Tag Archives: confidence

Saving Time – Ways to Save Time

As promised, I have concrete, time saving ideas that actually work!

These free, practical suggestions apply to both your work and personal life.

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So, pick up time now!

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Time Management – Efficiency

Certain people are able accomplish many

things while others are unproductive to say the least!

Why do some habitually hit their goals while others are unable to accomplish things or do so at a slow, frustrating pace?  What contributes to the difference?

What do we do with the time we have?

An important component of productivity is time management.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day,  7 days in a week, it is how we use them that makes the difference!

Many people seem frozen by the agenda of things to accomplish and talk about all they have to do but never make a dent in the ‘pile’.  Can we increase our productivity?

The good news is we can all improve our productivity by managing our time, a precious resource that must be tightly controlled.

Three O’s

I witness three areas preventing or inhibited productivity on a daily basis – Over Thinking, Over Blabbing and good Old fashioned Procrastination.

Many people put themselves in the circle of Paralysis by Over Analysis.   They over think the task at hand, wasting precious time thinking of the best way and every conceivable consequence. I am not suggesting you recklessly pursue action but if you aren’t building rockets or working with nuclear materials, make a reasonable assessment and get t0 work.  Stop over analyzing and take action.

Incessant Talking – We are a culture of chatters.  Communication is essential but there is a limit to the amount of time we frit away discussing a task at hand and about totally unrelated subjects.  Two areas of blabbing  to be dealt with.  First, if related to the task at hand, put a time limit (for most subjects 5 minutes) on discussion.  For meetings large or small, require that the participants stand. Don’t let anyone get comfortable.  As for unrelated, ‘small talk’ ban it entirely until the in box is empty!

Procrastination – First be honest with yourself, face the fact you are putting off doing something meaningful with menial diversions.  It then truly comes down to focusing, blocking out your tendencies to avoid doing something difficult, and getting down to work.

The common thread here is simply to take action!  Don’t let another day fly by without doing what you need or would like to get done.

I have an article coming out that will give you actual tos and ideas to increase your productivity.  The ideas work and are applicable to the work environment and in your personal life.

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Achieve Success with Lessons Re-learned!

Lessons to Achieve Success

Success is achievable, you can really do anything!

A previous blog

http://danpetrosini.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/confidence-self-esteem-contd/,  explained how breaking your goal down into achievable sections, and building on those sections leads to success and confidence.

Reinforcement

A key component of learning and developing a new skill is reinforcement.  Doing something over and over until you  get it. Sounds logical enough and guaranteed to work!

But you also must use the learning ‘tools’ that apply to the skill desired.  They are called the fundamentals!

Remember the fundamentals and re-visit methods of learning that maybe specific to what you are doing!

We tend to Forget

A recent experience of mine own while learning was revealing.reinforcing the importance of taking it slow, breaking the challenge down.

Faced with a imposing challenge, I became intimidated by the difficulty of the task presented. It seemed I was trying to learn something that just seemed way to advanced had me down.

I had bought into the negative, I can’t do this mentality when I was reminded me to take it slow.

Incredibly simple advise from a friend worked immediately and boosts your confidence.

We Want to Rush it!

Slowing things down, breaking the challenge into parts will make any task easier, here is an example to help illustrate this point-

If trying to hit a baseball at a batting cage, don’t go into the fastest one,  start with the slowest, get acclimated and then move into the next highest and do the same.  It may take a day or week but you will soon be able to hit the fastest!

If two people put the same time into learning how to hita baseball thrown at 60 miles an hour, one who jumped right into the 60 mile an hour cage and the other who progressed from the 20 miles to the 40 then 60 mile an hour cage, who would learn quickest and with the least frustration??

Here are a few more quick examples-

Runners training for a race or marathon, never go full speed the first times out. They gradually increase the speed and length till they find the mazimum speed they can run at and still finish.

Would you teach your child to drive by getting on the highway first day out?

Remember to keep whatever you are doing at a pace you can actually do it.

Lesson Re-learned

Being reminded to slow it down was a revelation in way,  I relearned a critical covenant of success, break the task or challenge down and take it at a proper pace.

I am glad to have been reminded and to share that how to approach a challenge and succeed, is by sticking with the fundamentals!

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Pride? We have lost it!

