Monday, November 30, 2009

Just Change The Channel!

When you block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you reinforce it. This is true for temptation. You don't defeat temptation by fighting its feeling. The more you fight the feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it.

Any situation begins with a thought, and the quickest way to extinguish it is to turn your attention to something else. Don't fight the thought, just change the channel of your mind and get interested in something else.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

It's About Partnership!

We go through our day and forget that there is a HIGHER FORCE working through us. If that FORCE was not present, we could not do many of the things we actually get done. Here's something I read and thought was relevant.

Dear Holy Spirit, 

I now recognize that every miracle is Your doing. Therefore, I apologize for how often in the past I have ignored or misunderstood Your guidance. I have often sidelined You and depersonalized Your role in my life. I have delegated the work You do to "professionals" and spiritual leaders. I have highly valued human solutions where only a supernatural act on Your part could bring Heaven's solutions. I've done my best not to need You -- not to live in partnership with You.

I'm sorry, How could I be so foolish? Please forgive me. Now I know the truth, and I want to change.

I precommit to cooperating with You and following Your guidance every day, especially in every miracle opportunity You bring my way. I open my mind and heart to You, and ask You to teach me in the days ahead how to partner with You in practical, joyful, and effective ways that bring Heaven to others, and joy and honor to God. In Jesus' name I pray.


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You Were Born For This --7 Keys to a Life of Predictable Miracles
Bruce Wilkinson
Multnomah Books 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60142-182-1

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Move Forward!

When you're intimated by something and you're feeling overwhelmed, remember these 3 steps:

  1. Go: get your "groove on" with baby steps.
  2. Don't quit: stick with things. Keep moving forward.
  3. Return: give it one more day and one more try. Those 1 day at a time attempts add up to the finish line!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Temptation and Power

The power of suggestion works within your mind. We move toward those thoughts that get our attention. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.

Temptation begins by getting your attention and then playing with your emotions. When that happens, your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you feel. The more you focus on not wanting to do something, the stronger the temptation.

Ignoring a temptation is more effective than fighting it. Once your mind switches to something else, the temptation has lost its power!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

A Sticking Point

A  woman worked in a library. She did her job, and was well liked. For the most part, she was an enigma. She kept quiet and didn't mix with other people.

Her co-workers and patrons found it difficult to "read her." Her inability  to maintain eye-contact was a sticking point and left many to believe that she was hiding something.

Ten years passed and the woman died. A memorial mass was held. People attended and were encouraged to talk about their experiences with her. Many did.

Gradually, the woman's life was revealed. She came from a culture and environment where eye-contact was not stressed. She was in an abusive marriage. When she made eye-contact with her enraged spouse, it provoked more abuse. Consequently, every time she tried to maintain eye-contact, she was pulled back into old behavioral patterns more powerful that she was able to handle. What can you learn from this? Eye-contact is an integral part to nonverbal communication.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's in Your Eyes

The eyes reveal the soul. This is a powerful statement. Once you understand the importance of eye-contact in communication; it will provide clarity in every situation. You WILL understand why the "eyes" have it.

We judge others by whether they look us in the eye or not. Eye-contact is at the top of the list of nonverbal communication --  its importance shouldn't be overlooked. If you've ever spent time  with someone who doesn't speak English and you didn't speak his language, you know that it is possible to communicate with a smile and eye-contact.

The eyes are used to perform many of the same functions as other behaviors of the body, including expressing interpersonal attitudes or emotions, regulating interactions, signaling attention, and  producing anxiety or arousal. Eye behavior has a special function -- gathering information from others. In some cases, the absence of it also speaks volumes. Some cultures and ethnic groups see eye-contact as a form of disrespect or rebellion. That is why it is important to address, and understand it.

If you just look at a person without trying to read what is behind the eyes, you are not even beginning to establish a connection or a meeting of the minds. When you communicate, your eyes and brain must do more than "click" like an unfocused camera. You need to observe the person unobtrusively and consciously.

