Five Categories of Transferable Skills

1. Communication: the skillful expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas.

2. Research and Planning: the search for specific knowledge and the ability to conceptualize future needs and to devise solutions for meeting those needs.

3. Human Relations: the use of interpersonal skills for resolving conflict, helping and relating to people.

4. Organization, Management and Leadership: the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals.

5. Work Survival: the day-to-day skills that assist in promoting effective production and work satisfaction.

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Identifying Your Skills, Talents and Personal Qualifications.

It can be challenging and sometimes uncomfortable to talk about the things we do well for fear of sounding too boastful. Yet, it is only through understanding our attributes that we can find the job that best suits our individual needs; and our our first priority is to meet our needs without alteration! The ultimate challenge is to find highly creative ways of doing this without being a burden to our loved ones and without doing so at another’s expense.

Regarding the job search, our approach should be, “You can talk the talk as long as you walk it!” That being said, it can still be difficult to pinpoint which skills best reflect who you are personally and professionally. Like many of your colleagues and loved ones, you have not been taught to “boast yourself up,” and to explain the myriad of skills that you possess or to clearly express your profound aptitudes.

Developing Your Skills Language

* Job-Related Skills. These are the skills you need to do a specific job; the ones you have developed in your current or past jobs. A plumber, for example, needs to know how to install pipes and repair fixtures, especially for water, drainage and heating systems. These are all skills that he or she would need to repair sinks. When people are asked what kind of skills they have, they most often respond with job-related skills such as these.

* Adaptive Skills or Self-Management Skills. These are also known as personality traits or personal characteristics, and are the skills you use on a daily basis. They assist the development and maintenance of your relationships and help you adapt to various situations. They are the skills that make you unique. For example, honesty and motivation are traits that employers look for in a valued employee, to assist them in determining if he or she is a good match for their organizational culture. Many job seekers do not emphasize these skills in resumés, but employers look for them.

* Transferable Skills. These skills can transfer from one job or occupation to another, which is important because of how rare it is to find an identical job to a previous one. Writing clearly and the ability to organize things are two examples of transferable skills that you can use in almost any work situation.

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Why Are You On The Planet?

When I begin a course at NYU, where I teach Interviewing Strategies, the first thing I do is have my students answer a question on a note-card. That question is, “Why are you on the planet?” My request is usually followed by a brief moment of silence as my students nervously and curiously glance around the room at each other, wondering if they had heard the question right. Inevitably, one brave soul slowly inches his or her hand into the air to confirm what I wanted from them. Once the question is confirmed, they begin to address the task at hand and write down why they are on the planet. Some write vigorously while complaining that their isn’t enough room on the card, others write a couple of bullet points down and look at me like I’m the nutty professor, while others just sit there staring into space without any clue as to how to answer it. In truth, discovering the why of our choices from careers, to romance or where to live is a difficult task if authentically addressed. The reality is that we are all conditioned to believe in certain things based on information that we are given from “outside” influences like parents, religions, advertising, older sisters and brothers and the like. During an NYU class discussion, one student said that he was on the planet to make as much money as possible. I chuckled at his straightforward answer, but was grateful for his honesty. When I asked him why this was his goal, he just said that it is what he should do. I again asked him why, and after a brief silence, he admitted that he didn’t really know.

And herein lies the ultimate challenge that I face as a Career Consultant. It is not to say that one choice is necessarily better than another, but to guide whoever is in front of me to know why they have chosen their career. In doing so, they are instantly propelled into a more meaningful job. By answering the why, a person finds substance and meaning, even if they have discovered that they are not in the careers that they want. This awareness is valuable because it serves as a catalyst to change; either to find value in their current career or by changing careers. By the end of the seven weeks, the student mentioned above still wanted to make as much money as possible. Yet, he had changed his perspective and decided that along with that goal, he needed to develop deeper relationships as well in order to have fulfillment in that quest. I look forward to begining the discovery process with you soon.

Spend some time thinking about why you are on the planet.

To find out more about career consultation or to set up an appointment, send an e-mail to shawn@bricolageconsulting.com

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Harmonious Communication

Resolving conflict, ending arguments, and finding better ways to communicate shouldn’t be that difficult. Anyone who has struggled to get their point across or who ended up flabbergasted, at ones wits end and completely raged after a verbal battle knows that it ain’t easy. Everyone can make sense and prove why they are “right” during a verbal battle, which is the reason why they often end with anger. There can be no victor in the quest to be right because all you have is two sides who are right.

The cause of such difficulties has very little to do with what does or does not make sense and more to do with where we look for the problem. When an individual gets angry with someone else and voices there displeasure with what was done to them, they just caused the conflict. They think that what caused the conflict is what was done to them, but it is their angry reaction that is the source of the misunderstanding. Let me explain.

