment-out-of-every-day/#comments Wed, 18 Oct 2017 21:28:06 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=497 When you are busy working toward a long term goal do you find it difficult to maintain your sense of enjoyment? Does it seem like your life requires you to play so many different roles that it is almost impossible to stay focused on any one project for very long? When our attention gets spread too thin it can be […]

The post How to Get More Enjoyment Out of Every Day appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
When you are busy working toward a long term goal do you find it difficult to maintain your sense of enjoyment? Does it seem like your life requires you to play so many different roles that it is almost impossible to stay focused on any one project for very long?

When our attention gets spread too thin it can be challenging to stay motivated over the long run. Projects that we are passionate about keep getting shoved into the background and end up taking much, much longer that we thought they would.

How can we maintain our enthusiasm and keep our focus with so many distractions? What steps can we take to regain some control of our schedule? How can we bring a greater sense of enjoyment into our daily routine?

11 tips for getting more enjoyment out of every day

1. Value simplicity. The simpler things are the less distracted we will be. This means we need to de-clutter our environment and our minds.  For some reason we seem to accumulate physical, mental, and emotional clutter. So we end up rushing from one demanding situation to another with no real feeling of enjoyment or accomplishment. To quiet our minds and restore a sense of order to our lives we need to value simplicity.

2. Experience your activities. How often are you doing one thing and thinking about another? How can we find enjoyment in anything if our focus is somewhere else? If we never take the time to actually be in the moment then can we say that we are really living our life? Even the most mundane activities can be enjoyable if we stay centered on the actual experience. In this over stimulated, out of balance and hectic world, simple activities fully experienced can be enjoyable if we let them.

3. Savor the little things. The next time you eat a piece of fruit or enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, simply enjoy it. Wrap your senses around it and savor the experience. When we gulp down our food and rush off to whatever comes next, we are actually robbing ourselves of enjoyment. Our senses of smell and taste are connected to our brains pleasure center. When you savor what goes into your body you tend to eat less and enjoy it more.

4. Add variety to your routine. Don’t be afraid to try something new. It could be something as simple as taking a different route to get to work or as complex as learning to play a musical instrument. Instead of turning on the television  after dinner, try going for a walk in the evening air. Right now is an excellent time to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to because someday may never come.

5. Make time for what you love. If all we ever did was work on and attend to our obligations it could become difficult to find any sense of enjoyment in our day-to-day experience. It’s important to take care of our responsibilities, but we should also try to balance the “need to do” activities with a few things we really want to do. If we never make the time to do things we are excited about, we could easily start resenting our lives. That’s why it is important to make time every day for the things we really enjoy.

6. Drop unnecessary commitments. Just as we need to make time for doing things we love, we also need to work toward minimizing the things that just consume time and energy with no real payoff. Granted, some things simply aren’t negotiable, but other so-called obligations aren’t really necessary. For each commitment ask yourself if this is something that’s really adding to your life. Is it enhancing your life, or is it just adding more stress? If it doesn’t add any enjoyment or positive benefit, drop it.

7. Focus on what matters. There is productivity and there is busy work. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize the difference because it varies for each of us. Here’s an example: For someone whose livelihood comes from social media marketing, spending time on sites like Twitter and Facebook might represent productivity. For others however, anything more than 5-10 minutes on those sites might just be a distraction from what really matters. It’s up to each of us to analyze our own situation and apportion our time accordingly.

8. Learn to just let go. When it comes to relaxation the body follows the mind. If your mind is busy obsessing over all the things that didn’t get done today, then you are not relaxed. Your body can only experience relaxation if your mind has let go of anything and everything that causes stress, worry, or anxiety. You will find more enjoyment in your life if you take some time every day to practice letting go.

9. Embrace generosity. There are almost endless opportunities to contribute to the lives of others. Any act of kindness is an act of generosity. Smile at strangers, hold the door open for the person behind you, listen while someone else is talking, and be respectful. These simple acts of kindness don’t cost you anything, but they add enjoyment to your life and the lives of those around you.

10. Do a daily gratitude review. Focusing on gratitude will change your life on every level. It is so easy to get caught up in selfish pursuits and forget how much there is to be grateful for. Gratitude is the antidote for selfishness. If you take a minute every morning and every evening to review your blessings, you will start to notice more and more things to be grateful for. Of all the ways to get more enjoyment out of every day, this is the simplest and the most powerful. If you only put one thing from this list into action in your life, this should be it.