If you learn to use your eyes not simply as a camera-like lens, but as the gateway to further investigation of a person's character, it will lead to a better understanding of the communication.

With practice, you can become adept at studying and diagnosing a face by focusing on a person's eyes. In the process, you will gain valuable insight into others -- as well as yourself.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

"Too close"

A man immigrated to the United States to take a teaching position. He yearned to work with children and believed that he had a lot to offer. His first assignment was team teaching learning disabled children. His co-worker was female and a new graduate.

It took the children a while to adjust to the two of them. After a while, they gravitated toward him. His use of touch and personal space had a calming effect. Consequently, they were more attentive and excited about learning.

This was not the case with the co-teacher. Although she loved her job, she didn't make use of personal space in this way. She intently watched him. She believed he was a better teacher, and had a sensitive approach. The students liked him. She grew envious and made comments that he was getting "too close."

One day, he was called to the office. The principal, superintendent and some parents were there. He was puzzled. The superintendent and principal wanted an explanation for his behavior. He was ordered to change or face suspension.

His cultural upbringing and socioeconomic status did not prepare him for these differences; consequently, what was meant as a compassionate interaction, was misconstrued as sexual misconduct.
What can you learn from this? Personal power is rooted in your personal space.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Your personal space

Personal distance is an invisible and adjustable bubble that surrounds you. It expands and contracts. Your personal space can be defined in terms of territories or zones:
  1. Intimate zone (zero to 6 inches): Identified as the distance utilized for love making, wrestling, comforting and protecting. In this range you can feel another person's breath, smell body odors, perhaps sense or feel body heat.
  2. Personal zone (1 to 2 feet): Commonly used with family and friends. Holding hands is done in this zone.
  3. Social zone (4 to 7 feet): Touching is not possible here. This distance is reserved for activities ranging from social conversations to business transactions.
  4. Public zone (12 to 25 feet): This distance is typical between speakers and their audience.
The outlined zones can increase your  awareness but there are other factors to look at, namely; sexual, cultural and social class differences.

There are marked gender differences in how women communicate. They make use of a closer face to face contact. Men are not used to a close speaking range.

Cultural differences are also important. The way people position themselves may cause misunderstandings, particularly when they are of different cultural groups. What may seem an appropriate distance for one group, may be too close for another. Put members of different cultural groups together, and misunderstandings may arise. The insistence of close proximity from one cultural group might be interpreted as hostile or pushy, by another group.

Lastly, social class differences affect the use of personal space. People  from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have a tendency for closer distances than people from middle or high socioeconomic backgrounds.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Visual Trumps Vocal!

A woman worked at a nursing home. She came at a critical time. The facility had code violations that were not addressed.

She "dressed for success." She wore power suits and made sure the staff knew she was the "boss." Many employees were submissive and feared her. She saw the effect and believed her power. She believed it so  much, that she ignored the warnings of the state.

One day, there was a surprise visit. Representatives  came to check. She was not prepared; consequently, she was not in control. The visitors confronted her.

As she spoke, her body language changed. Since the visit was spontaneous, she wasn't in control. She said the violations were addressed but her body language conveyed something else. The state saw the charade, imposed a fine and put the facility on probation. What can you learn from this? In order to understand emotional information, visual cues provide more information than vocal cues.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Your Body Language!

Communication works when your verbal and nonverbal language(s) work together! That's right. You have 2 languages when you speak; what you say, and what you project with your body. In order for your messages to be received, both work together. You can believe that an expensive wardrobe or an Ivy League education will be a passport to good communication, but if there is a deeper part of you that is uncertain, THAT part will speak louder. This is known as body language. There are  two types: voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary movements are within our control. We can turn them on and off. Smiling, nodding and touching are examples.

Involuntary movements are different. We can't control them. Eye blinks and pupil dilation are involuntary. You can't keep your eyes open indefinately. They have to blink. That's the way we're made. This holds true for pupil dilation. They dilate when they need to.