Socratic Dialogue Versus Narcissism

What I am hoping to do is encourage individuals to come from a place of power instead of force during their communicative exchanges. The bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter who is right or who is wrong when the goal is harmony. When the intended purpose of all exchanges is harmony and mutual respect, then all energies are put towards understanding opposing points of view. When an apposing point of view is understood, then the two parties can begin to negotiate on how to meet each other half way. It is in this way that peace can be achieved; peace between individuals, partners, business associates, countries, apposing religions, etc. The overly critical mind or elitist and self-rightious perspective needs to make others wrong or bad. Those with little faith or conviction in their beliefs act in this negative and debilitating way. Without realizing it, they need to validate their truth by making someone else wrong. When this happens, their faith and ideas are dependent on outside forces and the only way they can feel secure is by making themselves better than others. This attitude in its extreme is best described as Narcissism, which is a personality disorder where an individual needs to be “grander” than everyone else by making everyone else “less than.” The reality of course is that these individuals are extremely insecure and may even reach a state of self-loathing. Without the strength to deal with these feelings, they simply play a mind game with themselves by falsely making themselves superior to others. Even the ability to make themselves equal to another is very difficult. This disorder is linked to effective communication in that rather than seeking mutual understanding they communicate, they choose to be overly critical, negative and shaming of others.

Those with true conviction, passion and faith in their beliefs allow others to hold apposing views as well. The Socratic Dialogue discusses what it means to strive for truth. The Socratic Model of dialogue mirrors this attempt at increasing consciousness, objectivity, and openness to a discussion. Socratic dialogue is best used when individuals clearly disagree and when they hold strongly to their positions. The participants have freely chosen to participate, and choose to do so as friends in search of the truth by following the Logos or principle standard. Great emphasis is placed on not steering too far off the topic at hand to prevent confusion and clouded perceptions. Their search for truth means that they trust its existence and great pains are taken to reveal all questions and concerns, while putting aside those that are not supported by clarity and facts. Friendship is the most important thing of all. “In a friendly dialogue, it is of no concern who is right or wrong. Dialogue demands the spirit of friendship because dialogue requires a relationship or spirit of care, trust, understanding, and fairness. To the degree that co-workers share a common goal they must work in unity, and that unity of purpose, in the Greek sense, is a kind of friendship” (Apatow, 1999). Finally, when people dialogue, they must follow the words spoken because the word is a direct expression of the speaker’s mind. Great care must be taken here, as each word represents a certain reality when spoken, and without care false truths and realities become manifest. Individuals need to take complete ownership of what they say without false excuses, defensive responses or “passing the buck.” Until this ownership of consciousness occurs within individuals, people will continually butt heads with each other. If folks don’t learn to own their consciousness, they are like puppets being bounced about by their puppeteer. In this scenario, an individual’s consciousness acts like a puppeteer until it is controlled. They become victims to whatever random thought that pops into their heads, or by whatever feelings they have, and will continually say things that they don’t really mean. Mass consciousness of fear, doubt, begrudgement, entitlement, and opposition within individuals has resulted in our current state of affairs regarding effective dialogue. Attempts at owning and expressing more positive and optimistic thoughts could help create a more unified interpersonal setting. Judgments that words like appreciation, faith, hope, and love – especially love – are too “touchy-feely.” However, such judgment obviously comes from their internal fear, and until each individual decides to challenge these negative functions or negative thoughts, there is little hope of creating the unity that is so desperately needed.

Simple Tips

1. If you find yourself really angry angry at someone or in extreme frustration about something they said or did to you it is because YOU have not yet accepted that behavior in yourself.

2. Never begin sentences with “You shouldn’t have done or you should do.” because your opinion on what they should have done is irrelevant. ASK them if they are willing to try a different behavior.

3. Asking them to try something doesn’t mean they will do it, so ask without expecting them to comply. If you ask and get angry because you didn’t get the answer you wanted, then you didn’t ask but demanded and were acting in a passive aggressive way.

4. Remember that the goal is to negotiate towards mutual understanding and VARIATIONS of what you want to get out of situations. That means giving up some of what you wish.

5. For EVERY situation where an injustice happened to you, you were at least 50% responsible for the problem. Example: If someone hits you, then you are partially responsible for that act.

5. Good and bad or right and wrong are illusions. It is far better to strive to create value or focus on what choices work or are effective in getting you what you want in a given situation.

6. What worked in one situation may not work when the same situation occurs again. This is what makes human interaction so challenging and interesting. We have to keep trying until it sinks in.

7. When an argument begins, do your best to express what you did to influence the problem first and then express what you didn’t like about the other person. Do this with sincerity and honesty.

8. What you don’t like about what another person is or does doesn’t mean that they were wrong, but that you just don’t like it. Which doesn’t mean that they should change, but that you might want to consider accepting that part of them.

9. Each of us is ALWAYS right. And two contradicting “rights” can exist at the same time. Example: your boyfriend might laugh too loud and passionately hate that type of laughter.

10. It is more difficult to get another person to change than it is for you to let them be who and what they choose and practice acceptance.

___________________________________________________________________

“In fact, our brains are malleable, ever changing, reconfiguring their wiring according to new thoughts and experiences. And as a result of learning, the function of individual neurons themselves change, allowing electrical signals to travel along them more readily. Scientists call the brain’s inherent capacity to change ‘plasticity.’ This ability to change the brain’s wiring, to grow new neural connections, has been demonstrated in experiments such as one conducted by Doctors Avi Karni and Leslie Underleider at the National institute of mental health. In that experiment, the researchers had subjects perform a simple motor task, a finger-tapping exercise, and identified the parts of the brain involved in the task by a MRI brain scan. The subjects then practiced the finger exercise daily for four weeks, gradually becoming more efficient and quicker at it. At the end of the four-week period, the brain scan was repeated and showed that the area of the brain involved in the task had expanded; this indicated that the regular practice and repetition of the task had recruited new nerve cells and changed the neural connections that had originally been involved in the task.” (Dalai Lama and Cutler, pg. 44).

