Thursday, 28 February 2013

How to Be More Social by Eduard Ezeanu

Useful post courtesy of Eduard Ezeanu from his blog People Skills Decoded

Do you want to overcome shyness or anxiety and be confident and charismatic? Do you want to make effortless conversation with anyone, make friends easily and fully enjoy life?

How to be more social How to Be More Social

If you tend to be shy, quiet or anxious in social situations, learning how to be more social is one of the most important things you can do. Put into application the right know-how on how to be more social and you’ll see outstanding transformations. You’ll find it easier to make friends, get noticed and have fun in social settings.

As a social confidence coach, most of what I do is help others discover how to be more social and implement this understanding effectively. I want to share with you some of the key ideas that have helped these persons without fail. I discuss them in more detail and also provide other powerful advice in this free presentation.

Approach Being More Social Progressively

The common mistake that people who want to be more sociable make is that they try to achieve this all of a sudden. I know you may crave to be the person who talks with everybody at a party, tells captivating stories and mesmerizes others. And you can become that person. But not overnight. It’s essential to approach this as a gradual process and take it one day at a time.

For example, you may start by simply getting out of the house more; or asking more questions during conversation, and once this gets easier, move on to something more challenging. Focus on making progress, not on radically changing yourself in an instant, and you’ll get very far. Anybody who wants to teach you how to be more social and promises a total transformation in a flash is just trying to swindle you.

Learn the Rules and Play the Game

I big issue for many people who want to find out how to be more social is that they don’t have a minimal understanding of the basic social etiquette.

For example, they often don’t know if it’s OK to ask a work colleague a personal question (the answer is: yes) or when is it proper to do so (the answer is: after you’ve gotten to know each other a bit at a professional level first). Now, I typically don’t give a lot of heed to etiquette. But there are some fundamental norms for social interaction that it’s good to understand. And once you understand them, you can feel more confident in social situations and be more outgoing.

So I encourage you to ask yourself: what do I feel I need to understand better about social interactions. Then seek this understanding you require. Sometimes just asking some questions to a few more socially savvy acquaintances is enough. Other times you may want to actually pick up a book or do a course on social dynamics and the art of conversation.

One small warning here: don’t overdo it. The point is to learn the basic etiquette and try to comply with it most of the time. Don’t try to become the perfect conversationalist who always follows the rules. That’s impossible and frankly, it would make you quite boring.

Focus Externally, Not Internally During Social Interactions

One thing I often notice at people who are reserved is that they’re regularly inside their head while interacting with others. They scrutinize their behavior, try to find ways impress, or criticize themselves in their inner dialog. It’s no surprise that many times they seem to not be paying real attention to the interaction.

If this sounds familiar, then a crucial step forward for you is to focus more externally during social interactions. Pay attention to the other person, what they’re saying, and sometimes observe the context you’re in. But avoid being in your head. This switch in your focus will achieve two things: it will lower your nervousness and it will allow you to have better reactions during the interaction. In time, this will make you more confident to initiate interactions and express yourself.

Work On Your Self-Image

Whenever I coach a person and we explore their desire to be more social, we reliably discover that there is a deeper issue that doesn’t permit them to be as sociable as they would like to be. Many times they have some sort of an inferiority complex, self-image issues or a lack of self-esteem. Having a hard time interacting with others is just a symptom, but it is not the core problem.

In this case, it’s essential to work on the deeper issue in order to get rid of the symptom. You need to change your thinking patterns about yourself, and weed out those limiting beliefs you have about you. Change your thinking, and you change your entire social life.

You now have the basic guidelines on how to be more social. In order to see real results, it’s important to capably put hem into practice. Ultimately, it is proper action that separates the winners from the losers; the people who revamp their social life from the people who just complain and dream of a better day.

Image courtesy of Mark Sebastian

How to Make Changes Stick by Eduard Ezeanu

Courtesy of Steve Aitchison's blog Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life
Any person who’s into personal development knows that changing your thinking, behavior or emotional reactions is complicated enough. But things often get even more complicated because that change doesn’t stick. You finally got in the habit of eating healthy and hitting the gym every day, then something sidetracks you and you find yourself eating junk food and slacking it again. You finally managed to build your social confidence and be more social, only to find that old anxiety creeping in again one day when you’re in a social setting, and preventing you from being outgoing. Unfortunately, old negative habits often do come back, many times just when we think we got rid of them, and sometimes they come back with a vengeance. This is why it’s important to be able not only to make change happen, but also to make it stick. As a coach, I put a great deal of focus in helping my clients with both these aspects. I’d like to share with you the most important 5 strategies they, as well as myself, have used successfully to make new habits stick.