11. Examine your priorities. Life is an ever changing experience and that means that we need to reevaluate our priorities on a regular basis. Make sure you know what is truly important to you, and why. Give your top priorities first place in your life or they will get swallowed up by everything else. Everyone you know probably has an opinion about what should be important to you. Keep in mind that this is your life and you need to set your own priorities. Choose wisely and you too will find enjoyment in your every day life.

Did any of these points resonate with you?
Do you have a special tip for more daily enjoyment?
Share your thoughts on facebook or google+

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

The post How to Get More Enjoyment Out of Every Day appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-to-get-more-enjoyment-out-of-every-day/feed/ 29
How Focus Defines Our Life http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-focus-defines-our-life/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-focus-defines-our-life/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=1560 Photography is an amazing way to learn about focus. This is because the very act of viewing life through the lens of a camera can help us develop a truly empowering skill. We call that skill focus, and learning to use it properly can transform our perception of the world around us and the people in it. I believe that […]

The post How Focus Defines Our Life appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
Photography is an amazing way to learn about focus. This is because the very act of viewing life through the lens of a camera can help us develop a truly empowering skill.

We call that skill focus, and learning to use it properly can transform our perception of the world around us and the people in it.

I believe that the power to change your reality is equal to your ability to focus your attention in the most beneficial direction at any given time.

3 things photography can teach us about life and focus

1. The higher the magnification, the narrower the field of vision. This principle is what allows you to use a telephoto lens to pick out a single face in a very large crowd. As you focus in on that one subject, the rest of the crowd disappears from view. Why does that happen? Because your field of vision narrows until the entire frame is filled with that one face.

When you take the picture, the crowd is excluded. It doesn’t mean that there is no crowd. It simply means that you don’t see them in the picture because that is not what you were focused on.

Application: Your perception is determined by what you focus on. This means that we can use our ability to focus our attention in a way that causes an empowering shift in our perception. It doesn’t matter whether we are looking at a person, situation, or an experience. We can control what our picture looks like by controlling what we choose to focus on.

If you focus intently on the positive aspects of any person, place, or thing, the negative aspects will fade into the background. They will still exist, but they will be outside of your field of concentration, and will have little or no influence on the picture you see.

2. Lighting has a huge influence on how you see things, and your ability to focus. If you set your camera on a tripod and focus it on a single object, the lighting will determine how you see that object.

Imagine that you have decided to photograph a magnificent tree that is standing alone on the top of a hill. If your camera remained stationary, and you took one picture every hour from sunup till sundown, what would you have? You would have twelve (or so) completely different photographs. Why? Even though the subject remained the same, the variation in lighting changed its appearance.

Application: The degree of value we choose to assign to anything we focus on can be compared to lighting. If it is something of great importance, we put a spotlight on it so we can see every detail. If it is relatively insignificant, we dial down the light so it doesn’t distract from the things that really matter.

If we assign too much value to (shine a spotlight on) things of little importance, they will overshadow the more valuable aspects of our life.

By assigning increased value to thing like gratitude, relationships, health, and honesty, we bring those things front and center in our life. This means that they move higher on our list of priorities and capture more of our attention. As a result, less empowering aspects of life will be relegated to a lower priority and receive less attention.

3. Shutter speed affects the quality and clarity of any photograph. Under glaring conditions, exposure time needs to be reduced to avoid overexposing the picture. When the lighting is poor, a slower shutter speed allows enough time for the available light to properly expose the image.

If you use a fast shutter speed in a low light situation, the image will not register. Your picture will be underexposed and worthless as a result. Using a slower shutter speed when trying to capture an action shot will give you a blurry picture devoid of details, also worthless.

Exposure time needs to change to fit the requirements of each situation. If it doesn’t, then quality and clarity are compromised.

Application: In life, we need to make choices about what we are willing to expose ourselves to, and for how long. We only have so many hours in a day. Learning to manage the time available is really a process of deciding how much time we spend on each activity.

If you stay too long at unimportant activities (overexpose yourself), you will end up underexposing yourself to the really important ones. Once again, exposure time needs to change to fit the requirements of each situation. We also need to acknowledge that some things are not worth exposing ourselves to at all.

Making positive changes in the quality of our life requires that we assign meaningful amounts of time to meaningful pursuits. If we don’t control our time, mundane activities will expand to fill the time available. By managing your time and adjusting your exposure, you will be able to give greater focus to activities that make a solid contribution to the quality of your life.

Auto focus, is it good or bad?

For most of us, photography is a point and shoot process. Automatic cameras require very little skill to produce fairly nice pictures. Truly exceptional photographs however, still require a skilled photographer to manually control the focus and shutter speed, and to recognize or create the perfect lighting.

