Archive for the ‘Effective communication’ Category

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What’s That Voice In Your Head Like?


If you know me well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard my voice as you read these words, but generally you’re more likely to hear your own voice making the speech. This makes me wonder whether you ever notice your self-talk as you you go about living your days, facing different situations, and how you eventually address each.

That voice in your head is so powerful with astounding effects in case you didn’t know. If you listen carefully, you’ll find it can be harsh and critical, or gentle and encouraging as a general flow. Either way, it can turn out like a depressing or inspiring talk-show. What default option have you set its mode to undergo? Do you know that it is YOU who’s initiated such programming perhaps some time ago?

There’s a difference between a self-talk that goes like this: “YOU IDIOT! YOU’LL NEVER LEARN TO DO THINGS RIGHT!”, or this: “Let’s see, honey, how can you handle this next time about?”… A huge difference… Especially if you knew that words written in capslock are meant to be shout… The impact results in divergent outcomes akin to that produced by parents guiding their child, no doubt…

My challenge for you, today, is to start becoming more observant of that voice in your head. Pay attention to your choice of words, the tone, the pitch, the volume; in general, the “how” things to yourself are said. You can be filling yourself up with compassion, all the time, or with continuous dread….

“That voice in your head may act like a bully debunking your every move, or a gentle critic guiding your every move.” ~ 3Ds

The good news is that this voice can be fully controlled unlike people around you who just can’t direct well their blabber. Even when they go away, you keep listening to yourself all along for that matter; and whatever emotional state you end up in, each time, results from that mental chatter…

Pain, hope, self-esteem, love, or hate are but a few outcomes of that self-talk. It is one of the determinants of every life path you could possibly walk…

You can start changing the course of history each moment with that internal chime. How about we get busy reaching the sublime all the time?

Just for the record: you can always choose to self-cheer like your own personal coach…

With your Personal Coach



Time For Your Mind Gym – Who Do You Compliment?


Do you notice yourself complimenting others often high and low?
Is it in your system to acknowledge the good qualities in people you know?
Do you care to make it your style to spread positive vibes everywhere you go?

If your answer is yes, yes, & yes to the above, then you surely are the ROCKIEST company to be with. It’s no fun to be with someone who’s emotionally neutral; Worse still if you’re constantly with someone who puts you down.

Surely you know at least one person who sees & says the good in you when no one else pays attention; The kind of person who’s always upbeat, cheerful, & positive in every possible way. You know, one whose speech bathes you with confidence even after they go away.

Wouldn’t it be “cool” if you were that kind of person in other people’s lives? Praise others at every chance; Trigger their good feelings at first glance; Raise their thoughts to an uplifting trance.

It’s like most people have become “praise misers” these days. They keep positive comments locked in safe & spend only random thoughts, what’s necessary, or their negative appraise. Be the exception; Be that outlier; Praise what no other perhaps says.

“A sincere compliment holds a lot of power just like the mesmerizing effects of a positively stated phrase. It could be the only nice thing others hear for long daunting days.” ~ 3Ds

That’s “why” compliments are vital. Back to the main question now: “Who” do you compliment? Is there anyone in specific who’s more entitled? Not reall. It’s all inclusive: Your partner, sibling, waiter, colleague, or idol…. Make no exception even of your rival.

You ask “how”? Start a cycle; Start an epidemic; …. Program your thoughts to see the good; Rephrase your speech as much as you could… Make sure you’re well understood….

It all comes back for your own good. And soon enough, they’ll be shooting a ROCK-umentary about you wearing that magical flattery hood…

Keep ROCKing as you’re talking…. In your traces, others will be walking…

Before I leave, I’d like to relay a message the universe wants you to believe: :You’re incredibly charming…” 🙂

There… That cycle is just starting….

So who’s your lucky target? Next pleaaaase …. 🙂

Your Personal Coach?


Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What Are your Assumptions?


Look closely & examine those assumptions you attach to certain situations that you have little information about. You certainly speculate what you don’t know & life is full of “unknowns” day in day out. You make decisions despite that & to the best of your guesses.

Examine, now, the assumptions you hold towards other people (partner, close friends, or distant acquaintances). You give these, too, their share of wild “guesses” that perhaps no one possesses. It’s automatic the way you assume as if you have a need to fill in the gaps to eliminate any stresses…

If you’re the suspicious type, you’re likely to have assumptions of negative intentions. You doubt what others are up to despite their disclosure. You’re uncertain about what they hide behind a probable facade they wear, & distrust the truth of what they share or declare. You assume otherwise just to beware.

