#20 Expand on What You Know

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#20

Expand on What You Know

As a therapist, I am frequently talking to people who feel stuck in their lives and relationships. Sometimes, we can trace the ‘stuck’ feelings to the fact that people keep doing the same thing over and over again. It always reminds me of the old quote…

“The true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of getting different results.”

Of course, much of the time it is a behavior or action we continue because we just don’t know what else to do. We move through the actions almost rotely, unaware that it is because our knowledge is limited and the solution is most often – learn more. I am sensitive to the fact that we only do what we know because we ‘don’t know what we don’t know’. You can only change something or grow when you become aware that you don’t know.

Simple Solution

The solution is pretty simple: expand on what you do know – assuming that there is always something more to learn. It’s my belief that we stagnate when we adopt the belief that we’ve ‘been there, done that’ and stop investigating. Learning isn’t just about the depth of our knowledge… it’s about the breadth as well. Most educators already know this as it applies to children’s education. It’s one of the reasons that the team approach works well – incorporating reading, history, and English together with the arts can help a child maximize their understanding of a topic. When they are composing poems or writing plays about the period of history they are studying and painting backdrops they researched in books… you get the idea. It fosters a much richer educational experience than a single liner assignment.

Your Life

We can do this in our day to day life as well. If you like plants, build a garden with landscaping and make it bird friendly. If you like organic food – grow your own. If you are creative, make things and sell them online; build a website and expand your technical skills. If you enjoy cooking, experiment with recipes and ingredients to reshape the original into something unique then start a blog. If you like to build things, find ways to repurpose things you have or pick up cheaply and donate them to organizations where you spend time volunteering. If you like to write, build a story and write a book… use resources from the internet to research and add character to the plot.

It Only Takes Time

Growing your body of knowledge doesn’t have to cost a dime or require much physical effort. It’s as easy as visiting the library or hopping online. Most university libraries will also offer the public free or very inexpensive access to their facilities – opening the door to more learning than can be obtained in a single lifetime. If you know how to read – you can learn. It may not be easy if you’re a more ‘hands on’ kind of learner but it’s possible with dedication. Time and desire are the only mandates as proven by Maria Beltran proved when she taught herself English and went on to become a lawyer while raising six children as a single mother. If she can do it, most of us will never have a valid excuse.

There’s no reason for your life to be stagnant… you already have a bank of knowledge. All you have to do is…

Expand on what you know.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#22 Interview a Person You Admire

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#22

Interview a Person You Admire

The point of this suggestion is to take some time to ask questions of a person whom you deeply admire. It may be a high profile person, a town celebrity, an old teacher, an executive of your company, the pastor of your church, or it could be an elderly Aunt that you’ve never ‘really’ gotten to know.

Life Lessons

The goal is to garner information that you may not yet know about living a good life. How did they become someone worthy of admiration? What are their takeaways from their own experiences? What perspectives helped them through tough times?

When we take the time to listen – we learn. Sitting with someone with whom you’d like to emulate offers a tremendous opportunity to get into the life lesson fast lane. While their experiences are undoubtedly different than yours, the perspective and skills may be generally applicable.

Tips for Success

I’ll make the assumption that most of us will be interviewing someone who has had some success either in their professions, in their spiritual journey, or in their relationships. How did they do it? What goals did they set? What steps did they actively take to reach those goals? How did they handle the challenges? What attributes allowed them to persevere? Did they fail? What did they learn from failure?

In this era of instant gratification, I know many of us don’t want to work through all the kinks that learning presents. We want to be successful now. Knowing how others accomplished the pinnacle of the mountain you’re climbing may offer a more clear path to the top. Take the time to learn the tips and tricks they used to get there.

Lifelong Student

I don’t see this as a ‘one and done’ kind of activity. Because our lives are always changing, there will most certainly be people in our lives frequently with whom we can have these conversations. It may be a great tradition to practice annually. Choose someone in your life with potential to ‘teach’ you and invite them to lunch or dinner. Pick their brain and then record the essence of that conversation for inclusion in your own life plan. No matter where you are currently in your own journey, there is someone there you may learn from. Take the time to look around and…

Interview a person you admire.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#53 Eat Dessert First

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#59

Eat Dessert First

I happen to be writing this from the balcony of a cruise ship where dessert is available almost 24 hours a day. I’ve noticed that by the time I am offered desert each night, I am far too full to add anything else to my digestion system and I am reminded that my grandmother would often treat us to the pleasure of eating dessert first.

I think the concept of eating dessert first is centered on knowing how to treat yourself. My grandmother understood the concept of self-care and while I’m not sure everyone in her world saw it as such, she didn’t hesitate to meet her own needs. She was a strong woman who understood what was good for her and what wasn’t.

For her, eating dessert first wasn’t about indulging in sugary treats versus nutrition, or giving in to fanciful whims of confectionery concoction on a regular basis…

It was predominantly a consideration of understanding balance; that sometimes, as a treat, you could set aside the rules and do what you want instead of what you ‘should’ (with consideration, of course).

