How to Grow the Brain and Learn to Love Learning–10 Life Principles

“Hold on to your own convictions, despite what society and other people want you to believe.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Be more open and curious by embracing the goal of life-long “learning”. Learn something new everyday.
  2. Find Courage and Mental Toughness by embracing Vulnerability and Failure. Learn the lesson form screwing-up  and then show resilience by snapping back into action.
  3. Accept imperfection by building more competence and confidence through increased Self-Efficacy
  4. Feel Compassion: For Yourself and Others
  5. Except Uncertainty and change with more ease
  6. Express and show more gratitude and kindness toward others
  7. Physically Present yourself in a more assertive and positive manner
  8. Be more mindful and present in the “here and now”
  9. Play and Learn More: Take on learning challenges, try new things, be “gritty” and have fun!
  10. Give Trust away…






Having Problems with Goal Setting ? Try using Mental Contrasting Technique.

Daily Quote and Challenge:

” Mental contrasting when used by those with high expectations of success leads to increased goal commitment and energization.” Gabriele Oettingen,

In using mental contrasting or visualization technique to reach a personal change goal it is important to identify and picture how you will FEEL once you have attained your goal. To execute mental contrasting answer these two critical questions:

  1. What does success look like ?


2. How will you know when you have reached your goal?


Daily Quote: Are You Stuck and Unmotivated?

Daily Quotes to Get Going-

” We do no great things, only small things with great love.”—Mother Teresa

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.”—Helen Keller

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”—Anne Frank

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”—Churchill

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”—Henry David Thoreau


  1. Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from poetry, quotes and using others approaches who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines, exercise and observe other people. I Google keywords like motivation, happiness and success stories.
  2. Develop a “trigger” This a mantra, quote or method for jump starting your motivation juices. Here is the simple method I use when feeling “stuck”:  I focus on my goals for the day, accept my feelings (positive and negative) and then just start doing what I need to do.

Self-Coaching Challenge: 

Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and find a way to keep moving forward. Your coaching assignment for this week is to focus on developing a goal and method plan for increasing your motivation for growth and sustained personal development.

Here are some tips to help you get started with getting “unstuck”

Start small Smart Steps for change and reward yourself for successes . If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to walk or run an hour a day. This is not supported by research that says 10-15 minutes a day is good enough. Starting with small steps makes the goal becomes realistic and doable. Make your goal so easy you can’t fail. For example commit to 5 minutes of exercise a day for this week. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some sit-ups, or 2 stomach crunches or leg lifts and some jogging in place. Once you have done 5 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 10, and stick with it for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 20-25. Finally, yourself at the end of the week with a treat or something special this will reinforce your new self. Good Luck and let us know how it is going.

My personal change goal is _______________________________________________________.

My method for triggering more motivation is _________________________________________

My reward for completing my goal is _________________________________________________.

Want more Success and Impact on Others? Research says: Fake It until you make it

Daily Quote: “Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen.” Marge Piercy, Poet

Reflection: What Piercy is telling us to do is when you’re not sure of what to be just “Fake it until you make it.” In words create your own personal self-fulfilling philosophy. Dr. James Loher a colleague makes this powerful insight about “faking it” “pretending that you’re happy–requires you to smile, be engaged by mimicking positive energy and enthusiasm–not only can this approach earn you some of the benefits of happiness (returned smiles, connecting with others successes as a public speaker or at work and school but can actually make you happier.”  Why does this “fake it till you make it work? How can acting like you are happy make you happy?

Researcher’s On this subject focus primarily on two reasons for this phenomena one internal and one external.

1. Internally, our brains interpret the positive thoughts and physical manifestations of happiness by releasing adrenalin, testosterone  and dopamine ( pleasure drug) levels into the blood stream while decrease cortisol (stress hormone) so that  we actually experience the emotion to a greater extent. and shows through our external appearance to others and says not in words I am confident and happy to be with you.
2. Externally, our manifestations of happiness are typically mirrored by others, creating a cycle of positive emotions of confident appearance and tone of voice, twinkling eyes, smile and relaxed posture other body language signals of the emotions itself.