Bibliography

Apatow, Robert. “Socratic Dialogue.” Executive Review 16.5 (1999): 2pp. Online. Internet.

The Dalai Lama and C. Cutler. “The Art of Happiness.” New York: Penguin Putman, Inc., 1998.

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Developing and Acheiving Goals

In order to have success in a given area, it is helpful to set tangible and so achievable goals. It is less valuable and less practical to think of goals in terms of the ultimate outcome one hopes to achieve. Certainly, knowing what we want to achieve is important, but it is far more important think of goals in terms of the actions necessary to get to our final destination. Simply put, think of goals in terms of cause first and effect second.

This simple distinction enables one to actually create rapid progress and is essential to actualizing our dreams and visions. I believe there is a fundamental flaw, generally speaking, in the way we think in modern society regarding how to manifest the things we want. That flaw has to do with the way we perceive the word outcome. We don’t give the word it’s full weight by emphasizing the come aspect; thinking just in terms of what will come to us or what we will get. Yet, the out element should be emphasized or at least given equal weight as a two part equation. What we put out is the pre-curser to what will come to us.

Setting Effective Goals

Having an effective relationship with our goals begins with expressing them positively, “I’ll be determined and committed,” versus “I need to stop being lazy and uncommitted.” Specificity is also very important. Be sure to state very specific goals, while including dates, times, and quantities. This helps determine how you are progressing by offering you a way to measure your results. Measurable results are absolutely necessary to assess your degree of progress. And again, this doesn’t mean if you reached your final destination, but rather helps you see your steps of success. Prioritize the goals that you have so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of goals you have. You can’t work on all of them at the same time, and if they are not prioritized it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Always right them down! By writing them down, you free your mind up from thinking about them as much. The extra energy you save by doing this can be put into focusing on your goals that you have prioritized first. Believe it or not, you expend much energy thinking about the things you want to do. Which is such a waste of energy. Tools that decrease this tendency are essential to success and help you have an enjoyable process of creation. When it comes to setting effective goals, the most interesting part has to do with determining whether or not our goals are realistic. What determines whether a goal is “realistic” or not? Personally, I think we should always set goals that are “unrealistic” or beyond what we think is possible. All of the greatest inventions throughout history did not seem realistic at the outset. Yet, in the end they were achieved. Alexander bell and his telephone transmitter was nothing more than a human being with a cool idea and the determination to follow it through. If we can look at our everyday goals with this same light and passion, we will always succeed.

When I work with clients, I spend quite a lot of time assisting them in creating what I call an Overall Vision for their entire life. It is a vision that has as its fundamental nature specificity and chronology. One might think that such a vision would be easy to create, but in fact it can take quite a long time if it is done correctly. My foremost challenge is to encourage them to really say what they desire and to assist them in tapping into those interests with as much passion as Mr. Alexander Bell did with his telephone. Once the vision has been created, it is time to set it in motion by creating the habit of scheduling the necessary actions needed for success in a daily planner. For some, this is an easy thing to do, but for others it is not so easy. Especially when it includes all the areas of a person’s life. For example, a person may be highly successful at work, but may not be healthy physically or may not have a good relationship with their family. When we challenge ourselves to succeed in areas that we struggle with, we must also tackle the emotional blocks that are associated with this difficulty. This can be very challenging, and yet with the right attitude in can also be quite rewarding and fun. Establishing a harmonious balance between all the areas of our “total self,” as I like to call it, makes life a joyous adventure. Mindtools.com gives a nice breakdown of all important areas in a person’s life that could be considered when deciding which areas to begin implementing regularly: artistic, attitude, career, education, family, financial, physical, pleasure & public service. There are of course others, but these are a good place to start.

4 Ways of Creating ‘Cause’

The next step is developing a complete understanding of the types of “outs” or causes that are available to us and understanding that each type is equally important as a practical guide to achieving the things we desire. Each of the four types of causes listed below are viewed as “behaviors.”

1. Thoughts and Thinking Habits: How do we view our thoughts? Are they random and unnecessary? Can we control them? How do they effect our physical health? Is there a relationship to what we can manifest in our daily lives and how we think? All of these question need to be answered and contemplated on very seriously. Yes, thoughts are random until we learn how to control them. Once we learn how to control them, we can source or create the thinking habits we desire versus being victims to old unhealthy ones. It has been scientifically proven that desires begin with our thinking habits. In order to intensify our desires so that we have the necessary passion to fight for the goals that we create for ourselves we have to connect deeply to those desires. Challenging ourselves to think positively allows this connection to happen. We have impulses that are transmitted via electro-chemical processes across the synapses (tiny spaces less than one millionth of an inch between each other) that separate the brain cells or neurons. Patterns and tracks are formed within our physical brain that comprise our thinking habits. Research shows that thinking different thoughts can change these patterns and so the physical makeup of our brain. When we challenge ourselves to think positively over an extended period of time about our desires, those desires become very very strong, which results in action. This is how a person can maintain strong levels of motivation and determination. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to think of motivation in terms of the positive effects that we get. Yet, it is far more powerful to create intense motivation and desire regardless of the circumstances in our lives.

