Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Motivation Myth

"It is the ultimate management conceit that we can motivate people." Peter Scholtes, team effectiveness consultant and author

After six years at Universal Pictures, Harry Cohn formed Columbia Pictures in 1924. During the following decades he ran the company with an iron fist. His image as a tyrant was reinforced by the riding whip he kept near his desk to crack for emphasis. Cohn form of "motivation" led to the greatest creative turnover of any major studio. At his funeral in 1958, one observer suggested that the thirteen hundred attendees "had not come to bid farewell, but to make sure he was actually dead."

Some parents want their kids to be independent as long as they do everything they're told to. Some team leaders want their teams to be empowered as long as they follow directions. What some "leaders", call "motivation" is getting others to carry out their orders. Some seem to live by the philosophy that if I want any of your bright ideas I'll give them to you. Just do what you're told...and look like you're enjoying it. These forms of "motivation" are based on fear and force. If the punishment is strong enough and the policing rigid enough, they will lead to compliance. People will follow the rules and marching orders. But that's all. Energy, creativity, and extra effort will be minimal. So will ownership and commitment. The only passion tyrants and autocrats create are fear, loathing, and the desire for revenge.

The key problems of the Motivation Myth are clearly illustrated by a Farcus cartoon; a team leader is at the head of a conference table addressing her team with these words, "we need to improve morale, any of you boneheads have a good idea." The main cause of the problem seems pretty obvious. She just needs to look in the mirror. But obviously the obvious isn't always so obvious. Root causes and symptoms are continuously confused. The Farcus team leader is treating low morale as a problem to be solved rather than an indicator of much deeper issues. Clearly a key source of a deeper problem is her contempt for her team and her forcefulness. Her approach is like an auto mechanic reporting, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

Many of the symptoms and root causes of motivation and morale can be clarified by understanding the doing versus being aspects of mobilizing and energizing. We need to get beyond "do to" programs and techniques. The big sticks of fear, punishments, and discipline or the carrots of incentives and rewards may work in the short term. But to keep them working, we need to continually increase the beatings or sweeten and vary the incentives. Eventually the beatings will burn people out and they will quit. Some will leave and find other jobs. Many will silently resign and continue to report for work everyday.

People should be fairly rewarded for their contributions. The absence of money can be demotivating, but its presence doesn't provide healthy, long-term motivation. Using money or types of incentives to get increased performance turns people into selfish, 5ABself-centered mercenaries who are increasingly tuned into WIFM (what's-in-it-for-me). Pride, teamwork, concern for customers, shared values, growing and developing, passion, meaningful work, and the like fade. These become hollow words that raise "the snicker factor" whenever they are heard.

Effective mobilizing and energizing goes well beyond "doing" programs to the "being" or culture of a team, organization, or any group including a family. That culture is a set of shared attitudes and accumulated habits around "the way we do things here." The culture provides the context or backdrop that either energizes or exhausts people.

Excerpted from Jim's fourth bestseller, Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. View the book's unique format and content, Introduction and Chapter One, and feedback showing why nearly 100,000 copies are now in print at http://www.growingthedistance.com Jim's new companion book to Growing the Distance is The Leader's Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success. Jim Clemmer is an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, workshop/retreat leader, and management team developer on leadership, change, customer focus, culture, teams, and personal growth. His web site is 2FAhttp://www.clemmer.net/articles

Review and Refine

Periodically re-check and refine (or redefine) your goals

It's no use struggling to meet a goal that, by the time you get there, no longer fits in with your life. During obvious stopping spots along the way (say, every 10 lbs on a weight loss goal, or when you've saved enough for a down payment as part of a house-ownership goal), take a few days to sit back and really feel how you are reacting to reaching this milestone. Are you excited, chomping at the bit - or nervous, with slight overtones of dread or entrapment?

Some nervousness is to be expected if you're reaching out in a totally new direction in life, and it's only fair to expect that not all feelings you have will be cheery and rosy, even if you truly want the goal you're heading for. There is, at the very least, some mourning to go through for the loss of your old ways and your old life. But take time to make sure that you aren't ignoring obvious signals that are screaming, "Run away! Run away!" for good reaso587ns. Wedding jitters, for example, are perfectly normal; however, trepidation about abusive behavior, which doesn't seem to be declining (despite promises to the contrary), is another ball game altogether. Make sure that the goal you reach is the goal you want.

