Communication Skills are Not Just About Talking

Tag: Communication,Personal GrowthBeth and Neill

A Gift That Keeps on Giving The gift of listening

With the gift giving season fast approaching, we want to tell you about a gift you can give to anyone you’re in a relationship with.

Are you having in any of your relationships-at work, at home, or with friends? Do you ever wish there was something you could give to someone that would improve your relationship? Would you be surprised to learn there really is such a gift?

If you want to strengthen, enhance, and grow your relationships, the best gift you can give is the gift of presence. Now, we’re not talking about anniversary, birthday, or Christmas presents … The presence we mean is the gift of listening to the other person without thinking about yourself at all.

“If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening.”
~ Marge Piercy

Being present for another person doesn’t just mean listening to them without speaking. It requires that you really put yourself and your desires aside for the moment so you can fully hear what they have to say. When you give the gift of presence, you’re not only showing other people that you appreciate and support them, you’re also opening the door to discovering what’s really important to them-the hidden values underneath their words.

This week, identify one thing you can do in relation to this awareness and take action. Remember, the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.

With love, or
Beth and Neill


The Number One Roadblock to High Self-Esteem

Tag: Personal Growth,Self EsteemBeth and Neill

Are your thoughts blocking your way?

Are you ever concerned that you’re not good enough or not smart enough, or that you simply don’t have what it takes to get what you want in life? Do you ever wonder why you feel this way or why these thoughts pop into your head as often as they do?

These thoughts are caused by what we call limiting beliefs and are the effect of how we interpreted unpleasant experiences from our past. Unfortunately, each limiting belief that we adopt throughout our lives becomes road blocks and keep us from achieving the results we want.

“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”
~Anthony de Mello

Open road ahead

There is a way to use these limiting beliefs to your benefit. Turned them from road blocks that keep you from getting to where you want to go into warning lights that assure a safe and pleasant ride. You can do this by becoming aware of how you feel. The trick is to turn any feelings of discomfort into a flashing red light. When you feel uncomfortable in any way, stop what you’re doing and identify the thoughts in your head-these are your limiting beliefs.

Once you have identified these limiting beliefs, you will be able to uncover the truth that is buried within them-what’s most important to you or the thing you value that is missing from the situation. Once you start practicing this, you’ll begin to transform your actions from habitual to conscious.

And as we Always say… the shortest path to a happy life is found through conscious choice.

With love,
Beth


Want Happiness? Seek Out Good News!

Tag: Happiness,Personal GrowthBeth and Neill

The good news is…

I’m on a lot of e-mail lists. Lists that offer information about personal growth, spiritual development, Internet marketing, and the list goes on and on. I’m on these lists because I am a lifelong learner. They provide me with insights, understandings, good information, and opportunities for growth and development in different areas of my life.

I’ve been receiving one particular e-mail from a organization called CharityFocus and I would love to share it with you. What this organization offers me is inspiration and we could all definitely use more of that. They do this by finding good news–people and organizations working to uplift and contribute to others.

You can sign up for their daily good news newsletter today by going to: http://www.dailygood.org

Here’s a little tidbit from their last e-mail

No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure. –Emma Goldman

Kids Embrace The Giving Spirit:

The very rich and the very famous capture the headlines for their charitable giving. But another group of avid philanthropists is also leaving its mark. Young people from grade school on are engaged as never before in making a direct difference in the world. They are donating via the Internet to favorite projects overseas, creating their own nonprofits to pursue social causes, and becoming grantmakers on foundation boards to foster change in their home communities. Some youths have gained that awareness from volunteer activities. Many have seen celebrities take up worthy causes. Others have traveled with their families and encountered the challenges many children face in other countries. This article from the Christian Science Monitor read more at:http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1124/p13s01-wmgn.html

Be The Change:
As the holiday season approaches, help introduce a child to the joy of giving.

Trust me, if you want to bring more happiness into your life, seek out good news.  One simple way to do this is by signing up for the dailygood.org newsletter and bring the gift of good news into your life.

With love,
Beth


Dealing with Difficult People? Learn to Handle them in a Constructive Way

How Do You Deal?

Do you end up on a regular basis? If so, are there times when you want to just run in hide, or click your heels and make them disappear? Or are you the kind of person that gets angry and combative right back at them? Either way, these situations can be very stressful. But don’t worry…

The good news is that there are ways to deal with these people that are much less stressful and you’ll also end up feeling much more satisfied with the outcome.

Believe it or not, some people don’t let these kinds of situations bother them. They simply stay calm and stress-free when confronted with upset and anger. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they know? Well now you can! Here are a few simple tips that will help you breathe a sigh of leave the next time you end up dealing with an angry person.

