Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

Key Insights

Marriage is not always easy. Many people go into it thinking they know their partner through and through. Then they come to find out that the phrase ‘I do’ can change a relationship in drastic and unexpected ways.

Falling in love is an experience full of passion and excitement. But, marriage is not always like that. The heightened feelings start to deplete and many people are left feeling alone and isolated. So, how do you recover from that?

“People do not get married planning to divorce. Divorce is the result of a lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as teammates in an intimate relationship.”- Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman has been a marriage counselor for decades and in his book, “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married,” he shares his insights on how to work as a team, practice observation of your partner, and overcome common romantic conflicts.

Key Points

  • After The Two Year Mark

When you fall in love with someone, the emotions are heightened. Even during the first stage of marriage, your mental, physical, and emotional self are all full of happy thoughts and disillusioned ideas about the person you’re with.

But, when these emotions begin to fade, suddenly, all of your partner’s flaws come to the forefront. This can make the transition into the second stage, or the non-euphoric stage, of marriage difficult for couples to handle.

When you are in the ‘honeymoon stage,’ your physical body reacts by releasing chemicals such as testosterone and estrogen, which are categorized as sex hormones.

Your brain also releases oxytocin and dopamine, which activate the reward center of the brain. These chemicals are associated with pleasure.

All of these hormone surges make a person feel happy, giddy, and eager. However, some of these symptoms actually are quite similar to the evolutionary fight-or-flight situation, so, in turn, these feelings of love can actually create disillusions and clouded thinking.

When you’re in love, you may also experience an increased heart-rate, ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, or a flushed face. These are all short-term symptoms, but they can reoccur.

All of these symptoms make it hard for a person to clearly see their partner as they are. It makes it easy to look over a person’s faults.

These symptoms last for about the first two years and then subside.

  • People Love Differently

Not everyone shows love in the same way. And, the way someone shows love usually stems from their upbringing.

When people jump into marriage, they assume that their partner shows and feels love in the same way as them, but that’s rarely the case. This can cause a lot of issues surrounding miscommunication.

It’s important that partners become skilled in showing their partner the right kind of love based on their preferred love language.

The love languages as described in Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages” are:

  1. Affirmation - This is verbal admiration for your partner such as a compliment.
  2. Acts of Services - This is doing something for your partner such as cleaning their car for them.
  3. Receiving Gifts - This is gifting something to your partner such as flowers.
  4. Quality Time - This is spending time with your partner such as going on a nature walk.
  5. Physical Touch - This is using physical contact to make your partner feel special, such as a kiss or holding hands.

 

Marriages last and grow strong when partners use the correct love language to show their affection. It’s important to know your love language, as well, so you can communicate effectively to your partner about your needs and desires.

  • The Effect Your Parents Have On You

Whether you like it or not, you are more like your parents than you realize. That’s because childhood experiences tend to stay with people throughout their adult lives.

Personality traits such as bossiness, humor, or empathy are usually inherited by the same-sex parent. For example, if you are a female and your mother always looked on the bright side of life, it is likely that you often think positively about situations too.

Learning through mimicry starts at a very young age. Babies often mimic their parents’ facial expressions. And when babies grow to toddlers they may ‘play pretend’ by vacuuming, cooking, or mowing the lawn to essentially copy Mom and Dad.

The love parents show their children also activate neurotransmitters that affect our self-esteem or how we see ourselves. It also affects how we show love to the ones around us.

In 2018, a survey was conducted that revealed that people saw themselves becoming more like their parents around the age of 33 and 34. A huge trigger was the way they looked in comparison to their same-sex parent. But, personality was also a major factor.

A good way for partners to see what their significant other will be like as they grow older is to observe their partner’s parents.

  • Arguments Are Not Productive

Disagreements in marriages are not uncommon. This can cause panic to newlywed couples.

Disagreements are healthy and they must not be ignored or avoided. To make disagreements easier to solve, you must practice empathy in the face of conflict.

In the book, “Nonviolent Communication,” psychologist Marshall Rosenberg suggests that working at issues with a nonjudgemental frame of mind is more productive than arguing.

Focus on your own needs and desires during a disagreement rather than judging the other person. This is often hard in the heat of the moment, but detachment is necessary in order to solve any marital conflict.

You must also be sure not to frame your wants and needs as demands, but rather statements. Demands hold negative connotations with them, while statements are neutral.

To resolve a conflict, there are three options:

  1. Compromise
  2. Settle On One Idea
  3. Put Off The Decision

 

  • Each Person Needs To Take Ownership

In marriages, there are usually roles that each partner becomes responsible for. For example, one person may do financial planning, while another may be in charge of taking the kids to soccer. However, not all couples agree with what role should go to who. This can cause petty arguments.

In 2015, a poll was conducted that concluded that the majority of American couples thought that sharing the household chores was vital to their marriage, especially in regards to whether or not they would have children with their partner.

Women often tend to take on more of the household responsibilities than men. Working females in America go from being an employee in their career to essentially going to a second shift at home.

Women’s paid work is often devalued in society and in their marriage, which is why they pick up the domestic duties, as well. This is just another example of gender inequality in our society.

Couples should discuss roles before entering marriage so that everything is fair.

  • People Apologize In Different Ways

Just like with love, people apologize in different ways too. Also, like love there are five languages that people use to apologize:

  1. Expressing Regret - This is when you are straight-forward and express your apology in a regretful and descriptive way. For example, “I’m sorry I’m late. I didn’t accurately plan the amount of time it would take to get all the kids ready before leaving the house.”
  2. Accepting Responsibility - This is when you go even further from expressing regret by adding that the responsibility is yours. This is holding yourself accountable and expressing your regrets to your partner.
  3. Make Restitution - This is a way of trying to make up for what you did. For example, if you missed an important event, you could offer to host another event to get the same social group together.
  4. The Promise of Future Change - This is when you apologize and then promise that the issue will not happen again.
  5. Language of Apology - This is when you ask for forgiveness from your partner.

It’s important for partners to know the language of apology their spouse speaks so that they can correctly apologize to them.

  • All About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a step you must make in marriage disagreements in order to move past an incident. Incidents may continue to cause you or your partner pain, but forgiveness is the first stage of healing.

The act of forgiveness has actually been proven to have biological healing properties. A doctor named Dabney Ewin is famous for talking to his burn victim patients about their feelings toward the incident that injured them. Many felt angry about their incidents. Ewin explained that if they felt forgiveness toward the incident, it would help heal their skin. As a result, the people that forgave healed faster and better than the patients who remained angry.

Forgiveness also has an effect on mental health. A developmental psychologist named Robert Enright worked solely with elderly women who had been molested or abused. He discovered through his work that women who were able to forgive had bigger improvements in their mental health.

Dr. Frederic Luskin, a founder of Standford University’s Stanford Forgiveness Project, believes that forgiveness helps with healing because of the chemicals released during the body’s stress response. When you are angry, the chemicals cortisol and norepinephrine, surge.

All of these studies and observations prove that forgiveness is not only important to a relationship, but also to the well-being of the individual.

  • Arguments About Finances

Before getting married, it’s important to have multiple discussions about your finances. These conversations should cover debt, spending habits, and saving goals. And decisions about financial responsibilities such as budgeting and banking should be made before entering a marriage.

“Often we fail to consider the fact that our social, spiritual, and intellectual interests are miles apart. Our value systems and goals are contradictory, but we are in love.”- Gary Chapman

Studies have shown that finances are the most stressful aspect of romantic relationships. This is because many couples have different spending habits and about a quarter of the people in the US have financial struggles.

In 2009, a study concluded that financial disagreements or conflict predicted a divorce better than any other variable.

If you plan your finances and responsibilities before entering a marriage, the chance of divorce and conflict will decrease immensely.

The Main Take-Away

In order to have a successful and long-lasting marriage, you must understand that the feelings of heightened passion during the ‘honeymoon stage’ will pass quickly and issues and conflicts will inevitably arise. To counteract this, you must be prepared by knowing your partner’s love language and apology language. Practicing forgiveness and preplanning finances will also help to prevent devastating marriage conflicts.

Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life

Unf*ck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop

Key Insights

We all have destructive thoughts that can block us from succeeding and achieving our full potential. When we find ourselves dealing with failure and an inability to move forward, it can be difficult to move forward and remove ourselves from these situations.

It is important to understand that these situations are typically the result of negative thoughts. And you may not even notice these thoughts that are self-destructive, as they are usually happening in your subconscious.

However, it’s not as easy as thinking happy thoughts to change this pattern. In order to build the positive foundation needed for less destructive thoughts, one must choose actions that are decisive and in direct conflict with the negative thoughts.

In Unf*ck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life, Gary John Bishop looks at how negative thinking impacts your daily life and what needs to be done to change these self-destructive thoughts. And in the process of changing these thoughts, one will find that the actions they take can lead to more confidence and motivation.

  • How to get out of your head and into your life

Even when you set new goals for yourself, it is important to remember that you need to be realistic. It is as much about what you are willing to do, as it is what you can do to make a change in your life.

And even knowing what you are willing to do, you must be able to handle possibly being uncomfortable and uncertain. In order to make progress in life, it is important to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

It is also important to remember that if you want to make a positive change in your life, you can’t lose sight of your goals. Once you have a goal, do not give up. Keep pushing forward.

Key Points

  • The key to success and happiness is positive thoughts and self-talk, whereas negativity in our thoughts can lead the opposite way

All day long, our brain is overrun with thoughts. Whether negative or positive, these thoughts will be a determining factor in what happens in our life.