And you don’t have to be guarded to keep assuming. When there are no “givens” at hand, you replace thoughts or ideas in empty places to fill in the puzzle-like empty spaces. People are so complex to fully understand & their vagueness can be difficult to withstand. Your assumptions can become in high demand.

Let me tell you this: ASSUME makes an ASS of U & ME. If you don’t inquire, you jump to conclusions that may totally be mistaken. If you don’t communicate to explore, you wouldn’t have definite answers at all. If you keep silent, your created version can be endlessly prolonged.

“Most failing relationships are loaded with assumptions that lack ground. They trigger misunderstandings that, with time, compound.” ~ 3Ds

It serves you better when you dissipate your assumptions with a gentle drill for truths. Through dialogue, verify your speculations with proofs. It takes two to “tango”, they say, so how else can your dance be synchronized?

Eliminate negative assumptions, but allow those that move your relationship to being crystalized. Remember you’re in the same boat if you haven’t, yet, recognized.

Here’s one healthy assumption I’d like your thoughts to be crowned with: “I am fully capable of resolving all of my mind’s myths”. then act as if ….

By the way, you look fantastic in that new attire 🙂 Okay, now go get ready to inspire 🙂

Your Personal Coach


Time for Your Mind Gym – How is it Like in Your Relationship?


Pick any important relationship in your life & assess. How’s it like? It could be rocky, or smooth; filled with turmoil, flat-lining, or flaming with joy.

What do you think makes a difference? If you think hard about it, you’ll find that the “smooth” & “flowing with joy” relationships have agreements on core life values you share with the other.

If it’s your partner, friend, colleague, parent, sibling, or kid, you’re assessing your relationship with, you’ll realize that the more you’re like each other, the more you like each other.

Still, no two people are alike. And if you focus on your differences, you, surely, head that “rocky” road describing how your relationship is like. Rings a bell in any case?

If you really want to hold on to having them in your life, what are you to do if you were to smoothen the path both of you walk?

Examine the whole package. Acknowledge & accept the differences. Focus on your similarities & bring these to spotlight in your interactions.

“The proper cement building all relationships, is loudly appreciating the commonalities more than drawing attention to the differences.” ~3Ds

It’s been said that thriving relationships have a ratio of 5 positive interactions to each negative one, usually.

Perhaps it’s re-engineering time of how it’s like. Think hard. They have abundant material you can use as cement.

Start mixing: a trait here, a behavior there,  dash of love, & sprinkle all with understanding.

Happy “building”….

Happily ever after  🙂

Your Personal Coach


Effective Communication: Guidelines & Tips

You all learned how to talk, but did you all learn how to communicate effectively? Effective and positive communication is an advanced skill that requires your conscious practice and effort until it is mastered. It serves living harmoniously with others, persuading, and influencing family, friends, and colleagues on the job. Once you know few secrets about proper communication, your chances of succeeding in all life domains grow up exponentially. Furthermore, your internal voice will frequently be screaming “Victoryyyy!” in major disagreements as you remain totally agreeable to your counterparts. All it takes is entering the mindset of the person(s) you’re communicating with, and then positively bringing them to your own. As a first step, here are some few guiding essentials for casual conversations, interactions, requests, arguments, or confrontations:

–          Build rapport: Subtly match and mirror the person you’re talking with (i.e. get in the rhythm of the way they’re speaking, body posture, use of language, etc….). Generally, people who are like each other tend to like each other, so do your best to synchronize your way with theirs.

–          Listen (don’t just hear): We have two ears and one mouth mainly to listen twice as much as we speak. Instead of mentally rehearsing your next argument, actively listen to what really matters to the other person. Their needs will be your guide to satisfy instead of deviating off-topic.

–          Words, tone, and body language: In the famous Mehrabian study, these turned out to have an effect of 8%, 37%, and 55% respectively. Never underestimate, therefore, the profound effects of the silent messages behind your unspoken words. It’s “how” you say things that gives much more meaning.

–          Address them by name often: You’ll be reaching out for their most prominent identity and softly caressing their ego each time. It will sound like flattery.

–          Maintain eye contact: This ensures you’re retaining connection. It gives the message that you’re interested in what they’re saying and that they’re heard. Remember how it feels when you’re talking to someone and they look away or roll their eyes? Yes…. Utterly disrespectful!

–          Empathize: Use your interpersonal intelligence and the ability to be in the other person’s shoes to identify with their feeling, ideas, and situation. Ask yourself: what is it like to be in their position. Paraphrase what they’re saying when you can. This conveys that they’re well understood.

–          Always ask good questions: You can always direct the flow of your conversation through asking open ended questions. This is a sure way to release your counterpart’s defensiveness and probe them to come to mutual conclusions. Avoid giving unsolicited advice till you’re asked.

