Archive for the ‘personal-development’ Category

The Oxford dictionary defines ’empathy’ as; the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. ” – Henry Ford

Along with gratitude, empathy is one of the most important people skills to master. We all want similar things from life and the simplest way to discover how someone else is thinking is to ask ourselves how we would think in a similar situation.

Empathy diffuses anger and frustration in people because most of us just want to be understood. American writer and lecturer, Dale Carnegie believed that we should never disagree with anyone because ‘people like people who are like they are’.

However, Dale stated that if we ever found ourselves in a situation where we felt so strongly about an issue that we simply couldn’t agree with someone then we should disagree with them as diplomaticaaly as possible.

“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” – Susan Sarandon

Under no cicumstances should we merely use the phrase “Yes but” when voicing an alternative oppinion. Instead we should endeavour to ‘stretch’ the “Yes but” by saying something like; “I understand what you are saying but..”

By doing this we convey to the other person that although we disagree with them we understand their point of view and psychologically this is a very powerful negotiating technique.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of empathy mentions the ‘feelings’ of other people. This is important because if we can actually empathise with a person’s feelings as well as their oppinions the overall effect of the sentiment is magnified and the chances of the negotiation coming to a successful conclusion are greatly increased.

As an aside I have actually read Dale’s most famous book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ about 15 times and each time I read it I learn something new.

There are many benefits to aquiring the quality of empathy, people will start to see us in a different light and we will become known as a person who understands and cares for others’ feelings.

Wether we work in sales or not we are all selling ourselves and our ideas on a daily basis. Empathy undoubtedly increases sales because people buy from people they like and trust and moreover they will tell their friends that we are the person to go to for XYZ product or service.

As well as improving our business results empathy will greatly improve our social and family lives. People will always be drawn to someone who is prepared to listen to them. The greatest conversationalists speak the least, they simply ask the best questions and then let others do all the talking.

The native Americans had a saying that you should never judge a man until you had walked a mile in his shoes, and this holds true today. In this era of hyper communication sentiments such as empathy and gratitude are our most important tools.

“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” – Meryl Streep

Andy.

If there is one invention that has been equally good and bad for society it has got to be television.

“All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?” – Nicholas Johnson

Commercial television broadcasting began in earnest in 1946 and it’s success has been nothing short of phenomenal. The only problem with watching TV is that it can do us as much harm as it can do us good.

What’s good about TV?

There are many good things about TV;

# It keeps us informed and brings the world community closer together.

# It’s combination of words and images makes it a valuable and effective learning tool.

# TV helps to promote understanding and acceptance of each other’s cultures and it has done a great deal for our freedom of speech.

# It is the King of family entertainment.

# Knowledge really is power and TV has undoubtedly been a major source of learning for humankind over the last seventy years.

What’s bad about TV?

“Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.” – Author Unknown

“Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language – and that’s just deciding who gets to hold the remote control.” – Donna Gephart

Again, the list of what is bad about TV is also virtually endless, it really is amazing that something can have so many positives and yet so many negatives.

# TV has promoted laziness in ourselves and our children. We now take less exercise because it is a much easier option to simply switch on the TV and veg out on the sofa.

# The power and influence of TV can be exerted negatively as well as positively. we are constantly subjected to unscrupulous advertising and in extreme cases malicious propaganda.

# It is human nature to mimick other people, therefor we are prone to copying things that we see on TV. Because of our obsession with bad news and shocking behaviour the programme makers are increasingly exposing us to more and more of it and this is having a self depricating effect on our own behaviour and lifestyles.

A frightening spin off of this supply and demand mechanism is that the programme content has got to become increasingly shocking in order to retain the same impact and thus we are being exposed to and subsequently copying worse and worse situations and behavioural traits.

# Finally, family interaction has certainly suffered at the hands of TV. Board games and book reading are increasingly becoming things of the past.

Is there a compromise?

Communication will always play a key part in our society and anything that enhances communication will always become popular.

With this thought in mind it would be foolish of anyone to try to prohibit these improved medias. It is wiser to embrace and understand them if only to develop the ability to monitor and regulate them.

Many people throughought history have been credited with promoting an attitude of ‘moderation in all things’ and it is great attitude to embrace.

If we limit the amount of time we spend watching TV to a reasonable level it will do us more good than harm.