2. Feelings: Have you ever heard of the saying, “What you resist persists.” It is more true than you could possibly imagine. Feelings are our bridge to motivation, fulfillment in what we do, and ultimately our success. Notice that I use the word fulfillment instead of a word like enjoyment. Seeking a fulfilling experience is more valuable than seeking to enjoy yourself. Needing to be entertained can become a huge block to continued motivation because hard work is rarely enjoyable. Yet, it can be hugely fulfilling. It may seem like I am mincing words, but this type of distinction is necessary to allow for a clear perspective regarding what we are trying to achieve. Personally, I believe that the cause of resistance is largely due to our need to be entertained versus fulfilled. Challenging yourself to overcome cancer for instance wouldn’t be enjoyable, yet determining to do your best to overcome it and never be defeated allows for powerful versus defeated choices. In essence, I am saying that we can control our feelings by challenging our perspective. That doesn’t mean that I am saying that we should stuff or ignore or feelings. I am just suggesting that we don’t let our feelings dictate the choices we make. It is possible to feel depressed and sad and make an optimistic choice with a high degree of determination to succeed. Again, notice that I don’t suggest that a person can make a happy choice when feeling sad or depressed. That is impossible. If a person tried to make a “happy” choice when feeling sad or depressee they would, I believe, be resisting their authentic feelings. Acknowledging a feeling of sadness or depression, by allowing ourselves to feel what we feel, and choosing an optimistic choice based on the desire to succeed is the first step to a non-resistant demenor and outlook.

3. Physical Activity: How do you know if you are taking the best or right amount of action in order to acheive success. It is generally believed that the more action a person takes the more success he or she will have; more work equates to more success. I’m not sure that is necessaryily the case. Yes, of course we have to work hard. But what constitutes ” hard work?” The idea of hard work often has a negative connotation to it. You can’t work hard and have fun or hard work can’t be easy. Why not? This sort of thinking can get in the way of a fulfilling experience. There’s that word again; fulfilling. Yes, hard work can be easy. For one person, doing a hundred pushups is easy and effortless, while for another doing ten is very difficult and painful.I have worked 10 straight hours with clients and the experience was effortless and easy. That is because I have found what I am best at and made it a business. Ask me to do 10 straight hours of cooking and I will have a very difficult time. The point is this, more action does not equal more success. Right action equals more success. Meaning, taking action that is conducive to a particular situation equals the best results. For example, a person could have been at the office for 12 hours woking and notices that their attention span is severely waning. Is it better for that person to keep working or take a break. They should take a break, even if they face the possibility of not meeting a deadline. I’m not saying that people should be lazy, and continuously missing deadlines is never acceptable. If this is happening a lot, it may not have anything to do with hard work. Instead, it may be a time management or prioritizing issue. We have distorted the truth regarding hard work. We should be thinking in terms of effectiveness. AND…the only person who can determine this is ourselves from moment to moment.

4. Intuition: Intuition has been defined as, “something known or beleived instinctively without actual evidence for it.” If that is the case, then how does an individual learn to identify with their intuitive function? Well, that is difficult to say. Personally in my experience with listening to my mind & body through various meditative techniques, one’s intuition is the quietist voice that speaks from deep deep down inside. That’s about all I can say. First and foremost, as the definition states, it rarely makes any sense and is often very illogical. Yet, it is never wrong; ever! If you say that your intuition was telling you to do something that you knew would benefit you and things didn’t work out the way your intuition said, then you were not listening to your true intuition. I’ll leave this section as is, barring this final quote, “Albert Einstein wrote about mental experiments involving visual images and muscular feelings. And the mathematician Stanislaw M. Ulam said that he used mental images and tactile sensations to perform calculations, replacing numerical values with the weights and sizes of imagined objects. Those descriptions of scientific thinking may surprise you. Many people are unaware of the secret hiding in the cognitive closet that, as Einstein repeatedly stated, ‘No scientist thinks in equations’” (Root-Bernstein, Robert S. “Learning to Think With Emotion,” The Guardian 00095982 (14 Jan. 2000): A64pp. Online. Internet.

Information from this newsletter was assisted by the following website:
http://www.mindtools.com

Posted in Career and Job, Causality, Job Satisfaction, Job Search, Life Tools, Setting Goals, Success | 4 Comments

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,900 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 3 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 48 posts.

The busiest day of the year was April 27th with 77 views. The most popular post that day was Motivation: Internal Versus External.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were bricolageconsulting.com, search.conduit.com, google.com, cordless-homephone.info, and itisinyou.info.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for examples of interests, personal qualifications, internal vs external motivation, interests examples, and personal talents.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Motivation: Internal Versus External August 2006
2 comments

2

Identifying Your Skills, Talents and Personal Qualifications August 2006
1 comment

3

Getting Through The Work Day Strategies August 2006
1 comment

4

Understanding Our Physical Surroundings September 2006
4 comments

5

The 5 Elements of Fitness October 2007

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The Four Components of Mind

We talked a bit about the energetic system of the Chakras last week and discovered the importance of opening up internally so that the energy of this unseen system can flow free of obstruction. The difficulty of learning to find a relationship with the Chakra System is that we cannot see it as it has a “non-physical” form. The same holds true with the Mind, which cannot be seen in physical form but is very much a living entity.

The Mind is complex and very very difficult to understand. It has, as I see it, four components that have very distinct functions. The ability to rationalize, perceive, resist and observe.