When negative thoughts are allowed to take over and become the default setting of your mind, it will limit your potential in all areas of your life, whether we are talking about personal or professional. If you do not believe you can do something, then it is unlikely you will even try to do it.

Instead of allowing the negative to reign supreme, it is important to engage in positive thinking and self-talk. Not only will this spur you into action now, but it will change the way you respond to things in the future by changing the way your brain works over time.

The best way to engage in positive self-talk is to use assertions in the present tense. This means saying that you can do something and embracing whatever it is that you are hoping to change about your life.

It’s not just engaging in positive self-talk, it is also about making an effort to internalize that change to produce actual results.

  • To make a goal that works choose something you are actually willing to do

While most people think of goals as the things we desire or dream about having, this actually discourages people from being willing to sacrifice anything towards a goal.

You are more likely to succeed at achieving a goal when you choose something that you are actually willing to work towards.

There are five parameters that one should keep in mind when it comes to setting a goal and looking to achieve it. These are known as the SMART criteria.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related. Although in certain situations the A can be changed to represent attainable when not related to business.

Following the SMART criteria, while also setting rewards that one can achieve in their pursuit of their goals, can make success more attainable.

  • Your subconscious is more likely to think negative thoughts that are in contrast to your conscious goals

Your subconscious is very powerful in pushing you towards the future. When you think negative thoughts, it can inhabit your overall actions.

To counter the negativity one should establish a goal, break it into manageable steps, and then use positive self-talk to alter your subconscious in a way that pushes you forward.

However, negative thoughts that limit us can take a lot of time and work to change. By understanding thoughts that are self-limiting, you can better understand how to change them moving forward by using positive self-talk. It is all about deliberately using positive assertions on yourself in an effort to counter the subconscious negativity.

  • It is important to face problems one at a time rather than all at once

Our individual problems can create a mess of issues when we allow them to all meld together. However, it is important to separate the problems before trying to handle them.

Once problems have been separated, one must step back and take a look at their life. This is a chance to be reminded that there have been struggles in the past that you have already been able to overcome.

In order to gain perspective, it is important to look back at your life, but it can be hard to do this. Ways to do this might be to pretend you are looking backwards at the end of your life. Another option is to look at your life as if it were a movie. Finally, there is always writing things down and reading back over it.

  • Taking risks and allowing uncertainty can allow you to achieve greatness

Humans tend to prefer being safe and comfortable in their life. That being said, uncertainty is part of life.

The only way to really move forward in life is to embrace uncertainty and taking risks. However, before taking a risk, it is important to assess it and decide whether it is worthwhile.

To assess risk, first consider all of the facts. Then write a list of pros and cons, along with any benefits or drawbacks. By breaking down the risk, it allows you to create a distance from the situation that allows for logical thought and decision making.

Always consider the risks before taking them, and remember that uncertainty in life is to be expected.

  • Action is the only way to gain motivation

It takes more than just positive thinking to get away from bad habits. To create a plan of action for a goal, one must actually act against their negative thoughts.

By actually doing, you can fight back against subconscious negativity. Actions can create positive habits that are productive and healthy. This can also be a way to fight back against negative thoughts.

Knowing how habits are formed can be beneficial in learning how to break them as well. Plus, it can also help you stay on track with your positive thinking, which can lead to attaining your goals.

  • Sometimes you have to let go of previous plans and prior expectations

While you should never give up on your goals when they are realistic, life can make even the best laid plans obsolete.

In order to decide if it’s time to let go of a goal, it is important to determine whether you are holding onto it because it is expected. If it is not helping to push you forward in life, it is time to let it go.

Whenever you are working towards a goal it is important to work hard and see what happens when there are no expectations. If you find that the goal is no longer relevant to your life and moving you forward, it is time to adjust your plans.

Over time, by paying attention to your expectations and practicing acceptance, it can help to clarify your life and goals, while also making your emotional struggles less difficult over time.

Summary

In order to get out of your head and into your life, you must set realistic goals for yourself. Thinking positive thoughts is also important to moving forward in life.

Taking action is the best way to actually make a change in the way you think, while also helping to push you towards any of the goals you have set for yourself.

Remember that even when you have goals and a plan, it is important to be willing to let go of those plans when they no longer help you move forward in life.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

Key Insights

There are a million different things that make people feel loved.

But, all of these things can be categorized into five long languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

In order to make your relationship as strong as possible, Gary Chapman, in his book, “The Five Long Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” explains how by knowing your partner’s love language or love languages, you will be able to satisfy them on a deeper level.

“For love, we will climb mountains, cross seas, traverse desert sands, and endure untold hardships. Without love, mountains become unclimbable, seas uncrossable, deserts unbearable, and hardships our lot in life.”― Gary Chapman

We don’t all speak the same language, and the same goes for our love languages. So dive into Chapman’s insights to learn how to please your partner and create a stronger bond.

Key Points

  • After the Wedding

Oftentimes, couples meet, fall in love quickly, leap into marriage, and have their love fade as quickly as it started.

And, couples who experience this are often at a loss of what to do. As much as they try to please their partners, they are unable to. But, why is that?

“What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage.”― Gary Chapman

It’s simple, the partners are not speaking the same love language.

If you are not speaking the love language that your partner responds to, then the love you felt at the beginning will inevitably burn out.

Partners who do not feel the love from their partner will end up feeling resentful, start arguments, and want to cut ties.

The only way to save a relationship is to make sure you are speaking the same love language.

  • Make Sure Your Partner Always Feels Loved

Chapman calls the love your relationship holds a ‘love tank’ and he argues that a love tank should be full, not empty, just like the gas tank in your car.

The love tank is where all the memories of love are held. And, just like a gas tank if you start to run on empty during a toxic or bumpy time in a relationship, you are essentially running on fumes.

Oftentimes, in long-term relationships love tanks start to deplete. The initial spark of love begins to fade and partners are at a loss of what to do. This is where people become complacent.

It’s usually not the case of a partner not feeling love toward their significant other. But, rather them not knowing how to show it in a language their significant other understands.

For example, to show your love maybe you are spending time with them watching TV after breakfast on a Sunday, when really doing the dishes after the meal would show that you love and appreciate them.

If you learn your partner’s love language or love languages, you will be able to keep each other’s love tanks full.

  • Falling In Love

When you fall in love, you tend not to think rationally. You fall hard for the image of a person, regardless of deeper things such as emotional stability and financial income.

But, what happens when those issues come to light and you are forced to face them?

One of the biggest factors of a failed relationship is a partner’s lack of motivation. Partners who have no sense of purpose become unattractive to their significant other because it’s a frustrating issue to deal with.

Partners with unmotivated significant others often feel disappointed. The perfect image of their significant other quickly declines and they are stumped at how to move forward.

A study by psychologist Dr. Dorothy Tenner discovered the initial feelings of love lasts approximately two years. After two years, the feeling of love begins to decrease.

So if that’s true, how are people staying married for 30, 40, or 50 years?

To be frank, in order to love, you must understand that love is more than giggles, kisses, and romantic evenings.

Love requires a great deal of commitment, loyalty, dedication, and most importantly, time.

By understanding the five love languages, you will be easier able to navigate your love life in order to make it successful.

  • Words of Affirmation

Feeling loved, appreciated, and understood when your partner compliments or encourages you is a sign that your love language is words of affirmation.

Words of affirmation can range from an “I love you” to “you’re beautiful” to a simple “how was your day?” There are no rules for what is said as long as it is said with love and kindness.

“Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse's perspective. We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Only then can we give encouragement. With verbal encouragement, we are trying to communicate, "I know. I care. I am with you. How can I help?" We are trying to show that we believe in him and in his abilities. We are giving credit and praise.”― Gary Chapman

It is also important to talk to others about your partner using words of affirmation. Talking about your partner’s accomplishments or about them in a kind way will make your partner feel loved and appreciated if they speak this love language.

  • Quality Time

It’s true that we only have a limited amount of time each day. And when we don’t use it wisely, we consider it wasted.

In our modern-day world, we often waste time by spending it on social media, scrolling through our feeds or watching endless amounts of TV.

So, it’s not uncommon for us to occasionally forget the person who needs our attention the most: our partner.

People who speak the love language of quality time feel love the most when they are spending quality time with their partners. This is time uninterrupted by social media, TV, or other distractions.

Partners who enjoy quality time with their partners tend to enjoy road trips and vacations, game nights, and dates out on the town with their significant others.

Quality time must include self-expression too. Quality time that is spent without conversation does not allow your partner to share their feelings with you. Make sure every quality time session is interactive and full of conversation.

“Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his own ideas.”― Gary Chapman

  • Receiving Gifts

If your partner’s idea of feeling the love is through receiving gifts, you may be worried about the status of your bank account. But the truth is, you don’t have to be!

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it’s the thought that counts.’ And nothing could be truer in regards to this love language.

Gift-giving doesn’t have to be expensive. But it does need to be sentimental and meaningful.

Flowers are a great gift-giving surprise because they are often given unexpectedly and are a reminder of the love you share with your partner.

Gifts that shed light on specific memories or dates, such as anniversaries, are also wonderful ideas.

“Gifts are visual symbols of love.”― Gary Chapman

Even your presence can be a gift for some! This is different from the love language of quality time because it doesn’t have to include the factor of conversation.

