Want to Grow and Develop in the Face of Fear or Suffering ? Learn from the Sages and Modern Day Research

To be a growth orientated person is a skill that can be learned. It is the basic foundation that underlies what we mean when we speak of having a high IQ or EQ. When we develop the skill of a “Growth Mindset” we actually change the physical structure of the brain. This revelation is based on one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last twenty years: How we focus our attention shapes the structure of the brain. Neuroscience has also definitively shown that we can grow these new connections throughout our lives, not just in childhood.

Want to learn how to change personal habits and reach your goals for change even in difficult and painful circumstances?

Everywhere man is confronted with reality of fate, with the chance of achieving something through the challenge of conquering difficult situations and his own suffering. The solution for finding this “inner strength” to overcome present pain and suffering is to focus on better times in the future. For example, when  working as a psychiatrist to the inmates of concentration camps during WWII, Victor Frankl found that the single most important factor in cultivating the kind of “inner hold” that allowed men to survive was teaching them to “hold in the mind’s grip some future goal”. He cites Nietzsche’s, who wrote that “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” and admonishes against generalization:

“ Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that”?

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned and challenged by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual from moment to moment in life.”

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus, it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation (reflection) and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Modern Day Research Support:

One modern way to learn how to handle the situation at hand is to understand and use the future planning tool “IF…Then” thinking and planning.

Well over hundred studies on achieving goals reviewed by  Gollwitzer and Paschal Sheeran research (file:///C:/Users/mark/Downloads/HP_Sheeran&Orbell(2000).pdf demonstrate how effective and efficient “if..then” plans are in facing  life challenges and overcoming tough decisions, obstacles of fear  and improving performance to keep on keeping on in the face of difficult situations like pain and suffering.

In a meta-analysis the researchers look at studies on preventative health screening, exercise, eating healthy and dieting, to negotiating and setting other life goals. They found that a person’s positive intention to perform a behavior is the key predictor for changing actual behavior and performance”.  The key elements of success were found to be –setting in advance (intentions) using IF…Then goals for taking specific actions to reach your goal. Remarkably they discovered that the use of “IF… Then” plans and focused intention can triple your chances for successful completion of personal change goals. The aim of the study was to look at the gap between setting intentions ( concept of implementation intentions) and actual behavior of woman coming for cancer screening. For example, they stated their goal of the study was address this problem using Gollwitzer’s (1993;Gollwitzer & Brandstatter, 1997) concept of implementation intentions. In particular, we examine whether intentions to attend for cervical screening that have been supplemented by implementation intentions specifying when, where, and how the appointment will be made improves the likelihood of attendance.

Self- Coaching Challenge: Try using the IF…Then intervention when trying to change habits or reach personal goals


Poem-A life of Searching

Above all, I have lived a life of curiosity and seeking by being, a thinking and learning person, on this beautiful journey, and that in itself has been an enormous mystery, privilege and adventure. So having said that, I wrote this poem to share my view of this adventure.



Most of the time, I am very active and in motion

At best, finding no place to peacefully rest

No finality to the searching, just searching on this quest

One is always nearer to finding the unknown

By keeping on, keeping on, keeping on …    

Never giving in or up, just searching

Trying with persistence to find final answers

In a curious life of discovery and adventure …

On an endless journey of the unknown…unknown…

This provides pleasure and pain…

Being this unsettled person observing, thinking and questioning

On an  adventure of being and learning

Still the answers are beyond my reach…my reach 

And unknown, unknown, unknown…



Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: If I had my Life to Live Over by Nadine Stair

Nadine Stair
An amazing poem and reflection of an 85-year-old woman, from Louisville, Kentucky, who provided the words above after someone asked her how she would have lived her life differently if she had a chance. Great question for all of us no matter what our age.

If I had my life to live over,
I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I’d Have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I am one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments,
one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,
a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If i had my life to live over,
I would start bare foot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daises.
We may not get the chance to live our lives over again, but we do have the power to start fresh each moment.

Self-Coaching Challenge: If you could change one thing in your life, right now, what would you change?

Daily Growth Mindset and EQ Practice: Get Started Now with 5 Key Questions.