The Four Components of Mind

The ability to rationalize serves a very important function that allows us to think about the myriad of stimuli that enter our senses. This function allows us to consider the value of the things that happen to us everyday. Are our romantic relationships fulfilling, is my job worth keeping, am I making the best choices for myself, do I like this or that person, what is my opinion of my physical body, etc., etc. Opinions are formed from the things that we rationally think about and it is very difficult to change them once they are formed. Our opinions are hard-wired into the neuro-pathways of our brain and become “cemented” into our brains. In essence, our “rationalizing” creates the physical make-up of our brains and if we think and rationalize too much we stuff the mind with an overflow of matter that results in stress and delusions. Just like if someone eats too much bad food, they will create too many fat cells that will ultimately put stress on the physical body as can be seen in things like obesity, clogged arteries, stressed joints, and the like. It is not necessary to try to figure everything out rationally and when we do this it is because we are running from our feelings. Feelings bring us to the second component of Mind, which is our ability to perceive.

Perception takes information that is “up” in our heads and allows it to flow down “into” us for a deeper understanding. When I say a deeper understanding, I mean what we feel about that information for one thing. There is also a deeper “knowing” that occurs from our ability to perceive the information and opinions that we make. Some information makes us feel positive feelings and others makes us feel negative feelings. If we have formed a negative or overly critical opinion of something, it results in negative feelings. The deeper we allow ourselves to connect to those negative feelings, the deeper our “knowing” or understanding of that feeling becomes. This is important because the more we know and perceive about our negative feelings the more likely we will choose the more comfortable positive opinions. When we create more positive opinions, the result is more positive feelings. The only way to wake up to our negative opinions is to connect to how we feel about those opinions. The catch and difficulty in this process is that we do not always want to FEEL our negative feelings. And when we don’t feel our negative feelings we remain asleep and allow our negative opinions to drive us in negative directions in an endless cycle of darkness. We now come to our third component of Mind, which is the ability to resist.

Ah, the infamous resistance, which is the part of us that prevents us from becoming free, enlightened, ultimately happy and reaching our highest potential. I am not saying that our resistance is not important because it most defiantly is important and valuable. Without our faculty to resist opinions, feelings, and choices we would not have freedom of choice. The glory of this Universe is that we ALWAYS have a choice to do something new or stay the same. Of course, if we always want to stay the same, then we don’t grow and are not able to experience the glory of all that makes up our lives. It would seem like the obvious choice would be to feel as deeply as we could so that we continue to grow and expand the essence of who we are as a “self.” Yet, one does not go without the other. Without our “negative” feelings and thoughts, we could not understand the beauty of our “positive” thoughts and feelings. The bad aspects of a romantic relationship for example allow us to appreciate the positive aspects. It is a huge mistake and the essence of delusional thinking to only want positive and happy things to occur. On the deepest spiritual level, we came to this physical realm to experience the opposite of our divinity so that we could have something to compare it too and so understand that divinity more deeply. That being said, if you ever wonder why something is not working in your favor, just remember the infamous saying, “what we resist persists.” If you resist arguing with your lover, then those arguments will continue. If you accept them as natural and necessary, they will decrease. Oh the irony of it aye. The final component is our ability to observe.

I won’t say much about observance other than that it is what defines being awake. When we observe our opinions without attaching to them, we are able to truly see them. If we want to know what our opinions are, then we need to observe our thoughts without judgment or attachment. We need to be able to read the content of our Mind just as we would read the content of a book. When we do this, we are able to then truly decide if it is something that we wish to continue. Finally, when you do observe your mind correctly you will have a corresponding feeling that is associated with that thought. When observance is done this way, you can move through the fear within your heart. Remember, enlightenment is an open mind and heart. Many will observe the mind without allowing their feelings about those thoughts to surface and so prevent themselves from being impacted by what they see. When this happens then they simply stay out of the realm of humanity and in the realm of escapism and avoidance.

A Second Opinion

The specific aspects of mind are; 1) “unrest” which means going out to receive sense objects coming to sense doors as fish, cast on earth, strive to go into water, 2) “moving” means non-calm, sometimes it may be calm, but when it is attacked by sense objects, it is distracted by those, 3) “hard observation” means it is very hard to keep it calm (purified), 4) “hard protection” means it is very hard to protect it from forming an opinion, especially a bad (or selfish) opinion, 5) “hard compulsion” means it is very hard to force it not to fall under the five hindrances (it is likened to a drug addict, it is very hard for him to stop taking drugs) because it always falls under the five hindrances, it is hard to realize it, it is very smooth, and it arises and vanishes very rapidly.

This shows that the mind of human beings is restless, always falling down into the valley of unwholesome deeds. This leads human beings into big trouble. In the Buddha’s time, there was a monk named Talaputa. After he had become a monk, he practiced meditation in the forest. He spent a long time doing meditation, but he could not attain enlightenment, as he wished. Then he searched for the cause and he found that it was because of his own mind. He complained to his mind, saying, “Citta (mind), you begged me for many years to leave lay life, now I am a monk as you wish, why now are you lazy and want me to abandon meditation? You always say to me, the forest is beautiful and peaceful and it is a proper place for meditation, then I leave lay life and all my relatives and have lived here for some time, I have tried to please you for ages but now you still hurt me, and want me to go back to where you used to tell me off. From now on I am going to train you, taking you into the cave, observing you like an elephant or horse trainer, I’m going to chain you with meditation (mindfulness), I know that if anyone is influenced by you, he or she will suffer.”

