Motivation

It’s Okay to Be a Sore Loser

What? Did I just say it’s okay to act like a bad sport after you lose? Well, not necessarily. We live in a culture that unfortunately discourages success. Kids now play sports where there are no scores and some schools are doing away with grades so that the kids that don’t perform well don’t feel bad. Now as adults, we run into situations all the time where we have the potential to be the loser: competing for an account or a promotion, putting an offer on a house or an item on ebay, dating, looking for work or any other situation where there is more than one person vying for the same limited resource.

Society tells us we should lose gracefully, and some personal development “gurus” tell us to change our meaning of “losing” be something ridiculous like “not competing” so that the act of just going for something automatically makes us a winner. But deep down, it hurts to lose. I’ve seen grown men weep after their team has lost a big game – and it’s not just the players, it’s the fans too. While that may seem silly to many of us, we all have competitive areas of our lives that we take seriously.

How I Stopped Dying

I don’t usually put personal posts on this blog but given that I haven’t posted anything in a while, I figured it’s time to at least let you all know that I’m still alive. Like most people in the US (and especially in the Northeast where we literally have wicked weather), December is a busy time for me. On the personal side, I celebrate Christmas and several birthdays of close relatives and friends. And this year was especially hectic because I actually did some traveling – I spent ten days at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

How I Got Interested in Public Speaking

When I tell people that one of the things I teach is public speaking, the first thing they typically ask is why. Most of the time, they really mean that they wonder why someone would get interested in that particular topic. So as I explain that I actually get a rush from doing something that most people avoid like the plague, the questions become more serious and I’m asked what interested me in public speaking to begin with and how I got to where I am today.

As a kid, I always enjoyed making people smile and I still feel the same way today. In fact, I’ll often go out of my way to get a laugh out of someone, even if I have to make myself look foolish in the process. When I was in my pre-teen years, I had dreamed of becoming an actor. I tried to convince my parents to move across the country to California so I could become one. That didn’t quite work out so I found other outlets for my creativity. In high school, it was sports.

The Social Media Trap

I recently took a step back from social media because I found things getting to be quite intense and wanted to reflect on the role it’s played in both my personal and professional life. No, there weren’t any heated arguments or steamy love affairs. Instead, I found myself falling into a trap that many people fall into when it comes to social media – getting too immersed.

Why People Fail

I’ve never been a big fan of “date” movies – romantic comedies where you know the guy and the girl are going to get together at the end, but not sure exactly how they’ll get through the mess created during the first twenty minutes of the film. With these types of films, part of the plot line usually has to do with a guy who’s afraid of commitment.

I usually get frustrated with this plot line – the gal should just move on (or to make it a movie more to my liking, blow up his car while he’s driving away). But no, it gets drawn out for 90+ minutes and somehow the guy sees the err in his ways and decides that he was wrong to not commit in the first place and spend the second half of the movie trying to correct the situation. In most cases, there’s a happy ending but not always. But what’s interesting is that fear or lack of commitment happens a lot in real life and the results are often not a happy ending.

Why Most Self-Help Books are Garbage

I try to read at least one book per week. It doesn’t always happen, but I try. While I love sci-fi and other fiction, I always find myself drawn to non-fiction so the majority of these books are from the self-help category. I don’t know what it is that draws me in – perhaps the quick fix, answer to all my prayers, one missing ingredient that’s keeping me from my dreams – but I find them fascinating. I also find these books to be fun – sort of like a treasure hunt – as I search for those useful morsels that I can apply to my own situation.

But with more and more of these books hitting the stores each week, the quality of the books (and their material) has dropped significantly. I’m finding it more difficult to not only find useful information, but actually getting through the book. I’ve noticed that many of these books use a similar format – a breakdown of the content of their book into a few distinct categories. As you read along, you’ll probably notice that many of the recent books you’ve read use this very same formula. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown of major parts of today’s self-help books:

Parents Should Act Like Parents

If you’ve even been in a public place (such as a restaurant, movie theater or mall) around teenagers and you’re older than twenty-five, you’ve probably noticed that they can get quite obnoxious. I was reminded of this over the weekend when I went out to see a movie that a couple dozen teens were also interested in – and it made me appreciate and see the value in the premium theater that doesn’t allow people under 21. While I was once an obnoxious teenager myself (and it wasn’t that long ago), I remember my peers and I having at least some respect for our elders, whether they were strangers or our parents.

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