Let's look at some scenarios. You have an insensitive boss. You greet him with a smile because it makes life easier. It is a controlling, voluntary movement. You want to project something positive yet your feelings aren't. The smile is a mask. A nod falls into the same category. You don't want to do something, yet you nod in agreement. Once again, a mask. You encounter someone who has hurt you. You chat to be "nice," yet your eye-contact is absent. The eye-contact is not in agreement. In all these cases, the body language is inconsistent.

The agreement of body language with verbal language is crucial. When they agree, problems are minimal. When they don't, messages are misinterpreted.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Are you a chameleon?

A principal worked in an elementary school. It was located in a low socioeconomic area. Many of the children were bilingual or used a dialect.

A new teacher was assigned to her building. He came from an environment unlike the school. He watched the principal interact. She was always polished and poised. He found it interesting that she was African-American, yet didn't exhibit a dialect. If anyone spoke with her on the phone, they would never be able to identify her race.

One day, there was trouble on the bus. Two children were fighting and one was hurt. The principal needed to discipline. She took the students aside and spoke to them in her dialect. Fear over came them. They cried and were dismissed. The principal went to her office as if nothing happened.

The teacher was a witness and wanted to understand it. He approached her and asked her about her dialect. Her explanation was simple. She encountered many situations where her communiction skills needed adjustment.

At times, she was formal; at other times, informal. She assessed each situation on an individual basis. She was a chameleon. She used the dialect when it was warranted, and dismissed it when it wasn't. She needed the students to see  her differently. The dialect was her passport. What can you learn from this? Your awareness of cultural differences can be extremely important to successful communication.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Do You "Get" Dialects?

If someone asked you if you used proper English, how would you respond? Do you speak properly all the time? If you are bilingual or use a dialect, is this standard for today?

Standard English is the form of speech described in old fashioned grammar books. It is actually spoken by few people, but it is a form of speech usually expected. It has come to be identified as the speech of middle-class Americans. It is important to remember that even when educated, middle-class Americans talk, they often make grammatical errors. The difference between the everyday mistakes, and a dialect variation is that ordinary errors are likely to be individual, random and inconsistent; whereas, a dialect is comprised of consistent and predictable variation of standard English. Several factors are related to dialectical differences:
  1. Geography: Dialects are usually associated with a particular group of people who have something in common besides the way that they talk. Dialects are most often associated with geographical areas.
  2. Socioeconomic levels: Relates to social class, educational and occupational levels.
  3. Race and ethnicity: By choice, racial and ethnic minorities may become  isolated and a particular dialectical variation may evolve.
  4. Situation/context: All speakers alter their language in response to situational variables. These variations are called registers. The selection of the register depends on the speaker's perception of the situation and the participant's attitude toward knowledge of the topic.
  5. Peer group: Teenagers frequently use a variation of language that the elderly do not understand.
  6. First or second language learning: Speakers with a different native language often retain parts  of that language. They may code-switch. Code-switching is another way of saying that the native speaker uses grammar patterns common to the native language, but used in the second language (English). In the process, one language may interfere with another. The speaker's age, education and social situation influence the code-switching.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Minnie Mouse

A young woman worked as a bank receptionist. She was the first person people encountered. She was told she had a high-pitched, tinny voice. She thought it was cute. Her family members found it endearing.

Her voice prompted different reactions. Some smirked, even giggled after she spoke. At first, she thought it was in her mind but then things changed. The smirks and snickers made the woman self-conscious.

One day she was  watching a talk show. She heard the host describe her guest as "Minnie Mouse on helium." Initially, she laughed. The description was comical. She watched the guest interact. She noticed that when the guest spoke seriously, the audience laughed. It was frustrating since the guest was promoting a serious topic; yet, wasn't getting a serious reaction.

As the guest continued, the woman saw some familiar behaviors. She turned off the program and watched some family videos. As she did, her eyes welled up. She noticed how family members treated her. They treated her the way her patrons  did. They didn't treat her with respect, but as the "little girl" conveyed through her voice. What can you learn from this? If you take your voice seriously, it demands a major expression.

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