High quality photos are still produced by those with enough skill to make the best use of the tools available. They want above average results, and they consider it worth their time and effort to develop the necessary skills.

What kind of life do you want?

For a lot of people, life is just an average experience, it’s a point and shoot affair. Generally, this is not because they don’t want an exceptional life. It may be because they haven’t taken the time to develop the life skills required to produce exceptional results. Or perhaps, they never had an opportunity to learn those life skills in the first place. Whatever the reason, the skills are available for anyone desiring to live a truly exceptional life.

How about you, is average good enough, or do you want exceptional? When you look at your life, what kind of picture do you want to see?

Do you find it difficult to control your focus?
How much influence do you think focus has on perception?
Share your thoughts on facebook or google+

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

Recreate Your Reality

The post How Focus Defines Our Life appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-focus-defines-our-life/feed/ 54
Personal Excellence: Building a Castle or Hauling Rocks? http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/personal-excellence-are-you-building-a-castle/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/personal-excellence-are-you-building-a-castle/#comments Mon, 09 Oct 2017 21:44:30 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=7807 There’s an old story about personal excellence that goes like this: A man who walks by a construction site and sees three workers, each pushing a wheelbarrow holding one enormous stone. Out of curiosity, he asks one of the workers what they are doing. “What does it look like?” he says with a sneer.  “I’m just hauling rocks.” Unsatisfied with […]

The post Personal Excellence: Building a Castle or Hauling Rocks? appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
There’s an old story about personal excellence that goes like this: A man who walks by a construction site and sees three workers, each pushing a wheelbarrow holding one enormous stone.

Out of curiosity, he asks one of the workers what they are doing. “What does it look like?” he says with a sneer.  “I’m just hauling rocks.”

Unsatisfied with that answer, the man asks the second worker with a wheelbarrow the same question. Without even bothering to look up, this man says “We’re putting up walls.”

Frustrated, the man tries one last time. “I say there,” he asks the third worker, “can you please tell me what you men are doing here?” Unlike the other two, this man stops, puts down his wheelbarrow, wipes the sweat from his forehead and says with a big smile, “We are building a castle and it’s going to be magnificent .”

Perception makes all the difference

Here are three different men; all doing the same work, but one says he is hauling rocks, one says he is putting up walls, and one says he is building a castle. This story says a lot about the attitude that each of us bring to our lives, or could bring to our lives if we were willing to shift our perspective more toward personal excellence.

For example, I help people create positive change through writing and coaching. One of the reasons I do these things is to meet my financial overhead and to put food on the table. So, viewed strictly from that perspective, you might conclude that I’m just hauling rocks.

At the next level, my objective is to build up my coaching practice, increase the traffic to Advanced Life Skills, and sell more home study courses. The more successfully I  do those things, the more readers and clients I attract. This, in turn, increases the performance of the various aspects of my business. When viewed from this perspective, you could say that I am putting up walls.

But the real motive and objective of my writing and coaching is to help people from all over the world to achieve and maintain a very high level of personal excellence. When I stay focused on the personal excellence aspect, I feel like I am building a magnificent castle while also meeting my lesser goals at the same time.

Don’t settle for mediocrity

Idealists might say that achieving and maintaining high levels of personal excellence has nothing to do with building a castle. They are mistaken. Oh sure, you can improve yourself, express your opinions, or rally around a cause without a commitment to personal excellence. But you won’t affect much meaningful change in the world or create a life that’s comparable to a magnificent castle.

That’s because personal excellence is not about showing off or beating the competition. Personal excellence is about having high standards and a healthy sense of self-esteem.  It’s a personal commitment to become the best you can possibly be. It liberates you from the crowded field of mediocrity allowing you to stand out, rise to the top, and shine!

You simply can’t reach your potential or live your life to the fullest if you spend your days making excuses, living by low standards, and doing just enough to get by. No one ever achieved personal excellence by exhibiting mediocre behavior or by accepting it from the people they surround themselves with.

Choose personal excellence and create your magnificent castle

A commitment to personal excellence in every area of your life is a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, black or white, young or old, handsome or homely, educated or not. If you focus on personal excellence, and never make an exception, you will rise to the top.

Personal excellence creates a sense of freedom, security, and peace of mind. It enables you to follow your dreams, to use your life the way you choose, and to live and work on your own terms. It also allows you to inspire and help others.

A commitment to personal excellence gives you a strong sense of dignity and fills you with immense personal satisfaction. That’s why every man and woman has the right, and I believe the responsibility, to pursue personal excellence and to become the best possible version of themselves.