I used this strategy once in awhile with my children and offered them an “upside down dinner” – starting with dessert, moving to an entree, and then offering a salad to end the meal but of course, no one ever opted in for the salad selection!

Today, as I move through the buffet line at lunch, I am going directly to the dessert section and select the yummiest option as my first course justifying it as the pursuit of self care! I strongly recommend – for the sake of life balance…

Eat dessert first.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#97 Mentor Someone

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#97

Mentor Someone

What do you do with all of your accumulated knowledge, experience, and wisdom? Is it just there? Untapped except for your own judgment?Why not make the effort to share it by mentoring someone?

A mentor is defined as someone who establishes a trusting relationship with a younger, less experienced individual and provides guidance, support, and encouragement.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is at least some accumulation of information that can be helpful to those younger or less experienced than yourself. Children in a homeless shelter, teens attending an after school support program, college students looking to enter the workforce, Twenty-somethings just starting out, new mothers, new fathers, first time home buyers, startup entrepreneurs, and the list goes on… can all benefit from the insight generated by someone who’s ‘been there… done that’.

Children

Children, in particular, benefit from mentoring. A child who’s been mentored is 53% more likely to go to college and 130% more likely to hold a leadership role of some kind. They are 81% more likely to engage in extracurricular activities such as sports and 46% less likely to use illegal drugs. One of the primary advantages of being mentored is the increase in self-esteem of the mentee. Emotional support and approval derived from mentoring relationships is responsible for increases of self-esteem in most cases.

Young Adults

Graduate students who have defined mentor relationships as strong and successful demonstrate more satisfaction with their graduate programs and postgraduate well-being. Some research indicates that the stronger the reported mentoring relationship – the more professional success is earned by the mentee. Adults entering the corporate marketplace also report higher job satisfaction when mentored by seasoned workers.

Good For You

Mentoring has other benefits aside from doing a good thing and the satisfaction that comes from giving back. Often, the things we teach are things that we need to remind ourselves to do. It’s similar to picking through an old file and discovering something there you’d forgotten or are just happy to be reminded of. This is true for both industry knowledge and life skills in general.

Additionally, mentoring offers you the opportunity to gain perspective; to remember what it was like before you ‘knew it all’. It is a blatant reminder that the world goes around, and around again. As we gain experience, we understand more intently, how to prioritize and we learn to trust our intuition and decisions. Working with mentees can demonstrate how far we’ve come in our own journey – increasing our confidence.

This is a suggestion that is a win-win for all parties involved so take a look at your schedule and research some of the opportunities where you live where you can…

Mentor someone.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#261 Remember When…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#261

Remember when…

This recommendation might sound a bit like the idea of savoring that I presented earlier but it’s a bit different in its goal. The idea here is to recall random shared memories of minor debacles when you are with another person with whom you have some history. Ideally, you’re thinking of a time that you can laugh about now. A time when you had solved a problem, survived a hazard, or preserved through a challenge.

The goal is laughter or at the very least, an appreciation for the lesson learned. It’s an opportunity to review a moment in time from another perspective and share a sense of satisfaction of a previous experience.

‘Remember when we got that flat tire and…’

‘Remember when I left the cake in the oven for an hour…’

‘Remember when we took the wrong bus…’

We all have countless recollections of mishaps and momentary errors in judgment that are retrospectively funny or immensely satisfying. Sometimes, just recalling the collection of awkward moments we shared with another strengthens our appreciation of their role in our life. It’s another type of walk down memory lane that can have you rolling on the floor laughing or being grateful that it is over now.

Pick up the phone today and share a blast from the past with an old friend or randomly bring it up at the dinner table tonight… “Hey honey…”

Remember when…

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#361 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

My goal, for those of you who are curious, is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#361

Open your hands and let it go.

Coping literature and psychological dictates frequently make suggestions that are parodied into concepts which, insist we “just let it go”, “forgive and move on”, or “get over it”, to name a few. The idea/concept is great and truly I think most of us attempt to follow any advice that implies we will move away from something that instils emotional pain.

I’ve talked to hundreds of people over time that have certainly heard and/or read that advice but have failed in finding peace. Eventually, the question is raised “so how is it done? How do you ‘let go’ of something?”

There are plenty of strategies but the one that has worked the best for me when necessary and is reported to be a successful option by many of my clients is the practice of holding your hands open flat when imagining that you are letting go (literally) of the thing that you wish to disappear. I must admit to the absence of any scientific evidence validating the efficacy of this gesture and yet I know enough about the way our minds organize rational thinking to believe that it simply makes sense.

In a closed position, our hands are capable of ‘holding’ something. In an open position, they are not. Our brains just don’t make the correlation of ‘holding on’ if we imagine it in our open flat hands. One caveat… letting go is not a one and done thing. The trick is to open your hands EVERY time a thought / feeling you are attempting to diminish, presents itself.