Once you arm yourself with the above necessities in your interactions, you can further use the following tips to make any point you want with least resistance by your counterpart. You can disagree without being disagreeable; influence while valuing the other person’s stance; and pleasantly direct others’ behavior. Depending on the argument or the situation, you can:

–          Get them to agree more:  For beginning conversations, ask questions to get them to agree on, say, 3 things. This is part of building rapport. Questions like: the weather is too hot this morning, isn’t it? The traffic was unbearable today, right? You can, then, introduce your request or the point you want to make.

–          Focus on giving feedback: At times, you’d want to appraise a piece of work or assess a situation. Don’t criticize by just saying what’s not right. Praise the good points as well. As a whole, your opinion will be better received.

–          Sandwich your feedback: Whenever you have something negative to say, make sure you sandwich it between two positive statements. Start off by complimenting the other person somehow (relevant attributes, qualities, or work); give your negative opinion (in a nice way of course); and then finish up your statements by praising again. These positive statements act as a sandwich buffering any negativity sensed in between.

–          Feed forward: When you give feedback, you may need to state the preferred scenario for a specific outcome (e.g. behavior or way). It is an assertiveness technique used in relationships (parent to child, or in partnerships) and mentoring. Don’t remain vague about future direction. Probe them by asking questions to get to the ideal response, or suggest it when they don’t know.

–          Use the “agreement frame”: Nothing beats defensiveness than agreeing first. Use points in your counterpart’s view to agree with, first. Say things like: “I agree that…. And I respect that…. And I really appreciate that….” Then say: “at the same time, I think that…..” stating your disagreement. Never use the word “but” after agreeing. It negates everything you said before it.

–          The pleasant “no”: Don’t get caught in saying “yes” to others’ requests at your own expense. When you offer an explanation to why you can’t handle their request, you’ll be saying “yes” to yourself. You can start off by saying: “Yes, I appreciate your resorting to me to handle this. I really would like to help you out. At the same time, I have to…..” and list the reasons why you can’t while offering an alternative way or a later time to do it.

–          Focus on solutions:  Avoid getting sucked up in discussing the problem and rather consider the alternatives to resolving it (more on “win-win” solutions). In doing that, consider the interests and benefits to both of you (you get that through empathetic listening and asking probing questions).

The above tips are really powerful in maintaining positive interactions with others. After all, research shows that for any relationship to thrive, it is necessary to have 5 positive statements to tip off the effect of one negatively stated comment. To become a positive effective communicator requires a conscious decision. With practice, it will become second nature like all other arts to be mastered 🙂

The Truth about Lying & Deception: How to handle it

You’re a LIAR!! Yes, you and don’t freak out when as accused; we are all liars to varying degrees. It’s hardly my style to address such a negative aspect of the human condition, but we can’t ignore that “lies” constitute a rampant state prevailing in politics, the business world, and even in our daily exchanges as minor fibs. Studies do show that the average person lies several times a day either concealing or fabricating the truth for silly reasons sometimes. We dismiss many as “white lies” being socially conditioned to be respectful and polite (e.g. you’d respond when asked how you’re doing by saying: “I am doing great!” when deep inside your world is gloomy and chaotic). We deceive, also, without intention mainly in social conversations (e.g. like nodding when listening to someone talk while our mind is wandering elsewhere). You do it; everyone else does it! Unless you’re living in complete harmony with yourself and others, you’re “lie-free”. And when you do knowingly lie, you give yourself so many excuses and rationalize every time. It could be to protect from bigger harm, safeguard the other person’s feelings, avoid unnecessary conflict, preserve a good self-image, handle high stake situation, and the list goes on and on…. I am not suggesting that because deception is very common, you remain at ease with it. An inner state of dissonance and stress emerges for those who are conscientious enough, or good meaning (not the cunning malicious type). When you’re at the receiving end, the feeling is even worse. It’s not these small innocent lies that get to you. It’s the deliberate biggies (e.g. being betrayed) or when it’s too frequent or manipulative to serve the liar’s hidden agenda. To explore lying and deception, is to understand it, as to better deal with it. Let’s dissect it here.

