Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jun 18, 2012

Hold no grudge against anyone

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:19 am

On 5/19, a friend of mine called about something that upset her at home. I told her not to let it bother her if she could do nothing about it. I also shared with her the following about Obama.

I remember reading a book about President Obama. The author said Obama holds no grudge against any of his former political opponents, if it bears no weight at present. That is, he would not harbor ill feelings toward anyone who used to be against him because it is not relevant to what he is concerned at the present.

Of course, you can see from this that President Obama is a very practical person. Essentially, if you want to go for big things in life, you have to be this practical and focus your time and energy on what is relevant and important, and learn to forget and let go any past irrelevant grievances.

1, Jun 14, 2012

Learn problem-solving skills, avoid too much complaints

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:45 am

On 5/17/2012, on the way to Sonic drive through restaurant, I shared with my daughter an experience that I had that day at office.

One of my colleagues had some issues with computer that day. She could not print a document from our network. I told her a roundabout way to avoid network, that is, save that file on her local computer, then print that local copy. She would not take it, insisting that she should be able to print anything simply by hit the print icon.

She spent nearly an hour calling helpdesk, to no avail. Later, I helped her print it without going through the network. She spent next hour talking to manager, then another colleague, complaining about this issue.

I told my daughter, “To those who can solve the problem, this is not an issue at all. Instead of complaining about an issue, we should learn to resolve it ourselves. You turn to helpdesk only after you have tried but failed to resolve it.”

1, Jun 11, 2012

Self-Esteem and Mental Health

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:01 am

Around the time when I was working on my second column for midwest voices, I bumped into a writing talking about the relationship between low self-esteem and mental health problem. Interesting.

The author associated low self-esteem with many mental health problems. The two can feed off each other in a vicious circle. That is, low self-esteem can lead to depressed state, the more you depressed you become, the lower is self-esteem, and the more you avoid activities that could help to build-up esteem.

It makes sense that we tend to avoid activities that we think we are not good at. I remember I was told or I got the impression that I was a bad singer. Someone even told me not to ruin her ears by singing aloud. I took it to heart and started whistling and playing flute instead of singing aloud. As the result, the more I avoided it, the worse I became and it is no surprise if my confidence over my voice hit bottom, which is one step short of depression.

Oh boy, one can never overemphasize the negative impact of low self-esteem on a person, his mental health, spirit, mood, and life.

1, May 5, 2012

“Resist the lure of celebrity and cultivate humility”

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:49 am

Early this year, I read from Time magazine an article, saying “For 60 years, Elizabeth II has been a model of propriety and duty. Five things Kate can learn from her.”

Of course, I was curious to know what these five things are, even though I believe Kate can very well just be her unique self, one of a kind, without the need to imitate anyone at all. After I read them, I think the first two are good advices to all people. Here are the 5 things.

(1) Resist the lure of celebrity and cultivate humility.
(2) Stay with your look and be consistent with her style; it shows confidence and reassures the public.
(3) Master your brief.
(4) Embrace the countryside and its pursuits.
(5) Support William without overshadowing him.

1, May 4, 2012

Customer Service, Conflict Resolution, Part III

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:19 am

This is the third and final part of the training. Here are some quotes from the training.

(1) I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.
(2) “The customer you lost holds the information you need to succeed,” The Loyalty Effect by Frederick Reichheld.
(3) Service recovery is treating the customer well when something goes wrong.

Openly expressed disappointment can be a gift to an organization because research shows that the trust of a person is strengthened if the problem is handled properly.

Conflict resolution steps:
Take the HEAT
ear them out –If somebody yells at you, you tend to get defensive. If you interrupt someone, he tends to get louder and madder.
Empathize –put yourself in customer’s situation
Apologize — say I am sorry when you should
Take responsibility for action.

1, May 3, 2012

Customer Services and Other Human Interactions, Part II

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:53 am

I like this customer service training because I have learned something that I can apply to other human interactions like parents to children.