Daily Growth Mindset and EQ Practice: Get Started Now
“Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing and choosing how we think feel and act. It shapes our interactions with others and ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests that it is responsible for 80% of our “success” in our lives.” Jenson, Rideout, Freedman & Freedman

Learn to Connect with Your Feelings. Remember what’s truly important to you, consider others, and then move forward with positive actions. At first glance, it’s really simple, right but EQ takes practice and will not happen until you change your thinking and start practicing how to do it. Practice by taking a few seconds, three times a day, to go through these five steps. You can use these five questions to stimulate your motivation :
1. What am I feeling?
2. What is the situation? What options do I have?
3. What do I really want?
4. What is blocking me from getting the results you want?
5. When do I plan on doing something about it?

Self-Coaching Challenge: Learn the Power of Reflection to Increase Self-Awareness

Daily Quote: “This is the key to life: the ability to reflect, the ability to know yourself, the ability to pause for a second before reacting automatically. If you can truly know yourself, you will begin the journey of transformation.” Deepak Chopra

Reflection: If you are open to new ways to improve  your life both at work or home, you might want to try the Self-Coaching technique of “Self-Awareness through Reflection”. Increasing you ability to be more Self-Aware will keep you from living life on “autopilot” or feeling “stuck” by just moving through daily activities and tasks like this is all there is in life. This approach to living is boring and self-deflating to say the least. Self-Awareness and reflection is gaining in popularity because new neuroscience research on the brain’s ability to grow and expand. The Brain is more like a muscle than a fixed structure. The potential for expansion and learning through out life is getting more attention because it is important in helping you shape your thoughts and behavior which impact decisions about career, relationships, and your life.

Basically, Self Awareness and Reflection is the ability to process and gain understanding of what your experiences teach you about who you are and how to live a more fulfilling life. Self-awareness is important because it provides the opportunity to assess your strengths, recognize what is working for you and learn how others perceive and measure your competencies and capabilities. Learning how others react and perceive you helps to uncover “blindspots” which many times are the barriers for living a more productive and optimum life. A simple illustration of this is to overrate yourself as strong leader and get a false sense of pride out of it, only to be devastated when you receive feedback from your team that this not how they experience  and perceive you.

So in essence self-awareness is the capacity to reason about experiences and to use information about your effect on others to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience. Its chief components include recognizing personally relevant information about yourself from reflection and others, and using that information to create  a plan for personal changes and self-development.

If this doesn’t sound important, I will remind you of the fact that tens of thousands of individuals derail themselves by not acknowledging personal and professional behaviors and decisions that are not aligned with reality. They make wrong decisions about what jobs to take, what work environments to enter, who to work with, and by overrating their abilities and underrating their deficiencies lose touch with reality and become “stuck” and depressed about their lives. The good news is like so many personality and brain functions,you can develop new ways to think and behave that are more aligned with your goals to live a more meaningful and constructive life.

Your main tool for accomplishing these changes is to become more aware by using reflection and introspection. The key is to evaluate were you are now and where you would like to go in the future. Then reflect on the gaps between now and future and determine what needs to be changed.  For these changes to happen, self awareness and reflection plans must be clear, concrete and time-bound. This reflection process is a deliberate, time-consuming process that requires you to study yourself and others feedback to you so that you can assess yourself accurately.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Here is a methodology that I have used to coach executives and managers develop their self-awareness.

  1. Block off 30 minutes at the end of the day for reflection time.
  2. Select an one area of your personality that is not working for you or you would like to improve. Commit to reviewing and getting feedback on this area, such as your ability to listen to others or how you react to pressure or stress at home or work.
  3. Spend the designated time introspecting on the personality area you selected. As you reflect, think of real life examples where listening has been important for making decisions. Then, identify who was there and how you behaved in listen to their opinions or advice. Make the example as concrete and vivid as you can. Then, ask yourself some critical questions: In what way did you listen or not listen to others? Did you interrupt other people when they were talking? How long does it take you to criticize or reject ideas presented by others? When you are supposed to be listening are you really taking time to understand what the other person is saying or are building a rebuttal argument? to rebut you new information and what type of information is it easy or hard for you to learn? Are you a visual learner or auditory? Could you restate what the other person was trying to communicate to you to their satisfaction? Do you listen better in groups or individually? How did this interaction workout? What would you do differently to improve the outcome of the interaction?
  4. Reflect and Record your reflective observations in a journal. When capturing you reflections be sure to write down your thoughts and evaluate whether your behavior is following the 3-1 positivity ratio we have talked about in past posts. Having  a Self-Coaching journal will be useful to see how this negativity and lack positivity reflection keep you “stuck”.
  5. Develop a specific action plan to change your thinking so you can your behavior for the better.
  6. Then identify other areas of your thinking and behavior or habits you would like to change.