Why can’t you tolerate being lied to when you yourself lie from time to time?  Mainly, and when you first react, you may forget to justify for others as you do for yourself. You’re not in the liar’s shoes to know their drives. It certainly is not easy to swallow those biggies, tolerate habitual chronic liars who adopt lying as their natural style, or accept the Machiavellian type who manipulate you to serve their needs. Big lies that relate to specific situations can become traumatic especially from those you least expect to deceive you. The frequency of smaller lies – no matter how trivial these are – can similarly, drain you. You’re always left scratching your head (asking yourself “shall I believe this now or not”). You may try hard to let these slip by, but their recurrence can become impossible to ignore. Manipulative deception has a far greater toll. They shake you to the bone. With children, you can understand lies as a sign of immaturity, but with adults, you can’t help but consider them as having an evil tongue frustrating enough for you to reassess your whole life philosophy and strategy. Eventually, you may become more cynical, suspicious, and completely pissed off. Until you understand the liar’s reasons, you keep boiling inside. For sure, you first take lies personally as a threat to your own self-image.

What does it mean to be lied to? Lies – big or small – hurt your ego and are translated in the most degrading terms: you’re unworthy of the truth, your intelligence is insulted, you’re considered gullible, your bright expectations are violated, you’re naïve for believing, or simply that your good faith in others led you to being taken advantage of. You doubt yourself; and your trust hub in others gets destroyed. It then becomes extremely difficult to mend the fences. A big lie can leave you vulnerable, forever suspicious, uncertain, out of control, or experiencing great suffering and pain for a while. It happens, right? The truth is: lies really tell more about the deceiver than it tells about you. For big lies, always consider the ramification for telling the truth in context. It could just be that the other person is so scared of facing reality. You could have done the same if your roles were reversed. With habitual liars, many are not even aware of their behavior since it becomes more like routine so well ingrained and automatic. Their excessive lying may have routes in their having an inferiority/superiority complex. These usually have an instable sense of identity with conflicting parts struggling within. If they were clearer on how they defined themselves, or knew what they really wanted, there would be no reason for them to lie. It could, also, be that they were raised in an environment in which lying was necessary for survival. They become addicted to lying as it feels right and safe; thus, twisting all truths as a way of living. Manipulative liars obviously adopt lying to get what they want in a sneaky way. They have little empathy for your feelings. It’s like they coerce you into doing something you wouldn’t want to do in the first place; hence, you feel utterly disgusted when you find out their true motives.

How easy is it to detect deception?  Many lies are discovered by contradictory statements or by piecing together information to make sense of things that don’t seem right. This is often fuelled by an internal lie detector we call “gut instinct” that picks up on so many unconscious cues. The literature is bound with guidelines on detecting lies through observing non-verbal behavior. These include: more blinking or fidgeting, speech hesitation, shorter responses or even too much detail, changes in vocal pitch or speed, language patterns (e.g. frequently dropping the “I” from a sentence), breaking eye contact, or even its opposite of being looked at too insistently to make a point. However, and to date, there is enough evidence that even trained professionals cannot detect deception with precision. You may assume that because you know the other person too well, you can easily spot lies, but that’s not straight forward.  With enough determination, a liar can cover the truth well especially the manipulative type. It’s even more difficult to know with chronic liars, as it’s all too natural and reflexive. They themselves believe their lies. In the end, there’s no foolproof way to know when a person is lying for sure by mere observation. Many lies would eventually be discovered somehow. Knowing the truth sets you in turmoil, so ideally, what are you to do?

How can you deal with being lied to? Understand again, it’s a sad human condition. Nail it down to being situational or chronic. Is it justified or is it that the other person is being a pathological jerk?

a)      With situational liars and big lies: Be cautious of someone who gives you a one-time BAMM!! They lie once, they can lie again. If you care about salvaging your relationship with that person, it’s best to address the issue in a more conversational manner (as opposed to a confrontational style); and only when you have calmed down. Think of the reasons for why you were lied to and the consequences of telling the truth in time. They maybe too scared to face the problem or cannot handle the truth, but you can show them that you can (with some extra effort in certain respects of course). They simply may be asking for attention indirectly. If you do confront, refrain from throwing accusations. It’s counterproductive, as it breads their defensiveness (e.g. withdrawing, counterattacks, denial, or hostility). Focus in your discussion on how it makes you feel to be deceived. Give them a sense of understanding and willingness to deal with the problem and the underlying motives for lying. Always reciprocate by telling the gentle truth as you remain in control of your emotional reactions (that’s the toughest to handle in such situations). Your discussion can eventually lead to a clearer understanding of the whole issue at hand. If things make sense, then be sure to forgive. This way you’ll be the “bigger” person who accommodates for human faults. Holding a grudge occupies unnecessary space in your heart and leaves no room for working things out. Besides, we all deserve a second chance, so allow it. But what if lies are repeated over and over again? You’re on alert mode already if you’re lied to once. It takes time and repeated evidence of sincerity to regain that lost trust – if ever.

