Quiet Time

My son’s school had this advice for parents before their children entered grade one.

Enforce an hour of quiet time every school night.

Music, phones, videos are off limits.

They may do anything else as long as they are alone with their thoughts, dreams and desires.  Later, homework became easier to transition to because they adopted quiet time for themselves first.

We all need a useful time out in our busy lives.

A neighbor of mine was having marital troubles and on the second counseling appointment the couple was told to give each other an hour at the end of the day when they see each other again.

Time to disengage from the day’s pressures – personal time.

No phones, no iPads, no cheating.

They never divorced.

We complain a lot about our connected and frenetic world, but all it takes is an hour of quiet time to become the human we want to be – again.

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11 Ways to Win Against Anxiety

Popular among college students right now is to sell their anti-anxiety medications for money.

Without the outbreak of anxiety that the connected society is feeling, this would not be possible.

Anxiety is reduced by doing many small things, not one big one.

  1. Separate from digital devices.
  2. Avoid the black hole of social media where you drill down so far you become addicted to it.
  3. Spend the same time face to face with a friend or two as you do on social media with lots of “friends”.
  4. Start the day by coming up with something current for which you are grateful.
  5. Avoid anxiety producing people and situations exactly as you would the flu.
  6. Do 20% of everything in your day that brings you 80% of the reward.
  7. To anxiety producers say: “Forgive me, this makes me feel anxious.  I need a moment”.  Often anxiety producers need to hear your time out before they realize they need a time out.
  8. Plan your day and identify an accomplishment you want to have.  Finishing something that matters successfully creates endorphins that reduce stress.
  9. Tell someone you love them (and why).
  10. Start the day by smiling at the first 20 people you see (most of them are probably suffering from anxiety, too).  A smile changes our brainwaves to positive.
  11. Remember a person you’ve lost in life and borrow one of the positive qualities they had to keep their memory alive.

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Being Good Enough

Graduating with top honors from top schools has nothing to do with success.

Being the top-biller or receiving the most awards does not make you better than anyone else.

Fred Smith who founded FedEx had his idea rejected in economics class at Yale by earning a less than stellar C.

Malcolm Gladwell couldn’t get into grad school and now grad schools are reading him.

Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were either high school or college dropouts.

Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to pursue Facebook which he started in his dorm room.

Being good enough is not about the past but pursuing your dreams – relentlessly if possible.

No one gets to grade you because in the end only you can decide what success is.

And there is no time limit on your next success.

Believe it.

See it vividly in your mind’s eye.

Achieve it.

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Living a Less Complicated Life

Multi-tasking is the enemy.

It encourages us to take on more work all at once potentially at the risk of not doing any of it better.

It also contributes to the outbreak of anxiety that we see in ourselves and our children.

Anyway, there is no reason to do more than one thing at a time.

The trick is to do less and accomplish more.

Choose 20% of everything you have to do on any given day – and thoughtfully pick the 20% that will return the most benefit and you will not need multi-tasking.

Multi-tasking also contributes to distracting us from living in the present, the only place happiness and fulfillment can be found.

More multi-tasking never made anyone happier.

A desk drawer or file folder on a digital device that contains everything that doesn’t represent 20% of the things that will bring you 80% productivity, will be able to be emptied on the first of each new month – undone, because they don’t really need to be done.

“The man who chases two rabbits catches neither” – Confucius

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Being Likable

Mitch Prinstein, a professor of psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, has a new book called Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status Obsessed World.

There is more than one type of popularity and many of us are seeking the wrong kind. 

Likeability “reflects kindness, benevolent leadership and selfless prosocial behavior”.

People who are likeable have more lifelong advantages and health benefits.

Those who achieve popularity by gaining status experience greater unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Those whose goals are to be likeable using the qualities mentioned above have greater satisfaction and success.

When we chase the butterfly of happiness it eludes us.

When we let it come to us by being ourselves uninfluenced by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or social media, we avoid the black hole of wanting to be liked so much, it has the reverse effect of making us unlikeable.

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