DEATH BY BAD CONVERSATION

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 7 minute read

Tip of the ice berg

Very soon you are going to sit at your Christmas table and spend time with your family. You will probably have to answer some of the same annoying or judgmental questions as a year before. What’s even worse you might be the one asking them. Asking those kind of question is just the tip of the bad conversation ice berg. This ice berg is actually able killing our positive mental state. Can you recall a situation when you were felling really great, you started a conversation and very soon you were felling angry and upset?

 

Conversations habits

Just like in any other aspect of life we all make mistakes during our conversations. But can we improve our conversation skills? If you know me at least a little bit already you know this question shouldn’t even be here. Of course, we can get better and improve them. It might take you a while to change the conversation habits that you have developed through your life but it is very possible.

There are some very common conversation sins we all can avoid during this coming Christmas. With a little self-reflection and self-awareness, you can avoid the death of your positive mental state from those bad conversation.

 

Adding value

But first you need to answer one question. What’s the purpose of any of your conversations? Not any given conversation, your conversation. Do you want to get or give some information, some kind of a feedback? Do you want to state your point of view or get something, straight? Do you want to make someone feel better? Maybe it’s about connecting with someone or strengthening that bond? Whatever it is there is one common reason for all that. In my opinion all conversations and interactions are about adding value. Adding and getting information, points of view, feedback, emotions, connection. Most people don’t even realize it and others keep forgetting about it.

 

Conversation narcissist

We know that in general conversations are about adding value and now it gets really tricky. Because most of people think it can only be done by talking. It’s a very slippery slope because there is a whole spectrum of ways to add value in a conversation besides that. If you are an extravert it’s very easy to become a conversation narcissist. A conversation narcissist love nothing more than to talk about himself.  The only reason they ask the other person a question like, “How was your weekend?” is so they can circle it back around to them again, “that’s nice…let me tell you about what happened to me…”. They rarely inquire seriously about the other person or ask follow up questions.

 

Wait to hear my story

I’ve been guilty of this one on more occasions than I wish to remember. Everyone involved in a conversation should get their time in the spotlight. Don’t interrupt someone when they are telling some anecdote or their view on what you are discussing to divert the attention back to yourself. Don’t hijack their story about work before it’s finished, to share your best work anecdote. Find a balance between listening and talking.

 

Parrot

How often do you find yourself just paraphrasing or repeating what the other person said? If someone says, “That movie was great!” do you say, “Yeah, that was a cool movie!”?  When we enter the parrot mode we act like and think we are having a conversation, but in reality, we rarely actually offer anything substantive. Of cures if we echo and paraphrase others in a small, deliberate fashion it can get us nice results. For instance, people will see us as similar to them and that will increase the level of trust in relationship. But relying only on echoing and paraphrasing others is very shortsighted and will make the relation extremely shallow. If you find yourself just echoing what people are saying, try to offer substantive opinions or observations as well.

 

Falling asleep

You may have most fascinating stories and opinions to share, but if your energy cannot support it, people may find you hard to listen to. Lacking energy or emotion when you talk can ruin your conversation faster than almost any other bad habit.  Good conversation needs to be alive. It should flow with energy between both sides. If you are not giving your energy, then you are probably subtracting from it. If we want people to be interested, we need to think of our voice as a roller coaster ride for them.

 

Toolbox

We have an amazing, incredible toolbox and yet it is a toolbox that very few people have ever opened. I would like to take out just a few tools for us to play with while we speak.

  1. Register

Falsetto register may not be very useful most of the time. Some of us talk up in our nose, most of us speak down in our throat but if you want weight you need to go down to your chest. We vote and chose people with lower voices because we associate depth with power and with authority.

  1. Prosody

It is the rhythm, the meta-language that we use in order to impart meaning. It’s root one for meaning in conversation. People who speak all on one note are quite hard to listen to. That’s where the word monotonic comes from. Monotone.