(c) Soni Pitts


Soni Pitts is the Chief Visionary Butt-Kicker of SoniPitts.Com. She specializes in helping others reclaim "soul proprietorship" in their lives and to begin living the life their Creator always intended for them.

She is the author of the free e-book "50 Ways To Reach Your Goals" and over 100 self-help and inspirational articles, as well as other products and resources designed to facilitate this process of personal growth and spiritual development.

Ever Hear of The Socratic Method

Do you think we live in a controlling society, where the goal of bosses, parents, and teachers is to twist logic and reasoning to make others conform and do things their way?

Does the media support the economy in training society to be worker-drones and not question authority?

Is control in the eyes (and mind), of the beholder; we have independent will to choose regardless of others?

You have the ultimate volition and responsibility if you are willing to accept the consequences of your acts right?

Who Was Socrates?

Maybe he lived and maybe he is a mythical figure invented by Plato and Aristotle. He never wrote a book or put his ideas on the Internet so we are dependent on his Athenian friends for verification.

The dates given for his life are 470 to 399 BC, when he allegedly chose to drink hemlock (poison), instead of accepting exile from Athens. He was convicted of the crime of Impiety to the Gods, and corrupting Athenian youth through his teaching.

Athens had just lost the big war to Sparta the Peloponnesian War and Athens was looking for a scapegoat. The government was run by the 30 Tyrants who preferred to blame, execute or exile Socrates, than accept the label of governmental-incompetence for losing the war.

His Method

Four key elements:

a) Stimulate organized thinking through probing questions.

b) Keep the conversation focused on self-understanding leading to logical conclusions.

c) Always be intellectually fair with the person questioned.

d) Periodically summarize what has been concluded and its implications.

e) Remember the Socratic Method is skeptic1107al and questions flip answers and beliefs.

Is There Always a Single Answer?

Socrates and those present day teachers who use his method, use a conversational approach. They attempt to draw out the reasoning and correct answer from the student. They do not lecture the students, but interact through deft questioning.

The system is empirical and inductive, practical yet based on the life experience of all people. Socrates seeks to draw out the student to understand the implications of his/her beliefs, by deductive thinking comprehending its logical consequences.

One size fits all?

There is no single answer that works under varying circumstances. Change re- quires a new set of ideas and analysis. In law the judge is given discretion based on varying circumstances.

The Socratic Method is not a set of laws that we follow blindly, but reasoning leading to focused analysis and the best response.

Why Bother With This Method?

Lecturing is boring for both the instructor and the listener. The rate of speech of a professor is about 150 words per minute, while note-taking by the listener is no more than 25 words per minute. We, the listener, get lost in a flood of information and quit listening because we cannot keep up.

Question and analysis is interactive, leading to mutually satisfying conclusions.

The secret is Feedback. When we respond to questions by thoughtful answers, we invoke our basic instinct curiosity. Back-and-forth feedback monitors growing personal comprehension. It leads to an improvement in self-esteem.

Remember questions are specific and logical, and require a united effort between our left and right hemispheres. Lecturing is a reversion to childhood when your parents and teachers told you how and what to think. Q&A the Socratic method - is a joint-venture between adults.

Are There Any Rules?

a) Make the questions intriguing and mentally arousing.

b) Questions must lead someplace incremental steps to reasonable conclusions and implications.

c) Look for logical steps in thinking, not lockstep answers.

d) The goal is personal understanding, and being open to change of opinion through personal growth by logical thinking.

e) Make the student see the illogic of their own thinking, to correct it and move forward to better ideas.

We do not want to provide cues to the right-answer because the system is a matter of learning to think skeptically and find our own way to reasonable solutions.


Speed reading is a psychomotor skill that permits us to read three (3) books, articles and reports in the time our peers can hardly complete one.

Half the students who become drop-outs do so because they cannot keep up with the assignments. There are not enough hours in the day for them, to read and learn. Daily, they keep falling further behind. They read and remember information too slowly because they have no strategy beyond reading one word at a time, sub- vocalizing, regressing, and forgetting what they read within minutes of completion called porous concentration.

The Socratic Method is a strategy to train yourself to use questions and answers in pursuit of lucid analysis. Our experience is - it produces better long-term memory and focused attention.

Personal growth a learning skill goal occurs from the consistent use of probing question and listening for ideas, through logic and reasoning. If you want to grow you want to learn. Learning consists of gathering information and cross-examining it with solid questions, and analyzing what sticks to the barn door.