 b)      With habitual and manipulative liars: Those who lie chronically for no apparent gain are to be pitied. Remember that it’s about them (i.e. their personality and life experiences). Even if they were not lying to you directly but to others, you’d reason they could easily lie to you too. You can try to let things slide if they are not important, hint at inconsistencies, or use sarcastic remarks paralleled with surprised facial expressions. If lies stretch too far, you can handle it using some humor to point it out (e.g. say something like: “Come on Pinocchio, your nose is growing!”). It is very difficult to change habitual liars as most of the time they lack insight. They are better referred to a professional in counseling; and it’s very common that they’d resist doing until they hit bottom. Others, who are manipulative and adopt lying for strategic purposes, are to be avoided as soon as they are discovered. Withdraw from further dealings with them if you can. If you’re stuck with these because the situation dictates (e.g. they are colleagues at work or are family), you cannot but resort to standing up for yourself and setting clear boundaries. Asking more questions for clarification would be like inviting in more lies. One lie may just have been leading to another to make the picture more complete in the first place.

In all cases, you really need to set yourself emotion free from the frustration of feeling like an idiot. Deeply reflecting and assessing the situation objectively can alleviate your first outraged reaction when you discover the truth. People have different reasons for deceiving; and if they are good meaning, then work on substituting resentment with empathy and understanding. As hard as it is to be lied to, you need to remember the times you were cornered into lying and had all proper justifications. And don’t forget that sometimes you even deceive yourself just to be happy by denying or ignoring the truth. These are only adaptive defense mechanisms we resort to without conscious attention. When liars deceive, their intentions are good to, at least, themselves. You can only remain alert, empathetic, and self-protecting too. Despite lying being a violation of all ethical and legal principles, we can only tolerate and accept such a – not so pleasing – human condition. Don’t fret about it too much. It’s not easy to live in complete harmony without concealing some truth until one day you’re there.


Resolving Relationship Issues: Fit into the Other’s Shoes

If you’re like most other humans – not living in isolation – you’re definitely involved in a wide array of relationships. And you’re lucky if these were enriching to your life and provide you with the necessary support to combat life’s hardships. Unfortunately, in many, you’re very likely to encounter bumps along the road to have these maintained. And sooner or later you may find yourself in attempts to weather all sorts of storms. Conflict, tension, frustration, and serious misunderstandings can result between parent and child, couples, siblings, friends, and colleagues at work. There’s an inevitable break-up with those you find yourself continuously struggling with. Some people are not so easily dispensable though. You realize that there are grave consequences for cutting all ties; and eventually feel you’re stuck with for life. You attempt different ways to reconcile; succeeding at times and maybe failing at others. And you keep trying……till it sometimes completely drains you. Sounds familiar?

There are few things that you need to keep in mind if you wanted to sustain indispensible relationships (you know…, those that can do you more harm than good if you lose):   

  1. Keep the channels of effective communication open. Even if you were given the “deaf ear” or the “cold shoulder”, each person has a key. Find it to unlock the silence. Talk about what makes them nicely “tick” and then actively listen to what is said (and left unsaid). Approach conversations in a positive way. This reduces the other party’s defensiveness and, in turn, allows you to be listened to just the same.
  2. The luggage we carry on our life journeys makes each of us perceive or interpret things differently. No wonder we vary in degrees. These differences naturally breed conflict. In relationships, it’s best to keep the focus on your similarities, common values, and interests. Doing otherwise would widen any existing gap further. Nobody is expected to share exactly your same thoughts, beliefs, needs, or priorities. Find where you both meet and take it from there.
  3. It’s not about keeping record of win-lose battles. Believe that you and the other party are on the same side of the fence. Avoid the common assumption of being antagonists fighting over power. Even if the other party still holds that as true, make it appear they have it. You’re the one in control if you have the right attitude and approach. Where’s the common cause? Find it; and make it a competition to reach a win-win solution that is mutually agreeable. Shift your mindset from having a combative to a cooperative relationship.
  4. Ask to work on problems together handling each at a time. There’s no “one” way to work things out. With the other party, expand on the possibilities, solutions, and the consequences of each. Problem solving situations are opportunities in disguise to make your relationships stronger. With the right attitude, you can use these constructively to strengthen your ties.
  5. Avoid the focus on the other person’s failings. Always consider their assets, qualities, and good attributes. Mention these during your conflict resolution attempts. It’s no use to open the file of past misdemeanors on every occasion. It only flames relational discord. The best thing about the past is that it is gone. Stay focused on what you can do now and in the future.
  6. Choose the right time to discuss any arising issue. If you’re angry, wait for your anger to subside a little. We all know that being negatively charged with emotions can lead to irreparable rifts. If the other party is in a rush (e.g. leaving to work), postpone discussion to a more appropriate time. Careful, as well, to the choice of place (alone with the other party as opposed to being in a crowd). Timing can make all the difference. If you leave things to snowball, it would be difficult to rectify an evolved pattern of grudges piling up one on top of another. Do I need to mention the consequences of bottling up? Naaah…, we all must have a taste of that obvious explosion somehow.