“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” –  Marcus Tullius Cicero

“They say that ninety percent of TV is junk.  But, ninety percent of everything is junk.” – Gene Roddenberry

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

Clutter is one of my pet hates. Fortunately, my wife hates it too therefor most of the time the house tends to remain fairly tidy. However, if either you or your partner has a tendency to horde things then your clutter can soon get out of control.

“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” – Wendell Berry

It’s a good idea to adopt the habit of never leaving a room without removing something from it that shouldn’t be in there. This makes tidying up much easier.

If you don’t collect it in the first place then you will never have to dispose of it. Think long and hard before making purchases for the home, if it’s not essential then leave it for another day, if you really want or need it you will buy it eventually.

Photographs: We all know what each other looks like so it is totally unnecessary to keep loads of family photographs out on display. Okay, the odd important one is fine but there’s nothing more offputting when visiting someone’s home than being confronted by hundreds of pictures of them and their relatives.

Be brutal: When you are decluttering it’s important that you are ruthless. If you’ve not used or worn something in over a year then bin it. If you really can’t bear to part with it then store it out of the way in the loft.

“The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.” – Mother Teresa

I’m a big believer in breaking problems down into small chunks, so if your clutter is out of control attack it bit by bit, one room at a time, one part of a room at a time even.

Benifits of decluttering:

As well as the obvious benefits of improving your house’s appearance and if it’s up for sale, making it more appealing to potential buyers, there are other hidden benefits of decluttering.

Clutter has a tendency to keep us living in the past. Therefor by spring cleaning from time to time we keep ourselves in a better emotional state.

Good memories are fine but we don’t need constant reminders of them. In order to keep living in the present and for the future it is important to surround ourselves with new things.

“Less is more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

 

The Most Important Word in Business

I once posted an article on a personal development forum entitled ‘The most Important Word in Business’.

I’ll be honest, it’s a long time ago now and I’ve actually forgotten the exact word I proposed. Not too impressive you might think? What I do remember though was the best business word someone else suggested but I’ll come to that in a little while.

“Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” Walt Disney

My ‘word’ at that time may have been VALUE and I still see it as a very important business word. Afterall if you can add value to people’s lives they will reward you for it.

If you’re being hard-nosed about it you could say PROFIT is the most important word in business. In fairness most successful businesses make a healthy profit and this enables them to continue to grow and become more successful.

TRAINING is another important business word. As well as making a living and paying the bills a job can improve us as individuals. Training is vital for any organisation’s desire for continual improvement.

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” – Napoleon Hill

Closely linked to training is the word PEOPLE. It’s worth a fair proportion of our income to work for and with decent people. Companies that care of their employees will always out perform companies that don’t in the long run.

There are may other important business words inluding: SUCCESS, CONFIDENCE, CUSTOMER, INVESTMENT, RESPECT, PROACTIVE etc.

However, I believe the most important word in any business is TRUST. Trust is the oil of all business. People buy from people they trust and everyone likes doing business with people they trust.

Is there a moral to this story. I don’t know, like I said I originally posted this article a long time ago. I know this much though if people trust you and your products, you’ll never go hungry.

“Every young man would do well to remember that all successful business stands on the foundation of morality.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

“There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.” – Charles Dickens

Most of us don’t like to contemplate the thought of being involved in an emergency situation, parents tend to concentrate more on teaching their children to avoid such situations rather than how to deal with them.

This is understandable, no parent likes to envisage their children having to cope with an emergency, however a few simple tips could one day help save their lives and possibly the lives of others.

What are the most common emergency situations?

1. Car accidents
2. house fires
3. invasion of home
4. personal attacks
5. severe weather
6. Bomb scares

We would all like to think that we would remain calm in a crisis because we all know that this is the most vital thing we must try to do.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, and blaming you…The world will be yours and everything in it, what’s more, you’ll be a man, my son.” – Rudyard Kipling

The main thing that gives us confidence and helps us remain calm is knowledge and preperation. In an emergency the most vital commodity is TIME. The more effectively we act the better the outcome will be.

We should always keep important numbers written down and in a place that all the premises’ occupants are aware of. Important documents should be photocopied and kept in a safe place.

Example of simple preperation – Fire:

There are several simple things that we can learn about fire that will prove invaluable if we are ever unfortunate enough to be confronted by it’s wrath.