When my work empowers people to greater success, when it gives them direction, motivation, or peace of mind, I feel a great sense of satisfaction. It makes me feel like I’m building my castle.

Apply this same line of thinking to everything you do!

If your life feels like you’ve just been hauling rocks, here is a very special opportunity to make some real progress on your own magnificent castle.

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

The post Personal Excellence: Building a Castle or Hauling Rocks? appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/personal-excellence-are-you-building-a-castle/feed/ 23
How to Be Yourself, Your True Self http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-to-be-yourself/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-to-be-yourself/#comments Mon, 02 Oct 2017 17:17:07 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=7631 Why do so many people feel confused about who they really are and how did the issue of personal identity become so challenging? While it may seem like you should automatically know how to be yourself, in reality that is rarely the case. When you think about it, so many things in life depend on our ability to connect with […]

The post How to Be Yourself, Your True Self appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
Why do so many people feel confused about who they really are and how did the issue of personal identity become so challenging? While it may seem like you should automatically know how to be yourself, in reality that is rarely the case.

When you think about it, so many things in life depend on our ability to connect with our true self. After all, how are we supposed to know what we should be doing or who we should be doing it with if we don’t even know who we really are?

What does it mean to be your true self?

From the time we are very young we begin to experiment with a variety of different identities. Because we are impressionable, it is only natural that we try on new versions of ourselves at fairly regular intervals. The less inhibited we are, the more readily we will try to imitate whatever appeals to us at the moment.

During these formative years we have no idea who we actually are or who we will become, so we take our cues from those around us. Of course, at that early age we have no idea that most of those people are struggling with their own identity issues. Because we are young and inexperienced, we just naturally assume that by the time we get a little older we will figure out how to be ourselves.

The leverage of expectations

The expectations of those around us also exert a strong influence on our identity. Many of the choices we think we have made in life were probably programmed into us by the expectations of those whose approval we craved. It is amazing the degree to which people will adapt to gain the approval of others.

Then there are the expectations that we put on ourselves because we think we have to. This could include anything from our grade point average in school, to the job we would walk away from if it weren’t for our financial obligations.

After awhile the line gets blurred

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that imitating others or living up to expectations is inherently bad. All I am saying is that these influences can make it difficult to be yourself because they tend to confuse the issue.

Over time, it can become increasingly more challenging to identify our true self apart from those external influences. The line gets blurred to the point where we might have a full and busy life and still find ourselves saying: “I don’t really know who I am.” Have you ever felt that way?

To be yourself you need to find your true self

The phrase “find myself” gets over 5 million searches per month in google. That shows how common it is for people to feel disconnected from their true self and how interested they are in reestablishing that long lost connection. How about you, are you interested in learning how to be yourself in a more complete and meaningful way?

Even for those who feel somewhat in touch with their true nature, the constant barrage of carefully crafted advertisements coupled with the pressure of external expectations can make it extremely difficult to maintain that core connection. So, figuring out how to be yourself is a necessary first step, but to continue to be yourself day in and day out, you need a way to stay grounded and connected.

6 ways to be yourself regardless of external influences

I have identified six vital elements necessary for establishing and maintaining your connection with your true and authentic self.

1. Internal alignment. The absence of internal conflict is the only way to be at peace with our true self.  Any misalignment between our life and our core standards will prevent us from being totally honest with ourselves.  Self honesty is a prerequisite to internal harmony. To be yourself means that you need to identify your core standards and align with them.

2. Know your personal values. We all have a built in set of personal values. If we lose touch with those values we lose touch with our true self. When we violate those values we violate our relationship with the person that we really are. To truly be yourself, it is vital that you identify those values and make every effort to live by them.

3. Pick your pain and pleasure paradigms. As humans we are programmed to move away from pain and toward pleasure. To feel good about our pursuits and goals they need to represent some form of pleasure. To avoid the things that are out of alignment with our core standards and personal values, they need to represent pain on some level. If you properly assign these pain and pleasure paradigms they will fully support your natural tendency to be yourself.

4. Choose your passions carefully. You might think that you have very little control over your passions, but nothing could be further from the truth. To make sure that our passions align with our true self they need to be in harmony with our values and standards. Passions are easily influenced by what we think about and what we take in through our five senses. These are all within your control.

5. Adjust your response patterns. How we respond to the many situations and circumstances in our lives will determine how the world around us responds to us. Most people just react to external stimuli. How much more appropriate it is to respond in a way that supports our values and reinforces our sense of self honesty. If someone pushes your buttons and you just react, then they were the ones controlling you. To be yourself you need to consciously choose your response.