  1. Pace

You can get very excited by saying something really quickly or you can slow right down to emphasize. At the end of that is our old friend silence. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of silence in a talk, it there? It can be very powerful.

  1. Volume

You can get really excited by using high volume or you can have your listeners really pay attention by getting very quiet.  

 

Be aware of the tools you can use to get the conversation interesting. Vary your pace and your volume. Don’t let it be predictable.

 

Predictable Talker?

Let’s stick with predictability for a second.  Are you a Predictable Talker? Is everything you say serious and literal? Play around with your responses. The best conversation is playful and unpredictable.

Train your mind to start considering the unexpected responses.  Next time someone asks you a question or makes a comment, mentally think about what response would be unexpected or unpredictable (within reason!).  Once in a while, try one of these unexpected comments and see how you do.  You may surprise yourself.

 

Not listening

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen - Ernest Hemingway

Don’t be like most people. Don’t just wait eagerly for your turn to talk. Put your own ego on the side-line. Learn to actually listen to what people are saying. When you start to really listen, you’ll pick up on loads of potential paths in the conversation. But avoid yes or no type of questions as they will not give you much depth.

 

Let them be a star

Don’t do it all at once. You’ll just feel confused and overwhelmed. The one thing that we can do right away that will instantly improve our conversations, is to be genuinely interested in the other person. When someone tells you something, keep the focus on them, ask follow up questions, let them be a star.

 

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DEATH BY BAD CONVERSATION

JAR OF LIFE

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 3 minute read
OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE. PART 1

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst – William Penn

 

Time

Keep the important things important. Time is a great equalizer. We all get 24 hours a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks in a year and who knows how many more years. How you chose to spend your time will determine if your life will be fulfilling, satisfying and happy. What will you choose?

 

Jar

Let’s say a Jar represent your life and time you have to fill. The Sand stands for all the little things that really don’t matter. The Pebbles are things that matter a little bit. Finally, the Rocks are the really important things.

 

Sand

When you choose to fill your time with the little things first, the things that don’t matter, things like video games, watching movies, scrolling Facebook, unimportant tasks, being mad at others, then you leave little time for meaningful things.

 

Pebbles

Filling time with things that “matter” but aren’t necessarily important, things like housework, casual hobbies, spending time with people you don’t really like, leaves you with very little time for the Important things.

These are the things that money can’t buy. Your family. Your friends. Your health. Your passion. Your dreams. Things you love.  

 

Rocks

This way important things are left out of your life. If you fill your time with things that don’t matter, then you’ll be left with no time for the things that do. Give time to the important things first and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

 

First things first

Let’s you have the same amount of time. The same amount of little things, things that kind of matter and important things. When you give time to the important things first you’ll have time for all of your important things. Then you can add in those things that kind of matter. You may need to rearrange a few things but in the end, most of it fits.

 

Everything you need

You can fill the time you have left with all those things, that don’t really matter. Again, you may need to maneuver some things around but you’ll be amazed at what you can fit into your schedule. You won’t be able fit everything but the things you left doesn’t really matter anyway because you’ve got everything you need.

 

Your Jar

Most of us don’t leave any space for the important things. We don’t have time for them. We choose to do all the little things first and after that it’s just too late. Do you really want it to stay that way forever? Is your Jar full or are you missing important things?

 

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LEARNING TO FLY

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 6 minute read

This blog post is a recap of the last 20 month of my life and how I learned to fly.

Well, for starters didn’t see any of that coming. Even in my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect for this to happen. I didn’t expect to start this transformation, this Journey. I didn’t expect to grow so much on a personal level. I didn’t expect to get so confident, hopefully not cocky. I have developed so many new skills. I have taken and faced so many challenges. I have failed so many times and then started again. I have built so many valuable connection on all different levels. I have really started to enjoy going to job interviews. I have proved to myself that I really can be a different person. I can be proactive and energetic. I can be creative. It was probably the first time I have ever thought of myself as a creative person and it felt incredible. I have always tagged myself as a critical realist but it all changed drastically over the last 20 months. That’s just a tip of the iceberg. But let’s go back to the beginning of this Journey.