 When relationships become strained and conflict ridden, they become an additional source of hardship to overcome. The best thing you can do is to equip yourself with the skill of conflict resolution; and practice navigating your way through proper communication. Who wouldn’t like to live harmoniously with cherished others? Consider the following technique which you can use to positively approach conflicts. It requires you to dissociate and take on different perspectives around the issue you want to resolve. It’s more like a “role play” game (Yeah, it really helps to laugh and play when you have serious issues to take care of 🙂 ). It gets you in a clearer mindset to head on disagreements the right way especially if you’re turmoiling inside.

 Let’s do this exercise together. Think of an issue you want to resolve. Alone in a spacious area, choose 3 different locations that are more or less close to each other. Note that you’ll be physically standing on each of these and will be assuming different roles or positions.

 –       First position: That’s fully you! Think of the situation. What are you feeling now and what’s your attitude about the other person? Fully associate with that role (i.e. mentally travel in time scanning different episodes of your interactions and recalling things you’ve seen, heard, and felt). This is your baseline for resolution. When you’re done, blank the pictures in your mind and physically shake that role off. Move, next, to position 2 (usually facing the first position as if you’ll be conversing with the first role).

 –       Second position: That’s them! This is when you’ll assume the role of the other party. In your mind, imagine you’re fully them. In other words, be in their shoes, wearing their clothes, speaking as they do, and thinking exactly the way they would. Now is the time to practice “empathy”. Carry whatever degree of emotional baggage and experiences they may have had on their shoulders. Look at the person sitting in “position 1” (the original you). What’s their attitude towards you and what do they want? How are they talking to you? Get into their mind set. Why are they behaving, thinking, and feeling the way they do? Don’t forget to consider their good qualities here. Take as much time as you need. When you’re done, shake it all off like you did the first time; and go stand in position three facing the first two.

 –       Third position: That’s the role of a wise observer! Now in this spot assume you are a complete stranger to both as if you were a spectator of a movie. Your role here is that of a detached advisor who will objectively give an opinion about what’s going on between the two. Dissociated enough from the situation now, be as objective as you can. What’s going on out there? Generate solutions that are mutually satisfactory. Knowing that you cannot tell the other party (the one in position 2) what they are to do, advise the one in the first position (the real you) of how to better handle the situation. What resources does that person need to handle it right? What was missing in all interactions? It could be more confidence, empathy, better communication skills, etc…. Take your time to discover these.

 When you identify the needed resources, and still in that position, remember a time when you actually did have what was missing. Fully re-live those memories mentally one by one. See? You have these already and you can bring them back if you choose to. Imagine that you can transfer these somehow to the person sitting in the first position (again, the original you). You can gesture the transmission with your hands, or mentally. Then, go sit in “position 1” and imagine you’re receiving these through both body and mind. These are your new armor for future interactions. Remind yourself of the 6 points above. Now look at the person sitting in “position 2”. It feels different, doesn’t it? You have a better understanding of how to lead your confrontation and reach reconciliation. You and the other party will both win this time. GO!


Contain Your Anger (for a while)

Life can throw us in the gutter sometimes when we least deserve it. It makes us prone to lose our temper specifically when we face injustice, shocking news, spitefulness, grave disappointments, or acts of malice by others. We may differ in reacting to such predicaments. Some of us just shake our heads in disbelief and turn our negative emotions inward; some others display their anger openly demanding corrective action on the spot. It might be helpful sometimes to dramatize our reaction to an extent. This is how we set your boundaries so others wouldn’t cross them (e.g. reacting directly to an insult in a mild way). At other times, there’s more to gain than to lose if we suppressed our anger for a while before reacting. I am not suggesting we bottle up our anger (a lot of harm can ensue in doing that). Just contain it a little and channel it properly.

Usually, our first spontaneous reaction in fury is most regrettable. Our problem may compound exponentially. This is because we have a clouded vision and blurry reasoning. The “count to ten” before reacting rule is set specifically for such reasons. You may be tempted to say “hell! I can’t help it. I don’t want to suppress the anger! It would seep in other covert ways!” But consider the alternative. If your anger was towards a person, you can lose the battle if you give your anger free reign especially if that other person has more power over you (e.g. an authority figure like your boss or your parent). The prospects of unpleasant consequences can be inevitable. You can boil inside, but it’s best to control yourself and consider how to best respond. Give your opponent a blank stare with a mild expression of your in-appreciation of what’s going on, ask to discuss the situation at another time (come up with an excuse for why not now), and then off you go to a place where you can unleash your anger as you give the situation some thoughtful consideration.

