Daily Inspiration and Reflection–Quote on Authenticity

Challenge: Don’t lie to yourself because it limits your creativity to solve daily life problems. Review the quote below and and on a 1-10 scale score yourself on authenticity and then take action to be more honest with yourself on the barriers holding you back from living a more constructive and deliberate life.

” Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to GIVE TRUST AWAY AND BE HONEST. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”— Brené Brown

Khan Academy leader tells why he will never tell his son that he is “smart”

“Most people are held back not by their innate ability, but by their mindset. They think intelligence is fixed, but it isn’t. Your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it and struggle, the more it grows”. Carol Dweck

New research shows we can take control of our ability to learn. We can all become better learners. We just need to build our brains in the right way”. Join the “Learning Revolution at  https://www.khanacademy.org/youcanlearnanything/main

Why does Salmon Khan Say “He will never tell his son that he is smart?

Here is part of his story:

” My 5-year-­old son has just started reading. Every night, we lie on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word was “gratefully.” He eventually got it after a fairly painful minute. He then said, “Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell­-tale signs of a “growth­ mindset.” But this wasn’t by accident. Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.

Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.

What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail… to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential”.

Read the entire article at: https://www.khanacademy.org/about/blog/post/95208400815/the-learning-myth-why-ill-never-tell-my-son-hes-smart

 

 

Mindfulness: Try Creating more FLOW in your Moment to moment Living

Daily Quote: “Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last blockon a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves…The task is to learn how to enjoy everyday life without diminishing other people’s chances to enjoy theirs.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”  – Csikszentmihalyi, 1990

Here are some of the characteristics that comprise THE FLOW EXPERIENCE according to Csikszentmihalyi’s.

Characteristics of flow:

  • Complete focus on the task at hand
  • Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
  • Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
  • The experience is intrinsically rewarding, has an end itself
  • Effortlessness and ease
  • There is a balance between challenge and skills
  • Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
  • There is a feeling of control over the task

Who experiences flow?

Interestingly, a capacity to experience flow can differ according to personality. Studies suggest that those with ‘’autotelic personalities’’ tend to experience more flow.

A person with an ‘’autotelic personality’’ tends to do things for their own sake rather than chasing some distant external goal or dream. This type of personality is distinguished by certain meta-skills such as high interest in life, persistence, and helping others.

It can be speculated that negative and critical individuals are more prone to anxiety and being self-centered, which are conditions that can block the state of FLOW. In contrast, servant leaders, responsible, considerate and realistic individuals are more likely to spend time on mastering challenging tasks, which are characteristics important for creating the flow experience.

What happens in the brain?

The state of flow has been rarely investigated from a neuropsychological perspective but is a growing interest. According to Dietrich, it has been associated with decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is an area responsible for higher cognitive functions such as self-reflective consciousness, memory, temporal integration, and working memory. It’s an area that’s responsible for our conscious and explicit mind state.

However, in a state of flow, this area is believed to temporarily down-regulate; a process called transient hypofrontality. This temporary inactivation of the prefrontal area may trigger the feeling of distortion of time, loss of self-consciousness, and loss of inner-critic.

Moreover, the inhibition of the frontal lobe may enable the implicit mind to take over, resulting in more brain areas to communicate freely and engage in a creative process. In other research, it’s also hypothesized that the flow state is related to the brain’s dopamine reward circuitry since curiosity is highly amplified.

Inspiring Quote On Acceptance and Being Stuck

Power of Acceptance and Moving On: Keys to reducing Anger, Stress and other Unwanted Feelings

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, one of the most important Stoic philosopher’s once wrote, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your perception and reaction to it ; and this you have the power to change and revoke at any moment.”

 

Inspiring Quote On Effort By Coach Wooden

 Fundamental Purpose  in Life

“The goal in life is just the same as in basketball: make the effort to do the best you are capable of doing – in marriage, at your job, in the community, for your country. Make the effort to contribute in whatever way you can.

You may do it materially or with time, ideas, or work. Making the effort to contribute is what counts. The effort is what counts in everything.”

This is one of Coach Wooden’s core constructive living principles. Life is about making the effort to do the best we are capable of doing. Constructive action through effort is the driving force of living on purpose. Never give-up is  everything. Period.

Don’t worry about how smart you are, or how educated you are, whether you’re winning or losing, failing or succeeding. The one thing that counts is your effort. If you do the best you can do, then you have succeeded in living a meaningful life.

Inspiration:The Story of Misty Copeland–A life of Struggle and Thriving to be the Best You Can Be.