1. Never throw water on an electrical fire.
2. Pan fires are best dealt with by smothering with a damp towel.
3. Never give fire extra OXYGEN by unnecessarily opening doors/windows.
4. If confronted by smoke keep as low to the floor as possible.
5. Prevenative: Fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are a must.
The GOLDEN rule of emergency situations is:

Safety comes before material goods, we must never, ever risk our welfare or that of others for the sake of our posessions, they can all be replaced. The successfull outcome of any emergency situation is judged solely by the prevention of death or serious injury, anything else is regarded as a bonus.

We must be brave but not wreckless:

As soon as it is safe to do so we must always call the emergency services. They are the experts and it is always best to let them deal with an emergency. All we can do is keep the situation as contolled as possible until they are able to take over.

This may involve acts of courage and bravery but these must be performed with minimal risk to ourselves and others.

“My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted.” Richard Buckminster Fuller

Andy.

http://wealthnuggets4u.com

The Importance of Education

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” – H. G. Wells (1866 – 1946)

I first came across the above quotation about ten years ago when I read a book on prophets, the quote has stuck with me over the years but I must admit I had always thought it was Jules verne that said it. (Doh!)

Science fiction writers are by their very nature good predictors of the future and H. G. Wells’ words have always resonated with me. Potentially, the next twenty years or so are going to be the most critical years we will ever face.

So much is happening so fast these days that it is vital that we have the werewithall to keep up with it. Therefor the role of education is taking on a greater and greater significance.

A hundred years ago it was only the priviliged few who were fortunate enough to receive an education and reading and writing were considered great skills. Fortunately, we’ve reached a point in our evolution where illiteracy has for the most part been eradicated.

“Only the educated are free.” – Epictetus (55 – 135 AD)

There are five ways that we absorb information, in order of popularity they are; Verbal, Visual, Tactile, Kinesthetic (info manipulation) and Aural.

Personally, I think people learn better if they enjoy what they are doing. Ocassionally, people contact me and ask me things like “why are you always fooling around?” or “Why don’t you take personal development seriously?”

I always give the same answer: I DO take PD seriously, I get up at 4:30 am every morning to write my website’s daily update, now that’s taking things seriously! As for the fooling around part, well old habits die hard…

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”  – Alfred Mercier (1816 – 1894)

As parents we cannot force our children to study, we can only advise them that it’s in their best interests to do so. As a child I received zero pressure, only encouragement from my parents and their approach paid off.

Psychology is one of my passions and I’ve always appraoched the subject of success with the same attitude: ‘Try your best and then forget it’.

Why waste time worrying about things we can’t influence?

Education and schooling prepares children for life, it teaches them the improtance of discipline and routine. It’s only the fortunate few who are naturally gifted, most of us have to work damned hard for a living, so the sooner we learn the work ethic the better.

If you want to teach your children about life, get them a pet. Learning to care about something other than ourselves is a vital life skill.

I think the most important part of education is ‘vocabulary’. The ability to communicate effectively with people is one of if not THE most important life skills. Being able to express oneself is so important.

I believe a large percentage of violence stems from the inability to communicate ones true feelings effectively and the subsequent frustration that that brings. Wars have been fought in the past simply because of prejudice and a lack of tolerence and understanding of others.

The world is undoubtedly becoming a ‘smaller’ place and our understanding of each others cultures and traditions is improving. I just hope that we don’t become to reliant upon technology because I’m a firm believer in the concept of moderation in all things.

“The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.” – William James (1842 – 1910)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

 

Everyone loves a scandal, none of us like to admit it but who could honestly say they have never gossiped about anyone?

People have gossiped since the birth of mankind, there is obviously something very addictive about it, it’s ingrained in our psyche and although it is wrong and often unfair people we will never stop doing it.

“A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way.” – John Tudor

Gossip is one way of letting off steam about the frustrations of our own lives. We all strive for bigger, better and more rewarding lives and when we struggle to meat our own expectations other peoples’ misfortunes become an antidote for our own shortcomings.

We all love to bring people down a peg or two especially if they are perceived to be doing better than us.

Jealousy is a catalyst of rumour and scandal. Revenge is never pleasant and it’s often as harmful for the perpitrator as it is for the recipient. Therefor, it is unwise to disrespsct people just because we don’t like them, or we believe they have done something to upset us.