Often times when we realize someone is upset the first thing we do is take personal responsibility. We believe that the only reason they’d be disturb–and letting us about it–is that it must be about us. The first thing to understand is that when managing these kinds of situations is that it’s not about you, it’s really all about them!

I can guess what you’re probably thinking: “What you mean don’t take it personally, when there are someone screaming at me and telling me it’s my fault!”

I understand how difficult this will be at first, but when you begin to appreciate this one point, it becomes much easier to avoid taking these things personally: Every statement you hear someone say comes from a deep and inherent desire to satisfy their needs or to support something they value. And you most likely do the same thing – its normal human behavior.

Unquestionably Everything stems from either Needs and Values.

As an example, someone who is upset may just have a need for consideration, or they might in reality value dependability. By getting upset, they are attempting to satisfy these needs or honor what they value.

Let’s say that an angry man has a conversation with Gandhi (while he was alive). And he said to Gandhi, “You’ve never had a difficult life so don’t pretend to you know what suffering is. People wait on you hand and foot! You’re such a phony!”

Can you imagine Gandhi responding to this as some people would– defensively, with anger and critical words? “What do you mean phony? Try doing what I do every day… you wouldn’t last a minute. You an ignorant little man– you probably don’t even work for a living!”

Now I’m sure you can imagine where this conversation would end up!

It’s almost impossible to think of Gandhi reacting this way, but why not ? What does he know that most of us don’t?

Gandhi knows that the man upset stems from his own challenging life and is just venting about his own pain. The man is angry because his needs have not been satisfied, and things in his life are out of harmony with his values.

So, from now on, when confronted with difficult people, try to remind yourself that absolutely everything people say or do is an effort to meet their needs or support something they value.

The next you’ll are in one of these uncomfortable situation–STOP–don’t justifying yourself, instead start by reminding yourself that their anger isn’t about you, it’s about them and their situation.

Don’t take it to personally.

Consider this: Do you want your happiness to be dependent upon others, or do you long for the kind of happiness that you have complete control over? Take charge of the situation by aligning your values with the actions you take.

Another great way to stay calm when dealing with others’ who are upset or angry is to be curiosity. Ask questions such as, “Hmm, they seems very tense and upset. I wonder what’s going on in their life that has them feel this way.”

Stop and take a if you minutes to empathize with their circumstances and think, “If I behaved the way they’re behaving toward me, what could possibly be going on in my life?” Then guess what it could be.

Changing your focus of attention in this way can truly set you free. You’ll stop acting or feeling defensive. This focus will lead you to a much more peaceful place and will help you to fill your life with happiness, and a multitude of satisfying relationships you’ll truly enjoy.

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.”
~ Albert Einstein

Let’s review: – Tension and defensiveness isn’t the only way to deal with difficult people. – everything people say or do is in support of something they value or to meet some need. – Their upset is not about you, don’t take it personally. Take on the attitude of being curious. – Your happiness is not dependent on how others act or what they say.

When dealing with difficult people, this approach will help you open the door to a renewed sense of happiness and freedom you will no longer be restricted by your circumstances. You get to choose how you respond and what actions you will take.

If you want to start interacting differently with people who are upset, you must first practice the essential skills that create a more peaceful, happy life. If you’re ready to create that kind of life now, sign up for our thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series. The sign-up form is at the top right hand side of your screen. Don’t wait, sign up today. You’ll be happy you did.

With love and great appreciation,
Beth


Is It Really True? New Rules for the Game of Life Quiz ~ Motivate by Fear?

As promised, here is the first installment of our new monthly feature:

If this is the first time you’re playing along, you may want to read our initial explanation. You can find it here:
Is It Really True? Quiz Intro

Please remember that in this quiz there are no right or wrong answers. We simply want to stimulate dialogue in our community about some of our commonly held cultural beliefs. This quiz comes out of a practice we have of asking ourselves if the beliefs we hold as the “truth” are our own, or if we have just adopted them unquestioningly. We hope you enjoy playing along.

Here’s the first statement…

Fear of getting a ticket is the best way to stop people from speeding.

Do you agree or disagree?

Here’s what we came up with when we examined the statement.

Why would governments give tickets in order to stop people from speeding?

We believe that everything we say or do is to meet a need or experience something we value. And when we want something we come up with ideas for getting it–strategies such is giving tickets to people that don’t obey the speeding laws in order to stop people from speeding. Since cultures, societies, and governments are made up of people, we believe the same holds true at that level.

Keeping all this in mind, the first thing we want to do is get to the essence–the underlying values–hidden within any strategy.

What values are people trying to satisfy with this strategy?