All the complaints of the monk above show that the human mind is made distraught by distractions or attachments, all of which we have derived from mind, and the cycle of life, also, is from mind. As a result the Buddha said, “The world is led by mind, all things are controlled by mind.”

Source

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Obstacles Equal Success

It might seem odd to suggest that obstacles are the source of success versus failure. But it is true. Whenever obstacles present themselves during the process of manifesting our goals, they should be viewed with appreciation. They should also spark hope, deeper determination, and inner-drive. So often in today’s society, we allow this wonderful source of inspiration (obstacles) to deter us because we view them as failures. A better understanding of what failure is will allow this new perspective regarding obstacles to begin to rise within our consciousness and help us embrace and welcome obstacles.

Failure Is An Illusion

I was teaching at New York University recently and during my Interviewing Strategies class, I mentioned that failure was an illusion. Naturally, my comment sparked quite a spirited dialogue and it turned out that none of my students agreed with my point of view. As we discussed it further, I said that failure is a term that usually is viewed in an absolute way, a way that would signify a complete end or loss. If you look at the various ways the word is defined, it becomes evident that it does not always signify a complete end. I have listed six ways the word “failure” is defined below that I got from my “Word-Dictionary” that I use with my computer.

1.A lack of success in something, or an unsuccessful attempt at doing something

2. Something that falls short of what is required or expected

3. Somebody who or something that is unsuccessful

4. A breakdown or decline in the performance of something, or an occasion when something stops working or stops working adequately

5. Inadequate growth, development, or production of something

Each of the definitions above uses words that either imply an end or a temporary end. I would say that the the words that imply a temporary end are more accurate and based in reality. Things don’t necessarily end, if we choose to never give up. The important thing is to view them as temporary setbacks versus absolute failures. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into an absolute way of thinking that can only result in an end instead of a momentary set-back. During the discussion with my students at New York University I asked them if they thought Gandhi failed in what he wanted to achieve. Surprisingly, to me anyway, most of them said that he had failed. When I asked them why, one student said with passion, “he was assassinated.” Once the class quieted down, I reminded them that living was not Gandhi’s ultimate goal and that he had in fact achieved his goal of helping his country achieve its independence. In the end my students saw my point. Certainly, I am not suggesting that we need to risk our lives to make our goals happen, but it is an undeniable fact that risk is necessary in order to win big. This brings us to my initial point, that obstacles should be a source of inspiration and hope. For when we risk, we are inviting obstacles, which prove that we are on the right track. Let me explain further.

Obstacles Are the Source of Hope

Much of my work with clients entails assisting them in developing a better relationship with the challenges that occur as they engage in the transformative nature of choosing exactly what they wish to be professionally and personally. In an effort to explain what I mean by this I use exercise as an educational tool. When people begin to exercise it is usually to feel better, yet when they first begin, they feel worse. Their muscles are not used to being challenged in this new way and the result is pain or “obstacles” to their ultimate goal of feeling better. So, in order to feel better, they must first feel worse. The same holds true when we strive to have a better job, romantic relationship, or to make more money. If you pay attention, you will see a pattern in the occurrences that surround your goal, whether that goal is about money, love, or friendship. We will discover that we have been repeating similar situations if not the same ones over and over. Paying attention to the patterns are very important as they will allow you to see the choices that are not working for you, which is the first step to figuring out better choices. It can be very difficult to recognize the choices that are getting in our way, which is where I as an outside consultant come in. As an outside party I am able to help individuals identify those things that either they are not able to see or are unwilling to admit. I have listed below what I believe to be the elements of creating fundamental change.

1. Decide to make the change and commit to it no matter what happens.

2. Acknowledge the negative pattern and how you created that negativity by identifying the choices you made that were not the most valuable.

3. Begin to make better choices WITHOUT blaming or shaming anyone else, including yourself! And remember, a new girlfriend or new job will not make things better. You will just attract the same or similar situation. You must make the change from the inside out, not the outside in.

4. Have a perspective that decides to make your current situation better versus get a new situation. Wanting a new situation puts the blame on the outside versus allowing you to take responsibility for how you created the negativity that you are faced with.

5. Understand that you can’t make someone change, but that your job is to truly be a source of inspiration for that change until you have exhausted all possibilities. This is tricky as it is easy to just give up. Yet, if you listen to your heart and not your head, you’ll know when to let it go and move FORWARD by looking for a new job or relationship. But only after you have exhausted all possibilities and given the old situation a legitimate chance to get better.

6. Finally, remember that things will get worse before they get better. Just like the exercise analogy that I discussed above. Welcome these obstacles as the source of your success!

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Effective Interviewing

My clients often ask me how they can become better interviewers and wish they sounded more confidant when they answered the questions asked them. They often think that if they were better at “interviewing techniques” like how to sit up properly, how to have effective eye contact or which color of clothing will help them appear to be the most viable candidate.

This is of course a silly approach to effective interviewing. That is not to say that the “interviewing techniques” are not valuable and worth noting. They certainly are, but they are not what is most important. What is most important to effective interviewing is having a deep connection and very clear understanding to their resume.