In your quiet place, start off by dissecting the conditions. You need to carefully plan, carefully phrase what you will say next, and carefully reflect on your options. Ask yourself: “what advice can I give my best friend if s/he were in a similar situation?” As you do, you may find that you are still fuming in anger and need to discharge it somehow. You’ve probably heard of venting out pent up anger through sports, screaming in a remote place, or simply engaging in a relaxation technique. Here’s yet another tool you can use if you want to be in more control of your situation and win over whoever made you angry.

Still, in your quiet place, take deep breaths and engage in mental combat with your rival. Imagine that you are in a boxing ring punching your adversary in the face. Clench your fists and move them with each blow as you live the fight in your mind’s eye. Keep breathing forcefully in and out. Beat your rival repeatedly in the face while s/he becomes too weak to fight back. Tell yourself “The more I hit, the more I take my revenge; and the more I discharge my anger”. There ….. you get more and more relaxed as your opponent finally totter and crumple to the ground. You feel all too exhausted from this anger display and release. Down your opponent goes, but up goes your sense of victory. Tell yourself: “I win! I win you #@#*! And I am very satisfied and relaxed now” Relive the moments of triumph. Change scene and contemplate further solutions to handling your situation. You’ll find plenty now that you are more empowered. Repeat the punching and winning with every option you consider. This will further release any residue frustration.

Some final tips: In considering the scenario of your confrontation, you need to have a bird’s eye view of the whole picture. Now that you got your revenge, attempt to see the situation from your opponent’s perspective, attack the problem not the person, talk about how “you feel” and what it means to you, address multiple solutions, and find middle grounds of agreement (i.e. negotiate to make it a win-win situation). Careful planning of how you handle the situation can make all the difference. Just like you won that imaginary boxing fight in that ring, you can win gracefully in reality. You have equipped yourself with a clearer vision. You would have contained your anger for a while, found a healthier way to vent it out, and planned well your battle. And it’s not whether you can contain your anger or not. It’s whether you want to. And you’d want to remain in control until you mobilize your inner resources, right? You need to turn things round for your own benefit, don’t you?


How Can NLP Improve Your Life?

      Many still don’t know what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is, or for what purposes it is used. NLP is a very broad field and tends to be linked to many concepts and various settings. Despite the numerous long definitions, I like to think of it as a “pool of tools” to bring more life fulfillment. NLP stipulates that our habitual patterns (mental or behavioral) are highly linked to our neurology; hence, create our habits and programmed responses. Its techniques instill new neurological patterns to replace unhelpful thought or behavioral process; thus, reprogram “the willing to change person” to be more empowered and efficient. It, also, relies heavily on the use of language and this is when it becomes all too therapeutic. Language can trigger a shift in thinking; hence, behavioral change. The proper use of language, also, facilitates more effective communication with people we want to have a positive influence on.

      As an NLP practitioner, how can I possibly help you implement positive changes? And in which life areas can we apply NLP techniques? The use of NLP spreads to effectively dealing with dissatisfaction in many areas of day to day living. The procedures work only if one is really motivated to make the changes and expends the proper and required effort. Most techniques involve visualization giving this free reign at times, and controlling it at others. The following are only a few examples targeting specific areas of concern you may encounter:

–       Like to dislike: Change something you like or desire to something you don’t like (or vice versa). For instance, you have the continuous urge to eating chocolate, but you know it negatively affects your health (e.g. being over-weight or having high cholesterol levels). Broccoli is one vegetable that is very healthy, but many dislike it. Both patterns can be changed in few minutes through a simple exercise of visualization.

–       Change a limiting belief: If you have a limiting belief (e.g. I’m not good enough) that cripples your actions or decision making abilities, a similar exercise can be undertaken. A more empowering belief can be substituted in no time. The technique can help you deal with issues of low self-esteem, hesitation, lack of control, etc….

–       Eliminate contextualized habits through the swish pattern: create a substitute action for a habit you want to get rid of (e.g. nail biting, grabbing a chocolate bar after dinner,….). Only habits that are relevant to specific contexts can be eliminated through the swish pattern, not more general ones (e.g. smoking may require a different tool). It also makes use of visualization and an alternative action needs to be well thought of.