 

Living hell

As you know right now for almost four year I was working as a sales representative in one of the big banks. It was by far the toughest years of my life.  I had extremely bad days every second week, if I was lucky. If I wasn’t so lucky it could go on for days or weeks incessantly. For a long time, I was in a very dark place.

 

The Day

There was a specific day when I was still working there which I will never forget. It was by far the most important day of my life. The day of the Decision. I have listened to Tony Robbins audiobook Awaken the Giant Within twice in previous three months but nothing in that particular day showed how significant it will soon become. After very intense, stressful and embarrassing phone call with my boss I have said to my friends at work that it is my last day there. I will not be working here anymore. I’ve had it. Enough. Immediately I felt a mighty relief. Transcendental freedom. I felt powerful and in full control. My fear and my overwhelming stress were gone. I have never felt anything close to that before. It felt like reached the bottom and bounced back up. As cheesy as it sounds I saw a light and colors of life for the first time in many years. I went to be there for the next two weeks during the termination of agreement at my request. I was finally out. I have finally made the Decision and I’ve followed thru. Since than my life has changed in many aspects.

 

The chance

Without previous experience in the field, without any knowledge or education, being a little bit too old and over experienced I have been given a chance by one company. Dansk Supermarked. Little that I know how much this will change my life. The only thing that I was looking for at that time were normality, clear goals, stability and a little bit of peace of mind to do my job. The last thing that I was looking for was a chance to grow. Luckily, I found much more than just that.

 

Accountant

It’s not the job of being an accountant itself that gave me so much but there are few things that I need to mention. Besides everything that I was looking for like normality, clear goals and stability, I wanted to avoid one thing. Unnecessary stress. This stress free. It didn’t give me even  a bit None. Null. Zero. After experiences of previous four years this was a huge change, mighty relief and nice surprise for me. It turned out that you actually can live without being disregarded, offended and kicked in the face every day. This one thing allowed me to start getting back on my feet mentally. After four years of being devoured and destroyed my self-confidence was like a phoenix rising from the ashes. I have built my confidence to a level that I though was never possible for me.

 

The Hunger

The fact that I didn’t have to deal with all that madness gave me spare mental resources to develop and time to awake my hunger. Hunger for knowledge, for experiences, for different points of view. Without a special plan or vision in mind I was absorbing knowledge from many different fields. Accounting, economy, psychology, education, marketing, project management, new technologies and many more. What’s specially very funny I’ve learned much more about investing and how banking system works after I left it. Awakening of this hunger for knowledge allows me feel progress and growth on a daily basis. 

 

Eyes wide open

Along all this, I have become amazed be mindfulness and self-awareness, and the part they play in the quality of our life. It allowed me to enjoy and cherish the smallest things in life. Now my life and my happiness are truly in my hands and my hands only. Bit by bit, step by step, day by day, I learn to love my life even harder. Living consciously allowed me to enjoy every bit of life with my eyes wide open.

 

Learning to fail

First time in my life I started to take challenges not only to win but even more to fail and learn. I failed at a few different job interviews in and outside of the company. For a couple of month, I was working on two different business and failed. Day and night for about a month I was working on business plan without even trying to implement it. Starting many personal challenges and failing again and again. As trite as it sounds every failure brings a lesson. Sometimes very tiny but it’s always there. We have to be extremely persistent and determined to find it but it’s worth every try. 

 

I feel that I took to the best the chance that I have received and gave my best in return. It was just a start of a beautiful personal development Journey for me. This is how I fly. And I never want to give it up.  

 

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LEARNING TO FLY IN 20 MONTHS)

CONFIDENT OR ARROGANT?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 5 minute read
CONFIDENT OR ARROGANT?