changes that stick 
1. Expect and Accept Regress
As far as I can tell, regress is a natural part of progress. When we improve, we frequently make two steps forward, one step back. Our mind falls back on old habits several times until it lets go of them completely to make room for the new habits. What truly matters is how you react when regress happens. If you see it as something terrible that shouldn’t happen or as a sign that you can’t truly change, you’ll likely be shocked, become disillusioned and give up. Obviously, not a good outcome. On the other hand, if you see regress as a natural part of self-improvement, you expect it to come about and you accept it when it does. You take notice of it, then you put your eyes back on the target and you keep moving forward. Sooner or later, the change will stick permanently.

2. Choose Regularity over Intensity
One thing I’ve noticed is that, for building new habits, it’s much more effective to practice something 15 minutes every day for 30 days than 3 hours every day for 3 days. And the latest psychological research tends to support this idea as well. Even though the overall amount of time dedicated to practicing is somewhat smaller in the first case, the new habit will be more likely to stick. And even if you will regress eventually, it will be to a lesser degree and easier to overcome. This is because regularity is more important than intensity in forming new mental associations, which are reflected in new habits. Both of them are essential, but regularity seems to be the priority. Take this into account when you establish how much you implement something each day and for how many days.

3. Don’t Stop Practicing Too Early
On a related note, most people tend to stop practicing stuff too early. Usually, when a new habit starts to take form, when they finally see the desired behavior, feeling or way of thinking emerging on its own, they take it as a sign that the change is done and so they stop practicing. However, this is not true. If you don’t keep practicing at that point, in a few days you’ll go right back to your old habit. The new habit may feel natural at that point, but part of this is only temporary. You need to keep practicing it and to reinforce it in your mind in order to make the change stick. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

4. Incentivize Yourself to Practice
Realizing the long-term benefits of doing something regularly is simply not enough to keep you doing it. Sometimes it’s not even enough to get you started. Just look at all the people who know the long-term benefits they will achieve if they stop smoking, or drinking, or eating sweets, but still they don’t. You need to create and sustain the emotional drive to practice. This is where instant incentives come in: rewards that you give yourself immediately for practicing something, but you forbid yourself from accessing if you don’t practice. In my view, a good practice routine entails daily practice activities, combined with daily incentives to actually do them. In my experience, this is the only approach that works in the long-run.

5. Seek Outside Support
The truth is, other people are a powerful force that you can employ to help make change happen and then keep practicing to make it stick. There are lots of ways to employ them. You can get some of your friends to engage in making the same changes you want to make and you can help keep each other accountable. You can work with a trainer, coach or instructor who supervises your practice and, likewise, helps to keep you accountable. Look around, see the options you have for getting support from others and use them. Change is much easier when others are there to help you. Ultimately, making change stick is from my perspective a matter of working smarter, not harder. You need to have a good understanding of how your mind works in installing new habits and to apply this understanding in the way you organize you day to day activity. This is what works. This is what allows you to genuinely grow and thrive in this world.
Thanks to Eduard Ezeanu a guest author on Steve Aitchison's Blog

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Self-Image and Success Thinking by George Zalucki

George Zalucki continues to inspire me. His teachings and programs have been part of my life for over 20 years, and the following extract is no less significant if you use it! Courtesy of George Zalucki's blog

If you are truly desiring success in business and your personal life, read this article daily and sign the affirmation at the end….

Probably the biggest trap or pitfall in life is self-doubt or low self-esteem.  It is a psychological pit designed and dug by our own minds but we constantly blame its development on others.

Life’s most pathetic expression is, “I can’t do that!”  Defeatism kills your self-image.  Even losing after a good fight raises self-esteem.  Your self-image sets the boundaries of your accomplishments.  Your mental picture of yourself is the real key to understanding your own personality and behavior.  All of your actions, feelings, behaviors, including your abilities, are always constant with your self-image.  You attract conditions in your life that are consistent with your self-image.

Each of us was engineered for happiness and success.  Your unconscious mind is absolutely impersonal.  It operates as a machine and has no “will” of its own.  It works only upon the data which you feed it in the form if ideas, beliefs, opinions, judgments, and interpretations.  You developed your own reaction patterns.  You learned those patterns, and you can learn new ones.  Your present negative beliefs were formed by thoughts plus feelings.