See ya,

copyright 2006

H. Bernard Wechsler

Author of Speed Reading for Professionals, published by Barron's Educational, business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating 2 million, including the White House staff of four U.S. Presidents.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Improve Your Conversation Skills By Changing Your Negative Thoughts to Positive Thoughts

Many people feel nervous and shy when they have to make conversation with others, especially when they don't know they very well. Does this happen to you, especially when you are trying to make small talk with someone?

Once you start to criticize yourself in your mind, your ability to make conversation successfully will go down hill very quickly.

What can you do to improve your conversation confidence?

One of the best ways to become more confident at making conversation is to notice what negative messages you are sending yourself about your conversation ability.

You may have negative messages to yourself that are very automatic, that start appearing in your mind as soon as you say anything that you think is less than perfect.

Notice exactly what you are saying to yourself. Only then can you fight back against your negative messages by putting new positive messages in their place.

Pay attention to your negative self thoughts. Write them down so you can examine them. Chances are that your messages to yourself are very critical. For example, you may be mentally calling yourself names like loser and idiot.

Why would you do this? This may be a habit you have developed because you have low self esteem. Or you may be simply repeating the kinds of words your parents often said to you.

Why would you put yourself down this way and repeat this harsh criticism to yourself?

The real reason is that some part of your mind thinks that by criticizing you harshly with such negative words you will change your behavior and suddenly become a confident, competent person.

Does this technique actually work? No! If you have been criticizing yourself this way in the past, you already know that it does not make you perform better. In fact, all this negative internal criticism will only make you more nervous, more shy, more awkward, more embarrassed and more tongue-tied.

And this negative self criticism will not bring you one step closer to becoming a popular, relaxed confident person who can talk easily with anybody.

So, how can you switch your mind to a more positive way of thinking so that your confidence and your conversation performance will actually improve?

There are several different ways to do this, and you may benefit from using more than one method.

One good method to use as a starting point is to counteract the actual content of what you are telling yourself when you say those negative criticisms. You counteract your negative automatic thoughts using positive logical statements.

Heres an example. Suppose that while you were having a conversation with somebody, you just said mentally to yourself, Im such a loser. I never say anything right. Every thing I say sounds so stupid. These people must all think Im an idiot. No wonder no one ever likes me.

These are certainly very negative statements to use on yourself. Will such negative thoughts help you to perform better in the future? Will they give you the confidence you need to relax and enjoy talking with other people? No they wont!

And they are not even realistic statements. They are not based on real facts. They are just very negative, automatic statements that have become a habit for you. So change this way of thinking!

First, tell yourself to stop thinking the negative thoughts. Give your mind a clear signal to stop. You can simply say "Stop" to yourself. Say to yourself, "I will no longer make such negative statements to myself. I will search for a better, more positive message to send to myself in the future."

Heres an example you can use:

"I just noticed that Im automatically saying all those negative things to myself again. I called myself an idiot over and over again. But am I really an idiot? Thats just name calling. Im not really an idiot. Im actually smart in a lot of ways. Do I really say stupid things all the time? I probably say stupid things once in a while, but not any more often than everybody else does. I dont know whether other people think Im an idiot or not. Im not really a mind reader. And I guess if some people sometimes think I sometimes say stupid things, its unfortunate, but its not really the end of the world."

"When I tell myself that nobody could like me, once again I'm making negative statements where I exaggerate and think that I really know what other people are thinking. I don't know for sure whether all other people like me or not. Its more logical to think that some people like me and some people dont. All I can do is to try to be myself."

When you consistently retrain yourself to change your negative thoughts about the way you perform when you are talking with others with positive thoughts, you will become much more relaxed and confident when you make conversation with others.

This article was written by conversation expert Royane Real. To learn more about how to improve your social skills and conversation skills, download her new book "Your Guide to Finding Friends, Making Friends, and Keeping Friends" at ht10E7tp://www.royanereal.com

Self-Respect - Six Examples of How Learning to Respect Yourself Attracts Respect From Others

Too many people expect to be respected by others when they don't act respectfully themselves. Once you learn to respect yourself, you will attract respect from others. Here are some guidelines for learning self-respect.

"I want him to respect me."

"If people respect me, I'll respect them."

"My kids should respect me (it doesn't matter how I treat them)."

If you dont respect yourself, youll never respect others.