Your presence is especially important when your partner is going through a difficult time. Sometimes they just need the gift of you to feel ok at that tough time.

  • Acts of Service

Acts of service is a love language that is very popular in married life.

A lot of people feel love by having their significant others do things for them. And these don’t have to be big tasks! These are normally smaller tasks such as cooking dinner, taking out the garbage, changing the oil in your car, or picking your sister up from the airport.

People who speak this love language feel the most loved when their significant other helps to eliminate their workload and stress by helping out around the house and eliminating items off their to-do list.

However, if this is a love language you speak, you must be careful not to take advantage of your partner. To do this, be open to working outside your regular marriage roles and duties to perform tasks you normally wouldn’t perform to help out your partner too. They can’t do everything!

  • Physical Touch

Physical touch is important to many relationships. But it is not what you think. The art of physical touch is associated with all parts of the body.

Intercourse is, of course, a part of physical touch. But there so are kisses, hugs, and backrubs.

“When an action does not come naturally to you it is a greater expression of love.”― Gary Chapman

If you are not a fan of public displays of affection or PDA, you don’t have to worry. Physical touch does not need to include a passionate kiss in the park. A handhold or an arm around your partner will allow them to feel loved in public.

A hug before work or a kiss on the head before bed may be vital to a healthy relationship if your partner speaks the love language of physical touch.

It’s important to pay attention to how your partner reacts to your touch. That will allow you to see if physical touch is a love language they speak.

And physical touch has actually been proven to help babies have healthy emotions as they grow older. So it seems like all humans can benefit from a little physical closeness!

  • How to Discover Your Love Language

“No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other.”― Gary Chapman

There are three main questions that will help you discover your primary love language or love languages:

  • What do you always ask your partner for?

The answer could be anything from help with the household chores to a kiss before bed.

  • What does your partner do that hurts you?

The answer could be feeling ignored, not being intimate, or anything else that makes you feel sad.

  • What do you do to show your partner you love them?

Perhaps you hug them and squeeze them or maybe you send flowers to them at work.

  • Love Is A Choice

Love is something that is a choice. When the initial spark of love starts to burn out, you must choose to continue loving your partner.

When you learn your partner’s love language or love languages, you will be able to better navigate the relationship and make your love last. You must make sure that your significant other’s emotional needs are met.

Both partners need to be fully committed to expressing love through their partner’s love languages in order to have a satisfying relationship and be able to work through the bumps of marriage.

And to fix already toxic relationships, you must have an open discussion about the way you both feel loved in order to repair the damage.

“Can emotional love be reborn? You bet! The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.”― Gary Chapman

Make sure to have monthly check-ins to see if implementing these love languages into your relationship is working to improve it.

The Main Take-Away

In the modern-day world, it is not uncommon for people to have multiple relationships, marriages, and divorces. That’s why now, more than ever, it is important for people to learn the five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. When a person knows their partner’s love language and can implement it into the relationship, it will make their partner feel loved and appreciated to help create a stronger and more understanding bond.

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

Key Insights

Every day we find ourselves gathering in some way, whether at work, to grab a drink with friends, or even as part of something like a book club. But do you know what it means to gather? Do you know what it takes to make a gathering exciting or even potentially meaningful?

While there are many things that may go into making a gathering happen, do you truly understand why gatherings are so important? In The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, Priya Parker goes into detail about the importance of connecting with other people and ways to design a gathering that allows for better connections.

How The Art of Gathering will help improve your next gathering

Not only do you learn more about why it is okay to remove people from your invite list, but also ways to improve the overall experience.

You will learn why it’s better to not let a guest serve themselves at a gathering and even how to end the night in the best way possible.

This is a chance to really go deep into why gatherings matter and how they are an important part of the overall human experience. And by better understanding how gatherings work, you can also learn how to make them better than ever.

Key Points

  • Gatherings are important to the human experience, even if we don’t give them enough thought

From childhood, we gather together, whether as a family, with friends, at school, or even at our place of work. From the very beginning, gatherings are more than just a way of life, they are actually a huge part of our lives.

However, there are many gatherings that end up being underwhelming. Some are even rather uninspiring.

Even as there are differences between personal gatherings and professional ones, the one thing that remains the same is how often they remain lackluster and disappointing.

What often ruins a gathering is having an organizer who doesn’t put a lot of thought into the way guests will engage with each other. And even when an organizer or host does look for help with putting together a gathering, they often are only looking at the overall mechanics of making it work and putting it together, rather than how it can bring people together in a thought-provoking way that is also interesting or even meaningful.

  • The first step to a great gathering is having a clear purpose

This might seem like an obvious step, but if you really look at many of the gatherings you attend, you might notice that they all seem to follow a very ritualized formula. And typically this formula does not leave room for the gathering to have a clear purpose.

When planning a gathering, it is best to think about the why over the what. Basically, the first thing you want to do is determine why you are having this gathering.

Once you know exactly why you are holding a gathering (what the purpose of the gathering really is), then you can make the decisions necessary to organize and plan for it. This includes the first step of planning - determining who gets an invitation.

  • To build a meaningful gathering, you may need to exclude some people

Most people have heard the expression, “the more the merrier.” And while this is something we learned as children, it is not necessarily something that works in adulthood.

When we are working on a guest list for a gathering, we are often thinking about who we are including. However, there comes a point in time when it is also important to decide who not to include, even if that is an uncomfortable thought.

While one may think that by excluding people you limit the diversity of the group gathering, but what often happens instead is that you are able to bring together an interesting mix of people.

The key to being a good host is being willing to sometimes make “slightly uncomfortable decisions.”

  • When hosting a gathering it is better to be authoritative over being laid-back

In life, there are many who see being more laid-back as being a good thing. This can lead to people being hesitant to telling other people what to do.

The problem with being a laid-back host who is unwilling to tell people what to do, is that it seems that you are abdicating your responsibilities. This can lead to your gathering being less interesting, engaging or fun than it could be. Instead of being a hands off host, it is better to embrace your ability to be in charge of the gathering.

Even with an authoritative host, it is also important to be selfless, as you are also working in the interest of your guests.

By acting with authority and working to make the most out of the gathering for your guests, you can actually help them gain actual value from coming together.

  • Rules can be a liberating experience at a gathering

Sometimes people look at rules as being a bad thing, however, this is not fair. When done right, rules can be a great way to create gatherings that are meaningful, playful, and even potentially creative.

Rules can encourage a feeling of belonging, as well as the ability to bond with others. At times, rules can be a way to encourage people to interact with each other, thereby pushing to overcome any awkwardness that might come from approaching a new person.

On top of encouraging new behaviors, rules can also change the way people do everyday things. While we usually rely heavily on technology for things, gatherings, especially those with certain rules, can force us to interact with the people around us in person.

For many people, rules are a chance to force us to focus on one specific thing, rather than allowing us an infinite number of choices. This can ultimately be a rather freeing experience.

  • Let your guests know what to expect and make sure that they are honored upon arrival at your gathering

Once you know the purpose of your gather, who to invite, and what rules should be put into place, it is all about how to get things started.

It is important to remember that guests will form an impression of your gathering before things even begin. Make sure your guests know what to expect from you and your gathering.

On top of setting the expectations from the start, it is also important to start your gathering off by honoring your guests. This includes making them feel welcome and like they belong there.

Honoring your guests can be as easy as knowing everyone’s name before they even walk in the door, decorating a table for a simple lunch, or even introducing your guests to each other in a unique way.

A meaningful introduction can be an encouragement of authenticity. Plus, it can also make it easier to remember people you never met before.

  • Gatherings can be designed to let people be their authentic selves

At gatherings, we often try to present our best self, and in many ways that means not being our most authentic selves.

There are a few different ways you can get guests to be real and authentic. One way is to ask your guests to tell a personal or interesting story. This usually leads to stories that are emotional, risky, and even allow us to be vulnerable.

Another option is to reveal who you are. If you want other people to get personal, you have to be willing to do the same thing. When you are willing to take the lead, other people will usually follow.

  • Find a way to end your gathering with a bang, rather than a whimper

The end of a gathering is just as important as the beginning, because it is the final memory you have of the event. It can shape the way you remember the entire gathering.

It is important to not let a gathering end with a whimper. Instead, you almost want to create a type of “last call” situation that lets people know things are wrapping up and they should tie up any loose ends with people they have been interacting with.

Thank everyone for coming to your event and let them know that they can leave whenever they are ready, while also letting them know they do not need to rush out (depending on if this is true or not of course).

Ending a gathering in the right way can make sure that they are remembered for the right reasons - a good time that ended with a bang.

Summary

Gatherings can often feel lackluster, while also feeling like they have no true purpose. However, by breaking free from the standard routines and rituals of a typical gathering you can create an event that exceeds expectations.

Having a purpose, encouraging people to be their authentic self, and embracing your own authority, can all be ways to create the perfect gathering.

As a final note, Priya Parker also pointed out that hosts should remember that location matters too. And being creative with your location can also help to make any gathering special as well. By paying attention to location, hosts can also help focus the purpose of their gathering, bringing everything full circle.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know

Talking to Strangers By Malcolm Gladwell

Key Insights

In life, we make assumptions and judgments on a regular basis.

Every time we see a person we don’t know, we immediately pass judgment on them, either consciously or subconsciously.

But, as humans, are we really that good at understanding strangers?

In “Talking Strangers”, Malcolm Gladwell gives us some key insights into why humans have such a hard time deciphering another person’s character. And, why we are often tricked by charming lies because of our trusting nature.