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Don’t miss this TED video by Dr. Cuddy where she presents very insightful research and findings on how “faking it” can influence power and dominance in relationships.



Want Continuous Growth and Development in Your Life? Learn the Self-Efficacy Approach

Daily Quote:  “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself…we do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience…self  is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.” John Dewey 


Reflection: According to Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute a course of action required to manage prospective situations.” In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Bandura described these beliefs as determinants of how people think, behave, and feel (1994).

Self-Efficacy is one of the strong theoretical underpinnings of the Self-Coaching Plus 1 Model. From this self-belief PLUS 1 recognizes the power of self-discovery, self-direction, SELF-DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES in fostering the opportunity to learn and become a fully functioning person. It also recognizes the need for an approach that provides “structure and a process” for sustaining awareness and encouraging choices based on what is best for the individual at this moment of time.

Self-Coaching Challenge : Self-Coaching is all about caring for and growing your worth and best version of self. Seek opportunities that excite you and inspire you to wake up in the morning. Build a purposeful growth plan by experimenting with opportunities you actually care about. Take the self-evaluation questionnaire–Best Version of Self to help identify your strengths and talents.

The Discovery your Strengths exercise is a simple, structured process that helps you identify, and make the most of your strengths. It is a tool to support your goal for becoming more self-aware of your personal strengths. During the Self-Coaching “structure with process”  framework we are concerned about you focusing on strengths rather than weakness because research shows higher success rates for increasing self-development and performance are greatly enhanced by playing to your strengths rather than weaknesses.

Step 1: Reflect and list your top 10 strengths.

Step 2. Survey Others About Your Strengths

Identify ten or so individuals who are in a position to give you accurate feedback about your strengths. This group should include current colleagues, but also,  former colleagues, friends and family members. Then, ask them to think about what your strengths are, and to give an example to back up every strength they identify. The strengths can be from both work and non-work settings. In this step, your feedback group needs to understand why you’re asking for feedback on your strengths and that you’re not just fishing for compliments (which would be embarrassing for all concerned).If you’re to worried to do this, identify 10 people who like you and know you well. Ask yourself what these people would say your strengths are. Remember, though, that your answers won’t be as good if you don’t ask other people.

Step 2: Identify Themes

Once you have all of the responses in from your survey group, start to group the responses together into themes. Some of the themes may reflect strengths you were aware of, but they may also identify things that you hadn’t realized were strengths because they come so naturally to you.

Step 3: Write Your Strengths Profile

Next, draw together the key strengths that have emerged from your analysis, and tie them together in a few paragraphs that summarize in ten characteristics what you’re really good at. When you’re writing this, bear in mind that you’ll use this in the future in two ways: first, to guide future actions and choices, and second to shore up your confidence when times get tough.

Step 4: Identify How You Can Play to Your Strengths

With a clear idea of your strengths, take a long, hard look at your current position and role at work or with the family.  Are you playing to your strengths? If not, can you adapt the focus and nature of your work and interactions to use more of your strengths?

For example, are you really a “people person” who’s spending half a day a week building project reports? Is there someone in your team who would be better suited to this kind of work, and be grateful for the extra responsibility, while you spend the extra time coaching team members?

Step 5: Set a timeline for evaluating your progress in using your strengths to become a more constructive person.

Part II: Overcoming your Demons through 10 Self-Coaching Challenges

Do you see the “Glass half-full ?  Do you focus on the past and bad decisions or broken dreams? These are just two reasons that your demons and primitive brain are winning.  How do you overcome them?

Self- Coaching Challenge:

Think Straight, ACT STRAIGHT.

1. Eat Smart, Exercise and never give up HOPE for a better LIFE–Feel ALIVE.

2. Embrace Stress-It is the Spice of Life

3. Practice Mindfulness by mediating everyday

4. Be grateful for what you have

5. Don’t focus on past mistakes

6. Build a support team and eliminate bad practices and relationships

7. Don’t complain. Either change situation, learn to cope, or react differently.

8. See mistakes as opportunities to learn.

9. Find a passion. Make your hobby your life work–own it: art, tennis poetry etc.

10. Don’t bother comparing yourself to others—this only leads to frustration.

Want to read more on overcoming demons see Part I-