They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same - Kurt Cobain

Confidence is one of the best traits you can have. Arrogance is one of the worst, and the line between the two can be very blurry. Some people are worried that if they become confident, they’ll cross the line into arrogance. Or even if they don’t other people will perceive their new confidence as arrogance.

 

Comparison

Let’s start with the obvious one. Confidence is attached to reality and it backs up what it says. Arrogance is excessive and is often proven to be far from reality. The lesson is: don’t talk if you can’t back it up. But the defining aspect of arrogance as you’re most likely to encounter it or even exhibit it is loudness. Confidence is a firm statement – arrogance is a scream.

In addition, arrogance comes through when someone’s status or track record leads them to believe or behave as if they are superior to other people. Don’t let yourself believe that you are better than others because you’re not.

 

Standards

No matter what success you have in life you need to get clear on your values and standards so that you know how you and other people should behave. Those standards apply whether you are at the top of your industry or just breaking in. Do not let yourself believe that you are better than other people because you have achieved more. Arrogance is never a sign of confidence. What’s more arrogance and diminishing others will never serve you any good in a long run.

 

Credit of success

Lastly, you can spot arrogance by how it shares or doesn’t the credit of success. No one does it by themselves. People are trained by coaches, mentors, supported by family or friends, pushed by their competition and as cheesy as it sounds we want that acknowledged during a victory. When we see people giving credit to others, we realize they know the contribution of others and we see those people as less arrogant.

 

Security

In summary, confidence is secure because it is based on reality. It’s quiet. It doesn’t act morally superior and remains humble while acknowledging others and even luck but it still has conviction built both through experience and through visualizations.

 

Insecurity

Arrogance may look like extreme confidence and I think that’s why people are worried that confidence will turn to arrogance. But the way that arrogance is created is almost exactly the opposite of confidence.

Arrogance is nothing more than a compensation for someone’s  insecurities.

 

Need for approval

Arrogance very often comes from those insecurity. The arrogant person may still visualize themselves winning but their visualizations focus more on the praise that they will receive than on the achievement itself. And that is because arrogant people feel like they need a constant stream of external approval so they’ll give opinions where they have no experience. They’ll flaunt their successes loudly and still not feel great inside.

 

Self-worth

Arrogance occurs when you identify your self-worth with your skills and your opinions. Because they are yours, they must be superior and if they weren’t superior you would feel worthless. Confidence occurs when your self-worth is so solid that you can evaluate your skills honestly. Sure, you’re going to put in the work to make sure those skills are top notch and that your opinions are well-founded though you always recognize that they can probably be improved. You don’t need them to be superior or perfect to feel like you are enough.

 

Hints

Confident people don’t feel the need to brag. Their accomplishments do it for them. Arrogant people always find a way to brag and top whatever you just said.  While confidence is often shown in saying I don’t know the answer, arrogance is a conviction and a need to always have an answer. Since arrogant people are only concerned about themselves, they’re not really listening to you. Not only are they always on the lookout for someone else to talk to, they interrupt the conversation frequently.

 

Time

While deep-rooted confidence takes some time to develop, you can boost your situational confidence very, very quickly. Do you want to find out how?  Follow my blog posts.

Confidence is inspiring. Arrogance turn people off.  Confidence gets hired but arrogance is shown the door.

 

Now be honest with yourself. What are you? Are you confident or unsure? Are you self-assured or are you arrogant?

 

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CONFIDENT OR ARROGANT?

DOTS

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 6 minute read
DOTS

You can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path – Steve Jobs

Where is, it going?

I have heard this quote from Steve jobs, so many times but it took me months to think it thru and discover the true meaning for me. For me it means that our every action or inaction is a simple dot our life map. Even with our vision in hand we cannot be hundred percent sure were exactly our life is going to go. Each and everything we do has the meaning down the road.