Its Obvious

We encounter scores of people in our day to day lives who seem to have no pride in what they do.  Their lack of pride contributes to shoddy, uninspired performance and dulls our lives.

Without spirited, caring interaction in our daily lives we are less joyful and productive.

Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost our sense of cheeriness and pride. How did we lose these vital traits?

The Culture is at fault!

A major factor is allowing others to define who we are.  This is crazy!  Why allow society to judge whether something you do is ‘good enough’?

Today’s culture has a misplaced value system that reveres anyone, no matter how nuts, on TV, in sports or with wealth. (need I mention many of these ‘stars’ lead irresponsible, trouble filled lives?)

By this twisted, flawed definition we undermine every other vocation, including parents who stay at home to raise their children.

The brutal fact is that focusing on what others do or have dooms you to unhappiness.

What’s the alternative?

How about taking some pride in what we do?

There is no absolutely no reason to be embarrassed by what we do, unless we do it poorly!

Just think of the impact someone who may simply be working behind a counter at a deli can have.  If they are upbeat and engaging and anxious to do their job as well as possible,  both parties are uplifted.  Contrast that with those we may know whose negative, sloppy style leave us disgusted.

In reality it does not mater what you do, even if society deems it menial.

They are many examples of the impact we have on each other that can go both ways.  Even interacting on the telephone where you can be drawn into negativity or surprised when a stranger treats us well and resolves an issue.

Conducting ourselves and our activities with a sense of pride and a positive attitude is the answer.

Whatever you do, do it well, with gusto and a sense of pride.  Don’t be pulled into the mentality that “they aren’t paying me enough to do this’ or “it doesn’t make a difference” or I’m just an xyz”

Taking pride in what you do is essential to your self esteem and happiness.

Intimidated?

Why do we feel the need to shield information or position situations?  Its natural to try to make ourselves look good but some things are really silly and add ‘weight’ to our lives.

Why do we feel the need to make excuses for say a child that does make or choose to go to an “a” type college?  Why do we need to say “this is only temporary I took this until something else comes up’  Its fine as long as while you are there you do it well!

Caution – the Flip Side

There is a downside to having too much pride or ego.

It can cause us to think we are better than others, preventing real engagement with others.  It can prevent us from taking on ajob or responsibility, thinking we are too good to do something.

An Easy Fix!

Conducting yourself with pride is easy to master.  It may take a little practice, reminding yourself at times, but feeling good about yourself and what you do will also make your outlook brighter!

Life’s a journey towards your goals, you won’t get there in a flash and make many ‘stops’ along the way, so you must make the best of it to enjoy it.

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Breakfast of Champions or Food Poison? Feedback Can Crush or Build Confidence

Words are powerful

Criticism or Feedback are powerful.  We all know the term constructive criticism, the problem is we rarely practice it.  Its unfortunate, as criticism is necessary to grow in any endeavor.

Breakfast of Champions or Food Poisoning?

Proper feedback from a coach, teacher, friend, co-worker, client etc is an invaluable tool to improvement.  If the feedback is given constructively and and delivered in a caring manner, the recipient will incorporate it, using the suggestion to achieve their goals.  This type of criticism is what has been called the Breakfast of Champions.  Those open to constructive criticism ‘eat’ the feedback and improve!     Those that shut it out, struggle or fail, its that essential!

On the other hand, criticism can be poisonous.  Belittling, negative feedback is unquestionably destructive!  Sorry, but even if it is well intended and meant to help, it hurts!  Very few people are truly motivated by being humiliated.  We must ‘restrain’ our judgmental tendencies and craft our interaction in a way that is helpful.  Just think how nice a world this would be if we can give and receive this type of support.

Why good teachers/rare impact

Invariably, anyone who achieves a level of accomplishment in anything, 9sports, arts, business, etc.0  has had a memorable teacher, coach, mentor or guide.

The impact they have in nurturing a pursuit cannot be overstated.  The feedback they dispense is always framed positively,  meant to support the individual on their journey.  Good deliverers balance the criticism, offering praise for any progress, no matter how small, while pointing to an area for improvement they know is within reach.

This is not to suggest that it is ok to mislead and be dishonest, but to recognize that people have different skill sets and learn at different paces. The key here is for the coach/teacher to determine that the person has the drive and will to do what is needed to achieve reasonable goals and working alongside, support their pursuit.

Do we enjoy judging?