Poor customer service is expressed through intonation, disrespect, showing slight, making customer feel less important by not having the full attention, and other non-verbal body language. On the other hand, good customer service means respect others by giving full attention, keeping eye contact, smile, caring tone, and self-introduction.

I remember sometimes my daughter gets upset when she talks while I am not giving her full attention. Now I know this is called not showing due respect.

Key principles of good customer service include:
(1) Maintain or enhance self-esteem — you get your self-esteem from feedback from others, other people contribute to it. You praise people for something specific in order to enhance his self-esteem. e.g. “How can we do without you?”

(2) Listen and respond with empathy –listening, response, eye contact, put yourself in other’s shoe. Validate the feelings of others.

(3) Involve the customer. Involvement means empowering, release anxiety, give them control or options.

The wonderful part is you can actually use these principles in all human dealings.

1, May 2, 2012

Customer Services: Four Types of Customer Reactions, Part I

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:43 am

On 4/10 I attended a training in customer service, a required one by our work place. I learned many interesting things there. First of all, customer can be defined as anyone we interact with. That’s a broad one. Here’s another one on customer satisfaction.

Happy customer Patron Praiser
Unhappy customer Walker Talker

They are largely four types of customer reactions:
(1) Patron – a happy customer but has not expressed this verbally
(2) Praiser – a happy customer who either sends a thank you letter or verbally expressed it.
(3) Walker – an unhappy one but says nothing about it, just walk away and never return.
(4) Talker – an unhappy one and let you know immediately of his unhappiness by verbalizing it.

At first, I thought the kind of customer reaction is more determined by one’s personality, the out-going customers being more verbal while introverts tend to be either patron or walker. I was surprised to learn that 9 out of 10 unhappy customers are walkers.

I think it is in the culture that people avoid confrontation and choose passive aggressiveness when they are not happy. In fact, you can see the same pattern of response in all human interactions, including within a family. The introverts tend to walk away without a word when they are upset, but the unhappiness is still there. The out-going ones will shout and yell and let the world know their unhappiness. Very interesting.

1, Apr 5, 2012

Human Mind is a Fragile Matter

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:16 am

One of my colleagues has very low threshold for stress and pressure.  She would get flare-up if she perceives a lot of work. Many people feel overwhelmed by too many tasks on hand. Some simply give up trying.

On the other hand, some people feel depressed when they suddenly find themselves having nothing to do with their time. Having nothing to do tend to create a sense of meaninglessness, as if life had no purpose. This often happens among people who just retire or right after you complete a big project.

To be sure, for some people, their minds are so delicate that they need to maintain a well-balanced work load, not too busy, not too free.

While my daughter tends to feel overwhelmed by having too much things to take care of, I have the tendency to go the opposite way.

1, Apr 2, 2012

Seeking Common Grounds and Let Go Minor Differences

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:00 am

It means seeking common ground on large issues and let go minor differences among people.

I have found from my role as contributing columnist there are some people who seem in their nature very antagonistic. No matter what you write, they can always pick a fight and come up with something very negative. And very often they comments are full of personal attacks like this “This pundit is incorrect again. (for the umpteenth time IMO)”

When I talked to my daughter about this, I summed up the damaging effects of such negativity.
(1) It creates a rather unpleasant reading experience. I always feel dreadful reading these comments.
(2) It put people on the defensive as soon as you start attacking them.
(3) Worst of all, be antagonistic never helps clarify the issue.
(4) It only serves to fuel up negative feelings against each other.

I think of daily interactions with people and I think of this Chinese saying.

1, Mar 28, 2012

Weight, Habit, the longer, the harder to get rid of

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:02 am

Yesterday I went out with my daughter in the evening. It was nice and cool outside. I shared this experience with her on the way.

An acquaintance of mine told me she worked hard to lose weight but was not successful. “It is hard, you know,” she told me. I could see she did try to eat healthy and stay active, but still showing no sign of improvement.