 

Hack your life

If you are still reading this, it means you are serious about the dots you put on your map. What can you do to turn your actions into meaningful dots? Let’s take the first step on your Journey. You need to hack your life. Break your daily actions into pieces and put it all together again. This bone is badly fused and the only way to fix it is to break it and piece it back together.  

 

Three steps

You can do it by taking three simple steps:

1. Timeline.

Your first step is to take a big piece of paper or open a new document. Draw a horizontal line. Think of this as a timeline of your actions.

 

2. Every action is a dot.

Next step is to think of your vision and the thing you want to accomplish. Put a dot on your time line for every action you take that might be anyhow connected to your envisioned outcome. Start from thinking about your day.  Take today or yesterday (do not go back any further for now) and put a single dot on the page for every action/inaction you took. Anything that can be even slightly connected. Both bigger a and smaller actions. Be honest with yourself.  If your goal is to eat healthy or lose 10 kg put a dot for every single thing you put in your mouth. What specifically have you eaten? Did you go to gym? Did you go for a jog or did you watched a movie on your sofa? What physical activities have you taken? What did you drink during the day? Put a dot for every drink.

Do you start to see a pattern in your actions? Do you take the same self-sabotaging actions at the same time each day? While putting dots on your map think how every single one if affecting your life.

Now go further in time to tomorrow. That is a quick journey in time but it’s worth it. Mark dots in the same way. What actions are you going to take tomorrow? What exactly are you going to do? What are you going to change? What little adjustments are you going to make? Going back to our example what are you going to eat and drink? How will you conduct yourself? Close your eyes and do the same thing for the next day. And the next one.

 

3. Try to see the future

Look at your map and think about how your dots could possibly connect in the future? Are your actions in line with your goals and your dreams? Every possibly insignificant action you undertake could matter a great deal. You have to be sure that you’re doing every possible thing to achieve your goal. Take all the chances you can, do not leave anything to good fortune or luck.    

 

I’m not a morning person

How do you feel when you wake up in the Monday morning? You probably never though that the hour when you wake up in the morning has something to do with your reasons, with your vision, with your Why. It has everything to do with it. So, you hate waking up because you don’t know the reason. You are waking up and you don’t have a design in mind. You just say I’m not a morning person. You are not a morning person because you are not living within your vision. Once you live in your purpose, when you discover your gift, you can’t wait to wake up. You have to remember Why you do it? If you won’t love it, you want survive because it is hard work.

 

Practical or irrational

Steve Jobs once said: ‘…You have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing and the reason is because it is so hard that when you don’t any rational person would give up’. Success had nothing to do with being practical and rational. Actually, almost always it is the other way around. Your dream, your vision, your Journey has to be irrational and foolish (Journey of a fool). Don’t let anything and anyone to tame your fire.

 

Inner fire

What burns in your heart is important for you to pay attention to because it never goes away. Pay very close attention to the thing that make you happy. Look at that burning fire inside of you. Do not ignore it. The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great and the only way to do great thing is to love what you do.

 

Why?

We need to go back to the core question of Why? But first you need to change the state you are in. Give it a go. In order to make it happen you need to be sure this is what you want to do. I don’t want to force you to anything. If this is something you want to do, do it. Just do it.

 

When?

When it is a good time to start? What do you think about NOW? There never was a better time. There never will be a better time. Take this vision, take this Journey. Don’t let it expire. Don’t let it die. Take this vision give it a new lease of life. Take this Journey and vitalize it. Take it and ignite the fire inside of you until finally it becomes a flame that burns around your whole world. You are on your way to change your dreams into reality. Most of people already know it on some level but we still don’t take any action. You don’t do anything about it. Knowledge is power only when you use it by taking actions.

 

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DOTS

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HIT A PLATEAU?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 5 minute read
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HIT A PLATEAU?