You can think new thoughts and feel new feelings.  Positive thinking does not change the beliefs one has about oneself.  Positive thinking works only when it is consistent with the individuals self image.
Your present state of self-esteem is the result of past experiences, which formed thoughts (impressions).  The thoughts about the experiences were then interpreted to mean something (which produced feelings), and finally, based upon emotions you felt, you formed judgments, which you etched in stone to become your self-image.

Quit meditating on your phobias and shortcomings.  Learn to be indifferent to your old thinking and reaction patterns.  Seek the truth!  The truth is: You are far more capable than anything you’ve accomplished to date indicates.

Esteem means to appreciate the worth of.  We stand in awe of the stars, the sea, the sunset, the beauty of a flower and then downgrade God’s greatest creation, OURSELVES.
Creating a better self-image does not create new abilities, talents, or powers; it simply releases and utilizes what is already lying dormant within you.

Accept yourself as you are, and start from there. Learn to emotionally tolerate imperfection in yourself.  Don’t get down on yourself because you’re not perfect.  You are “ Somebody Special”, NOW!  Accept yourself!  Be yourself!  Don’t turn your back on “you”!  It’s the only “you” in the game.  Live your life with zest, keenness, and a gusto that surmounts obstacles and brushes aside discouragement.  Take the lid off and play full out.  You’ll discover yourself when you do.


I accept fully the responsibilities for my own thoughts about myself.  I accept that I must open myself to new experiences if I am to develop as a person.  I forgive everyone (parents, friends, teachers) who ever told me I couldn’t do it.

I accept my self as a child of God forever capable of growing and expanding in service to others and myself.  I accept the responsibility to become all that I am capable of becoming.  I am committed to being “Awake” and “Alive” from this day forward.

I know fully that my thoughts fashion my reality and therefore I shall monitor all thoughts from my own mind and the minds of others that ever again suggest limitation.  I am on my way never to turn back.

There is no way I can fail if I monitor my thoughts and control my emotional reactions to the disappointments I shall encounter along my journey to success.  I know I must increase and balance  my level of business building activities and I will do so immediately from this day forward.

It is now only time and effort that separates me from my goal.  I am now fully committed to supplying plenty of both of these essential ingredients to create and justify the enormous financial and personal success that is certain to be mine in the near future.  In fact, I now declare myself to become a celebrated and recognized success by this date ____/___/____.
Signature: _______________.

Note:  Sign this article and then put it in a frame on your desk.  Read it once each day and you will see an enormous increase in your business and personal life.  A focused mind is unstoppable!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Inspiration is all around. What inspires you?

Inspiration comes in many forms, but what truly inspires you? When pushed, most of us want to spend more time with our loved ones and families. I mean, if I told you the world was going to end tomorrow, you'd hardly want to get back to the office and finish a few jobs!

This importance of people and relationships was brilliantly told in the TV miniseries 'Band of Brothers' in 2001. Many of you might be familiar with this epic World War 11 TV miniseries. It's a moving account of 'Easy' Company (part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division) as told through the experiences of some of its remaining soldiers.

Having watched these episodes again more recently, they never fail to move me on a deep level, and inspire at the same time. The series also makes one think of WW11 on a greater scale and especially Remembrance Day on Sunday November 11, or the Sunday nearest.

When I see those little paper poppies innocently fluttering about in their paper trays, I think of those young men and women who gave so much so you and I could 'get to' do what we do each and every day.

For some, this significance passes them by. For others it's a symbol of endless inspiration.

You only have to look at the last Paralympics in the United Kingdom to see what men and women can achieve even after life-changing injuries. So next time you feel like moaning because (fill in the blank...!) spare a thought for all those young men and women caught up in the conflict of WW11 and many others, who fought to give you and I the opportunities we have all around us.

I recall a quote from Rebecca Fine whose site 'Science of Getting Rich' Network or SOGR was inspired by a gentleman named Wallace Wattles and his book 'The Science of Getting Rich.' Rebecca reminds us that 'we get to' choose our lives and actions every single day. Incidentally, Wallace Wattles book 'The Science of Getting Rich' is available as a free download online and it's well worth a read.

We really do 'get to' choose.

By reminding ourselves that we 'get to' do something, it puts us in a different frame of mind to really appreciate the actions we have the opportunity to undertake. It transforms simple tasks into important invaluable components of the bigger picture we set for ourselves. And you and I both know that success requires lots of action often in small seemingly insignificant steps.

Friday, 15 February 2013

A Valuable Lesson on Reality From a Dentist!

I visited my dentist the other day and came away with more than just a tooth repair! I was reminded of a valuable lesson on reality.