This reminds me of what I learned about fluff pounds, which are the temporary weight gain you get during holiday seasons when you eat too much food for a day or two. Good thing about fluff pounds is they will be gone in 1-2 days IF you return to your health diet and make timely effort to get rid of the extra pounds.

On the other hand, if you wait for a week or so and do nothing about fluff pounds, it will be harder to lose than if you work on them in a day or two. The unpleasant fact is the longer you keep your fluff pounds, the hard it will be to take them off. By the time they are no longer fluff pounds, they tend to stay in your body relatively permanently. That’s what happened to my acquaintance.

I told my daughter, “Same thing can be said of habit. The younger you are, the easy it is for you to form good habits.”

1, Mar 23, 2012

“It seems to be human nature to aim high and fall short.”

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:04 am

On 3/14/2012, after work, I went to Barnes and Noble’s where my daughter was doing something. I read Scientific American Mind magazine, which we used to subscribe when my son was home. There is an article on Mar/April issue, “The Secrets of Self-Improvement: Meet Your Goals with Research-Proven Tips and Techniques” by Marina Krakovsky.

“It seems to be human nature to aim high and fall short.” Well, the title looks attractive. The article details some tips that can help you on the track to your goal.

(1) Maintain realistic expectations
–visualize your success along with the specific obstacles you will face.
–avoid situations that trigger the habit or behavior that you want to break away from.
–forgive yourself if you slip up. Keep moving forward.

(2) Find what motivates you most
–think about how making this change will help you become the person you aspire to be.
–try to come up with fun ways to work toward your goal.
–imagine how achieving your aim might strengthen you.
–find a way to measure your progress and track your accomplishments

(3) Take baby steps
–set short-term, achievable objectives that add up to big change

(4) Formulate action plans
–prepare yourself for specific situations “If I want to quit….. I will say”
–frame your intention as positive actions
–picture yourself carrying out your plans

1, Mar 13, 2012

Resiliency Quiz Shows How Well You Bounce Back, Part II

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:10 am

Here are the quiz.

Rate yourself from 1 to 5, that is from strongly disagree to strongly agree
(1) In a crisis or chaotic situation, I calm myself and focus on taking useful actions.
(2) I am usually optimistic. I see difficulties as temporary, expecting to overcome them.
(3) I can tolerate high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.
(4) I adapt quickly to new developments. I am good at bouncing back from difficulties.
(5) I am playful. I can see the funny side of rough situations and can laugh at myself.

(6) I am able to recover emotionally from losses and setbacks. I have friends I can talk with. I can express my feelings to others and can ask for help.
(7) I feel self-confident, appreciate myself, and have a healthy concept of who I am.
(8) I am curious. I ask questions. I want to know how things work. I like to try new ways of doing things.
(9) I learn valuable lessons from my experiences and from the experiences of others.
(10) I am good at solving problems. I can think in analytical, creative, or practical ways.

(11) I am good at making things work well. I am often asked to lead groups and projects.
(12) I am very flexible. I feel comfortable with my paradoxical complexity. I am optimistic and pessimistic, trusting and cautious, unselfish and selfish, and so forth.
(13) I am always myself, but I have noticed that I am different in different situations.
(14) I prefer to work without a written job description. I am more effective when I am free to do what I think is best in each situation.
(15) I read people well and trust my intuition.

(16) I am a good listener, I have good empathy skills.
(17) I don’t judge others, and I am comfortable with many kinds of people.
(18) I am very durable. I hold up well during tough times. I work well with others, but I also have an independent spirit.
(19) I have been made stronger and better by difficult experiences.
(20) I have converted misfortune into good luck and found benefits in bad experiences.

I got this result, “You are more resilient than most. You are probably able to handle most of life’s challenges well.” I am wondering if everybody got the same thing.