When doing more reflection I have one cautionary point –most of us are not very good at evaluating ourselves and consequently fail to be accurate in their assessment; they engage in self-deception. You can combat this tendency by thinking of multiple examples, rather than just one situation to review for each personality characteristic you study. You can also check the validity of your observations by asking trusted others for their thoughts and feedback about your level of competency on the characteristic you are trying to improve.

What are You Grateful For? Learning to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation

Daily Quote: “It certainly does me no harm to say “thank you” and to feel grateful at every possible occasion.”  MWH

“May you know the fearlessness of an open heart. May you never meet anyone you consider a stranger, and know that no matter what, you are not alone. May you have compassion for others’ suffering and joy in their delights. May you be free to give and receive love.” Sharon Salzberg 

Now let’s spend some time activating a sense of gratitude or appreciation for what we have and achieved in life.  There’s so much that is amazing and joyful in life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Write down 5 things that you are grateful for today.  Reflect on how you feel and what you value after writing the list.  Your challenge is to continue for 30 days, everyday writing down just a few things you are grateful for.

Here’s my list:

  1. My wonderful and caring wife of 49 years whom I am lucky to share my life with.
  2. My 3 boys who were a joy to raise and share moments with.
  3. My body, for being healthy and hardy after 71 years.
  4. My tennis buddies who help me sustain an active life in retirement.4.
  5. The internet, for allowing me to connect with so many people each day through my blog. thewick@wordpress.com

Daily Quote–Picasso and Growth Mindset a Self- Coaching Challenge

Daily Quote:

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

Reflection: Many neurologists and psychologist are just catching up to Picasso’s early understanding and keys to his learning.On of the key tenants of the “Growth Mindset” is that everyone can learn everything. It just takes effort, openness and understanding of how the brain works. I have become a real enthusiast of the Growth Mindset after reading after reading Dr. Carol Dweck’s book called the Growth Mindset.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Take the time to assess the last time you had a setback. My failure was __________________________________________________________________________________________

Then ask yourself some tough questions about that perceived failure:

What were the root causes for the failure?

How did I react to feedback about the failed project?

How could I have handled the situation better or differently?

What are some new strategies and tactics can I learn to rebound from failures, and emerge stronger to handle similar interactions or situations in the future?

I am I committed to become more resilient and learn from setbacks?

After reviewing you answers create a thirty-day action plan for becoming more resilient to failures and how to learn from them.a thirty day development action plan for

Principles on Why and How to Create a Meaningful life through Self-Renewal

“The richest, happiest, and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal”–Dr. James Loehr and Schwarz, The Power of Full Engagement

” One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” (Self-Renewal). John W. Gardner “

Let’s start with a speech by John Gardner, who wrote the short but powerful books on Excellence and Self-Renewal  “Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” 

Personal Renewal is the ongoing and continuous focus on reflection, choice and purposeful action to change your life’s direction.  Renewal is based on learning how to reframe your vision and purpose for an improved “quality of life”. Discovering and learning about new ways to grow and uncover a new sense of being alive. It involves reviewing and if needed re-focusing and adjusting your life priorities. It is opportunity for you to stop living on autopilot and begin to experience how to live a life of fulfillment and meaning in the “here and now”.

Renewal is a lifelong learning and growing process.  We need to be continually engaged in it so as to stay energized, fully present and alive in the ”here and now”.  I had originally thought of renewal as something people do once (or at most a couple of times) in reaction to a crisis like l like hearing you have cancer or been fired from your job of 15 years. Significant emotional experiences like these stop you in your tracks and can be seen as opportunity to change or re-adjust life priorities or as scary moment filled with disillusionment (why me?) or fearful anxious moments where you have loss control of life.  Now I understand it is much more clearly as a proactive process based on choices and how I spent my time.  I’ve found that with each step along the way it remains necessary to re-examine what decisions or choices brought us to this point, to continue asking ourselves reflective questions like– what is my purpose in life? Or how is what I am doing been working so far? And are the choices that I have made leading me to joy and happiness? Or Am I just stuck and overburden by my present life.  Here are 4 ways for getting started on a Self-Renewal process:

  1. Unlock the power of Renewal by identifying and capturing how you spend your time over the next thirty days. See https://wordpress.com/post/5659051/8559/
  2. Renewal provides you with the opportunity to re-assess your life’s direction and meaning. It provides you with a map for being and a reason for getting up in the morning. Fill in this sentence–The reason I get up in the morning is____________________________________________________.
  3. The power of renewal is to help you unlock your strengths, challenge you to grow and learn and to take action by turning your dreams and potential into a higher “quality of life”. List your top 5 strengths.
  4. Renewal Setting:– Reflect on and identify 3 times in your life when you have “Played to Win”. When you gave a 110% and embraced the possibility of greatness.