The flip side is judgmental dismissal!  It seems many people relish in the harsh put down of others, cloaking it as criticism or being ‘real’

Pure nonsense, that type of poisonous feedback not only disheartens but also erodes a person’s self esteem and confidence.

In some cases it causes a backlash, where a receiver shuts out the feedback and gives rise to animosity towards the person giving it.

Look for the positive

No one is an expert out of the box.  We need to look for the positive aspects of a person’s endeavor, even if its just their effort or interest, and praise that. Then we can craft ‘suggestions’ about how to improve, mindful of the damage or help it can render.

Try thinking of parenting as the ultimate feedback machine, it may help to soften the criticism we render.

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Cycle of Poverty Destroys Self Esteem in Children

Break the children poverty cycle and strengthen self esteem. We need a fresh approach on a subject with big upside on a humanitarian and economic basis.

A prior post cited the depressing stats the impact the current state of economic affairs is having on many children & families.   http://danpetrosini.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/children-at-risk/

Worse than it seems

The problem is much bigger than it seems.  The impact dramatically multiplies as over time these children have their own children who are likely to get stuck in a cycle of poverty and dependency.

It’s a complicated issue that’s been with us for decades.  Unfortunately, the many programs the government created have done nothing to slow its growth, in fact the problem has increased, despite of their efforts.

Corrosive to Self Esteem

The government’s and some well intended organizations approach is dead wrong. Providing shelter and food, while worthwhile endeavors in the short term, actually breed a mentality that support comes from the outside.

A life of dependency leaves no room for a healthy self esteem.  In order to feel good about yourself and face life’s challenges confidently you must learn to stand on your own two feet.

Radical Solution?

A successful approach is one where assistance has strings attached.  Rather than a pure hand out, connect positive actions to continued support! Is that radical??

Why does the government hand out 99 weeks of unemployment without requiring the people to do something!  If some of the unemployed have outdated or poor skills, require them to take training to upgrade or acquire a skill.  Why not??? Nothing else is working!

Examples the Current approach does not work

When Welfare for Work (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act) was introduced, (requiring recipients to work and capping benefits at five years etc..) poverty and welfare rates DROPPED!

Larry Summers, the former economic adviser to Obama, studied unemployment http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Unemployment.html : proving that long term unemployment benefits actually INCREASE the unemployment rate.  Wish he’d said something while at the White House!

Solutions?

This is a giant complex problem that a single solution cannot address.  It is easier but expensive, to just provide benefits to people in need and feel we are doing something.   Its simply not effective.

Truly helping the people who need it and are caught in a cycle of poverty and welfare is hard work.  It involves changing ingrained behaviors and building self esteem.  Not easy, ask any parent!

Approach is Critical

The task can seem overwhelming, discouraging attempts to do something.

We need to approach it by realizing that if we change one life, its a huge victory, with the bonus its saving their offspring and their offspring etc!

The types of agendas I suggest require intensive, comprehensive programs to change ingrained behavior.  Most of the people with dependent lives did not have the benefit of support (parents, families).  We need to teach them the set of life skills they need to be independent productive citizens.

It isn’t cheap but the alternative cost is much higher.  If you can’t justify it on a moral basis (I had to work etc…) think of it on an economical basis.

I recognize this is complicated issue with various roots of cause, but we must start somewhere and chip away at this critical problem.

Here is a link to Manna House, a local grassroots organization making an impact along these lines.

http://mannahouseonline.com/

(Does this ring a bell? – You can give someone fish or teach them how to fish)

Love to hear from you on it!

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Filed under Blog, Children and poverty

Confidence of a Master

Some people seem born with talent.  Things come easy to these seeming unusually gifted folks. Musicians, artists, innovators etc..

They seem so natural, acting effortlessly as they engage in their vocation.

How to get that level of Mastery?

I had heard of the rule of mastery, what it takes to become a master at something, an expert, a real pro!

A number of interesting studies have looked at this fasincating subject.  What becomes clear is these exceptional acheivers, ‘magically‘ acquired their talents thru a combo of opportunity and time.

In example after example every expert ‘practiced’ their craft for at least 10,000 hours, a marker virtually guaranteeing a level of expertise.

Examples

A so called geek, Bill Gates, ‘practised his nerdiness, ad nasuem, logging thousands of hours in front of a monitor, testing and tinkering.  He had the good fortune to go to college where the equipment was available and took full advantage of it, applying himself till he fell asleep on the keyboard!