Self-Respecting People

1. Think about how their behavior affects the people around them

2. Consider what they say before blurting out hurtful words

3. Understand the Golden Rule according to Eugene BroB63wn, LPC (my former supervisor and mentor): Do unto others as they need to be done unto

4. Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)

5. Take responsibility for their behavior

6. Let go of the need to hold grudges

Let's look at these six ideas about self-respect:

1. Think about how their behavior effects the people around them

Self-respecting people realize that they don't live in a vacuum; their behavior affects others. They think about what they do and ask themselves, "How will my doing ________ affect the people I care about/my coworkers/others I come in contact with?" They weigh the consequences carefully before acting.

2. Consider what they say before blurting out hurtful words

When self-respecting people engage in disagreements with others, they act diplomatically. Yes, they experience anger just like the rest of us, but they choose their responses instead of allowing a knee-jerk reaction to determine what happens next. They realize that hurtful words wont help their partner understand what is wrong and will harm the relationship.

3. Understand the Golden Rule according to Eugene Brown, LPC (my former supervisor and mentor): Do unto others as they need to be done unto

This ties into understanding that their behavior impacts others. They realize that just because they would like something done a certain way, that others may not agree. They take the time to learn how others need to be treated, rather than just using a "one size fits all" approach.

4. Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)

Self-respecting people understand the value of active listening. They know that if people feel understood, then they are more likely to be willing to listen to another persons point of view. Self-respecting people do not try to push their views on others to be understood first. They are willing to work to earn the other persons respect and trust.

5. Take responsibility for their behavior

This means they are willing to admit when they are wrong. They feel comfortable with themselves and don't feel threatened if they make a mistake. Their ego isn't tied up in always needing to be right. This also means that the self-respecting person lets others be responsible for their behavior, letting go of the need to control them or change them.

6. Let go of the need to hold grudges

Self-respecting people realize that when they hold a grudge, they keep themselves locked into anger and resentment. They know they will keep growing as a person when they allow others to be responsible for their behavior instead of holding a grudge to try to make others change.

For more tips and tools for attracting love and prosperity into your life, visit http://www.sanantoniorelationshipcoach.com For weekly tips and tools sign up for Michelle's free newsletter, Relationship Success, while you're there. You can also visit http://languageofrelating.blogspot.com and http://powerofgratitude.blogspot.com Michelle E. Vasquez is a Relationship Coach in San Antonio, Texas. She specializes in helping people attract the life they want and create the relationships that bring them joy. She is available for in office and phone coaching for individuals and couples who want to create more joy in their relationships.

How Easy Is It To Stop Foreclosure On Your Own?

Since the meltdown in the real estate markets and the increasing foreclosure rates, several new websites have popped up offering free foreclosure help and marketing self-help packages and programs. Many of them do not describe much of the contents of their products, but similar ones have been around for years. They almost always consist of some sort of self-help package, with forms and instructions designed go guide homeowners along the path of avoiding foreclosure in several different methods.

For homeowners who want to try to stop foreclosure on their own, they can do a lot worse than buying a product that will guide them through some of the steps in the legal process. Several of these products also offer worksheets to help homeowners evaluate what options they may qualify for, as well as form letters that can be customized for a variety of purposes. These might include working with the mortgage company, explaining the foreclosure when applying for a new loan, or requesting the sheriff sale be postponed for a period of time.

Homeowners should not expect magic from any product or source of foreclosure help, though, unless they are willing to put in the hard work necessary to save their homes. Stopping foreclosure is not easy, it takes time, and the other parties in the process (banks, attorneys, courts, and so on) may not be entirely receptive. If the foreclosure victims pay for the self-help package, and then fail to follow the guides or instructions, there is a strong possibility they will lose the home, regardless of what products 5B4they have purchased. Unfortunately, when homeowners are unable to prevent foreclosure, they blame the product itself, rather than their efforts in putting it to its most effective uses.

Homeowners who are serious about saving their homes on their own could also probably find mostly similar documents that are used in the foreclosure help packages for free through various sources online, as well. Many websites now offer form letters, worksheets, and simple calculators to help foreclosure victims examine options that may be used to stop foreclosure. Of course, finding these tools online through many sources would extra take time to do the research, put together form letters and worksheets to match the situation, and would generally involve more work than just buying a kit, which has all of the information centrally located. But in either case, the homeowners will have to work with the information and their banks in order to make the most effective use of any program.