1, Mar 12, 2012

Resiliency Quiz Shows How Well You Bounce Back, Part 1

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:58 am

On 3/8/2012, I took a resiliency quiz provided in chapter two in book The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert. It reveals how well one bounces back from setbacks, loss, stressful situations, frustration, and any unexpected or unfortunate or unhappy events in life.

People who are resilient recover quickly from disruptive change, illness, or misfortune without being overwhelmed or acting in destructive ways.

The quiz calculates your score based on the statements you choose. The calculation is based on those personality factors—such as flexibility, self-confidence, creativity, and ability to learn from experience—that make people more resilient.

Continued tomorrow…

1, Feb 28, 2012

My Best Mood Boost Comes From…

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:55 am

ON 2/22/2012, I read this interesting poll on medscape site. The poll question goes like this. My best mood boost comes from–
No.1 Maintaining a routine that fits me
No.2 Changing up my ensemble
No.3 Shaking up the routine
No.4 Exercising

The result:
62% of response vote for exercising
27% for No.1
6% for No.3
5% for No.2

Of course, the winner is exercise. Because we all should have known by now the benefit of exercise on our brains. And we also know following the same routines allows us to live with the old habits, go through the same pattern of familiar daily activities, no risk, no surprise, and of course routines provide comfort.

What surprises me most here is the impact on our mood when we shake up our routine and change up ensemble. There must be something that is biologically hard-wired in us and that makes us stick to the old routines, the familiar environment and avert the strange experience. Is this also the effect of inertia in us? This leaves me all the more respectful of those who choose a different path and challenge themselves with the unknown and uncertainty in life.

1, Feb 20, 2012

Tricks to Keep Your New Year Resolution

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:32 am

I read this early this year from London Express. Here are some of the tips on keeping our grand promises at the beginning of the year.

(1) Be realistic. Most of resolutions are about breaking bad habits and creating new ones. Just as constant dripping wears away a stone, so will our constant effort and daily attention help us reach our goal.
(2) Get organized. Be strategic. For example, in order to curb “comfort eating,” have an alternative ready to meet your next craving.
(3) Visualize success. Hold that sparkling vision of a new you and hold it everyday of the year.

Below is from our office’s internal circulation on how to implement New Year Resolution.

(1) Set more specific and realistic goals. Commit to doing something everyday to reach your goal
(2) Don’t beat yourself up. There is a reason we only make New Year’s Resolution once a year —
they can’t be accomplished all in one day. Realize that anything worth doing takes time
(3) Celebrate the little accomplishments. Find a way to reward yourself for a good job done
(4) Get support. Find people who will support you as well as remind you to get back on your feet
when you have fallen short.
(5) Make plans in advance and with others. This way, you are less likely to give up.

If you don’t want to set and forget, come back to your promise at a fix date every month. There is nobody out there checking you, hence you got only yourself to check on you. Isn’t that scary?

1, Feb 11, 2012

“Anything worth anything at all requires practice and patience”

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:46 am

On 2/6/2012, I started working on the tasks that I set for myself on my New Year Resolution of 2012. One of them is to learn Tai-chi. The next day I shared it with a friend of mine at office. She talked about learning Tai-chi last summer and has not started yet. She asked me if I took classes from some Tai-chi master.

I told her it was home schooling, self-taught by following the video. I figure if I cannot learn it from a video, I would be too dumb to follow a class instructor. One-on-one instrutor is more expensive than piano teacher. I think if it is a challenge, it is a good one and I believe I can take it on. Just as I learned roller skating a few years ago.

She said, “Anything worth anything at all requires practice and patience, I think. If it is too easy, you give it up too fast and it doesn’t mean as much.”

I shared this view with my daughter. She agreed with my colleague. In fact, she is going to be my cheerleader in my endeavor.

By the way, there are 24 forms in simple tai-chi. It took me two days to learn the first one. At this rate, it will take 48 days (24×2) to learn all of them. 48 days can pass very fast even if we don’t learn anything. I thought I might put a little bit value into them and get something out of them.