“The right way to talk to strangers is with caution and humility.”- Malcolm Gladwell

With Gladwell’s deep dig into human behavior, you will begin to understand why you should never ever judge a stranger.

Key Points

  • We Aren’t As Intuitive As We Think

Unfortunately, we are not as good at reading strangers as we think we are. And, this is true for people who work in a career where that is their main job.

In his book, Gladwell shares an example of Solomon, a bail judge in New York. Solomon’s job is to read the files of the inmates and also examine them face-to-face.

In 2017, Solomon and his team were put to a test. They were put up against artificial intelligence software to determine just how good they were at reading the inmates.

The results showed that the inmates released by Solomon and his team were 25% more likely to commit a crime than those that the technology chose to release.

“The conviction that we know others better than they know us—and that we may have insights about them they lack (but not vice versa)—leads us to talk when we would do well to listen and to be less patient than we ought to be when others express the conviction that they are the ones who are being misunderstood or judged unfairly.” -Malcolm Gladwell

Humans think they can read people using visual cues and body language. But, this is rather weak evidence of a person. We believe that strangers are easy-to-read, which contradicts our ideas about the complexity of the human race.

  • Deception Cannot Be Spotted

As humans, we assume people are telling the truth until deception becomes incredibly obvious.

Gladwell shares an example of Tim Levine, a scientist, who conducted an experiment in which the test subjects watched tapes of students who had just participated in a trivia test.

In the videos, Levine is seen asking the students questions about the trivia test, such as “did you cheat?” and “If I ask your partner, will she tell me the same?”

The results were that some of the cheating students lied through their teeth, while others confessed to their cheating ways immediately.

As the test subjects watch the video, Levine asks them to decide which students are lying and which are not. The results were about 50/50 with the test subjects correctly identifying the lying students.

Without a clear trigger to think the person is lying such as defensiveness or avoiding eye contact, the test subjects and humans, in general, are more likely to just believe that these students are telling the truth.

  • Assuming the Truth is Important

Although it’s a pain that we cannot identify deception as best as we’d like to, it is important to assume the truth so that our society can function in a peaceful way.

The same scientist, Tim Levine, who conducted the trivia experiment, notes that lies are extremely rare in real life. Most people are honest by nature and do not have any reasons to lie.

For example, when you go to a local fast-food restaurant, you don’t find the need to calculate the price yourself before paying. You assume that the cashier is giving you the correct price for your meal.

  • You Can’t Read Someone’s Face

In sitcoms, such as “Friends”, which Gladwell discusses, you can easily follow the conversation and the plot just by looking at the character’s faces. Everything is acted and exaggerated, but that is not the same as real life.

People think that humans are just as transparent as these characters because that is just what we are culturally exposed to. But, that’s just not so!

Two German psychologists conducted an experiment where they tested people’s “surprise face” by altering a room drastically that they previously walked into. It’s almost like a “Trading Spaces” reveal. The results showed that only 17% of the people showed a classic “surprise face”, while the others were not as transparent even if they did feel surprised.

The 17% that did show the “surprise face” were likely portraying what they had seen in pop-culture references.

  • We Often Misjudge People

The classic case of Amanda Knox is a great example of how we often misjudge people. Knox was innocent but was made to be guilty because of her non-transparent behavior when dealing with the police. She often “acted guilty”, however, there was no hard evidence to actually convict her. The police simply used their cultural references to infer her as guilty.

“Today we are now thrown into contact all the time with people whose assumptions, perspectives, and backgrounds are different from our own.” -Malcolm Gladwell

Some humans are simply more transparent than others, and that is where it becomes hard to accurately read people you don’t know.

  • Alcohol Blurs The Lines Even More

Alcohol blurs the lines when reading people. We hear this often in court cases about sexual assault. When alcohol is involved, people have different views about the ideas of consent. Was the sexual experience mutual, or wasn’t it?

Alcohol, as we know, affects our behavior. So, a sometimes shy person may become very talkative after a few glasses of wine. So, how can you accurately read someone whom you are meeting when they are intoxicated?

Gladwell alludes to the fact that yes, men should start to learn to respect women more, but we should also be cutting down on our consumption of alcohol because it definitely affects the ability to read a stranger.

Main Take-Away

Humans cannot understand strangers as well as they think. Many humans are not as transparent as others and this causes problems in the accuracy of judging people’s character. We must make the effort to listen, observe, and get to know people before passing judgment.

Millionaire Success Habits: The Gateway to Wealth & Prosperity

Millionaire Success Habits By. Dean Graziosi

Key Insights

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make tiny little changes in your everyday life in order to live like a millionaire?

Well, in Dean Graziosi’s book, “Millionaire Success Habits,” he teaches you how to do just that!

The authors will break down how by just making small changes in your habits and patterns, you will gain more wealth, increase your happiness, and live a more fulfilling life.

“Getting wealthy may not cure every problem, but it sure can cure a lot of them.”― Dean Graziosi

These key points will give you the courage to follow your dreams and start living your life with a greater purpose.

You don’t need extra hours in the day to start living like a successful millionaire!

Key Points

  • Financial Stress

The stress of finances can hurt your professional and personal development.

Money is often considered evil. However, that’s simply not the case. Money can be evil if used for evil such as stealing or committing fraud. But, the truth is money is actually a useful tool for many of us to live a more fulfilling life. It is the solution to a lot of problems such as overdue bills and hunger.

Financial instability can cause increased stress, anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem.

Your bank account not only affects your mental well-being, but it can also have physical effects as well. Chronic stress can manifest into ailments such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and stomach ulcers.

And, because of these illnesses, chances are more money problems will occur because of medical bills.

Money is not only good for the eager entrepreneur, but it is also one of the keys to living a healthier life.

  • Motivating Factors

When you identify the motivation behind your dream or desire, it makes it easier to come up with a plan.

Without a plan, motivation can disappear quickly. That’s because, without a plan, it’s hard to envision actually reaching success.

“It doesn't matter how fast you can go, it doesn't matter how much passion you have, and it doesn't matter how much energy you put into something. If you don't have a vision and clarity on the destination you want to reach, you'll simply never get there.”― Dean Graziosi

For example, if a business owner wants to be successful in order to provide for his family, then he can take a look at each step along the way to analyze if it is moving him closer to his end-goal.

When you are trying to identify your motivation, it might be helpful to look at different motivational techniques. According to Gretchen Rubin, a self-improvement speaker and author, there are four main types of motivational profiles that people are categorized as.

The Four Main Types

  1. Upholders - These are the people who are self-motivated, but also benefit from external encouragement as well.
  2. Questioners - These are the people who are driven by internal desires. They also ignore outside opinions and directions unless it is fully explained and they believe it can benefit them.
  3. Obligers - These are the people who are not self-motivated but can get things done well when given a deadline.
  4. Rebels - These are the people are not motivated internally or externally. They use competition to become motivated because they are determined to prove people wrong.

By knowing your own motivational type you can determine how you react with change and see how you handle deadlines given by others.

  • Profitable Habits

To create profitable habits, you must first get rid of unproductive habits.

For example, if you spend all day scrolling on social media and doing mindless chores like washing your car, you are wasting time that could be spent pursuing a long-term goal.

If there are tasks in your life that are not moving you forward in the direction of your dream, then you must get rid of them.

“With text messaging and e-mails buzzing in our pockets, our constant availability for phone calls, and hot new apps and social media on our phones, we are more distracted, more unfocused and more enmeshed in sweating the small stuff than ever before. And this leads to many of us feeling like we're sprinting every day but really not getting anywhere.”― Dean Graziosi

If you can’t get rid of the task, chances are you can find someone else to take care of it. For example, going to a carwash instead of hand-washing your car.

It may seem like you’re spending more money. But, really you’re spending a little more to be able to make a lot more because you’ll have more time to devote to your business.

Sometimes bad habits get in the way of a new-formed success habit. A way to eliminate this is to look for cues that may be encouraging and solidifying the bad habit.

Habits are formed when you repeatedly do them. And cues often come in forms of smell, sight, time, and environment.

For example, you might have a habit of eating junk food late at night while watching TV on the couch. To eliminate this bad habit of eating junk, you could try to spend your nights doing something more hands-on such as drawing or even reading a book.

  • Building Relationships With Clients

An entrepreneur who works at building solid relationships with their clients will have a better chance of success.

Clients will remember businesses and companies that gave them personalized services. For example, if a customer is at a bar and the bartender knows their name and order, they are more likely to return.

By learning about your customers, you can customize your service and make the experience more appealing to them. And, they will certainly tell their friends!

Successful business owners don’t just grow an understanding relationship with their clients, they use that information to come up with creative solutions to their problems.

Sales representatives of a company must even go a step further and try to teach the customer something new about the problem they are experiencing and how it is affecting them. Then, they must solve it!

  • Recovering From Failure

Losing is not all bad. It’s actually a great lesson for entrepreneurs. You must learn how to rebound quickly in order to be successful.

When entrepreneurs do not experience failure, chances are they are not taking enough risks.

You shouldn’t think of everything as a downright failure. Instead, you should think of these fails as failed attempts because you were attempting a success.

  • Worrying Leads To Inaction

If you worry about the future, it’ll be harder to be present and take action.

For example, if you know you need to make a change to your company’s product because sales aren’t increasing and are afraid to make a drastic change to the product because of the possibility of a decrease in revenue, then you remain stuck where you are.

