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FAILING IS GOOD


When a baby tries to walk, (let’s say it’s a girl) she tries thousands of times and falls thousands of times. Her parents look at her, they smile and cheer her and laugh with tenderness. No parents would go to the little girl and say “You know what? this walking thing, that’s hard, you’ve failed thousands of time, you might better give up on that.” imagesNo baby feels ashamed of not being able to walk perfectly at the first attempt, they are just eager to run and play and follow other toddlers, falling is even fun some times. It’s like they have no memory, they don’t remember they have failed. They don’t know they have failed. They don’t remember the past, they don’t think about the future, they just try, once again, now.

When a toddler tries to speak, he uses (this one is a boy) words that don’t exist and speaks millions of wrong sentences and it takes him thousands of days to come up with some decent talking. Parents laugh and take notice of the improvement. No parent go and say: “This talking thing, it’s too hard, you better quit.”

 

So baby learns how to walk and run, and baby learns to speak. But then, suddenly, parents change. They don’t smile anymore, they don’t laugh, they start expecting success, they start apprehending failure. And what happens to the girl and the boy? They learn what failure means. And they also change. They learn and develop new attitudes. They learn frustration, they learn steadiness, they learn to lie, they learn to be unsecure, they learn evasion. And they forget the happy times when they would try whatever they wanted to do and try again and again and again. They forget the happy times when they didn’t know what failure was.

 

Fear of failure is one of the main reason we sometimes don’t even try. Fear of failure is one of the main reason we don’t enjoy the ride. Fear of failure is one of the main reason we don’t reach our goals.

 Michael Jordan has said the reason for his success were the 300 games he lost and the 9.000 shots he missed and the 26 times he was trusted to take the winning shot and missed.

What would happen if we started celebrating failure, if we started smiling at it, if we stopped taking success so seriously? If we considered trying more meaningful than failing or succeeding.

 

Rafael Nadal won his 9th French Grand Slam title yesterday. Was he happy? He didn’t looked like. He was exhausted. Novak Djokovic who lost the match was frustrated and only after several minutes of the public applauses did we see tears in his eyes and a smile on his face, and he said he would be back next year… Kipling wrote success and defeat (triumph and disaster) are 2 impostors, he meant we just have to try again and again, that success and defeat are impostors because they make you stop. And if you want to feel alive, don’t stop! Maybe in one week from today, the happiest of the two tennis men will be the one who lost yesterday…

We fear for ourselves, we fear for our children. We have forgotten the bliss of ignoring failure. What if we could regain our childhood attitude? What does it take? Put our ego aside? Face our fears? It is no guaranty of success, but at least a more enjoyable journey, a more daring life.

I challenge you to change your mindset, to start appreciating failure. Next time you fail at something, feel happy, say to yourself “It’s so good I failed, I am going to be able to try again and fail better (as Samuel Beckett said) next time.”

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What is Emotional Quotient? 

Why is Emotional Intelligence important ?

What can you do about it ?

 

 

Let’s start with brief history review:

In the 1870s Charles Darwin published the first modern book on the role of emotional expression in survival and adaptation.

In the 1920s American psychologist Edward Thorndike, talked about something he called Social intelligence.

In the 1940s one of the father of IQ testing, David Weschsler, recognized the importance of emotional factors and the need of including affective and conative abilities in any measurement (even if he didn’t included them in his IQ tests).

In 1983: Howard Gardner (Harvard University) expresses the concept of multiple intelligences. By that time Reuven Bar-On was active in the field and contributed with the phrase: emotional quotient EQ10.

In the 1990s starts the formal use of the term “Emotional Intelligence” and its assessment: The Emotional Quotient inventory: EQ-i.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

EI is a set of emotional and social skills that influences the way we:

Perceive and express ourselves,

Develop and maintain social relationships,

Cope with challenges,

Use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

What EI is not:

EI is not vocational interests, it is not personality, it is not aptitude to perform in a technical field or specific discipline,

It is not about being nice or sweet or touchy-feely.

2 others important notes about EI:

1-The higher your IQ is, the more you need EI.

2-EI can be improved and enhanced by means of training & coaching.

EI is composed of 5 realms that work together:

Starting point is: Self perception: our ability to understand our feelings, their causes and their impact. It is also the way we appreciate our strengths and weaknesses; and our aptitude to improve ourselves meaningfully.