Many of these self-help packages are often relatively cheap, costing less than a few hundred dollars -- some even cost much less than $100, which causes some homeowners to suspect they will not be getting much for their money. But a low price does not necessarily mean the products are of low quality; instead, the relatively cheap price should indicate that working out the solutions to foreclosu58Fre will be entirely in the hands of the foreclosure victims, who will be solely responsible for putting in the work to save their homes. The owners do all of the work in negotiating with the bank or finding alternate sources of assistance, with minimal guidance from the providers of the information.

If they are expecting to have their hands held and for someone else to contact the mortgage company for them after paying for a self-help package, then they may be better off hiring a professional loss mitigation company or bankruptcy attorney. But if the homeowners really are willing to work on finding a solution on their own with the kit and some extra background information, then this solution can be very cost-effective in providing them with extra options to save the house.

The ForeclosureFish website has been created to provide homeowners in danger of losing their houses with relevant and important foreclosure help and advice. The site describes various methods that may be used to save a home, such as delaying a sheriff sale, avoiding eviction, how to qualify for a home after foreclosure, and more. Visit the site to read more articles about how foreclosure works and how the process may be avoided before it is too late: 25Bhttp://www.foreclosurefish.com/

Boost Your Self Esteem

Having high self-esteem and high self worth is the basis for a happy, productive and well balanced life. Poor self-esteem, on the other hand, tends to lead to an unfulfilling and unhappy life where you will fall well short of your potential.

So how do you increase your self-esteem?

There are three areas that you need to consider with regard to boosting your se13CDlf-esteem. These are Your relationship with yourself, Your relationship to other people, and Your habits.

Your Relationship With Yourself
Our sense of self-worth and self-esteem may have been moulded and formed by experiences in our childhood, but it is how we regard ourselves today that perpetuates the vicious circle.

To boost your self-esteem you need to appreciate yourself more. Be aware when you do something well and congratulate yourself. Look back over your life time and list all the things you have done successfully there are hundreds of things if you just look for them. To start you off: perhaps you have successfully learned to talk your native language; you have successfully learned to walk, and run and jump; you have successfully learned to tie your shoelaces; you dared to ask someone out on a date. The list is endless. If you write all these successes down then that list becomes a resource to boost your self-esteem by re-reading it and adding to it every day.

Become your own best friend and champion. Watch what you say to yourself and make sure that you always use supportive, kind and positive language. Even when you make mistakes and things go wrong, you can tell yourself that you tried your best, you did what you thought was right at the time, you are still a good person. Too many people spend most of their self-talk being thoroughly unkind and nasty to themselves and undermining and lowering their self-esteem.

Your Relationship To Other People
Each day we interact with other people and their reactions to us can cause us to feel better, or worse, about ourselves. This can undermine our self-esteem, or it can help to build it up. There are several actions you can take to boost your self-esteem in relation to other people.

Most of us will have received compliments, good wishes, perhaps good school reports, at some time in our lives. Collect all the nice things that anyone else has ever said about you and write them down. Keep a note of all the kind and generous things other people have done for you. As you do this you will realise that other people do like you and appreciate you because you are OK.

Remind yourself daily what you love about your close family and friends. As you focus on what is good in these relationships that good will grow and any niggling dissatisfactions will fade into the background. You'll be happier and you will feel better about yourself.

When people appear to be unkind or unjust to you, realise that the other person is always doing the best they know how in their own life situation. If they put you down it is because they lack self-esteem it's got nothing to do with you.

Develop new habits
One of the ways we tend to maintain our level of self-esteem is through our daily habits. If your habits are undermining your self-esteem, change them for supportive habits that will build you up and encourage you.

Set small goals that you can achieve fairly easily and then appreciate yourself when you achieve them.

Take a brisk walk or a bike ride and make sure you breathe deeply of good fresh air. It's not only good for your physical health but it lifts your spirits and makes you feel better about yourself.

Create and read positive affirmations about yourself and your life. Read inspiring books, particularly biographies of great people.

Create a list each evening of the things you are grateful for that day. And feel gratitude for them. As you feel gratitude for what you have your self-esteem grows and your spirits lift. Happy people have much higher self-esteem than unhappy people.

Smile at a stranger, maybe even speak to a stranger. Cheer someone else up and you will feel better about yourself.

If you will incorporate just a few of these new behaviours into your life each day you will find your self-esteem increasing and you will start to feel much better about yourself.

Penny Dablin is a life coach and the author of How To Feel Great, Find Love and Get Promoted: 50 Ways To Boost Your Self-Esteem
For many more ideas and ways to build your self-esteem check out the website at http://www.buildyourselfesteem.co.uk

Spiritual Advice