“As children we’re taught to stand in line and do what everybody else does. We’re taught to get good grades, follow the crowds, do what’s popular at the time, go to high school, get into a college, then find a job, start a 401K, save our money, and hopefully retire with enough to get us to death without running out.”― Dean Graziosi

A good thing to remember is that usually when you are dreading something and it actually happens, it’s not as bad as you anticipated. There is always a way to fix things.

  • Happiness Is A Source

Happiness is not caused by success. Rather success is caused by happiness. It is the source.

Happiness happens when you are creating a satisfying life. For example, if you opened your own business and are able to work your own hours and travel when you want.

If you are grateful for the life you are living, you are less likely to be jealous of others and compare your life to the lives of others.

Happiness can be increased by adding habits into your life that bring you internal joy and satisfaction. For example, if painting makes you happy, then paint! Being happy will only help you work toward your long-term goals.

  • Adopt Positive Changes

Positive changes are best made gradually. For example, it is easier to cut out white bread in your diet rather than deciding you are going to cut out carbs and sugar completely.

Big sudden changes can be overwhelming and it might make you slip back into bad habits. Changes shouldn’t be implemented all at once.

It’s important to keep up with the positive changes even after things in your life improve. For example, if you cut out white bread and you find your feeling healthier, don’t go back to eating it and think that everything is solved forever. Chances are you will start to feel unhealthy once again.

The Main Take-Away

Developing successful habits takes time. You must identify and eliminate bad habits and time-wasters and replace them with successful behaviors gradually and not all at once.

Attached

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love

Let's be real: Relationships can make you feel amazing. They can be a great source of comfort, security, and warmth. Conversely, they can also be stressful, painful, exhausting, and leave you full of anxiety. What gives? If you find that your relationships often reflect more of the latter, it's likely it has something to do with your attachment style. Attachment is the bond we form with other people and our style of attachment is the particular way we attach to others. Attachment style is pretty important and can influence everything from how we relate to others to what kind of partners we pick. Read on to learn about different attachment styles, the best antidote for relationship troubles (regardless of your style), and the number one thing you need in a relationship for it to last the long haul.

Everybody needs somebody!

We are reliant on other people to get our needs met. More than that, being close to other people can bring us great comfort. Researchers were able to confirm this when they had female participants engage with a stressful situation. Some women were allowed to hold their partner’s hand, others were not. When women held their partner's hand, the part of the brain associated with stress was significantly less activated. Just holding their partners hand lowered their stress. Sweet, right? It has also been shown that being in a negative relationship causes raised blood pressure whenever you’re around your partner, which could be detrimental to your health in the long run. So, relationships are important. One key aspect of relationships, attachment, is the bond we form with a significant person in our life. It withstands a certain amount of time and leads to a need for continued contact. Now that you understand how good positive attachments can be (Goodbye stress!!) and how negative attachments can be bad (hello health problems!), here’s where it comes from.

Why do we attach? Blame your genes and your parents.

You might wonder why people attach to each other at all. It's because it's embedded in our genes! Right when we are born, we begin to reach and yearn for the security of our mothers. This desire has a historical basis: our ancestors knew they needed to rely on each other for survival to gather food, stay safe from predators, and for protection. In present times, that ancient desire for attachment is molded by our earliest attachment: the one to our parents. When a child’s needs are consistently met, they will likely form a secure attachment that will carry them through until adulthood. Attachment styles can change, largely due to the impact of your environment. For instance, your attachment style can become unhealthy due to the impact of a negative relationship in adulthood.

What’s all the fuss about? Anxious attachment styles

Imagine this scenario: Your partner is normally home from work at 5:30 PM on weekdays. You look at the clock, and it's 6:00 PM, and they still aren’t home. How do you react? Many people would assume that their partner was stuck in traffic, or worry about a possible car accident. For those who are anxiously attached, they might begin to worry that their partner has left them or stopped loving them. For these individuals, the worry often becomes completely overwhelming, and can morph into a panic. To deal with the overwhelming anxiety, they might call their partner multiple times or do something erratic.

Individuals who are anxiously attached tend to be preoccupied with anxiety about their partner and their relationship, and these feelings are so powerful they can govern the way they act. This style is characterized by a need for constant contact with your partner, paired with the tendency to personalize the things your partner does. This can be draining for both people in the relationship.

If this sounds like you, to address this style, partner with someone who is able to fulfill your needs. Be with someone who is secure, available, and willing to talk to you about what you’re feeling. A good match for you is someone with a secure attachment style.

Stay away! Avoidant Attachment Styles

Imagine your partner asks you to move forward in the relationship in some capacity. They want to move in, they want to get married, maybe they want to get matching tattoos. Some people see this as a positive thing: relationships moving forward. For a select few, cementing relationships like this can induce an intense feeling of panic or be stifled. Some individuals prize independence above their personal relationships. Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, when it becomes your only goal, it causes relationships that are important to you to fall apart. If that’s your experience, it's very likely you have an avoidant attachment style. Those who are avoidant eventually tend to find that their partners are too needy. They feel confined when they are with someone else, and will begin to pick apart their flaws. Often they have an idealized picture of someone they would like to be with, but most people just don’t meet their standards. People with avoidant attachment styles have difficulty reading others, and blame them when things go wrong.

If this sounds like you, to address the problems that can arise with this style, put in the effort to see your partner in a more positive way. It is important to look for where you are at fault in conflict, instead of blaming others.

Secure Attachment Styles

Some people really are comfortable with closeness and independence in relationships. These are the people with a secure attachment style, and if you’re looking for one, you’re in luck. It is the most common attachment style. Being with someone who has this style is a significant predictor for a good relationship. Why you might ask? People who are securely attached can understand their partner's autonomy without being too indifferent or attached. Say you snap at your partner about one thing, but it was really just because you were stressed. Someone securely attached will understand that you weren’t snapping because of them, and will give you space to feel better and collect yourself. Pretty sweet, right?

Regardless of your attachment style, here’s how to make your relationship work better

Communication is one of the most important parts of a relationship, regardless of how you attach. Unfortunately, communication can also very easily go awry when people aren’t being clear about what they want, or when they’re sending mixed messages. A great example of this can happen during the initial dating stages of a relationship. Let’s say you and your date have hung out several times, but no one has made a move. What gives!? You can fret about it, or you can clearly communicate your concern by telling your date how you feel. Though the possibility of coming off a certain way might be uncomfortable, not knowing the truth is even more uncomfortable! If you talk about it, you can understand the truth about your relationship with your partner and level your expectations accordingly. This strategy works in relationships for all issues, just be sure that while you are honest about the problem you’re experiencing or concerned about, you aren’t blaming your partner. There’s a difference between, “You’re a shady person because you stay in contact with your ex-girlfriend” and, “It makes me feel insecure when you talk to her, how can we fix this?”. If your partner doesn’t feel attacked, they’ll have an easier time hearing you out.

Fighting isn’t a bad thing

Fighting is an important part of a relationship. It can be healthy if it leads to a solution. There are two ways to help this happen. First, don’t generalize. Don’t start an argument by talking about a trip and then shift it to being about someone taking the trash out. Focus in on the topic you’re arguing about. Second, pay attention to your partner’s well-being, not just your own. Compromising on issues that cause contention can create happiness for both of you.

Most importantly, don't be wary of bringing up things that bother you or creating conflict. Working through difficult situations can deepen your attachment to your partner. You’ll be relieved because you won’t have to carry the stress of dealing with what was bothering you and your partner won’t feel like they have to guess what’s on your mind. It's a win-win!

The single most important thing you need in a partner

If anxiously attached individuals find themselves paired with avoidantly attached individuals, the relationship will often be painful and difficult for both of them. While the anxiously attached person will desire closeness, intimacy, and commitment, the avoidantly attached person will desire boundaries and independence. Marriage? Separate bedrooms? Kids? These can all become sources of conflict. Fundamentally, these two are mismatched because they cannot meet each other's needs. The moral of this story? Find a partner who meets your needs, whatever those are. This is the key to a successful and fulfilling relationship, along with healthy communication.

Summary

Your attachment style can influence everything from how you relate to others to what kind of partners you pick. Read to learn about different attachment styles, the best antidote for relationship troubles (regardless of your style), and the number one thing you need in a relationship for it to last the long haul.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Summary

Are you tired of always sacrificing for everyone else?

Are you sick of putting YOUR life on hold to please your friends and family?

Why do you continue to put yourself in situations where you are left exhausted, frustrated, and disappointed?

Sometimes, we do these things without even realizing it. We lean toward work rather than play because we couldn’t possibly play all day!

But, why?

You need to realize that you are a badass! You can do whatever you want. And, with Jen Sincero’s help, you will!

In this book, Jen shares her deep insight into the pressures of society and your social settings. She will help you to question how you’ve made all the big decisions in your life, including moving to a new location or picking a college major. Were these decisions YOURS or were they influenced by outside forces?

“Your life is your party. You get to choose how you invite people and experiences and things into it.”- Jen Sincero

Jen helps us to understand the difference between what we are supposed to do versus what we really want deep down. She helps us to change our mindset about the idea of “being selfish”. Acting selfishly is really a form of self-love.

You are a badass. Embrace it with Jen’s help.

Key Points

  • Stop All Negative Thoughts

The truth is, what is holding you back from reaching your full potential is yourself. The reason for this is because throughout our lives we have cataloged a brain full of thoughts and messages gifted to us by outside forces. These messages, even if we don’t consciously believe them, are in our subconscious and can affect the way we make decisions and live our daily lives.