Once we are aware of ourselves, comes in:

Self expression: our ability to express feelings, beliefs, thoughts; our ability to maintain our independence and be assertive.

Those 2 aspects will define the 3rd:

Interpersonal realm: is our ability to give support, to develop, maintain and enjoy mutually nurturing relationships.

All these 3 previous abilities will determine how we will deal with:

Decision making and problem solving: yes, decision making! Decision is often much more about emotions than knowledge, think of it: How many time your emotions get in your way to delay or rush your decisions?

And finally, the realm that will define our well being:

Stress management: I am sure we have all experienced the impact of emotions on stress and vice versa.

The conjunction of these 5 realms will picture our overall happiness and well being.

Why is EI important?

In the private sphere I guess we all understand why and how EI is important for us to enjoy life, but, are we aware of how important it is in making life more enjoyable for the people around us too?

In the professional sphere, let’s have a look at a manager for example. What is the day to day experience of a Manager? How do you like this description (taken from Harwell Thrasher):

Intense pressure to keep people working productively.

Ok, suppose you have on board the people who know what they have to do and how to do it, the only thing you need to do next is: Keep them doing it, improve it, under all circumstances.

Easy no? Simple!

Let’s take a brief look at the 13 skills Harwell Thrasher suggests a Manager needs:

Communication, listening skills,

Commitment to the truth (knowing the truth & not hiding it neither to your superiors nor to your reports)

Empathy (understand others perspectives and feelings),

Persuasion, Leadership, Focus,

The Art of the Division of work,

Obstacle removal, Heat absorption (both are about problem solving and stress tolerance)

Uncertainty removal (be consistent, avoid confusion),

And finally, Project management & Administrative skills

How many of those skills require EI?

Almost all of them need either people management skills or self management skills… they are about self-expression, independence, assertiveness, impulse control, empathy, decision making, stress management, optimism…. All aspects of EI.

Now, how can you improve your EI?

Here is an exercise taken from The EQ Edge: Think about the worse boss or mentor you have had… the one who made you hate mondays. Write down 6 attributes of this person.

Now think of the best mentor or boss you have had… someone it was a pleasure to be alongside, someone you have learned from. Write down 6 attributes for that person also in another column. Then reflect on yourself. How many of those attributes apply to you?

There is a wonderful tool that can help you identify where are your strengths and where you need to improve. It is the EQ-i 2.0 : Emotional Quotient Inventory. It is a very accurate & very consistent assessment of 133 questions.

Once you have taken the assessment, the Coach that has provided it to you will guide you through the results and will support you with strategies to enhance the skill you want to improve, and most of all will help you to follow-up your action plan.

It is quite simple: once you are aware, you can do something about it!

Remember,

The 5 regrets people have on their deathbeds are:

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I wish I didn’t work so hard.

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

 

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Facing Change


Facing change is challenging. Even though life IS change, for some reason, most human beings fear change. Even if change might bring them something better.

Why is that so?

I guess it is because adaptation requires some efforts. Because we never know if we will do better with that change.

To face positively changes, we need to trust ourselves.

Here are some reflections that can help you face change:

1-Change is inevitable. Be able to recognize the inevitability of some changes that occur in your life, stop resisting them and start exploring what opportunities could be lying in the future for you.

2-Understand your reactions and feelings. Accept them. Breathe into them.

3-Take responsibility for your attitude towards that change. Who do you choose to be facing this change?

4-Explore what specific skills you are going to need to face this change. We all have different needs, it could be patience or discipline or flexibility or compassion or self-compassion or moral value or humor or lightness or moral strength or tenacity…what do YOU need the most right now to face that change?

5-Look out for support & support those around you facing the same change (family or co-workers).

If there is change around you, be happy, it is because you are alive! Because you are going to learn something new! Remember life is made of cycles, if you are facing change you might be heading either towards expansion either  towards restriction… anyway you are going, bear in mind  you won’t stay there forever.

 

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Many people are afraid to ask questions. They are afraid to show they don’t know or don’t understand something. Have you ever experience that?

Me, rarely, I am more curious than shy.

But think again:

Yes, a question shows you don’t know; But a question shows you care.

Yes, a questions shows you don’t understand; But a question shows you have the intention to do your best.