Writing An Effective Resume

In order to write an effective resume you have to begin with some sort of reflective exercise that challenges you to think about, reflect upon and write down all of the various aspects of all your significant past jobs; even though all of the past job may not be listed on the final version. This reflective process reconnects us to all that we have done professionally and assists us in clearly understanding the various directions our career has taken. When this is done, we are able to communicate about our career objectives based not only on which direction we want our career to go, but also from where these directive decisions came from. The best way to show a prospective employer that you are a viable candidate for a job is to establish a clear sense of how you benefited your previous employers and how that experience will carry over into the new job.

It is just as valuable to express why you chose a career path and where you hope that career will go as it is to state what you did at your past jobs. In fact, having a deep connection or in other words, a passionate zeal about your career intentions is the most important element of the interviewing process. When this occurs, a natural confidence and motivation is expressed by the interviewee that always is appealing to the interviewer. It is impossible to teach someone how to be motivated or confident because these are conditions of the “inner-workings” of our total self. What I can teach someone is how to cause these byproducts to occur frequently. We can cause these outcomes by determining to never give up on a career path, to acknowledge the authenticity of our career needs and by establishing a vision of what our career will be long-term.

Resume Tips

Key Concepts for Powerful, Effective Resumes.

1. Your resume is YOUR marketing tool, not a personnel document.
2. It is about YOU the job hunter, not just about the jobs you’ve held.
3. It focuses on your future, not your past.
4. It emphasizes your accomplishments, not your past job duties or job descriptions.
5. It documents skills you enjoy using, not skills you used just because you had to.
10 Steps in Creating a Valuable Resume

1. Choose a target job (also called a “job objective”). An actual job title & company name works best.
2. Find out what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to do that target job.
3. Make a list of your 2, 3, or 4 strongest skills or abilities or knowledge that make you a good candidate for the target job.
4. For each key skill, think of several accomplishments from your past work history that illustrate that skill.
5. Describe each accomplishment in a simple, powerful, action statement that emphasizes the results that benefited your employer.
6. Make a list of the primary jobs you’ve held, in chronological order. Include any unpaid work that fills a gap or that shows you have the skills for the job.
7. Make a list of your training and education that’s related to the new job you want.
8. Choose a resume format that fits your situation–either chronological or functional. Functional works best if you’re changing fields; chronological works well if you’re moving up in the same field.]
9. Arrange your action statements according to the format you choose.
10. Summarize your key points at the top of your resume.

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The 5 Elements of Fitness

As I see it, individuals view fitness in a very general and limiting way. Generally speaking, the goal of fitness is often to become thin, look good aesthetically, and to have strong muscles. Of course, not all people think this way, but I am speaking from my own experience and from what I see in society today. There seems to be more concern with how we look versus how well our body feels and functions. In order for our “total self” to become “fitness ready,” we must engage in all 5 of my elements of fitness.

The 5 Elements of Fitness

1. Breath: Clinical studies prove that oxygen, wellness, and life-span are totally dependent on proper breathing. Lung volume is a primary marker for how long you will live. Breathing supplies over 99% of your entire oxygen and energy supply. Poor breathing causes or worsens chronic maladies such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, fatigue, depression, headaches, heart conditions, high blood pressure, sleep loss, obesity, harmful stress, poor mental clarity plus hundreds of other lesser known but equally harmful conditions. ALL diseases are caused or worsened by poor breathing. The average person reaches peak respiratory function and lung capacity in their mid 20’s. Then they begin to loose respiratory capacity: between 10% and 27% for every decade of life! So, unless you are doing something to maintain or improve your breathing capacity, it will decline, and with it, your general health, your life expectancy, and for that matter, your spirit as well. Optimal breathing gets you more vitality and better quality of life. We also address food, exercise, internal cleansing, attitude, and environment but breathing is for many the most important part of getting and staying healthy. Begin with breathing. Better breathing is possible for anyone. Develop your breathing now.” Breathing is the FIRST place not the LAST place one should investigate when any disordered energy presents itself.” Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD Ph.D. , The Oxygen Breakthrough, Breathing fundamentals are critical. Just because one particular breathing exercise or development technique feels good does not mean it is the best choice. Many feel good at the outset of a certain exercise but that is largely because so many breathe so poorly that any progress feels significant, and it may well be. But each technique or exercise must be based in solid breathing fundamentals otherwise they can work against each other and cause future breathing development problems. Like a rocket ship even slightly off coarse, as the days and weeks pass you will travel further and further away from your goal of a long healthy, vibrant life. Knowing the fundamentals helps you stay on course.

2. Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to move joints and muscles through their full range of motion. As you become more flexible, you will find it easier to reach things on high shelves, to look under a bed, or perhaps to tie your shoes. You will also have a better sense of balance and coordination. To stay flexible, stretch all your major groups of muscles. These include the muscles of your arms, back, hips, front and back of your thighs, and calves. Try to stretch for 10 to 12 minutes a day, after a brief warm-up. Do some stretches first thing in the morning, take a stretch break instead of a coffee break, or stretch in the office for a few minutes. Or participate in activities that include stretching, such as dance, martial arts (aikido or karate), tai chi, or yoga. Stretching also can be done as part of strength training and aerobic exercise. When you exercise, you repeatedly shorten your muscles. To counter this effect, you need to stretch slowly and regularly, which makes you more flexible. Combining it with other forms of fitness is an ideal way to practice flexibility fitness. When getting started with flexibility and stretching, begin slowly and increase your efforts gradually. You can measure your progress with flexibility by noticing how much farther you can do each stretch. Can you go farther with each stretch than you could when you started? If so, your flexibility is improving.