For example, if you were always told you have to work your way up in a company, you may be deterred from applying for a mid-level job, even if you consciously know you have all the knowledge and skills for the position.

Sound familiar? See how you’re holding yourself back?

These short-term examples can even have long-term results. If you always think you need to start from the bottom, how will this affect a career change if you decide to pursue a new journey? You’d be forever climbing ladders just because of the one piece of advice lodged into your subconscious. You can’t live your life short-changing yourself and thinking you’re not good enough!

By living your life under the power of these subconscious thoughts, you risk living in what Jen calls “The Big Snooze”, which is basically a life where you play it safe and remain unhappy unable to unleash your inner badass.

  • Love Yourself

When we are young we have organic thoughts, we play, we nurture our curiosity, and we discover. But, as we grow older, we begin to listen to what the outward forces want us to do and we silence the voice inside of us.

Jen challenges this idea of listening to society by telling us to love ourselves. Daily mantras said aloud or posted around the house are great ways to practice positive affirmations and improve self-love.

Stop comparing yourself to others. You will never be Kim K or Brad Pitt. So, why are you putting that pressure on yourself? Find ways to love who YOU are.

When you start loving yourself as you deserve, you will start becoming more confident to do the things that you actually want to do! And, when you do what you want, you will find happiness.

This newfound happiness will diminish the negative emotions related to what other people think of you and what you’re doing. Seriously, who cares?

“What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.” - Jen Sincero

By loving yourself and giving yourself the life you deserve you may lose friends and go through other life changes. However, this is all part of the process and totally worth it in the end.

  • There is Power All Around You

There is energy all around us. It connects us all. And, when we start to tap into that power, we become unstoppable.

Jen calls it Source Power. This source power vibrates at different frequencies. And, as humans, we vibrate, as well. Humans that vibrate at similar frequencies are attracted to each other. They are like-minded.

The law of attraction comes into play with our vibrations. If we are feeling blue, our vibrations will attract negative situations and people. However, if we start practicing self-love and positivity, our vibrations can attract positive outcomes and we can start to ask the universe for what we want.

One of the greatest methods for tapping into this super Source Power is by meditation. Sit for a few minutes a day and try to clear your head in order to let this limitless power flow through your mind. Once you have established a way for the Source Power to enter you, you will be able to use it to manifest what you want.

  • Always Be Celebrating

Life is short, so make it a party! There is no reason why you should focus on the negatives in your day-to-day life. Sure, sometimes sad things happen, but the majority of life is pretty okay. Why not turn okay into great?

According to Jen, every day we should be…

  1. Approaching challenges with a positive attitude!
  2. Practicing gratitude for the people and things in our lives!
  3. Forgiving ourselves and others!

All of these expert tips from Jen will allow you to keep moving forward in life with a positive attitude. It will help the good energy flow in and help you to properly manifest the life you have always dreamed of.

  • Understand the Power of Your Thoughts

We may think that our actions have more power than our thoughts, but that’s just not right. Our thoughts, both conscious and subconscious, have major consequences on our decision-making.

If we repeat the same negative thoughts over and over again, then they will inevitably become true. For example, if we keep thinking that we won’t get the job, then we are setting ourselves up for failure once we submit the application. However, if we went in feeling powerful and confident, then we would most-likely manifest getting the desired position.

Think of yourself as how you want to be. If you want to be an artist, then think of yourself that way and do your best to find an organic journey of how to get to exactly where you want to be. Don’t feel pressured to have it all at once and follow a traditional route. As you move forward on your artist path, your road will become clearer.

  • Stop Procrastinating

If you want to move forward in your journey, you must put the excuses on the backburner. Procrastination is the devil when it comes to reaching your full potential. Get started now, there is no time to waste!

“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way. If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.”-Jen Sincero

Get rid of the negative thoughts and questions regarding your dreams. Stop asking yourself if what you are pursuing will really make you happy! You’re wasting time asking silly questions. Start your journey and figure it out yourself. Take action.

  • Rejection Happens to Everyone

Don’t give up on your dreams just because you hit a wall. Rejection happens to everyone. Celebrities such as Oprah made fresh starts countless times in their career, but they remained persistent and passionate and that is how they created legacies for themselves.

Make changes based on your failures. If you are surrounding yourself with people who are affecting your goals, maybe it’s time to find a new social circle. These decisions can be hard but they are necessary, according to Jen, to push yourself forward.

Your actions, in all aspects of your life, should align with your goals. This includes your finances, social circle, career, and family life. When everything aligns, you are putting yourself in the best position for success.

The Big Take-Away

In order to reach your highest potential, you must find and eliminate blockages in your life that are holding you back. Then use positive outside energy and the energy within you to manifest the life you have always dreamed of. You are a badass!

Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

About the Author

A New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and renowned business podcaster, Rachel Hollis, has built a global social media fanbase in the millions. She previously worked at Miramax, where she met her husband. She is the mother of four and lives in Austin Texas. She is also the author of Don’t Stop Apologizing.

Overview

Are you constantly feeling down about yourself?

Do you tend to listen to outside forces rather than the voice within?

Why do we keep believing things that aren’t true about ourselves?

Well, it’s time to wash your face of it!

“You, and only you are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” - Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis in “Girl Wash Your Face” tells us that we can have everything we want if only we stop listening to the negativity around us. All we have to do is believe in ourselves and our ability to achieve what everyone else is already achieving.

You are the only one in control of your life. And, it is your responsibility to work toward your dreams. There is no one that can stop you once you’ve made the decision to close your ears to the lies you’re telling yourself.

Key Takeaways

  • Stop Breaking Promises To Yourself

It’s way too common to make a promise to yourself that you simply don’t keep. You make excuses, life comes up, blah blah blah. But, really these promises are the ones you should keep over any.

These promises to yourself whether it’s about eating healthy or waking up earlier are set to help you achieve your goals. By breaking these promises, you are putting a stop to your progress.

“When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don’t really want something, you’ll find an excuse.” - Rachel Hollis

Try forming the habit of keeping the promises you make to yourself. You will feel much more productive and you’ll definitely have a higher respect for yourself.

  • Only You Can Make It Happen

Listen up! Never take ‘no’ for an answer. That is how successful people make their dreams come true. If you are faced with a problem, find a creative solution to override that problem and keep on your journey to success.

Failures happen, but the people who keep failing and failing while still smiling toward their destination are the ones that find success in the end. Some goals aren’t easy and neither is creating the life you’ve always wanted. So, when failures happen, suck it up and keep going.

And, please, do not settle for less just because you’ve failed. Always keep your eyes on the prize and be true to yourself. Be patient, it should matter how long it takes. If it is truly your dream, any amount of time is worth it.

  • Your Love Life Should Never Be Boring

Love is one of the greatest gifts in life. And, if we are lucky enough to experience true love in our lives, then it definitely should never be boring.

Now, let’s talk about sex. We’ve all heard that sex gets boring after you’ve been in a long relationship. But, that’s a lie. Again, YOU are responsible for how your life plays out. So, there is no reason why good sex should be compromised.

A huge reason women don’t have fulfilling sex lives is that they are not embracing their natural bodies. If you are telling lies to yourself about your thighs are too doughy or your skin is too red, then that is going to translate into your sex life.

Start talking nice to yourself in every way and your life will improve in all areas!

  • Some Things Are Out Of Your Control

Everyone has sh*t in their lives. There are family matters, errands, work drama, and social life. So, there is no need to stress about the hectic atmosphere, simply embrace it.

“Your dream is worth fighting for, and while you’re not in control of what life throws at you, you are in control of the fight.” - Rachel Hollis

We are made to think that issues disrupt our lives. But, is that really true? Aren’t they just a part of life? We aren’t living in fantasy worlds! When faced with an issue, take it easy, laugh a little, and keep moving forward.

Also, be sure to ask for help. And accept any help that is offered. There is no shame in being helped when times are stressful.

  • You Are More Than Your Weight

Why is weight always such a topic of importance when it comes to worth? There are so many women today struggling with body issues in the social media frenzy we are all exposed to.

Rachel Hollis tells us that it’s important to love ourselves how we are. We will never be Kim Kardashian or Natalie Portman. We must embrace the body we have and learn to love ourselves so that we don’t hold ourselves back from our highest potential.

“Comparison is the death of joy, and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.” - Rachel Hollis

If you want to set a goal to eat healthier and workout, that is totally encouraged. Just don’t go overboard comparing yourself to celebrities and friends. Practice meal prepping and making healthy choices for snack time.

Also, if your Insta feed keeps bringing you down, consider unfollowing the accounts that are making you feel low. Social media doesn’t have to be a negative tool. Find accounts that empower healthy eating and women.

  • Embrace Diversity

Everyone is different and it’s important to understand that. In order to love yourself and accept your diversities, it’s important to recognize other’s diverse qualities and embrace them.

By creating a community around you of people of different backgrounds, races, and cultures, you will perceive the world in a much more enriching way. You will learn and understand much more. And, by understanding the world around you, you will accept yourself and your place in the world.

  • Keep Your Vision

When you are setting out to achieve a dream, it’s important to keep your vision in mind. For example, if you have always dreamed of owning a boat, you must tailor your journey along the way to get you to that dream.

If you keep focused on your dream, no matter how big or small, you will eventually get there. Always work toward that one thing. And, plan, plan, plan!