Celebrities are an easy target of the rumour mill. We could argue that the extreme scrutiny they are subject to comes with the territory but they are still human beings with the same frailties as everyone else and they are entitled to their privacy.

“It is the gossip columnist’s business to write about what is none of his business.” – Louis Kronenberger

Don’t get me wrong, some celebrities make a living just from being a celebrity and if you make a living just from being in the news then you have to be prepared to accept the negative consequences.

But genuine ‘A’ list celebrities, people who are famous for what they actually do or what they contribute towards society should be given a certain amount of freedom so they can live their lives in a relatively normal way.

Unfortunately, bad news sells, hence the media exploit and exagerate it, it boosts their ratings, which is fine, they are doing their job, they are giving us what we want. However, what do the media do when there is no bad news to report and their ratings start to suffer?. Obviously, they go looking for more bad news or worse still they invent it.

Revelling in other people’s problems make us feel better about our own. It’s human nature to enjoy feeling superior and self-righteous, it makes us feel good, It satisfys some inner need.

Communication is the life blood of society so we could argue it would be foolish to try to supress it. Improved communication makes the world a smaller place and that for the main part is a good thing. The more we talk to one another the more tolerant we become of each others views.

Gossip is just the down side of communication, it’s like a raw material before it has been processed and purified to make the finished product. It’s always better to get our facts straight before we pass on any information and if we do have to gossip it’s more constructive to concentrate on the positive because the negative can be extremely dangerous.

People take insults to their graves, we are all a lot more sensitve than we like to admit, a loose comment can create a life-long enemy and the fewer of those we have the better.

Knowing that people will always gossip and talk about us as much as they talk to us we can use the ‘grapevine’ to our own advatage. For example we can praise people that are important to us as long as the praise is genuine of course, sure enough the praise will eventually find it’s way back to them. Furthermore, if we know someone is prone to gossiping we can use them to spread news fast.

Words are extremely powerful and if we can limit the amount of times we criticise and/or disagree with people to a minimum then we will undoubtedly improve our own lives.

we all live in glass houses and if we throw a rock at someone they have a tendency to throw one back.

“Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip.” – Richard Steele

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

The five senses; Taste, Touch, Site, Sound and Smell are undoubtedly the greatest gifs we will ever receive but how many of us can honestly say that we make the most of all of our senses?

Most of us live our lives, at least to some degree on auto pilot, the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months and before we know it another year has passed us by.

It is possible to ‘slow’ this process down and to get more out of our lives if we chosse to and the main way to do this is by increasing our sensory perception.

“I think this is true for all artists. My senses are very important to me.” – Sharon Olds

Visualisation is a great method for bringing about desired outcomes, in fact the majority of successful people from all walks of life practice it. Rather than just wishing we had something it is much more productive to visualise having it.

Importantly though, to acheive the best results we must ‘visualise’ with all of our senses. By doing this we fully engage our subconscious mind and once we convince it that we really want something it will go into overdrive in order to deliver it to us, that’s what it’s programmed to do.

Practice fully utilising one sense at a time, you’ll be amazed at how clearer your thinking will become. With just a little practice we can double our ability to process and remember information.

“Observe, record, tabulate, communicate. Use your five senses. Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone you can become expert.” – William Osler

Greater use of the senses promotes greater understanding, not just of ourselves but of others, we begin to exhibit greater empathy for others and empathy is one of the tools of success. People like people who understand and sympathise with them.

People like people who are like they are.

Whenever I go on holiday I make a conscious effort to remember as much of the experience as possible. Yes, we take snapshots and video but there’s nothing like the memory of actually being there.

People that are unfortunate enough to lack one or more of the senses develop their remaining senses to compensate. Pop Star, Stevie Wonder credits a great deal of his success to his blindness.

Rather than constantly griping and complaining about all the things we lack we should concentrate on celebrating the most wonderful gifts in our posession, our five senses.

“Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and of a compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform.” –
Chanakya

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

Man befriended the cat many centuries ago. Initially it was because they were skilled at hunting rodents but down the years the bond between humans and felines has become stronger. They make ideal pets because they are relatively low-maintenance.

“When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?” – Montaigne

We have two cats, a pedigree Blue Persian called ‘Furby’ and a black and white moggy called ‘Gizmo’ I can’t remember when they first started sleeping on our bed at night but at times it can be a real pain.