We guess these might be the needs or values underlying the strategy of giving tickets to stop speeding:

  • safety–so less people are injured or die on the roads.
  • predictability–so you have greater confidence about what you can expect when you get on the road.
  • effectiveness–by establishing clear agreement about what is and is not unsafe.

Can you think of any other needs our values people may be trying to satisfy using this strategy?

Why this strategy?

Now the question becomes, why this strategy? In our experience, behind every strategy we choose there is a belief that guides the choice and our subsequent actions. So what’s the cultural belief that led the government to choose this strategy as opposed to any other?

Here’s a possible belief we came up with that might have led to adopting this strategy:

  • People need authorities who “know better” to set strong boundaries that will govern their actions.

Which may point to these even deeper underlying beliefs:

  • People can’t be trusted
  • People only care about themselves
  • People make bad decisions on their own

Can you think of any others beliefs that might lead to making laws that impose traffic fines as a way to prevent speeding?

Does this strategy work?

If your goal is to make people worry about getting a ticket, then we would say this strategy works. But if what you really want is safety, predictability and effectiveness then we think it’s probably not working very well.

Think about it. How often do you still see people speeding? How often do you speed yourself? Why is it that so many people continue to speed if there’s a law that tells you not to, and is enforced by the use of speeding tickets?

We’ve identified a number of reasons for this, but the one we’ve picked to explore here is the difference between intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

We define the difference this way: being motivated from our internal values vs. being motivated from externally imposed consequences.

If you’ve been brought up in a typical world culture, then you are no stranger to externally imposed consequences. They start at a very young age. Early on, the authorities in your life teach you what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad, what’s appropriate and inappropriate.

And you probably quickly learned that you get punished for being wrong or bad and rewarded for being good or right.

So here’s another rule–don’t speed. Enforced using an externally imposed consequence–you’ll get a speeding ticket that will cost you a lot of money and a lot of time if you disobey.

What does this strategy accomplish?

Let’s recap:

  • There is a cultural belief: People can’t be trusted so authorities must tell them what to do.
  • The culture teaches using a system of punishment and rewards.
  • Government came up with this strategy of punishing people who break speeding laws by giving tickets that costs them both time and money.

But what do most people learn from this strategy–both now and when they were children? In our experience the lesson learned is:

Don’t Get Caught When You’re Breaking the Rules.

Given the number of people who still speed, it doesn’t appear that this strategy–or what people actually learn from it–satisfy the underlying desire for safety, predictability, or effectiveness.

What might satisfy these underlying values?

Now let’s contrast the use of extrinsic motivation with intrinsic motivation. What would it take to cultivate intrinsic motivation?

How would we motivate people to do things–such as obey agreed upon speed limits–simply because this was in harmony with their personally held values?

Let’s start with the underlying belief.

What if we were able to change our cultural belief from “people can’t be trusted,” to “people can be trusted to make decisions that are for the highest good of everyone involved” because they inherently care for, and want to contribute to others and themselves.

Where would this belief take us?

Would we change how teach our children?

Let’s see . . . If our underlying cultural belief was that “people can be trusted to make their own decisions,” then most likely we would want to support them in staying present to what’s most important to them–what they personally value.

And we would probably ensure that our children’s education included developing their emotional intelligence. This would support their ability to make decisions based on how their actions might benefit or impact themselves and those around them.

We would still want to do whatever we could to maintain safety, predictability, and effectiveness on our roads, but with this underlying cultural belief, what strategy might we come up with?

This is where we start getting into very unknown territory. We’re not raised to pay attention to our internal values, or whether the consequences of our actions are in harmony with our values. Instead, we are constantly being distracted by external authority telling us what to do–and by the threat of consequences if we don’t obey.

So where this would go and how it would turn out is anyone’s guess.

But imagine being raised in a culture where your caring, kind and competent nature was valued and nurtured. Where your ability to reason and come up with successful, satisfying choices for everyone concerned was respected.

Imagine that your education, both at home and in school, had focused heavily on supporting you in making your own decisions, with respect for your internal guidance. And it supported this through teaching, conversation and experiences designed to help nurture these abilities.

Now imagine, as a society we have decided that limiting speed really will support achieving the goal of keeping our roads safe, predictable, and effective. What strategy might you use to achieve the greatest possible compliance with these speed limits?

What occurs to you?

That’s our thinking on the subject. Please let us know what occurs to you about any or all of this in the comment field below.

We look forward to reading your response.

With great trust and respect for your ability to choose wisely,

Beth and Neill

PS Please remember to sign up for the RSS feed to make sure you are alerted to our next installment of: Is It Really True?


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