Yes, an answer might not be expected, you need courage to ask!

Questions are the way we get to know better others… and maybe also ourselves!

What about asking to one of your loved ones “Which has been your best holiday?” (Of course, you hope it was a holiday you were there also! Go ahead! Take your risks!) You might discover some treats you weren’t aware of so far or maybe you will remember good times.

What about asking yourself “What if…….??”

Or : “When was the last time….??” (I laugh, I had an orgasm, I went to a new place, I told … I love her/him, I did something for someone, I spoke to a stranger, I felt completely happy). Take your time and remember, when you remember, it happens again!

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How do I deal with Pain?


I am talking of EMOTIONAL pain…  emotional pain causes physical pain and unhealed emotional pain may cause physical illness

Things happen in life and we cannot avoid pain.

Pain is a wound in our heart. Pain is many times unbearable. Pain can be so strong that we might feel we’re gonna die.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Fisrt: Breathe.

Breathe into your pain, hold her. Be compassionate with yourself. Surrender in cherishing arms if you have them, in your own arms if you don’t.

Breathe… Stay there and breathe…You don’t have to do anything, you don’t need to react… Just cradle your pain… Focus on the healing power of your inhalation and your exhalation…

 

Buddhists indeed say that life IS suffering. It is their FIRST TRUTH: Life IS suffering.

Let’s see what we can learn form them:

The first suffering is the suffering of suffering: the pain of being hurt, the pain of not being happy.

The second suffering is the suffering of change: growing old, knowing (and fearing) that nothing lasts…

The third suffering is the suffering of uncertainty and anxiety: knowing that lots of things that happen to us are out of our control,that they depend on a vast network of causes and conditions we cannot control.

The SECOND TRUTH is that there is a cause of suffering: Attraction and Aversion. That is: our Attachment. That is: our inability to recognize that everything is impermanent (even our pain!). We accord much importance to things that are attractive or aversive, we desire them or dread them, as if they had a nature… but they don’t… everything is selfless and interdependent. We treat change as something to be resisted rather than accepting that it is the very nature of our lives.

The THIRD TRUTH is that there is a release from suffering: we can’t eliminate pain nor change from our lives, but we can reduce the suffering they cause, how? Understanding and accepting reality as it is: impermanent, selfless, interdependent.

The FOURTH TRUTH is that we can remove our confusion through the EIGHTFOLD PATH which consists principally of: action (right action, right speech), thought (right view, right meditation) & mindfulness.

So relief of suffering can be found in accepting change, accepting that nothing IS good or bad, desirable or dreadful, cultivating faith and our ability to adapt, learn, forgive & grow.

The relief of suffering can also be found in cherishing arms & self compassion, because love cures fear and pain…

If you are often in pain, you might consider learning from the Buddhist truths and when pain hurts you, turn to your self-love and the arms of your loved-ones.

 

 

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I have just started a new course, one of the Great Courses of The Teaching Company. The last lectures were about the lessons of the Bhagavad-Gita, one of the ancient India fundamental scriptures. I retain some powerful ideas of those lectures.
There are issues in our life that we can’t control but we can control our choices. We manifest our choices through our actions.
Non action is never an option, in fact, not getting into action IS an action.
So Action is the manifestation of ourselves, but Action cannot be influenced by personal desires nor motivated by immediate gratification, Action has to be sustained on Knowledge, the knowledge of our motivations and the knowledge of our own values. Our actions cannot be influenced by fear of the consequences because consequences are out of our control. Isn’t this idea powerful? Choose the best action you can take and don’t worry about the consequences! When we remain detach of the consequences of our actions we can act freely, completely aligned with our values and most of all: without fear. There is no possible failure when we act upon our values; We surrender to higher wisdom and meaning, accepting and fulfilling our role.
Detachment is to surrender our own goals to the order of the cosmos; Detachment is not lack of interest, at the contrary, it is heightened curiosity.
Acting upon discernment and knowledge is discipline and that what brings us freedom; Many of us think that discipline takes away our freedom but it is the contrary: discipline makes us the owners of our lives, hence brings us freedom.

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How do you speak?


You need help… what will you say?

1-Help me
2-Will you give me some help?
3-May I ask you to give me some help?
4-This sure is hard to do alone.

What is your way of speaking saying about you?

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