Weekly Quote and Challenge: Learning to Handle Crucibles in Life by Assessing Your Grit Factor

Weekly Quote: “Life is what happens when you’re expecting something else.”

Reflection: With all of life’s uncertainties, we need to learn and accept what life brings us and use these difficult experiences to create opportunities for personal learning and growth.

Research shows that Significant Emotional Experiences (SEE) or what we now call traumatic experiences can result in post-traumatic growth or problems depending on our perception, grit and resilience. Positive learning following SES starts by acknowledging that life is not based on certainty facing and embracing ambiguity as a fundamental principle of human existence. It also requires self-awareness to acknowledge your personal responsibility for the choices you make and learning about what you control or don’t control in life. You cannot go through life without getting knocked down and experiencing suffering and pain. The question is how you will respond, and whether you will come back stronger than ever (resilience). Rather than living a depressed and angry life, suppressing the realities and crucibles of life I recommend you turn them into opportunities by challenging yourself to learn and grow from these inevitable twists and turns of life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Make an assessment  of your “grit” developed by Dr. Duckworth and her collegues  then identify what you need to do to develop more grit. Also, identify the crucibles and difficulties you are now facing and how are you handling the situation. Make a plan for learning and start today to adjust your thinking that these difficult and SEE experiences won’t happen to you.

Note: Defining “grit”

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Angela Duckworth 

 

My Personal Vision for a Selfless World Serving Others

“Remember when Life’s path is crooked and steep keep your mind focused, eyes wide open, one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward.”
MWH

Selflessness: This is my simple philosophy of life. There is no need for dogma ; no need for complicated theories on life. No need for the Bible or Koran or Book of Mormon. It is my belief that our experience, choices, changeable mindset, intuition, emotions and actual behavior all play a part for creating “small dose learning” opportunities and building blocks for the future; my guiding philosophy is to take the time to think and reflect on my beliefs and values then take responsibility for my choices and action.

Reflection: My personal vision is to create a selfless world where I can find a pathway to serve others through a growth mindset, positive outlook and attitude and constructive words and action. Being kind and generous costs little and the benefits you gain in fulfillment and happiness are considerable. That was the conclusion that Michael Norton and colleagues at the Harvard Business School came to, after doing some very interesting research. “The volunteers who gave away some money were happier than those who had spent it on themselves. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Self-Coaching: Stop. Reflect. Act.  Over the next 24 hours create your personal vision. Use one word to express this vision and purpose for being and share it with at least 10 people and observe their reaction. Good Luck and please share your experiences with us.

Part I– Viktor Frankl–ON Freedom to Choose One’s Attitude in any Circumstance

Frankl writes: Yet it is possible to practice the art of living even in a concentration camp, although fear and suffering is always present. After discussing the common psychological patterns that unfold in inmates, Frankl is careful to challenge the assumption that human beings are invariably shaped by their circumstances…

He goes on to say: But what about human liberty? Is there no spiritual freedom in regard to behavior and reaction to any given surroundings? … Most important, do the prisoners’ reactions to the singular world of the concentration camp prove that man cannot escape the influences of his surroundings? Does man have no choice of action in the face of such circumstances?

We can answer these questions from experience as well as on principle. The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. … Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.

His principle argument on freedom of choice is summed-up by this one statement: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr.Frankl places this idea of “ freedom to choose one’s attitude in any circumstance” as the core element of our journey through life. For him the notion of everyday choices is at the center of the human experience.

So Frankl believes that every day, every hour, offers the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determines whether you would or would not submit to  demons, fears or self doubts and outside influences which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom. Inner freedom and self-direction determine whether or not you will become the slave of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form that others want you to be or a self-directed and autonomous person choosing daily to craft your own and unique journey based on the notion of “I can” rather than I can’t. Every time we choose to confront our fears, challenge our mental maps and struggle to discover the truth we strike a note for freedom and dignity for all. Frankl recognizes suffering as an essential piece not only of existence but of the meaningful life:

Self-Coaching Challenge:

  1. How in your life are you taking the responsibility to find the right answer to your tasks, suffering and problems confronting you daily?
  2. What constructive action are you willing to take shape a more meaningful and purposeful life beyond your present circumstances?
  3. Given your circumstances are you still able to choose your attitude?  If  your answer is no–in what concrete ways can you change this belief and self-defeating attitude?