1, Jan 29, 2012

Keep the Momentum to Avoid the Onset of Inertia

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:49 am

Yesterday morning, my daughter and I went out for a walk. I told her one of my discoveries that I made during my daily morning exercise.

I found it was a lot easy to keep on jogging than stopping for a second and then resuming it. Once I stopped, I found it hard to resume it. She said it was called inertia. The strange thing is while I am running, I don’t find it hard to stop. In fact, I always welcome the idea of stopping. It seems inertia works only one-way, that is, you encounter resistance only when you move forward or move from rest to action or from an easy stage to a difficult one.

It seems our natural tendency is to slip into an easy stage whenever possible, just as water flows downward effortlessly. It takes some effort to reverse the inertia or natural downward movement.

For me, I have learned it is better to keep the momentum if you don’t want to encounter inertia and make an extra effort to conquer it. No wonder people say it is better to get all the degrees you want in one breath instead of taking a few years off.

P.S. we went to Nelson Atkins Museum of Art yesterday. It was a delighted experience.

1, Jan 21, 2012

Lack of Patience When Talking With People With Foreign Accents

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:38 am

Last Thursday, 1/19/2012, I went post office to pick up a package that my daughter ordered online. There were plenty of customers with only one postal worker around. To make things worse, this one talks with a foreign accent.

I saw a young lady got impatient when there seemed to have a misunderstanding between she and the postal worker. The postal one seemed to answer a question that was not what the lady asked. “Oh, never mind, forget it.” With that, she left, looking more than upset with the postal worker. The postal worker looked hurt and red-faced.

I feel sorry for the postal worker, who actually speaks much better English than I do. I am sure with a little patience she has no problem communicating with her customers. Back home, I shared this part of experience with my daughter, hoping she could be patient when she talks with people with foreign accents.

1, Jan 4, 2012

Teenage Years: Crucial for Your IQ

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:05 am

I have posted something on this topic before, probably with exact wording. Still, I think it worthwhile to be posted again as I can never overemphasize those brain formative years in one’s life.

The article appeared on BBC News, 10/19/2011 — IQ ‘can change in teenage years’ By David Shukman.

“Intellectual performance can both improve and deteriorate in adolescence. The mental ability of teenagers can improve or decline on a far greater scale than previously thought, according to new research.”

“… tests conducted on teenagers at an average age of 14 and then repeated when their average age was nearly 18 found improvements – and deterioration.”

If you fool around and waste away those precious teenage years –drinking, smoking, too much hanging out, rebelling against any authority simply for the sake of rebelling — when you finally wake up from the abyss of your stupidity, you will surely find yourself suffering from IQ loss for life, which is the cost of immaturity and teenage stupidity.

Scary but true. I wish more teenagers realize this.

1, Dec 31, 2011

New Year’s Eve, New Year Resolution

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:31 am

“The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.”
― Michel Foucault

It is this time of the year when we both look back and look forward. On 12/17/2011, while my daughter and I were at the Barnes & Noble’s bookstore, I shared with her Foucault’s word. I said, “In other words, you are a different person from the one you start with.” To be sure, these few words are open to interpretation.

Still, I find his statement very much fitting for this occasion, that is, if you can re-word it like this — the main purpose of New Year Resolution is to become, in some way, someone at the end of the year that you were not at the begining of the year, or a better version of you.

1, Dec 20, 2011

The Hardest Thing in the World

On 10/25/2011, I received an email from a friend of mine. I thought it so true. Here’s my translation. I am not sure if my translation brings out original meaning. I do hope my children could read Chinese, one of the hardest things for me to do.

The hardest thing to keep is time;
The hardest thing to seize is opportunity;
The hardest thing to do well is detail;
The hardest thing to deal with is human relations;
The hardest thing to get rid of is habit;
The hardest thing to obtain is heart;
The hardest thing to distribute is interest;
The hardest thing to control is mood;
The hardest thing to conquer is self;
The hardest thing to find is true friend;
The hardest thing to resist is temptation;
The hardest thing to enhance is one’s inherent quality.