In fairness Furby isn’t that much trouble but for a small cat even he takes up a lot of room when he stretches out and my wife refuses to move him an inch insisting that he gets a good nights sleep! (What about me?)

Furthermore, he is prone to snoring. Again the sound he makes is totally disproportionate to his size. If I snore my wife unceremoniously digs me in the ribs until I stop but if Furby snores she just coos and says how cute he is.

Gizmo, the moggy is far bigger and although he is a tad overweight he is a powerful cat and at night time he can be a real handful. As soon as we go to bed he will jump up and lie on my chest. I stroke him and he purrs incessantly.

The problems arise when I stop stroking him, he doesn’t like this and he will paw my face in order to make me start again. His pawing regularly draws  blood! but shouting at Gizzy has little effect, he doesn’t like being told off but still it doesn’t deter him.

“After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for future reference.”- Charlotte Gray

After being pushed onto the floor for lacerating my face he will wait a while and then try his luck again. Whenever I wake up his face is always less than six inches away from mine and as soon as he realises I’m awake he starts to purr.

If I get up during the night when I return he kindly vacates my place and goes and stands on the bedside table, he allows me to get back into bed and then comes and lies next to me again.

This may or may not sound cute and most of the time I don’t mind but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of space.

we recently re furbished our bedroom and decided to invest in a king-sized bed. Problem solved we thought. No chance, we still seem to sleep with minimal space and the cats just have an even comfier nights sleep.

Yes we are barking/meowing mad and tired in the mornings.

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” – Hippolyte Taine

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

We buy things for many reasons, we buy lots of things we need and lots of things we don’t need. If you have serious designs on making money it is vital that you understand why people buy.

# Necessity:

We can’t live without things such as food, water, shelter etc, so we have to aquire them. However there is a subtle difference between actual necessities and perceived necessities.

Human beings can be extremely impulsive and exposure to products and services can make us think that we cannot live without them. Furthermore we are very susceptible to the power of peer pressure. ‘The kid next door has got a new bike so our kids have to have one.’

We actually feel guilty or bad if we don’t buy our kids everything their conmtemporaries have. Thus, we as a society leave ourselves wide open to exploitation by the advertising industry.

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.” –  Pliny the Younger (62 AD – 114 AD)

# Emotions:

Our emotions play a great part in our shopping habits, lots of people comfort-shop, they buy things to give themselves a boost. Our mood is easily manipulated and our senses our susceptible to music, visual displays, enticing smells etc.

We buy for fun, we buy things that give us pleasure, we buy things that make us feel good, we buy to escape reality.

Mementos are also big sellers, there is nothing we like more than something that reminds us of a cherished memory – The power of nostalgia is immense.

We are all capable of greed, we all love a bargain, we all buy bulk items that we will never use.

# Real benefits:

We are fortunate to live at a time of great technological advancement, the labour-saving devices that have become available to us over the last 50 years have been astonishing.

Most of us like to improve ourselves, we will buy something if it will educate us or our children. Education is now available to a large proportion of us whereas less than a hundred years ago it was only available to a priviliged few. Furthermore the internet has made it possible for us to access information like never before.

We also buy things that we hope will make us money, we invest in all manner of things from jewellry to stocks and shares.

“To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Lao-tzu.” (604 BC – 531 BC)

# Image:

Everyone loves to look and feel good. image and prestige are both key buying motivators, if something makes us look good in the eyes of other people then we will buy it.

# Health: If we don’t have our health then we have nothing. People will pay to become healthier. Too often though we think we can get a ‘bargain’ a ‘quick fix’. Prevention is always better than the cure, moderation in all things

# Influences:

I started my career in retailing so I know a bit about sales psychology. I think the most important thing you can convey to someone in order to get them ito buy from you is TRUST.

We all like to buy from people we trust, someone that is going to make sure we get value for money, someone who is going to guide us through the minefields of their particular product or service. Trust is a key ingredient of repeat business.

Top advertisers and retailers are extremely adept at influencing our decision making when it comes to buying things, they create the right ambience for their products and services. They appeal to our ego’s, they make us think buying their goods will improve us in all manner of ways.

Personally, apart from life-saving products I think freedom and space are the most important commodities. If we can acheive these things then we owe it to ourselves to find the time to enjoy them.

“Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.” F. Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com