Beatles – I thought they were overnight sensations but the fact was they did several months long stints in Hamburg strip clubs where the sets of music required them to play for 10 hours or more a day. Forced to play together for so many hours led to the honing of their craft and a cohesive unit of musicians.

Tiger Woods – Not a fan but his dedication, hitting gold balls from dawn to dusk shows what it takes to get to the top.

John Coltrane – The tales of his continual practicing, 12 -1 4 hours a day are legendary.  He would even practice even between sets on a gig!

What does this tell us?

That a single minded, obsessive like quality, combined with opportunity equals the promised land of expertise!

Here are two books that discuss the issue at

length :

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017922

& one by the famous neurologist Oliver Sacks http://www.oliversacks.com/books/musicophilia/

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Confidence – Self Esteem contd.

Keys to happiness and success?

Its not a panacea, as over confidence and a feeling you are too good have brought down many.  But I believe building self esteem holds some of the keys to success and happiness.

Where do we get some?

Feeling comfortable, a sense of confidence in your approach to life, is developed over time and experience.  Being open to life’s challenges and opportunities, pursuing them unabashedly with a measure of success is where it comes from.  Building on the successes (partial or total) in challenges you engage in, create a foundation to build on.  Its contagious and has a ‘multiplier’ effect.

Break it down!

Any skill we seek or goal we want to achieve is made infinitely easier by recognizing it is a process and will take some time and dedication.

If we want to quit smoking we can go ‘cold turkey’, difficult for many, or use another approach.  Outright quitting creates a ton of pressure and elevates the ‘spotlight’ in your circle of acquaintances.

Why not try an approach of setting smaller goals, that are achievable.

Try a strict limitation – a cigarette an hour or no smoking before lunch or after dinner etc.  You get the idea! After you have sucessfully met that challenge move the ‘bar’ higher – a cigarette every two hours – no smoking till 2 pm – etc..

You have reduced the difficulty and can use the success achieved at lower barriers to reinforce your ability to do it.

Break it down!, this applies to everything, everything, everything !  (sports, academia, arts, physical fitness…) making progress is all that counts.  You measure and judge the success, NO ONE ELSE!

Enjoy the Journey!

An important lesson that I have learned, the hard way, is to enjoy the journey.  Focusing on your failures and distance to the goal is frankly exhausting and depressing.  Learn to be satisfied with the incremental progress you make, even if it leaves you far from the goal you have set.  It makes you happier, proud and keeps the fire burning to continue.

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Confidence – Self Esteem – How to get it.

Are we born with it?

It seems like some people have always been brimming with confidence.  This can be frustrating and especially intimidating for those who lack confidence.

How is it that possible?

There are many reasons why some have self esteem levels that help them socially and in their pursuits.  (maybe they were properly nurtured in something, excelled as a result and built on it or maybe they simply didn’t get crushed by some coach or teacher… or even parent).

Get Over it, we are where we are!

Everyone has the capacity to lead a ‘fearless’ life.  It is NEVER too late to change or learn, the fact is you have a simple choice – either sit in the background or do something about it.

Building confidence in life or an activity is similar to gaining any other skill, you gotta work at!

Being nervous is natural.

First off, a good dose of ‘false confidence’ is needed in your tool box.  What I mean by that is the ability to fake it, putting aside your fear/shyness/discomfort etc., temporarily suspending it!  I know you cannot just wish it away but you can acknowledge it and not let it cripple you.

As a quick experiment, observe your own thoughts.  ‘Separate’ yourself from your thoughts, sounds silly?  It is easy to do and can help you acknowledge your ‘fear’ but not be consumed by it.

No, they’re not super-human!

You are not alone, I was struck by what the great Luciano Pavarotti said when questioned about performing for decades and how natural and happy he seemed being on stage, the great Pavarotti said anyone who says they are not nervous when performing is lying.  Or how about Michael Caine, who inspite of acting for over 60 years, said he still vomits before going on stage!

Do something!  Now!

Acknowledge you have some work to do in an area you want to improve upon or participate in,  then commit to doing it, these are the first steps in a journey to get where you want to be.

I will have a follow up on this.

Please give me your thoughts and comments, if prefer not to be public just state so and they will not be published.

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