1, Dec 17, 2011

Do What Is Right Not What Makes You Feel Good

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence,Parenting 101 — Tags: , — admin @ 12:27 am

It may make you feel good when you scream out your frustration.
It may make you feel good when you throw out hurtful words without any regards toward other people’s feeling.
It may make you feel good when you smash at something hard to let out your anger.
It may make you feel good when you always have the last word in quarrel.
It may make you feel good when you solve your problem with a powerful fist.
It may make you feel good when you indulge yourself in your favorite unhealthy food.
It may make you feel good when you smoke as you are so addicted to.
It may make you feel good when you drink as an alcohol does.
It may make you feel good when you lie in bed instead of venturing out in the morning.
It may make you feel good when you are just purely selfish.

But you know what, do the right thing always, because, by the end of the day, doing the right thing will make you a good person and that should make you feel good.

If you ask why I write this piece, it is because I am fed up with too many selfish persons.

1, Dec 16, 2011

Change, Task Alternation and Overcome our Brain Inertia

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:28 am

I told my daughter task alternation might reduce mental fatigue and enhance productivity. That is, you work on one subject for an hour and another one for the next hour instead of dragging on for hours on one subject as she often does. Even though she knows its benefits, she often resists alternation. Actually she is not alone here.

I have also found myself having this tendency to stick to one task as long as I can and any slight change seems a challenge to me. Call it brain inertia. I think this inertia originates from our aversion to change.

Because change means we need to put in more energy to get started and become familiar to the new task. We like to be energy efficient mentally and biologically.

That’s why I set a timer when I was cleaning around in kitchen. I pack it up and go once time is up. When I check email, I set timer. This way, I don’t get hooked on one task and let a whole chunk of time pass before I realize it.

1, Oct 31, 2011

Be Happy Somebody Cares Enough to Point Out Your Blemish, Part II

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:20 am

That co-worker sees criticism as personal attack or a challenge to her judgment and intelligence. Every time I see people raising their voice and getting hot-headed and rather energetic on self-defense upon a slightest criticism, I think of that co-worker and how people never care to contradict her, and how much she has lost because of this.

My co-worker presents a sharp contrast to this Chinese saying, “Being delighted when people bring up our weakness.”

It is a matter of attitude and interpretation. I am sure we will benefit tremendously if we can tuck in our useless pride and see kindness and positive factor in people who care enough to make us see our blemish.

Imagine how you feel if I see an used band-aid stuck to the back of your hair and walk away without telling you, tyring to cover my smirk at the same time. That means I-dont-care. How sad that would be!

1, Oct 30, 2011

Be Happy Somebody Cares Enough to Point Out Your Blemish, Part I

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:16 am

When I was at our SW clinic back in 2009, one of the co-workers was a genuine headache. If someone points out her mistakes, it is like poking the hornet’s nest, she would make a scene and put her whole self out in self-defense. She takes it very personally.

Once I saw she used pencil on inclusion/exclusion document and the wonderful part was our doctor even signed on it. This is like inviting trouble. Still, I would poke that wasp nest by telling her this. Indeed, when the monitor asked her to write it in ink and ask doctor to re-sign it, oh-boy, she was so mad that the air was filled with f-word spitted out from her mouth.

I observe the reactions and attitudes of people around her. I mean nobody cares to put out her mistakes. Once I noticed she committed a major protocol violation, I only confirmed my discovery with another friendly colleague and just watched from a safe distance.
To be continued…

1, Oct 5, 2011

Comfort Zone and Breakthrough

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence,Human nature — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:14 am

When I was in China, my sister told me the story of her friend’s daughter. The girl just came back from America after a year’s stay there as a high schooler. Her parents had to find an English tutor here to help with her English.

I think it ridiculous that she still cannot carry on daily conversation after living in America for a year. I should not be surprised over it as I realize this is not an isolated case.