Want to Change the World? Start with Yourself.

Quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  Gandhi

Here is another tale that reinforces the best way to start to change the world. This story was supposedly written on the tomb stone of an Anglican Bishop in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey:

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would have then been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

This is wonderful advice, because by understanding who we are and accepting the reality of constant change we can position our thinking and acting to take on change by focusing the only person we have control over and that is ourselves.  Ultimately the only person you have any true power over, is yourself.  Most of the research on change and leadership points to the fact that steady and lasting change takes place when we model the change we would like to see from others. So start small and tackle in the next week one personal change you would like to model for others. For example, next week when people ask you to do something for them do it with a smile and joyfulness.

Part 1: Have a Desire to live a more meaningful Life and Career? –Learn to Grow and Make better Choices


” When you are stuck or sleep walking through life, you need to challenge yourself and find new ways to thing and grow, you have to push and pull against excuses and barriers that would stop and constrain you from changing and taking risks. Finding a process that works for you is how you open up to possibilities for growing stronger through learning and effort.” Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D. 

Career Development and creating meaning in your life and work seems like no big deal to a selected few who are lucky to have chosen a career path at an early age and have the ability, resources and opportunity to make their dream come true; for example, they are able to lock-on to a path that fulfills their dreams such as I want to be a fireman, lawyer or doctor when I grow-up. This is not the case for most of us we just float along and life evolves and happens. We find change difficult and avoid it. We don’t have the inclination or time to really map out our life and career. So for this group life and careers just happen without much thought, reflection and planning.  But we all possess an ability to do work that fits our strengths and interest in life if we take charge and ownership of our life at work and away from work. To do this we need to eliminate procrastination, excuses etc. and begin in a pro-active way to take charge of our choices by re-inventing our life and career by finding our own formula or strategy for changes in our personal life and career. The “process with structure” framework is a map that guides and challenges you to put your passions and strengths together to discover and create your unique calling. Career counselor Dr. Mark Hardwick offers a practical and proven system for taking control of your life and career. He provides assessments that raise self-awareness and provide information for identifying possible career alternatives and motivation to make the changes necessary for finding balance and creating a better and more satisfactory quality of life than just letting it evolve in a boring and often mundane way. In the “process with structure” approach to Living and Career Development we focus on living and working from the inside out, grounding the common sense of practically while exploring how to make your career dreams come to fruition. In my next post I will explain the 4 Phases of the life-career cycle process model and structure that can help you discover and create a more fulfilling and meaningful life and career. .

Growth and Mentally Tough Mindsets– 4 ways to help your kids develop their potential and overcome obstacles for growth

Daily Quote:

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”
Carol S. Dweck

As a parent, you want your kids to grow up to be confident, happy, and successful adults, able to face the world head-on and make the most of every opportunity. But what can you do to help them overcome the fears that might hold them back? It’s worth remembering first that fear serves a purpose; it’s a natural human emotion to warn us of possible harm – a call to action to protect ourselves. However, in our modern world, fear often tends to be out of proportion to risk and can prevent us from achieving as much as we would like, and are capable of.

Growth and Mentally Tough Mindsets– 4 ways to help your kids develop their potential and overcome obstacles for growth and development.

  1. It is okay to fail and try again. The most important thing to teach your kids is to remind them that thry don’t have to be perfect to be loved. Provide a strong support system and deliver the message that they don’t have to face difficulties and fears by themselves. Build on their natural nature of helping and cooperation. Send the message we are a team. If they feel secure in the knowledge that you will be there for them whatever the outcome, this will grow their mental toughness mindset and help give them the confidence to keep trying and learning.
  2. Build trust by teaching the lesson of small steps for change. Show them how learning usually takes place in small-deliberative steps through challenging, effort and perseverance.

Sometimes the best way to overcome a fear is to jump right back on the bike when you fall, other times though it’s better to tackle a new challenge slowly and with persistence. Be guided by your child on this, if the fear is overwhelming for them, and then show them how it can be approached in small stages, only moving on to the next phase when a certain comfort and competency is reached. Plan the stages with them ahead of time so that they are clear on expectations and what is going to happen, and don’t spring surprises on them or they won’t trust you next time.