The Main Take-Away

You only have one life, so create the best possible one for yourself. Telling yourself lies and comparing yourself to others will only delay or even stop your progress as you try to achieve your dreams. Remember that only YOU are in control of how your pans out

The No Asshole Rule

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

Key Insights

It’s no secret that we can all be assholes sometimes.

But, what about those people who seem to be major jerks 24/7?

According to Robert I. Sutton, those are the real assholes of the world.

In his book, “The No Asshole Rule” Sutton shares his views on what an asshole really is, how to deal with them in the workplace, and how to successfully structure a workplace that’s “asshole-free”.

“As much as I believe in tolerance and fairness, I have never lost a wink of sleep about being unapologetically intolerant of anyone who refuses to show respect for those around them.”- Robert I. Sutton

After reading his key insights, you will be ready to take on these hostile characters with the utmost grace.

Key Points

  • Assholes in the Workplace Don’t Lead to Success

It’s sad but true, that bad behavior or asshole behavior in the workplace is often left untouched. Management often ignores it thinking that talking about the issue will just lead to more problems. But, as a result, the morale of the employees is left bruised.

When people are not professional and respectful in the workplace, productivity slows. And, other employees start to act out. For example, if the work environment is toxic, they may call out of work more simply because they don’t want to be in that environment.

When your boss is an asshole, humiliation for their employees is common. Employers work in fear of messing up, which causes damaging effects on the person and on the team.

Hard-working and smart employees that mentally register that their workplace is toxic will leave for other positions at other companies that are asshole-free.

  • The No Asshole Rule

A lot of times assholes in the workplace are overlooked because they are talented and have skills. But, that doesn’t make up for the harm it causes to their team.

All assholes should be kicked out of the workplace at the first sign of disrespect.

An employee that makes others feel as if they are worthless, incompetent, or uncomfortable should not be allowed to stay in the company. Team members who get along and encourage each other get a lot more done.

This rule should also be applied to clients and customers. If they are not kind, they should not be served.

  • More Equality

It’s been proven that people who are the higher-ups on the ladder are more likely to be assholes. It’s an elitist mindset.

The higher-ups are often more talkative because they feel what they have to say matters more because of their position.

“Winning is a wonderful thing if you can help and respect others along the way. But if you stomp on others as you climb the ladder and treat them like losers once you reach the top, my opinion is that you debase your own humanity and undermine your team or organization.”- Robert I. Sutton

They also take things from the workplace without consideration for the other employees. For example, if a boss goes to someone’s desk and takes their stapler with no intention to return it. Sure, it might be just a little bump in someone’s day, but that doesn’t excuse the inconsideration of the boss.

Bosses will often show disrespect to their employees because of social distinction in the company. To remedy this, it is a good idea to tighten the gap between the higher-ups and lower-ranking workers. An easy way to do this is with salary wages. How much money you make directly correlates to status.

  • Motivating Employees

Being aggressive in the workplace isn’t always bad. A lot of times it can lead to wins. Sure, being aggressive can be seen as cold and harsh, but it can also make you be seen as successful and knowledgable.

The loudest, most aggressive person is oftentimes the leader. For example, think about being in school as a kid. Who was the one that spoke out without raising their hand? That was usually the leader of the group.

But, being aggressive does not translate well when it comes to being in charge, or “the boss.” It actually is quite detrimental.

When you’re a boss, the best thing to do is motivate your employees with incentives and recognition. This helps to keep employees happy and productive in the workplace.

  • Focus on Cooperation

Companies should be competitive, but not internally. That means, they should compete with other companies, but employees competing against each other should not be encouraged.

Instead, cooperation should be encouraged in order to bond the employees onto a working team.

“The implication is that if you want to quell your inner jerk and avoid spreading (and catching) this form of asshole poisoning, use ideas and language that frame life in ways that will make you focus on cooperation.”- Robert I. Sutton

Healthy competition, such as brainstorming ideas, however, is very healthy for companies and will help keep the company innovative.

To foster a cooperative environment, it is important to reward cooperation.

Replacing even simple words with less aggressive ones can make the world of a difference in the company’s morale. Using words such as “we” and “us” will help the company to feel like a unit to promote productivity.

  • Avoid Assholes

If you are around assholes too much, chances are you will start picking up some of their undesired traits.

If you are working with a disrespectful group of people, then get out quick before you start to pick up their habits. They could affect you in not just the business world, but in your personal world, as well.

“Life is too short to put up with assholes.”- Robert I. Sutton

Obviously, there are assholes everywhere we go. And, you can’t always pick who is sitting in the cubicle next to you. So, just try to avoid them as much as possible. You don’t need to eat lunch with them or join them for a happy hour drink after work.

The more time you spend with an asshole, the harder it will be to distance yourself from them later.

  • Build Emotional Distance

As humans, we can’t let assholes get to us. We have to learn how to build emotional distance from them so that they don’t interfere with our goals and our work ethic.

A good way to build emotional distance is to remain calm. Do not let the asshole make you miserable or drag you down to their level. Even if they are your boss and you have to respect them, you don’t have to let the things they say get to you. You are bigger and stronger than that.

A few things to remember are:

 

  1. The asshole won’t be in your life forever.
  2. You are not the cause of the problem.
  3. This won’t ruin your life.

 

Being an asshole is their problem, not yours. So, don’t adopt it!

If you need to prepare for a difficult conversation with an asshole, please remember to hope for the best, but expect the worst.

  • No Asshole Rule -- All the Time!

The no asshole rule doesn’t just apply to the workplace, it also applies to your personal life.

An asshole can ruin your day, even if the day was going perfect. So like in the workplace, avoid these toxic people in your personal life.

Take a look at yourself too, are you being an asshole? If so, then change. Nobody wants to be treated unkindly.

The golden rule to follow is to be respectful, kind, and encouraging at all times.

The Main Take-Away

Companies should not work with assholes, whether it be an employee or a client. People should avoid assholes at all costs in both the workplace and in their personal lives in order to remain happy and escape adopting their habits.

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World

Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World

Key Insights

In Navy SEAL training, there is a focus on ten lessons that teach individuals how to foster human connections, build on small achievements, eliminate superficial judgment, learn from failed attempts, practice risk-taking, enjoy being challenged, stand strong, and understand the unfairness of life itself.

The book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World” by Admiral William H. McRaven is a rewrite of a commencement speech that was given by the author to the class of 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I realized that the past failures had strengthened me, taught me that no one is immune from mistakes. True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision.”- William H. McRaven

McRaven emphasizes the ten important lessons by sharing his own experiences of military training, showing how it helped to create the person he is today.

Key Points

  • Make Your Bed Every Morning

Making your bed is the first of the ten lessons. This simple task is an accomplishment that sets up individuals to build upon it throughout their day.

“Making my bed correctly was not going to be an opportunity for praise. It was expected of me. It was my first task of the day, and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline. It showed my attention to detail, and at the end of the day it would be a reminder that I had done something well, something to be proud of, no matter how small the task.”- William H. McHaven

Many studies suggest that by starting with a small achievement in the morning, before doing anything else, ensures that you will keep striving to success throughout the day. This small task doesn’t have to be literally making the bed, it could also be washing the dishes, sending an email, or working out. It could be anything that sets your intentions for the day.

In “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, he calls these daily habits, “keystone habits.” These are small habits that actually make a huge impact on an individual’s life. It is a habit that inspires other good habits to follow.

For example, exercising is a keystone habit because other healthy habits tend to follow such as healthy eating and not smoking.

Keystone habits can also be thought of as daily victories. There are the “small wins” that inspire and lead to “big wins.”

  • Don’t Quit

Because of his military training, McRaven began to understand the importance of not giving up in life and always following through. McRaven, through training, gained ultimate willpower.

Until recent years, willpower has been thought of to be a trait that we are simply born with. But in, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, the author sheds light on studies from the ‘80s that argue that willpower is something that can actually be learned.

Around the year 2000, studies began to perceive willpower as a resource that can be temporarily drained, but that can be inflated once again.

To increase willpower, there are a few different techniques such as visualizing end goals to get over obstacles easier and viewing exercise or other intense physical movements as a habit rather than a choice.

Calling exercise a habit rather than a choice would be classified, according to writer Gretchen Rubin who specializes in habit formation as “freedom from decision-making.”

  • People Are Responsible For Their Own Success

McRaven makes it clear that it’s important to be accountable in order to have control of your own life.

On a personal level, McRaven believes he is in control of his destiny, giving him what is called in the psychological world an internal locus of control.

McRaven discourages people from using an external locus of control because it allows individuals to rely on external circumstances rather than finding the power within.

McRaven’s viewpoint about being responsible for one’s own success is backed-up by social science. Mark Muraven, a social psychologist, has discovered in his studies that individuals operating under an internal locus of control use less of their willpower resource, which helps to maintain its reserve and prevents it from being drained.

What this means for the average person is that if you are trying to make a change such as losing 20lbs, eating healthy, or quitting cigarettes, you will be more successful with an internal locus of control than an external locus of control. That is because you are feeling personally and internally motivated, not forced or pressured by an external factor.

Studies on children by developmental psychologist, Norman Garmezy, found that people with an internal locus of control are found to be more satisfied and happier with their lives. And therefore, they are more successful.

On a similar note, George Bonanno, a psychologist concluded in his studies that a person’s ability to overcome obstacles is determined by the way they perceive said obstacle.