What often happens is this. The Chinese students jump into the circle of their country folks, their comfort zone, as soon as they arrive in America. They have as little as possible contact with Americans outside classroom. The more they fail in English, the more they seek refugee in their mother tongue, thus perpetuating the vicious circle and forgetting what they venture out for.

As with everything in life, it is actually in human nature that we tend to take the easy option whenever that option is available. It takes some courage and maturity to break away from one’s comfort zone and enjoy a giant progress.

1, Aug 16, 2011

The Power of Belief and Self-fulfilling Prophecy

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:40 am

“A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” from wiki.

I wrote about this story before, but when I asked my daughter about it. She totally forgot. This happened during my years of sociology teaching. There were a few Jewish boys in my class who already excelled in my class but still worked hard. When I asked one of them why, he told me these words which I will never forget, “Since God gives us such smart brains, we would waste them if we do not use them.”

The theory goes like this. It is this belief that has motivated them to work hard. As the result of their working hard, they got good grades which further reinforced their previous belief–they were given smart brains.

This works in all aspects of life. It can initiate either a good or a vicious cycle. e.g. if you believe exercise can help you lose weight, you go for it, with big stride and highly motivated. When you see the fact that you have lost weight, you are more convinced and motivated for more of it. If you want to be chained in a good cycle, hold fast to positive belief, no matter what you engage yourself.

1, Aug 2, 2011

Health Risk Assessment and Goal-Setting

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:11 am

Before the final merge of our company into KU system on 6/20, we were asked to do a health risk assessment. To be sure, it was interesting going through the list of questions. By the end of assessment, we were given some advice on how to be our healthy best, which sounds like a sound advice for all goal-setting. I make sure my daughter pays special attention to this when she makes hers, no matter what plan she does.

(1) Decide if you are ready to change
(2) Choose one lifestyle action you wish to improve

(3) Set goals leading toward changing this behavior. Think of where, when and why you have this habit.
(4) Work on one goal at a time

(5) Be realistic. Set yourself up for success. Goals that you don’t really care about or that are set too high may be un-reachable. Then you may give up.
(6) Choose positive goals.
(7) Plan measurable goals.

1, Jun 27, 2011

Yes, It is Possible to Control Yourself! Part IV

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:01 am

Fortunately, it is possible to strengthen our mental resources and turn our impulses for good. The following are tips and methods which can help bolster self-control.

(1) Become aware of the risks and long-term negative consequences of undesirable behavior.
(2) Increase your personal engagement by, e.g. telling friends or family members about your goals.

(3) Transform abstract overarching objective into reachable intermediate milestones.
(4) Take pleasure in achieving partial success and reaching intermediate milestones.

(5) Formulate “If then” resolution to deal with critical situations.
(6) Replace old habits with new good ones.

(7) Change your impulses by learning to associate the mere sight or thought of temptations with negative stimuli. e.g. chocolate with a pig.
(8) Identify situations that poses a particular risks and avoid them as much as possible.

(9) Train your working memory.
(10) Plan enough breaks and relax periods to prevent depletion of your mental resources.

Finally, know yourself and proactively avoid damaging temptations of all forms.

1, Jun 25, 2011

Yes, It is Possible to Control Yourself! Part III

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:52 am

There are two different information-processing systems in our brain fighting for control of our response to temptation.

(1) Our impulsive self makes fast associations– vending machine equals to chocolate and to the pleasurable experience of its taste. It scans the environment for potentially pleasurable stimuli and sets habitual actions in motion… Impulses aim at immediate gratification, often at the cost of long-term objectives.

(2) Reflective thought draws on reasoning and planning; it comes into play whenever someone sets a long-term goal. It helps us hold back instant gain in order to pursue a long-term objective. Compared with impulses, reflection is resource-intensive, demanding time and memory. It affords us a good measure of control over our actions.

Here we see the dichotomy between impulsive and reason, short-term and long-term, which may well be the dividing line between losers and winners.
To be continued…

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