Having broken a tooth some years earlier, it had a porcelain repair fitted by another dentist. Being relatively new to my present dentist, I thought it might be helpful if I gave a little background on the offending tooth so my new dentist knew what he was dealing with. Made sense I thought.

However, after a quick study of an X-ray taken of the area, my dentist politely informed me that he didn't need to know any previous history of the tooth, he had all he needed to work with right in front of him, right now.

This got me thinking (apart from feeling a little silly), and reminded me of a suggestion from Brian Tracy where an astute manager always asked about the reality of the business at the beginning of every meeting to get a clear picture of the facts as they are, not as they might like them to be.

This is a great question to ask yourself on a regular basis. Have you ever sat and asked yourself what your reality is? Right now? Not yesterday, last week or last month, but right now in relation to your goals or special project? This question gets you thinking and making decisions in the present because it gets right to the facts as they are now. And you can apply this to so many areas of your life!

This reality question got me thinking about my own efforts in relation to one of my own major goals this year. It will do the same for you.

If you have your own goals and things you want to achieve, by asking this question of yourself (and telling the truth) you will have a better understanding, and picture, of what your reality is. It's especially useful to help you identify corrective action to rectify any course of action (or lack of it) which may be getting you off track.

Don't worry if things don't all stack up, you now know something more than you did a few moments ago, and you have a tool which can help you focus on any specific areas to help you move forward. Don't necessarily change your goal, change your approach as Anthony Robbins proclaims. See what's working (or not), and keep at it always being mindful of what your reality is as you progress.

An added bonus is the development of a mindset which continually looks for, and measures progress, and as Peter Drucker say 'What gets measured, gets managed.'

Monday, 11 February 2013

Personal Development Problem Solving - How Good a Problem Solver Are You?

How many times have you found yourself facing a pile of seemingly insurmountable problems all requiring your attention before you could get on with anything really productive and profitable? It seems these time consuming issues raise their ugly heads when we least expect them, and right when forward progress is most pressing!

I confess to being caught up in this situation myself since the end of last year and into the beginning of this. In fact I had to pile on the discipline until I could see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the l-o-n-g tunnel! I'm sure you've been there too. I found this issue to be a golden opportunity to put into practice a large dollop of my own advice! In fact I wrote a post What it really means to take responsibility so a good recap of my own situation was called for!

I poured over some great advice from Brian Tracy, Earl Nightingale and Norman Vincent Peale who described successful people as being not too different from you and I when it comes to solving problems. It's just that they seem to have developed problem solving into a habit which moves them forward to achieve their goals whilst the rest of us delay, ask the wrong people for advice, or do nothing at all!

Worse still is the fact that most of us 'know' what we should be doing, we're just not doing it! 

Hence the opening quote above. 

The eye often sees problems as insurmountable, yet the heart knows the problem is a test; a test to see if we're up to the challenge. A-ha! Could it be that each challenge is therefore a test of our resolve and desire to reach the goals we've set for ourselves? 

Big goals equals big problems to be overcome. Why? Because there's never been a victory without a battle! The better you get, the better your life gets - that's the meaning of personal development. As you get better, so does everything else in your life. Stands to reason really doesn't it?

You see, each and every one of us has these wonderful abilities built in so to speak. Our heart is a measure of all things relating to our behaviour. How good you feel about yourself in any one moment is in direct proportion to how you act in relation to your commitments. Good attitude, good behaviour, good results! The more we act in a fashion which reflects our own best behaviour, the better we'll feel about ourselves and our project(s). 

You have a conscience because if you don't live by it, it hurts!

Personal development requires us to learn new skills to make progress in this world. Over time these new skills and abilities will improve our lot if we stick with it. And therein lies the rub. Improvement requires change which means doing new things which require effort, commitment, and discipline. Some represent insurmountable problems, and challengs to be overcome to others. Which are you?

That's probably why there is a smaller proportion of successful people in this world. It's only fair. The rewards go to those who solve their problems and stick with it until they reach their goals. Over time this becomes as much a habit as goal setting itself.

The upside is that as you get better at solving problems, the bigger, more valuable problems you get to solve! By the way there are no lessons in school on problem solving - we each have to find our own way because no-one is going to solve our problems for us (take note here). 

Learn to see problems for what they are; simply obstacles between you and what you really want. If you're not taking spirited action to solve your problems in any one area, it might be time to re-evaluate this particular goal in favour of another. 

Another useful post on this topic is what's in an attitude? which will help you if you're finding yourself challenged in any particular area, with a suggestion on how to get things under control. Try it! The upside is a life you've always wanted.