  1. Remind them of previous times they learned something new and overcame their fears and doubts. Reminding your child of a previous occasion where they were afraid to try something, but ended up working hard to learn and finally learned to be successful and enjoyed the challenge. This approach will boast their self-efficacy and believe in their ability to try new things and overcome discomfort and fears. This will boost their confidence in their own abilities.
  2. Avoid comparing them to others

Focus on your child, and what fears it is that they are aiming to overcome. Making continual comparisons to their brother or sister or other kids can be unhelpful and may make your child feel inadequate and lower their motivation for tackling new challenges that encourage a “growth” rather  than “fixed” mindset .

Finding the “trigger” point” for motivation to create a Growth Mental Set

Daily Quote: “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success


So what can you do to find the right “trigger point” for developing a more open and flexible Growth Mindset.  Here are 5 suggestions:

  1. Listen to your intuition. Tuning into your gut feelings helps you focus on possibilities.  Act on the ideas that inspire your passion or as the DOORS song goes “Come on baby, light my fire.” Use your best energy for your best results.
  2. Find a challenging and yet achievable, tasks to tackle. Find the right balance between failure and small success ( PLUS ONE) by identifying the right challenge for increasing motivation. There is little learning without challenge. Make it your standard for operating: “In this running club we challenge ourselves and support others to do better by giving their best effort.” It’s critical, though, that you believe in your ability to meet these challenges, not on the first try, but with sustained physical and thoughtful effort.
  3. Set clear expectations. Pick a task that pushes you to a new level of awareness or strength. Instead of “Let’s start with an easy exercise today” say to yourself “Let’s try running some hills today that will be more difficult and I will feel better when I am done.”
  4. Move the needle forward. Questions are a powerful way to increase your options, and gain leverage. You can use questions to challenge your views, and to switch to more empowering mindsets. Ask yourself, “What’s a better way?”, “How can I jump that hurdle? ”, “How can I have fun while doing it?”, etc.
  5. Share stories of physical, psychological or intellectual struggle.Thomas Edison tried 1600 different combinations of filaments before he got the right one for his light. You have your own stories to share about learning and motivation. Make sure to focus on barriers or behaviors that you can control and change. Most of us have more control over situations than we think. Be aware of the different circumstances you are in then weigh the choices facing you and the alternatives available to you.
  6. Be a good role model. Own your mistakes and show how you learn from them. You can set the standards in regard to your own acceptable behavior. “Wow a screwed that order up. What a mistake. Let me review what I did. I’ll try to slow down and pay attention to the details so that doesn’t happen again.”
  7. ” Praise getting smart not being smart”.  Intelligence, expertise, and genius are all built through EFFORT AND HARD WORK. Set the the expectation or norm for praise at finding and fixing mistakes not getting things done quickly. As Carol Dweck says to students making the effort to change “I love the way you reviewed your steps and tried new strategies.

Looking for a Powerful Personal Change Method? Learn Plus One Performance Technique.

Plus One Technique 

“Learn, compare, collect the facts… Always have the courage to say to yourself – I am ignorant.” — Ivan Pavlov

At some level self-coaching is all about change. Changing how we spend our time and energy is so important for personal habit changes. If we focus our limited time and energy on one change at a time we increase the odds of effective and permanent behavioral change. When we are more focused and aware of what we are trying to change in our day-to-day living change becomes less frightening and more productive. Doing more of what’s working in our lives (strengths), and doing less of–or stopping entirely–what’s not helping us reach our desire results and not changing things that are okay is the mindset for plus-one change technique.  Taking this growth point of view may even increase our ability to take more risk and increase our ability to snap back from failures or setbacks (resilience). When this takes place it becomes easier to manage our resources and time which then provides the space for more comprehensive self-development. Remember all large changes are usually the result of a series of small smart steps using the Plus1 performance technique. Here is a simple review of the Plus One learning sequence and  process:

The building block of the technique comes from Aristotle’s four laws of association, especially the law of frequency.