Thought arrives > vocalize “let go” while opening hands.

As often as that thought shows up. Try it and let me know how you do!

Just open your hands and ‘let it go’.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Jlhopgood on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

#363 Don’t Interrupt

My goal, for those of you who are curious, is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#363

Don’t interrupt

The majority of us learn a few basic social rules as we grow. We are told not to pick our noses in public and most of us remember this into adulthood. We learn not to interrupt someone speaking and yet we don’t master that skill. How can we be good at one but not the other? They are both rather gross habits.

Being a good listener depends on hearing the entire context of what we are listening to. When we interrupt a speaker, we cut short the speakers context. Often, we fill in the missing piece with a personal assumption as understood through our own lens, potentially misconstruing the speaker’s intent.

When we interrupt, we steal energy from the speaker, diminishing the value of their comment; implying that it is less important than what we need to say. At the very least, it is a show of disrespect for what they are sharing. It may validate a sense of “I don’t matter”.

If the speaker – more so than ‘what’ the speaker is saying – matters to you; Don’t interrupt. Even if the content is not your ‘thing’… if your interest in the topic is nil… if it is emotionally charged… if it is controversial… let the speaker finish an entire thought before you chime in. Imagine the respect that can be demonstrated in a conversation if the entire exchange is transacted with complete thoughts and implied value!

Don’t interrupt.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

Starting 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive.

I thought about waiting to start writing this new blog section at a more apropos time in terms of measurement, perhaps the 1st of next month or July… a nicer, neater way to track 365 days because this is the beginning of a new commitment to write. My goal, for those of you who are curious, is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

So… let’s get started.

#365

Challenge your beliefs.

Ask why – All. The. Time. Yes, this is relatively annoying when a 4-year-old echoes every one of your thoughts with “but, why?” and yet it seems as if that is when we stop asking ourselves. We learn (or assume) so many beliefs as we mature that often never again get examined and some of them are -in fact – simply untrue. I worked with a 20-year-old client once who held the erroneous belief that putting ice into milk would poison it. She was unaware of how she developed that belief; only knew that it was concretely woven into her knowledge system. I don’t recall how we discovered that bit of information as it seems trite in comparison to her presenting problem but there were more mistaken notions lingering there as well that needed to be corrected to allow her a more accurate view of the world.

Even those things that we ‘know to be true’ today may not reflect our growth as the years go by. I find that people who were shy in their youth and developed beliefs from that perspective often need to reexamine those thoughts after developing mature confidence (i.e., “I can’t do it.”). Rules and ideas that were appropriate in one situation become implanted in our thought systems and then when the conditions change, we may fail to change our thoughts.

This concept is at the crux of all new discovery. If we fail to challenge our ideas about the world, science, medicine, and technology would standstill. It makes sense – a ‘no brainer’ – of sorts in that arena but it is just as important on the personal front. Take a step back and consider your personal, individual belief system. Validate what is fact from some acquired fiction. Distinguish what is still appropriate for your current circumstances and environment. Redefine as necessary.

Challenge your beliefs often!

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

Time to Teach

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

In the book ‘Big Magic’, Elizabeth Gilbert spends some time talking about ideas – how they come in… swirl around to see if you want it… and then move on. I found it to be an amazing concept because I am always having ideas and every once in a while, they stick around.

Recently, I had an idea. It wasn’t new actually. It was a returning one but it looked a little different and this time, I liked its appearance. The timing seemed right – actually – it seemed perfect.  Although I am tempted to keep things status quo so that Harlan’s energy in my surroundings doesn’t get disturbed. In reality – I sense it is HIS energy that is stirring things up. I can feel him pushing me and I dream that he is encouraging me – he was always so good at that.

The idea said “TEACH”.

I was momentarily hesitant to start something new and exciting because well… I’m still grieving, right? It’s not the right time. But the idea wouldn’t budge. It was there constantly and it was loud. I considered that in actuality – it is the right time – right now in the middle of all this coping – while the tools are being used and put to the test. The time is perfect for me to aggregate the knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated over the last 30 years.

I got busy and created The Elevate Class – an online class designed to motivate and inspire you to discover and live your best life.

Elevate Banner aa

I’ve poured more than one hundred hours now,  digging through my bookcase, my graduate syllabuses, academic papers, and inspirational heroes of mine. I’ve assembled the best of them into ten categories and outlined them in a way that helps me explain how I’ve coped all these years; through the ongoing parade of yuck that life keeps dishing out. I will explain how to make your own life lemonade!

I do so by walking WITH the people who take the class. It’s one thing to watch a video or read a book — but having someone to digest it with, to dig into the deeper questions they evoke, to validate or dismiss its value… now that’s helpful – and fun!

After a decade of working with clients as a psychotherapist and examining the tips, tricks, and techniques that have allowed me to stay positive and focused – no matter what – I am positioned and ready to teach.

To learn more about The Elevate Class visit the website. I hope you’ll read more and get excited to start a journey yourself!