Archive for the ‘personal growth’ Category

@maurilio:

23

My Loss of Entitlement Saved My Future

I know entitlement first hand. My Brazilian mindset had prepared me for a privileged life where I expected my parents to pay for college, find me a high-paying job, pay for my wedding and set me and my future bride in a new house they would build for us. Nice, isn’t. But that’s not the way it all happened, and for that, I’m most thankful. On my 19th birthday I got a call from Brazil letting me know that the government had frozen any money transfers going outside the country. And even without that restriction in place, my parents could no longer afford to pay for my college education. Therefore goodbye, free college education wedding, first house. easy job. I was crushed. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I have thanked God for that disappointing news many times over the years. In a conversation, my…

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35

The Danger of Being a Critic

Negativity always comes with a price. A big one. It’s easy for me to be a critic. I grew up in a family that prided itself in finding what’s wrong with the world and each other. It was sort of a sport around the dinner table to see who would outwit the rest and deliver the best put down. We all laughed, but someone always got hurt. Now I’m a professional critic whose livelihood is partially funded by my ability to discern what’s wrong or what’s not working and help organizations figure out how to communicate in order to move to the next level. Being a critic is dangerous, and I’m very aware of the negativity that can creep in and suck the life out of every experience. I have to work hard on being positive because cynicism and negativity are the first ones at my gate. I don’t want…

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12

Sometimes All You Need Is To Show Up

It’s a cliche, but it’s a good one: “Sometimes all you need to do is just show up.” I have seen its power in my own life. As a matter of fact, it works for me on a daily basis. I cannot tell you how many times I have abandoned personal growth goals because I was too afraid, too lazy or too discouraged to even try, so I didn’t even bother showing  up. You can’t fail if you don’t try, right? Wrong. For me the greatest battle is winning over my mind. Waking up at 5 am and dragging myself to the gym when I don’t feel like going is not always easy to do. Sitting down and working on a project that’s important but not urgent is tough to do sometimes. But there’s so much more than just showing up at the gym or getting your job done. Sometimes…

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14

The 10% Rule of Life

We judge most things and experiences on details. I call it it the 10% rule because most of that what makes the details worth of notice usually happen at the very end of a project, building construction, manufacturing, design, experience–the last 10% of completion.That’s why finishing well is not just a good idea, it’s the difference between mediocrity and greatness and even success and failure. I don’t care how solid the foundation of a house is or how well-framed the walls are, if the painting is sloppy the entire structure gets devalued. “It’s just cosmetic,” you might say, but in the minds of most people the entire product gets devalued because of the last 10% of effort was not done well.  The opposite is true as well. Sometimes a beautifully finished building will garner top price before its owners find out that at core the structure is substandard. The value,…

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14

Given the Chance Would You Relive the Good Ol’ Days?

Lately I have been struggling with the complexity of my life. My mind is occupied with my aging parents in Brazil, my son in his first semester in college, starting a new business; it all can be overwhelming at times.  I have longed for the simple, uncomplicated days of yesteryear where there was freedom and opportunity. Well, that was until I started to think more clearly about the good ol’ days. Once I woke up from my glamorized stroll down memory lane, here’s what I really gave up: I had $25 dollars left to my name during at the end of my freshman year of college. I certainly would not want to relive that. I didn’t own a car until after I graduated from college. How in the world did I get around? I was cleaning toilets my second week of school. Then I washed dishes for another year. I…

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9

How to Become More Likeable

Likeable people do better in life in general. They attract more people to them, along with opportunities and invitations. Some say they are likeable because they get more “breaks” than the average person. I think it’s the opposite, and there is a lot of research to back up my opinion. I wrote about the happiness advantage here. But if likeable people get further in life, can we become more likeable, or are we dealing with an inherited genetic code that has our gregarious dial preset before birth? No matter what our natural predisposition is, I’m certain we all can improve our likeability factor by changing a few key behaviors. Stop talking about yourself. When we meet new people, the natural tendency is to tell them all about us. Likeable people do the opposite. They find a way to engage the other party in talking about themselves. The more someone talks…

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9

When Is It Too Late to Dream?

She was  a pretty good golfer. We were hitting balls next to each other and she smiled at me a few times. “You have a nice, easy swing,” she said kindly. I interpreted that to mean “you hit like a girl.” As we talked about the game, I found out she had won the club’s member tournament for her age category. She’s 82. “I didn’t pick up the game until I was in my 60′s,” she beamed with pride. “Wow,” I replied. “there’s hope for me, then.” I’ve thought about that conversation a lot since that day. As I age, more and more dreams that I once had as a child seem to be further away from ever becoming reality. The question at hand, however, still haunts me from time to time, “is it ever too late to stop dreaming?” Before you cast your vote, think about this. While we…

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17

The Art of Saying Goodbye: Leaving Without Regrets

When I left Brazil for the life I now have I didn’t leave well. In wanting to hold on to my fond memories, I decided not to say goodbye to anyone. After all, what would a “high dose of sentimentality accomplish anyway,”  I reasoned.  So I walked out of the only life I had ever known without much ado. It’s been decades since that time. I have never stop regretting it. There’s an art to saying goodbye.  Whether you’re walking away from a job, a relationship or moving away, there are a few things you should consider. I wish I had thought about them long ago: Celebrate the good times. Even if leaving was not your idea, or you’re finally able to walk away from a bad situation, or you’ve had enough from your jerk of a boss, take inventory and celebrate what you can. Most relationship, (and yes, work…

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4

Is Your Critical Nature Holding You Back?

In our pursuit of improvement, of becoming our very best, we can find ourselves always looking for the negative in every situation.  As a consultant, I’m paid to figure out how to improve communication, technology, and create new and better systems. Being critical is part of the skill set that forces me to see what could be and not just what it is. But recently I ran into a statement from Shawn Achor in his book “The Happiness Advantage” that has forced me to think deeper about my consulting skills. He writes, “Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals.” Achor goes on to support this statement with case studies and illustrations. Even if he didn’t, the truth in it resonates with me. How can I be an effective…

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5

The Happiness Advantage

Some believe happiness comes from finding themselves in the right places, relationships, job, or income level.  I don’t believe that, and in recent years there is enough evidence from the field of psychology in what I have believed all along: happiness is not a byproduct of success. The opposite is actually true: happy people become successful. After finishing reading Shawn Achor’s book, “The Happiness Advantage,” I bought a copy for everyone on my team.  Shawn’s work is well researched without being didactic. It offers practical steps even for those who are not naturally prone to be happy.  I highly recommend it. One of the points that resonated with me the most came from a 40-year-old study directed by psychologist George Vaillant. He summed up his findings in one word “love—full stop.”  In his words, there are “70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter and matter more…

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