6. Cultivate positive beliefs about yourself. Being yourself is very difficult if you believe that you are worthless or undeserving, which of course isn’t true. Make it a habit to cultivate positive feelings about yourself as a person. Commend yourself for all the wonderful ways you contribute to the world around you.  If you give yourself the approval you deserve then your identity won’t depend on approval from outside sources.

Be the person you were meant to be

We are all unique and we all make a valuable contribution. Once you accept that it becomes much easier to connect with your true self and to feel comfortable being you. There will always be external influences trying to blur the line between who you are and who they want you to be. But if you follow these six suggestions, you will always know who you are.

Have you ever felt like you don’t really know who you are?
Has your personal identity been obscured by outside influences?
Share your thoughts on facebook or google+

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

If you’re ready to discover your core values and passions, and make a deeper connection with your true self, then you’re ready to Find Your TRUE SELF.

The post How to Be Yourself, Your True Self appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/how-to-be-yourself/feed/ 24
Your Emotional Vocabulary and the Power of Words http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/the-power-of-your-emotional-vocabulary/ http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/the-power-of-your-emotional-vocabulary/#comments Thu, 28 Sep 2017 21:23:27 +0000 http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/?p=3645 We all recognize that we get results by taking action – no action means no results because one depends on the other. We are also aware that there are a variety of motivators that can prompt us to take action. One of the challenges in personal development is learning to control those motivators so that we can intentionally move ourselves […]

The post Your Emotional Vocabulary and the Power of Words appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
We all recognize that we get results by taking action – no action means no results because one depends on the other. We are also aware that there are a variety of motivators that can prompt us to take action. One of the challenges in personal development is learning to control those motivators so that we can intentionally move ourselves to take action and produce results at will.

Emotions are the most powerful of all the forces that can motivate us to take action in our lives. Developing the ability to use our minds to harness and direct our emotional power is one of the best ways to insure that we consistently produce our intended results.

The power of words and a very special vocabulary

This is where the power of words can really help. Not just any words, but a special group of words I will refer to as our emotional vocabulary. For the sake of this discussion, let’s imagine that we are going to divide all of the words we know into two different groups. We will call the first and largest group, our functional vocabulary. These are the words we use to communicate thoughts and ideas with no particular emotional value.

The second group, although smaller than the first, is much more powerful. We will call this group our emotional vocabulary. These are the words that we use to communicate our feelings, not just to the outside world but also to ourselves. The power of words lives in our emotional vocabulary.

Our emotional vocabulary is made up of word labels that we assign to our various feelings. We have word labels for intense feelings, both positive and negative, just as we have word labels for less intense feelings that are either positive or negative.

How can you harness the power of words?

Because we use word labels to describe how we feel about the different experiences in our life, changing the label can actually alter the way we interpret the experience. This is how we unleash the power of words. For example, if we have a wonderful experience that leaves us feeling absolutely overjoyed, but represent that experience by saying, “that was nice” then we minimize the intensity and the joy associate with that experience.

“Quite simply, what you say is the single biggest factor that determines your happiness.” -Irwin Katsof

This works the other way around as well. If we have an experience that is only “pleasant” but we label it as absolutely wonderful, it will change our feelings about that experience. We will have fortified that experience with a greater degree of positive emotional intensity simply by changing the word label we used to represent it.

Think about the implications here!

By giving conscious attention to the word labels that we habitually use to represent our feelings, we can amplify the intensity of our positive experiences, and we can minimize the intensity and feelings associated with our negative experiences. This is how we make practical use of  the power of words in our life.

Without being aware of it, many people have unintentionally magnified the negative experiences in their life, and at the same time, minimize their positive experiences. Using our emotional vocabulary in this way will have a disastrous effect because it misuses the power of words to help create an ongoing, unpleasant, negative life experience.

The power of words and you!

We all have positive and negative experiences in our life. Our view of those experiences and the impact they have on us will be determined by the way we interpret those experiences.

Here’s the bottom line, we can control the value and intensity of any experience by choosing word labels that represent those experiences in a way that empowers us. This how your emotional vocabulary can help you harness the power of words.

Can you identify the words in your emotional vocabulary?
Do you use the power of words to empower yourself?
Share your thoughts on facebook or google+

This is the first of a 2 part series about Your Emotional Vocabulary. In Part 2 you will see how this information can motivate you to take affirmative action.

If you enjoyed this article consider email updates!

 

The post Your Emotional Vocabulary and the Power of Words appeared first on Advanced Life Skills.

]]>
http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/the-power-of-your-emotional-vocabulary/feed/ 35