Daily Quote and Self-Reflection: Embracing Change and Openness

Daily Quote: “Things do not Change: We change.”  Henry Thoreau

Self Reflection: When “IT” comes to change and upsetting the “status quo” I am a searcher. Searchers look for problems that can become opportunities. They are open-minded about how to solve problems and do not think they have all the answers. The main tools searchers use are a “growth mindset” seeing problems as challenges, experimentation and piloting potential solutions.  Their change mantra is:: “Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.” Always be open to try new ways to find the right answers. I believe one must never lose time in vainly regretting failures nor in complaining about the changes which cause us discomfort, or making excuses because the essence of change is shaking things-up.

Self-Coaching: What are you facing in your daily life that needs changing and you have been procrastinating from doing it. Listen to Graham Hill, feature speaker at TED, talk about how to create more happiness in your life. Then reflect on the TED talk and pick one thing in your daily life that will make your happiness soar. Good Luck and have fun.

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Think Straight and Develop Your Grit

Daily Quote: What you are thinking, what shapes your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.   Willie Mays

 Reflection:  

Your toughness and grit is made up of equal parts belief, persistence and deliberative practice and experience. The toughest opponent of all is the negativity and skeptic or sarcastic one inside your head.  Below see the  4 tips for overcoming negativity and build grit into your character and daily actions:

1. Believe it or not, passions grow out of your values. Make early, wise choices to value what (and who) is good, trustworthy, and praiseworthy.

2.Think straight, talk straight and do the straight or right thing to grow your character

3. Find a passion. Pick a hobby, own it: running, photography, juggling, tennis, writing, art and whatever. Get your 10,000 hours of perfect practice in early and change your life.

4.Don’t bother comparing yourself to others—this only leads to heartbreak, anger, and disappointment.

Self-Coaching Challenge: What’s the one thing you would do right now if you had more confidence? What are you going to do to gain more self-confidence?

 

Mindset for Self-Coaching— 4 Critical Elements for Getting Started.

4 tips on how to see ourselves from other people’s point of view.

Daily Quote:

“We never see ourselves as others see us…”  Eric Hoffer 

” O would some power the gift to give us the ability to see ourselves as others see us. ” Robert Burns, Scot Poet (1759 – 1796)   

Self-Reflection: How do we see ourselves? Effective self-coaching involves seeing ourselves as mixture of our ability to think clearly, see ourselves as others see us and being open to learning and change. Many times in life our mental set about ourselves and how we impact other people can be taken for granted or mis-perceived. Many times in our busy day to day activities we are operating in a vacuum or on automatic pilot and in order to move forward and continue growing we must work on developing open and flexible ways to gather more information. Our ability to develop this open perspective toward ourselves is the foundation for all self-coaching. This open approach to personal change allows us to use self-coaching tools, such as feedback to not only adjust our thinking but to enhance our effectiveness to change habits and behavior.

For example, the art and science of public speaking or presenting are learned, as well as the skills to handle different situations and audiences. When this is recognized you can use deliberative practice tools by yourself or in conjunction with a good coach or teacher to figure out the steps to do something better by using your time and space to practice and learn more constructive ways to reach our full potential as a fully functioning person. With time and good support, every person can discover their own ways to become a more effective and efficient communicator.

1. Reflection

Self-coaching also involves an ongoing process of reflection. We need to view our lives as an ongoing exercise in experiential learning, and we need to obtain the necessary critical distance to be able to observe and reflect upon our experiences, while also fully inhabiting those experiences in the moment. The precise steps we take in this process will look different for each of us, and they will vary over time, but it’s critical to regularly engage ourselves in conversation and to develop the habitual practices that support this reflection.

