Addicted to Busy

There is no such thing as multitasking.

It plays games with our attention and makes us tired.

All we can do well is one thing at a time.

We think we accomplish more but that mirage saps us of our attention.

Our phones make us busier avoiding interaction and making us more anxious.

Then we fear not being busy.

Even rest becomes a waste of time.

Resting the mind, the body and our penchant for creating self-induced anxiety is the alternative to being addicted to busy.

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Bring Joy To Others Even If You Don’t Feel It

When I taught the Dale Carnegie Course, instructors used to teach that the benefit often follows the action.

Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic 

Not think yourself into enthusiasm – do something enthusiastic first. 

The action comes before the result.

The same is true with happiness.

Sitting around waiting for happiness to approach us can sometimes be a long wait.

Bring some kind of joy to others 

And joy will come to you.

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Shame

Shaming is used to control.

It hurts as much as a physical punch.

Shaming stops when we think enough of ourselves to either push back, end the conversation or avoid the shamer in the future.

You don’t get to say that.

This conversation is over. 

Don’t speak that way if you want my friendship.

Own your story and embrace your vulnerabilities.

When shame attacks, be brave and reach out to others.

Shame disables the part of us that believes we are capable of change.

Shame is the powerful fear that we are not good enough and it is cured by giving yourself the love you deserve.

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Communicating with Distracted People

When they turn to their phone, stop talking until they put it away.

If they say, “I can do both”, “keep talking”, “I’m listening” remain silent – they’ll get the message.

When they can’t come up with a question for you, end the encounter as soon as possible unless you have nothing to do except listen to someone else speak.

Both sides are important.

Both messages worth hearing.

To connect with others in a world of distraction, think enough of both of you to not become their distraction as well.

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Letting Go of Stress

A study in Psychological Science shows that people who hang onto stress did worse than those who were able to let it go.

Elon Musk, the brilliant SpaceX and Tesla founder is on the verge of a breakdown.

He says he can’t sleep and works constantly.

There is a difference between understanding stress and letting it go.

Decide to let go of arguments at work or home – it’s a decision; not an act of faith.

If you experience stress one full day after having a stressful experience, jettison that feeling because it will eat you alive.  Add more than one stressor and your body and mind will be under constant attack. 

Create safe havens from stress – a quiet place, a happy place, a positive friend, a spiritual moment.  Breaking stress even for a minute helps people let go.  It’s been proven. 

Ask what’s the worst that can happen when under stress – even if you have a flare for the dramatic, you’ll soon realize that your worry is usually more toxic than the consequence you fear. 

Replace a stressful moment with a grateful moment (“My boss is killing me” is switched out for “My mother is a caring person” or “my husband is so thoughtful”).  Stress switching helps retrain the brain.

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Getting What You Want

Before you can get what you want, you have to know what the other person wants.

No one is motivated to do anything for us just because we want it.

It is far more effective and actually more humane to spend lots of time getting to all the little details of what they want first.

The road to getting what you want passes through giving the other person something that they want, too.

If this isn’t done sincerely, then it can be seen as manipulation.

The most effective person I know (and very wealthy at that), makes it an ongoing practice to understand what drives the person on the other side of an agreement.

The number of times deals fall apart because people argue over petty things is great.  Even when the tough issues are resolved, little issues (but important to one party) can scuttle an agreement.

Ask who, what, where, when, why and how before asking something of another person.

Look for things you can give them, if they can find a way to give you what you’re asking. 

Getting what you want without giving up something important to the other person will backfire.  

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Solving a Tough Problem

When faced with an important decision, get the facts, weigh the facts and then take this step that can make all the difference in the world.

Ask yourself, what is the right thing to do?

Not what is the most expedient.

Not what will make you more popular at least for now.

Or postpone a decision because you’re either hoping the problem will go away or are afraid of making up your mind.

The right thing to do has never led anyone wrong.

It is what makes people happy, successful, fair-minded and confident in their decisions.

Spending time obsessing over tough problems is better spent wrestling with finding the answer to – what is the right thing to do?

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Being Heard

There are different ways to handle this in the age of attention deficit and digital distractions.

When texting, one thought per text. 

When emailing, any more than one thought, they should be numbered.  No paragraph bigger than one sentence if possible.   

To be effective, appeal to the other person’s self-absorption to gain their attention (example:  “To help you reach our department’s end of the month goals, I’d like to offer this idea”). 

Anyone who can get the other person to accurately repeat back that which you’re saying has effectively delivered the message.

Leaving a phone message today is like talking to yourself – just call, text or email. 

When someone refuses to acknowledge what you are saying, repeat it again the same way as if they didn’t hear it because they didn’t.

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Weaning Off Digital & Social Media

Only do three screen scrolls on Facebook and Instagram once a day – physically put a limit on these black attention holes where we get lost too long. 

Organize your phone into 3-4 screens followed by folders – put attention wasters like social media, news sites, music into these folders so you know when you enter to be aware that you are losing the battle. 

Make it a practice to not open the phone in a bathroom, waiting room or place where you could interact with people or life – at least try.  

Choosing to be on the phone instead of with a child, mate or someone you like even if THEY are lost in digital space is your unacceptable excuse to do the same.

Phones off after a certain hour.  Period.

No work by phone after a certain hour (The French have this one as a law). 

The phone is neither a sitter nor an educator, it’s a tool not a life. 

No phones during a meal (saying you need to leave it on the table to monitor a babysitter is a nice try).

Finally accept that phones and social media that are conducted on them are addictive and without strong resolve, they will rob their users of life and relationships.

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Our Inner Critic

We can be our own worst enemy.

The troubling voice in our heads – that inner critic – becomes comfortable tearing down confidence and self-esteem.  If others don’t do it, we learn to do it.

Change the inner critic that is holding you back.

Defend yourself – don’t allow verbal attacks to go unaddressed.

Speak up and advocate for yourself – it is not the job of others to be our advocates.  We must go first.

Don’t avoid the criticism that stimulates your inner critic – deal with it in a positive way that encourages growth.

Learning to confront and battle your inner critic takes time – it’s not possible to push it away with any one move.

Start now.

Live a life of approval and acceptance from the most important person in your life – you.

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