Plus One Mastery Learning Sequence:

  • The sequence starts by breaking down a complex skill into small steps. Then learning in each step one at a time while adding each new step to the preceding learned steps until all steps are mastered.
  • The “chucking principle” is a key component of the Plus-One Mastery Learning sequence. This principle suggests that a complex skill can be learned most efficiently when the skill is broken down into small doses or parts.  Each part is mastered separately and then the parts are practiced together adding one “chunk” at a time until all of the chunks are integrated and the complex skill is mastered

Want to Stop Arguments? Clear the Air by Confronting in a Caring Way your Relationship Pinches

Remember, confrontation is about reconciliation and awareness, not judgement or anger.”
Dale Partridge

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”  John Lennon
Do you seem to keep having more and more conflicts over things that upon reflection don’t matter that much? What is behind this unproductive way to grow strong and effective partner relations? 

Self-Reflection: Your dad was right counting to ten or twenty is a good idea when an argument starts escalating. By getting rid of pinches – yes, this is really important. How do we do that? This is where time release conversations come in. Dr. John Gottman’s research on how the “Masters of Relationships” manage conflict, indicates that 70% of couples problems are perpetual, ongoing issues and unresolved over the years. These problems are related to differences in personalities, styles of interaction or preferred ways of doing things, learned habits, poor listening and problem solving skills, trigger words, inability to actively listen, low tolerance for differences and so on that set your mind off on the wrong path. The “masters of communication” seem to have developed a way to deal with these irritants in their relationship by having open and constructive conversations every once in a while about the same issues that inevitably show up again and again. They talk about how and why these issues are bothersome at this time; how they feel about the issues; what their concerns, feelings and hopes are about these sticky issues (usually about topics such as sex, money and family relationships) and what they want to have happen and what an effective resolution looks like. They learn to develop new mindsets and emotional filters on how they perceive the issues and how they can collaboratively solve these problems with their partner.

Self-Coaching Challenge: I believe that pinches in relationships of any sort are signs that we need to stop and re-kindle or establish more effective ways to communicate.  If your relationship has a lot of pinches, think of the pinches as a sign that you and your partner’s need to “clear the air” on this subject and something needs to be talked about and dealt with in a productive and caring way. Research shows that out of conflict and with caring, respectful conversations opportunities for greater closeness and understanding can be developed.  Understanding what the real causes of a relationship pinch provides time and means of going beyond the surface to discover  how the pinch impacts each other and what it  really means to each individual. Timely and caring conversations can provide an important path to preventing relationship erosion and go a long way for renewal and re-establishment greater openness and closeness.

This weekend take your own relationship audit and identify one issue or recurring problem you would like to work on and resolve with your partner. Then sit down and have a caring confrontation over a pinch that has been bothering and build a plan to move forward. Good Luck and remember no one cares what you have to say until you show them you care.

Attention Dad’s–Don’t Miss this Speech on The Positive Influence of Sports on Girls Development

Daily Quote: ” The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.” Anson Dorrance 

Reflection: I was doing research for my Growth Experts blog in regard to the impact of sports on the character development of children and ran across this wonderful speech by University of North Carolina Women’s  Soccer coach Anson Dorrance,  presents and introduces Mia Hamm at the
2007 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction.

It is a moving and very insightful speech on the importance of the development of character and leadership for women involved in sports.

Self-Coaching Challenge: What are you doing to encourage your daughter or son to participate in sports, so that they can benefit from  the many lessons sport’s can teach about perseverance, deliberate practice and teamwork?

Introduction to Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset Video for all Life -Long Learners

Growth Mindset Ideas into Action

Reflection and exploration: A growth mindset is key to helping you boost your sense of self-worth and enjoy the process of learning while improving the quality of your life. A growth mindset has many benefits and as illustrated by Carol Dweck, plays a key role in determining our success and happiness.

Mindset Quotes:

“I believe ability can get you to the top,” says coach John Wooden, “but it takes character to keep you there.… It’s so easy to … begin thinking you can just ‘turn it on’ automatically, without proper preparation. It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there. When you read about an athlete or team that wins over and over and over, remind yourself, ‘More than ability, they have character.’ ”

“I don’t mind losing as long as I see improvement or I feel I’ve done as well as I possibly could…no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

A growth mindset is key to helping you boost your sense of self-worth and efficacy while enjoying the process of learning.. A growth mindset has many benefits and as discussed by Dr. Carol Dweck, plays a key role in determining a fulfilling and meaningful quality of life.

Challenge:  Review this video with your child or students and have discussion of how they could apply the Growth Mindset to their school learning.  

Having a Growth Mindset means that you know you can strengthen your brain just like lifting weighs and exercising can strengthen you muscles. You are not born with a fixed amount of intelligence and you can learn and use tools and techniques to make your brain to smarter.