In other words, people who see obstacles as a way to challenge themselves and grow as a person are more successful than those who believe they have no chance to rebound from the life obstacles that are being thrown at them.

  • You Must Overcome Your Fears

You must overcome your fears in order to be successful. In Navy SEAL training, individuals go through a four-step program to help them gain the mental toughness to do just that.

“Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.”- William H. McRaven

This four-step training is extremely difficult because of the fact that individuals must go against their evolutionary survival instincts to successfully complete it.

The program rivals the fight-or-flight response that is embedded in us from birth. The four steps are:

 

  1. Goal Setting - Setting goals helps individuals with the ability to control their emotions. It also puts things into order and prevents individuals from feeling out of the control, no matter what the circumstances may be.
  2. Visualization - Visualization works as a mental reminder and rehearsal for when the situation an individual envisions does arise. This helps them to be prepared for action.
  3. Positive Self-talk - This helps an individual to keep practicing positive thinking, which will aid in their confidence.
  4. Arousal Control - This describes how a person responds to external threats. For example, the act of breathing slowly will help a person to get oxygen to their brain and help them to remain calm.

 

“Hope is the most powerful force in the universe.”- William H. McRaven

Although this four-step method was created for the Navy SEALS, it is useful to all humans. For example, someone may utilize a four-step method when they are about to give a performance.

  • Always Be A Team Player

To McRaven, teamwork is important in all aspects of his life. In his book, McRaven mentions not only his team being there for him to help with difficult tasks but also how they were there with him emotionally when he had a major injury.

“None of us are immune from life’s tragic moments. Like the small rubber boat we had in basic SEAL training, it takes a team of good people to get you to your destination in life. You cannot paddle the boat alone. Find someone to share your life with. Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others.”- William H. McRaven

McRaven draws from his experiences in the military to discuss teamwork, however, it is important in family, social, and work settings as well.

An article in the Harvard Business Review examined workplace relationships and stated that workers spend approximately ¾ of their days communicating with other employees. So, it’s obvious that efficient and respectful teamwork is vital to success.

Many companies are looking for ways to improve their teams. For example, since the year 2012, Google has been looking for ways to advance their team dynamics. The reason for this is because they have found that a good team can do better work than a good individual.

Factors that lead to success include tolerating others and valuing their opinions and contribution, being able to step outside your own shoes and into those of others to understand their views and perspectives, and fostering communication that is genuine and never threatening.

  • Life Will Always Be Unfair

McRaven believes that life is unfair. And he encourages his readers to accept this fact.

To help his readers understand this, he uses examples of times when individuals were punished unfairly during Navy SEAL training.

“It is easy to blame your lot in life on some outside force, to stop trying because you believe fate is against you. It is easy to think that where you were raised, how your parents treated you, or what school you went to is all that determines your future. Nothing could be further from the truth. The common people and the great men and women are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness:” William H. McRaven

But, to paint a bigger picture with regard to this fact, unfairness is inherent in all parts of human life. For example, innocent people suffer and die every single day all over the world. That certainly isn’t fair, but it’s life.

Even though the world is unfair, humans are designed to see justice even where there is none. For example, a hiring manager may not hire someone because they had been previously laid-off. This may seem unfair to the potential employee, but the hiring manager would think that it’s fair.

McRaven says that it’s necessary for a person’s success to forget the myth that life is somehow fair, in both the personal and work life.

In the year 2013, Harvard researches conducted a study that found that employee award programs that are invented to help employees stay motivated actually did the opposite. This was because the employees who normally didn’t have good attendance began being punctual in order to gain the reward. So the people who were always on their best behavior and never tardy felt the friendly competition unfair. This resulted in a 6-8% decrease in productivity.

  • You Can Overcome Any Challenge

McRaven uses his training as a Navy SEAL to illustrate how you can overcome any challenges, even when they seem absolutely impossible to beat.

Statistics are the backbone of McRaven’s claims about the difficulty of his first six months of basic training, which is where he learned to overcome challenges with great strength and mental toughness.

Here are some of those statistics:

  1. Only a little more than half of the people who apply to Navy SEAL training meet the actual requirements to be accepted.
  2. Only 6% of those applicants will complete their training.
  3. In the 6 month training period individuals will complete 150 miles of ocean swimming and 1,300 miles of running on the beach.
  4. Individuals must endure 7 days of sleep deprivation and water torture.
  5. Many recruits drop out during that previously mentioned 7 days.
  6. The odds of a recruit completing training is 1 in 4.

If McRaven can endure all of that and come out with the tools to continue overcoming challenges, you can too.

Main Take-Away

Admiral William H. McRaven took the skills and perspective he gained from his Navy SEAL basic training and applied it to all aspects of his life. With the ten lessons that teach individuals how to foster human connections, build on small achievements, eliminate superficial judgment, learn from failed attempts, practice risk-taking, enjoy being challenged, stand strong, and understand the unfairness of life itself, he believes that everyone can reach success.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

Shouldn’t skill and strategy outweigh something seemingly small like people skills in workplace success? Interestingly enough, being able to interact with people successfully and manage your own emotions are two of the most important elements in being able to successfully climb the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, these are skills that aren’t often taught in schools or college courses. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 lays out basic guidelines for developing your emotional intelligence and having more successful relationships with your colleagues.

What is EQ?

EQ is a combination of factors. It involves self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness is your ability to manage and understand your own feelings and behaviors. Self-management is being able to manage your feelings. Social awareness is your ability to understand other people. Relationship management helps you to build successful relationships between yourself and other people in your life.

Mastering all of these skills can have a direct relationship with your ability to achieve what you’d like to in the workplace. For instance, let's say one of your coworker’s tries to take credit for a difficult project you put a lot of effort into. If you have self-awareness and self-management, you will be able to prevent yourself from having an outburst in the situation (which could limit your credibility) and will also allow you to step back and figure out how to address it best. Here are a few tips for increasing your EQ:

Get to know yourself

Strong moods can lead to dangerous outcomes. Let’s say you’re in a terrible mood: you’ve spilled coffee all over yourself and a project you were working on has hit a major snag. One of your coworkers bursts in to tell you all about her weekend, when you’d much rather concentrate on how to address the snag. Understanding that your bad mood has nothing to do with her is because often we can take our moods out on others. Conversely, think of when you were in a good mood, so you agreed to do something you’d really rather not.

Moods are powerful, and they can control our actions. Preventing yourself from being controlled by your emotions is an important part of EQ. You can do this by checking yourself when you have strong emotional reactions to situations. Understand that moods and emotions are temporary, but the ways we react to them can have lasting consequences.

Create self-management tools

People with emotional intelligence can manage their emotions and are able to balance out being logical and going with their heart or intuition. In the battle between logic and emotion, where do you find you often land? While it is important to make decisions that make rational sense, is purely driven by logic and creates a well-balanced life. People with high emotional intelligence are able to make strong, well thought out decisions. How do they do this?

One tool to resolve a difficult decision is to make an emotion vs reason list. Draw a table with two columns, and on the emotion side, write down what your emotions are telling you to do. On the other side, write down what reason is telling you to do. Look through each side of your table, and determine which column has more support. Are emotions making you incapable of seeing the logical truth? Is your logic flawed? This list can help you clarify which direction you should go in.

Another self-management tool is telling your friends and family about your goals. They can be a source of motivation when you feel like quitting, and hold you accountable. Outsourcing your self-regulation is an excellent way to save energy and stay inspired. For instance, a professor was struggling to meet deadlines, until he told his colleagues he would pay them $100 for every deadline missed. That stopped the problem in its tracks!

Watch other’s body language to become more socially aware

A great indicator of how a person is feeling is their body language. To successfully read someone, start from their head and work your way down their body to look for clues. Looking at someone’s eyes can be very telling: for instance, sometimes when someone is lying they often blink a lot. Check the mouth: does the smile seem sincere or fake? Hint: only a real smile will appear sympathetic. Move down to the shoulders: are they rigid or relaxed? They can indicate how relaxed someone is. Once you’ve thoroughly examined someone’s body language, treat them accordingly. If they are relaxed, feel free to engage with them. If they seem tense, moderate your behavior accordingly.

Learn people’s first names

Learning someone’s first name is a great way to make them feel important. It can also be a great conversation starter: perhaps they have an unusual name or an interesting backstory with their nickname. Learning someone's name as soon as possible and addressing them forward as such is an important component in being likable and making others feel valued.

Avoid sending mixed signals

Imagine you’re having a serious discussion with a coworker about their exceptional performance, but you’re irritated because you got into a fight with your spouse beforehand. Your coworker might be confused about the mixed messages you’re sending: you’re praising them, but you also seem annoyed.

Mixed messages are confusing to those who receive them, and create static in relationships. You can avoid sending mixed messages by checking your own body language. Be aware of how you’re standing, the facial expressions you’re making, and the way you’re physically representing yourself. You can also avoid them by getting feedback from others about how you’re being perceived. Though criticism can be uncomfortable, the benefits of feedback heavily outweigh the initial discomfort.

Anyone can develop emotional intelligence, regardless of what skill level you begin with. Increasing your EQ can be the first step to the success you desire! Now, start applying these ideas and see how your work life changes!

Summary

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 lays out basic guidelines for developing your emotional intelligence and having more successful relationships with your colleagues. These tools can help anyone increase their EQ, become more socially aware, and enjoy more fulfilling interactions with others. Learn how to avoid sending mixed signals, how to read other’s body language, and why getting to know yourself is so important!