Misty Copeland, principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre is a case study on never giving-up and overcoming negativity to be a great ballerina. Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. Her style, grace, passion, and skills have gotten her […]

Misty Copeland, principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre is a case study on never giving-up and overcoming negativity to be a great ballerina. Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. Her style, grace, passion, and skills have gotten her to the top, and made her the 1st African-American woman to be promoted in the ABT’s 75-year history! Breaking barriers indeed… See more at
“” The best piece of advice that I remember probably on a daily basis is to accept everything about me that is different. That is what makes me special…The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think.” Misty Copeland For those that don’t know the story of Misty Copeland and are struggling with obstacles and difficulties in life you are missing many lessons of how self-belief, learning , effort and perseverance begin with mental toughness, thriving and growing in life.Tom Ashbroke in his podcast On Point with Misty Copeland has produced an amazing 1 hour of insights, reflection and triumph of mind-body insights, racism and mindsets for discovering, accepting and acting on your gifts and strengths in living a life on purpose.https://www.npr.org/player/embed/523980570/523980581

Inspiration:The Story of Misty Copeland–A life of Struggle and Thriving to be the Best You Can Be.

Misty Copeland, principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre is a case study on never giving-up and overcoming negativity to be a great ballerina. Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. Her style, grace, passion, and skills have gotten her to the top, and made her the 1st African-American woman to be promoted in the ABT’s 75-year history! Breaking barriers indeed… See more at
“” The best piece of advice that I remember probably on a daily basis is to accept everything about me that is different. That is what makes me special…The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think.” Misty Copeland For those that don’t know the story of Misty Copeland and are struggling with obstacles and difficulties in life you are missing many lessons of how self-belief, learning , effort and perseverance begin with mental toughness, thriving and growing in life.Tom Ashbroke in his podcast On Point with Misty Copeland has produced an amazing 1 hour of insights, reflection and triumph of mind-body insights, racism and mindsets for discovering, accepting and acting on your gifts and strengths in living a life on purpose.https://www.npr.org/player/embed/523980570/523980581

Unlock the key to Personal and Professional Growth through Changing Your Mental Maps.

Brain Research and the effects on our Mental Maps

New research has finally begun to shed light on the complexity of mental maps. Social psychologists Joyce Ehrlinger, Ainsley Mitchum, and Carol Dweck thought that the answer might lie in the implicit beliefs that overconfident people hold about the malleability of the brain and inherent ability. Decades of research by Dweck and others has shown that some people see personality and intelligence as relatively “fixed” (i.e., you are born a math whiz, leader etc. and there isn’t much you can do about it), while other people believe your intelligence, abilities and brain functions are changeable. With the brain being malleable, we are capable through learning and deliberative practice of changing and developing with effort and through experiences new wiring for our brains. These beliefs have profound consequences for how we live and see ourselves and others and how we learn (or don’t). For instance, people with a fixed mindset tend to be much more interested in proving or showing that they are smart, rather than pursuing opportunities to grow and get smarter.

Ehrlinger and her colleagues theorized that overconfidence might be another overlooked aspect of fixed mindset–thinking. In their studies, students solved a set of problems that varied in difficulty. Before learning their score, students were asked to guess how well they had done. Fixed mindset students were indeed overconfident — their estimates were more than 25% higher than their actual scores. Those students who believed their abilities to be malleable (i.e., “growth mindset”) overestimated their performance by only 5%. It seems that if you believe your abilities are fixed, that belief motivates you to inflate your abilities and skills.

To figure out why this overestimation of ability persists, however, Ehrlinger and her team had to dig a bit deeper. When they looked at how the students tackled the test, they realized that the fixed mindset students had spent more time working on the easier problems and less time on the harder ones. In other words, they’d selectively attended to the problems that reinforced their overconfidence — confirming their high opinion of themselves and ignoring everything else as much as possible. False beliefs and pride don’t just come before a fall; pride is what trips you in the first place.

Why do the arrogant, egoistic, and overconfident remain blind and ignorant of their own limitations? Could the findings of this research unlock the reasons some people get “”stuck” in living a life of disappointment and unhappiness?
Your challenge is to identify where in your life are you willing to face reality about your self and update your mental maps? With awareness can come growth and development.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Practice Mindfulness daily to improve health, focus and a sense of well-being. So what is this miracle practice? Mindfulness means clearing our minds of distractions by maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It means being present in the “here and now”. Mindfulness also involves self-acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the mainstream in recent years because of the research and writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and reduction in stress and anxiety in particular.

Victor Frankl about the meaning of life and facing difficult times in our life.

We all suffer difficult times and challenging moments oin our life. When change gets overwhelming and I feel stuck in life I generally turn to someone  wiser than my self for wisdom and direction.

Frankl writes in Man’s Search for Meaning :

” We can discover this meaning of life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.  The first, by way of achievement or accomplishment, is quite obvious.  The second and third need further elaboration.