3. Emotions: Emotions serve as the source of human energy, authenticity and drive, and can offer us a wellspring of intuitive wisdom. Each feeling provides us with valuable feedback throughout the day. This feedback from the heart is what ignites creativity, keeps us honest with ourselves, guides trusting relationships, and provides the compass for our life and career. Emotional intelligence requires that we learn to acknowledge and understand feelings – in ourselves and others – and that we appropriately respond to them, creatively applying the energy of the emotions to our daily life, work and relationships. Emotional intelligence is demonstrated by tolerance, empathy and compassion for others; the ability to verbalize feelings accurately and with integrity; and the resilience to bounce back from emotional upsets. It is the ability to be a deeply feeling, authentic human being, no matter what life brings, no matter what challenges and opportunities we face. Emotional intelligence (EQ) may be even more important than IQ in one’s ability to achieve success and happiness. I may score well on tests and excel academically, but how well do I handle disappointment, anger, jealousy and fear, the problems of communication, and all the ups and downs of relationships? Persons with high EQ – who have developed emotional literacy – will have more confidence and trust in themselves, and more understanding of others and therefore empathy with them. So they will make better relationships and experience more achievement, love and joy in their life. They will be emotionally mature, a state that many adults do not achieve. If these skills were taught widely, in the home as well as at school, and amongst adults too of course, it would provide the basis of a much saner and happier world to live in. At its essence, a meaningful and successful life requires being attuned to what is on the inside, beneath the mental analyzes, the appearances and control, and beneath the rhetoric. It requires being attuned to the heart, the center of our emotions and outgoing reach to the world. Our heart activates our deepest values, transforming them from something we think about to what we actually do in our life. The heart is the place of courage and spirit, integrity and commitment – the source of energy and deep feelings that call us to create, learn, cooperate, lead and serve. When we have painful feelings, the heart is telling us we have unmet needs, or we are interpreting reality through some kind of distorting filter. When we have positive feelings, the heart is telling us we are pointing in the right direction, towards fulfillment of our needs and towards truth. Our Higher Self, the all-knowing part of us connected to all consciousness, communicates to our body-mind through this channel – not through verbal messages but through the heart. We just need to be open to receive this intuitive wisdom.

4. Cardiovascular: To stay healthy, adults should do at least 20 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise three times a week, according to joint research from Exeter and Brunel universities. Not only will good cardiovascular fitness reduce the risk of a stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes, it will improve your performance in most sports. Cardiovascular fitness refers to the ability of your heart, lungs and blood vessels (cardiovascular system) to carry oxygen to, and carbon dioxide away from, working muscles. Your resting heart rate (RHR) is a good indication of your overall cardiovascular fitness level. The lower it is, the more efficiently your heart is pumping blood around your body. Seventy beats per minute (BPM) is average for a healthy heart and to improve cardiovascular fitness you must train at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate (MHR). Below, we examine four popular cardio exercises – running, swimming, cycling and rowing – explain how many calories they burn and which muscles they work. To determine your MHR, subtract your age from 220. If you are 40, your MHR would be 180 BPM. A heart rate monitor is useful for cardiovascular training, enabling you to exercise at the required output. Each session should include 5 to 10-minute warm-up and cool-down – both performed at 50-60% of MHR. It’s also vital to stretch all the muscles used in the activity.

5. Muscle Strength: Even if you have no intention of becoming an Olympic weight-lifter, there’s still reason to care about muscular fitness. It influences your ability to do everyday chores, like housework and yard work. It affects how easily you can carry a bag of groceries or lift a young child. It’s also at the core of physical skill and sports performance, affecting how hard you swing a softball bat or how long you last on the tennis court. Muscle-strengthening exercises are likely to improve your stamina and your energy. Equally important, they increase resistance to injury. People with strong muscles are less likely to suffer everyday muscle aches and pains. They also have less strain on their hearts. Resistance training. Building muscular fitness involves resistance training, progressively overloading your muscles so that they get stronger to meet the challenge. This can be done with exercises that use your body to exert force, like push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups. Commonly, people use weight training, also called weight lifting, to provide resistance. Strength gains come from resistance€”how much weight you lift. Endurance is achieved through repetition€”how many times you lift a weight in succession. Both are important to develop. Experts advise you to start any weight-training program with light weights and easy repetition. Start with a weight that you can lift comfortably eight to 12 times. Try to do a second set of each exercise after a break of a few minutes. Do at least one exercise for each muscle group, moving from the larger muscles (the legs) down to smaller ones (arms and biceps). Strength gains come when you work with close to the heaviest weight that you can lift comfortably. This is the overload principle. You’ll see the quickest benefits if you lift the maximum amount during fewer repetitions of each exercise. Using a weight that’s too heavy, however, can lead to injury. And if you’re interested in all-around conditioning, it’s best to start with low amounts and progress gradually.

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Posted in Balance & Flow, Expressing Feelings, Fulfillment, Managing Stress, Meditation, Motivation, Physical Fitness, Struggle, Wellness | Leave a comment