2. Self-Awareness

An important product of this reflection is increased self-awareness, by which I mean both a heightened in-the-moment perception of how we respond to various situations and a deeper understanding over time of who we are as individuals. Our immediate perception of our physical and emotional responses to situations is often blunted–it’s only in retrospect that we fully understand what we were feeling. Honing this in-the-moment awareness of our responses allows us to expand the range of options available to us and to make choices that will best support our goals in any given situation.

Over time this heightened perception contributes to a deeper understanding of ourselves. We learn more about our tendencies and preferences, and patterns in our behavior (with certain people, in certain settings, at certain moments) begin to reveal themselves. We can then capitalize on these patterns, exploiting those that work to our advantage and challenging (or avoiding) those that work to our disadvantage.

3. Committment to Personal Change

At some level self-coaching is all about change. Changing how we spend our time so we’re more fulfilled, and changing our behavior so we’re more effective. Doing more of what’s working in our lives, and doing less of–or stopping entirely–what’s not helping us reach our desire results.  We may even want to change the direction of our lives in a more comprehensive way, and all large changes result from a series of small smart steps using the Plus1 performance technique.

4.  Clarity of Personal Values and Vision 

Our self-coaching efforts occur within a context defined by our personal values and our vision for ourselves. If self-coaching is a sequence of steps to help us effect positive change in our lives, then our values and our vision are the source of meaning and purpose in our lives, the underlying rationale for the changes we seek to make.

It’s important at the very beginning of self-coaching to identify the critical values that drive our action and to establish a vision of the future. Where you want to be after your self-coaching experience? Values and vision are the underpinning for self-coaching success because they ground us in what is important in our lives and where we we want to go. These values and vision will be rechecked through your self-coaching actives and will be refined by the end of your experience. Although we will be working on many of the elements that roll-up into a vision or provide clarity on your priority values in life through smart-step activities and structured exercises I think having an overall direction and “big picture” for self-coaching  is critical for your success.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Over the next week reflect on these 4 elements for Self-Coaching. Use the scale 1 -not ready to 10 absolutely ready. After your evaluation commit to either finding a coach to get get you started or if you are ready for self-coaching do something to get started, like reading articles or a book on self-coaching.  

The Sterling Effect: How to Change Thinking about Ongoing Ignorance about Racism

What do you say to a person spouting ignorance about race? Just let them talk or confront their irrationality? Promote more education and understanding on projects that unite us? Try to understand the complexities of our own unique American history?

Recently, I was reflecting on this ongoing racism in America and then I remembered a conversation by James Baldwin to Studs Turkel that provided me with information and insight to this ongoing conflict in America. Don’t miss this this audio tape–

http://www.udel.edu/History/suisman/206_08-Fall/1-07%20James%20Baldwin,%201961.mp3

White Southern person says “it is just the way I was raise and you Yankees don’t get it”. This is not only an ignorant statement it is a way to try and forgive oneself and gives up the power of independent and critical thinking. You can change your thinking if you chose to.  Studs Terkel was best known for his work documenting the stories of everyday Americans, illuminating the undercurrents of the American psyche. James Baldwin’s lyrically hypnotic novels capture the struggles of the American black experience(s), wrestling with the intricacies of human identity in such a way that shakes readers to the core. Baldwin was perhaps best known for his ability to explore the nuance of typically taboo  interracial relationships, homosexuality, complexities within spiritual communities and his ability to articulate both anger at injustice and an ongoing belief in the underlining unity of humanity.

In this short and layered conversation, Baldwin recalls listening to Bessie Smith in Switzerland while writing his first novel, Go Tell It On the Mountain,  an autobiographical look at growing up in a conservative church in Harlem.  He boldly discusses race and racism, the invisibility of the black experience among most white Americans, and the deep need for an education that truly explores the historical interweaving of black and white Americans. “Education,” Baldwin states, “demands a certain daring, a certain independence of the mind.”  He talks of how the racism has harmed the nation in ways we are only beginning to recognize.

Terkel and Baldwin close the discussion by touching on his novel Nobody Knows My Name, noting the interdependence of human knowledge and freedom:

”To know your name, you’re going to have to know mine,” Baldwin