personal development

Don’t Blink

There’s a song by Kenny Chesney called “Don’t Blink” that has an interesting message to it. It’s about a guy watching the news where a man that just turned 102 is being interviewed. The reporter asks the man for advice on how to reach 100 years and the man essentially tells the reporter to enjoy life because “100 years goes by faster than you think. So don’t blink.”

The message from the song is so true. You’re a kid and then before you know it, you’re a young adult getting married. And then all of sudden you’ve got children, and then grandchildren and then you and your spouse have reached the 50 year mark.

I’m Dying

When you pass someone in the hallway in a familiar setting such as a college or office, it’s common courtesy to say “hi” to them. The same holds true when you enter a waiting area, elevator or other small area and there’s only one other person there. Sometimes, a question such as “how are you?” or “how’s going is asked?” and this is where it starts getting interesting.

When people make this kind of small talk, they often do it on auto pilot because the typical response they get is “good” and then they reply with “good.” So I recently tried an experiment. When someone passing me by or sharing an elevator with me would ask me how I was, I replied with “I’m dying” nonchalantly. Seven out of eight times, they said “good” or “cool” – they had no idea what I said – the other person asked “figuratively or literally?”.

Don’t Be a Squirrel

It seems like practically every day I drive by a dead squirrel in the road. I never thought much about it until yesterday when I slammed on my brakes to avoid hitting one. At first, I figured that it’s because there’s a lot of squirrels and a lot of cars where I live. But there are a lot of other animals too, and I rarely see them lying dead in the road. But watching this squirrel dart back and forth clued me in on the problem, and it’s a problem I see with a lot of people.

In my many years of driving, I’ve seen probably thousands of squirrels darting across busy roads. Most of the time, they could have escaped doom by doing one simple thing – being more decisive. A typical animal will start crossing the road, and if it sees a car coming at it it’ll turn back, otherwise it will continue across the road. Squirrels on the other hand dart out and then turn around when the see a car, then think they can beat it so go back across, then get almost to the other side and then turn back, and by then the car has stopped and they continue to other side. While this zig-zag pattern of unpredictability has its place in the world – this is what makes a ride like the Tower of Terror in Disney World exciting and unpredictable.

Avoiding The Angry Response

It’s easy to snap at someone. They may say or do something that bothers you or they may just look a certain way. In this high stress world that many of us live in, people walk around like ticking time bombs, just waiting to explode. But it’s during these moments that we immediately respond with anger that we may say or do something that we regret. And they can hurt, and even irreparably damage, a relationship.

One piece of advice that I share with my speaking classes is that speaking to groups makes you a better communicator during one on one situations. This is because you learn good habits such as thinking before you speak. The communication that typically gets us in trouble happens in these moments where we speak without thinking. So here are three ways to avoid the angry response.

Why We Feel Inadequate

I’ve noticed a trend lately that has started to bother me – too many people telling us that there’s something wrong with us. I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of it. Everywhere I turn, I see ads or people trying to get me to go along with their scheme to correct the problems in my life. And it’s everywhere from TV and radio to magazines & newspapers to even social media.

I have no problem with people out there trying to make an honest living. But it just seems like there are a lot of people out there with solutions looking for others to push their solutions on – and these people may not even be in need of these solutions.

How to Exit a Conversation

If you’ve ever been to a business networking event, you’ve probably been told that starting a conversation is the hardest part. This tends to be true for neophyte networkers – walking up to someone new and introducing yourself can be quite challenging. However, when you become an experienced networker, you may sometimes find that exiting a conversation is much more difficult than starting one.

An Ingredient to Spice Up Your Presentation

If you want to put your audience to sleep then go through the typical motions of putting together a speech without thinking much about why you’re there and who you’re speaking to. If you want breathe life into your audience and capture their attention, then you need to add one critical ingredient to your talk – passion.

No, not that kind of passion – the passion I’m talking about is an excited interest in what you’re talking about. Passion and excitement are contagious – just try it out in everyday conversations. When you add it to your speeches, it has a similar effect on your audience. If you’re excited, some of the people will become excited and start paying closer attention to you. Then, almost like a virus, that excitement and interest spreads to the other people in the audience. As people starting paying close attention to you, the people sitting around them subconsciously think to themselves “hmm. if that person is listening, maybe I should as well.” So as more and more people in the audience notice the people around them paying close attention, the effect spreads until it reaches most (if not all) members of the audience.

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