The Meaning of Love

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.  No one can become fully aware of the essence of another human being unless he loves him.  by his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features of the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized.  Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities.  By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true…

The third way of finding a meaning in life is by suffering.

The Meaning of Suffering

We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.  For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement.  When we are no longer able to change a situation–just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer–we are challenged to change ourselves…

But let me make it perfectly clear that in no way is suffering necessary to find meaning.  I only insist that meaning is possible even in spite of suffering–provided, certainly, that the suffering is unavoidable.  If it were avoidable, however, the meaningful thing to do would be to remove its cause, be it psychological, biological or political…

There are situations in which one is cut off from the opportunity to do one’s work or enjoy one’s life; but what can never be ruled out is the unavoidability of suffering.  In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end.  In other words, life’s meaning is an unconditional one, for it even includes the potential meaning of unavoidable suffering…

[In Auschwitz] the question that beset me was, “Has all this suffering, all this dying around us, a meaning?  For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends on such a happenstance–as whether one escapes or not–ultimately would not be worth living at all.”

What I find comforting in Frankl’s perspective is that he’s not denying the difficulty and  rage that spring from suffering and tragedy.  He’s not “making the best of things.”  And he’s not blithely suggesting that “everything happens for a reason”or just let go and move-on  (which I find a particularly unhelpful expression of being stuck or hurting from loss.

What Frankl is doing is encouraging us to acknowledge our grief, stuckness and even unproductive rage, and also to see our suffering or upsetness as an experience in which it is possible to find meaning.  The nature of that meaning will be different for all of us, of course, even in response to the same situation or circumstance..  There’s no one-size-fits-all meaning-of-life.  Discovering your meaning will take effort, perseverance and courage. Remember your life is your own to create so start today to make the changes  that will make your life more meaningful.

Take Small Steps to Change Your Stuckness. If you make them too big, you get overwhelmed and you don’t do anything. If you make small goals for change accomplish them, it gives you the confidence to reach for higher dreams.

Want to differentiate yourself from the pack? Learn to design and present good stories.

“Storytelling is the essential human activity. The harder the situation, the more essential it is”. Tim O’Brien

Storytelling Consultant’s and speech making authors are making money with an old idea of teaching people how to tell effective and inspiring stories. Learning — or relearning — how to tell stories requires some skill. And consultants are lining up to teach it — sometimes for a hefty fee.

Although the power of storytelling to attract — and even manipulate — is well known, the reason for its appeal has been unclear. But Dr. Zak from Clairemont University it may have something to do with oxytocin, also called the love hormone.

To see the impact of storytelling on oxytocin, Professor Zak conducted a now well-known experiment. Participants had their blood drawn before and again after watching videos of character-driven stories. The result? When those watching the stories had an increase in oxytocin, they tended to help more — donating money to a charity associated with the story, for example. But not every story is well told. Most of us know a compelling tale when we hear one, but “it’s difficult for people to articulate why they like what they like,” Professor Zak said.

So don’t miss the ideas, in a New York Times article , where he and other colleagues point out that good story telling hing on how to develop and present stories that show ho to “balance your personal story — incorporating your values, tying it together with a vision of the future, and telling how listeners can get involved and also benefit themselves.”

Happy New Year–How to make Every Day better in 2017

Start 2017 with Daily Challenges, Reflections and Action

The design and layout of these daily activities for personal change are provided with the goal of making new research findings and old wisdom for living a constructive and meaningful life accessible and doable for our fast paced daily life. Accessible is accomplished by providing small smart steps for living a more fulfilling life by providing insights for accomplishing far more personal development in less time by focusing on what works when trying to go from where you are now to where you want to be in your personal and relationship development journey.

These Daily  Reflections and Ideas  for Action  Guides were created with the intention of providing lessons learned and inspiring personal challenges that you can actually use in your real life. Here’s a sample from the Mental Toughness Action Guide:

Pick one these daily activities for the Week of January 1st through the Jan 8th. Reflect on the challenge present and try to incorporate and on the quote in your daily interactions. Good Luck. I will present seven new challenges next week. Coach Mark

INTRODUCTION FOCUS ON GROWTH CHALLENGES  

  1. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe
  2. “When you think about DOING YOUR BEST, think about mental toughness and effort.” Carol Dweck
  3. Strong is not just physical strength, it is a mindset. Schwartz
  4. Change your thoughts and you change your world. Fake it until you make it. Jim Loehr
  5. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right. Henry Ford
  6. Mental toughness is something you become not something you are given. Wooden
  7. Experiences and risk can make you mentally tough, if you are prepared to learn. MWH