There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them – Bruce Lee

Most of us do very well in beginning of a new endeavor­. We learn rapidly and we make huge leaps. Visible giant progress makes you excited and propel you even more. This lasts of a while and then you come to a point in which you hit a plateau. It means that now you’re taking the same amount of effort but you’re not getting the same effects and progress. Unfortunately, very often your performance, execution and efforts drop off and this usually happens because you either didn’t bring enough emotions to the process or didn’t get enough repetitions. What to do when you hit a Plateau?

 

Plateau

As George Leonard writes in his great book ‘Mastery’, your success will look like a plateau. Most of your journey on your path to mastery will be spent on different plateaus. Sometimes you have to wait for months to see any kind of progress. Then at some point you experience a quick quality jump, a short progress curve.  After that brief, sometimes quite high, quality jump there might come a short regress time and it’s essential for you to see that the new plateau is higher than your previous one. That is how growth actually happen. You work really hard for an extensive period of time and then you jump to a higher level.

That’s a greatest moment to separate the wheat from the chaff. The vast majority of people are not fully committed. Well, they think they are when they see progress but when they don’t doubts come to play a serious part.

 

New endeavor

What happen when you take on a new endeavor. Let’s take squash for example. When you start you are totally green, you have no skills whatsoever. You don’t know the rules, you don’t know how to hold a racket, you have no technique, you have no strategy for a game. There is really nothing to start with. Within short period of time and a little bit of training you get pretty good. It relatively easy to make huge progress. You compare yourself to people who train four times more than you do and you don’t see such a big difference. You get to a conclusion that you must be better, more talented than they are since you’ve got to their level a lot faster. Then out of nowhere you hit a plateau. This cause disappointment and frustration. If you are not fully committed, you will decide to quit shortly after hitting plateau. While your ego is not stimulated anymore, you will end up making up a new story for yourself:  This is obviously the wrong sport or a profession for me. That’s just not for me. I don’t have it in me. The very moment your ego feels bored, you quit.  You look for and start a new passion. This goes on again. Huge progress, progress, progress, plateau, doubts, quitting.

 

My lack of perseverance

It will not come to you as a surprise but this was my story with sports. I loved sports all my life. I was actually doing so many of them I could probably beat you in 8 or 9 out of 10. Yes, I’m pretty sure about it and I know it sound cocky.  My motivation and excitement were very high from the beginning every single time. Squeezing and digesting every information, every inside. This was going on for at least a year or two. Sometimes longer. After that time, I was either losing my motivation and drive or something external happened and I’ve quit. This happened with karate, indoor soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball, krav maga, running, swimming, working out, squash, just to name a few. In most of the cases I wasn’t making a conscious decision to quit and I was not aware of hitting plateau. But ignorance and unawareness won’t protect you from failure. I was hitting a plateau, then quitting and then finding a new passion.

 

Are you ready to hit plateau?

In the same situation the best people in those sports, the true masters expect problems to come. They are mentally ready to hit a plateau. What is the reason to be furious or disappointed at something that is so inevitable? Regardless of your plans or desires it is going to happen. Most successful people always find a way to go on and finally to break plateau after plateau. They are always certain there is a way. They look at others who already did it and they model their actions and beliefs. You can find tips and cues in every single success story. That’s a great way to jump ahead. 

Do you recall hitting a plateau? Are you ready for the next one?

 

Knowing the game

Somebody who knows the upcoming challenges can guide or mentor you. Those people who know the true reason for their own success are usually able to repeat this success time after time. They are still winning because they played that game before and they are modeling their own ingredients of success. If you know the road ahead, you have the power of anticipation not reaction. You will have enough time to solve the problems before they get any power over you.

If you struggle finding a mentor you can always look for people great in a very narrow thing, like speaking, coding or working out, to which you get access.

If you for any reason can do that as well look for digital mentors but be extra careful and aware who you choose to follow.

For last couple months I follow and breathe on Gary Vaynerchuk. I learn and listen to him during the day and put all that in action at night. It’s not about motivation, knowledge or inspiration. No. It’s only about going out there and actually DOING IT.    

 

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