–       Putting yourself in a resourceful state: This could be used for particular situations when someone needs to feel more empowered, relaxed, happy, or confident – to name a few (e.g. presenting to a large audience). We work on creating an anchor (e.g. an action like pressing your own knuckle) that fires up the desired state when needed.

–       Dealing with major negative emotional events: Past traumas and acquired phobias can be overcome through Time Line Therapy. It’s based on the idea that people have a Time Line in which life events (past and future) are organized. You are taken on an amazing mental trip during which memories just pop out there while you’re in a conscious state. Distressing memories are dealt with through letting go of the relevant emotional baggage, reflecting on the lessons learned, and detaching from the distressing event(s). Time Line Therapy can also be used to remove distressing memories all together, change memories, or even create future memories.

–       Conflicting parts integration: It’s used whenever you have a conflict towards a specific issue. It could be inconsistencies in emotions towards something/someone, or a conflict in making a decision. The process is based on the idea that we have different parts within us and they all serve our best interest in becoming whole. This technique reduces the conflict among two opposing parts, integrates them into one, and a new state of “ease” is created.

      NLP is used in psychotherapy and life coaching. These two areas capitalize on the proper use of language (with self and others) and use many techniques to help people overcome obstacles and limitations. Mastery in effective communication extends, also, to better outcomes in interrelationships and even the business setting. Hypnotherapy is another area that extensively utilizes NLP. Hypnosis deals with problematic behavior (i.e. phobias, anxieties, smoking cessation, insomnia, etc…) or to change negative mental patterns (i.e. low self-esteem, concentration, procrastination, etc….). It branches out as a leading “change” tool and relies heavily on the use of language that is most comprehensive to the unconscious mind.

       Any certified NLP Practitioner can guide you through the processes of positive change. The practitioner acts as a facilitator of reprogramming the mind and behavior; the motivation to change and the effort rely on you. If you follow the steps proposed by the practitioner wholeheartedly, you will enjoy the transformation. The techniques are said to work like magic because they take very little time and the results are amazing. And best of all, it doesn’t have to be called therapy (if that makes you a bit reluctant). You won’t be labeled a patient. I’d like to think of it as “empowerment” to move forward. So go on, have a taste of NLP. You do want to improve your life in more than one area, don’t you?

Talk To The Chair!!!!

Doesn’t it just irritate you when you try to make a point to someone and all your arguments fall on deaf ears? You feel so un-listened to and some, in a humorous way, would even tell you: “Talk to the hand” as you advise, give your point of view, or otherwise. Many relationship problems quickly soar when one or both parties would not listen well enough. It happens all the time between friends, parents and their children, husband and wife, and even colleagues at the workplace. Each would be engaged in mental rehearsals of certain arguments to shoot on when the other person pauses. The end result is grave misunderstandings, anger, resentment, or anguish especially if the issue being discussed is rather serious.

 What we need to pay attention to is that despite differing in opinion, there’s a kernel of truth in both party’s point of view. One that seeps unnoticed or remains invalidated during discussions. The ineffective communication may reach a deadlock and naturally frustration can ensue. Many scenarios may follow: the infamous silent treatment, escalated conflict, or other drastic negative measures undertaken by either party. So how are we to effectively deal with all the negative feelings before things compound to that extent?

 Instead of “talking to the hand”, in therapy, there is a procedure called talk to “the empty chair”. It is used to soften the client’s anger or resentment towards the stressor (i.e. source of stress). Anyone can use it when there is disagreement to gain clarity, alleviate the grudges, and modify off-putting behavior. Try it yourself if you may. Simply, all you need to do is sit in a room and face an empty chair. Imagine that the person you have a disagreement with is sitting on that chair. The baggage you have has to be unloaded; the rage needs to be released. Tell that person your point of view all over again. Let it all out. Don’t leave anything unsaid (even it was harsh). You don’t need to act out your anger. Say things in a calm manner as if trying to persuade that person once more. Experience the feelings you have. Make your conversation as detailed as possible. This process will help you understand yourself and your attitude better.

 When you’re done, switch chairs: sit in that empty chair and face the seat you were sitting in. Now imagine that you are that person and start replying in that person’s logic to your previous conversation. See the situation in that person’s eyes; use the reasoning that person has. Exhaust all the arguments that s/he would want to say in response. Similarly, engage that person’s feelings, and fully express his/her point of view taking all the time necessary to gain clarity. Find if there is any good or bad will, reasons, ignorance, or shortcomings. Acknowledge out loud all these on behalf of the person.

 You, lastly, need to change seats again. This time, choose a new seat; different than the first two. Take on the role of an observer and start recalling the previous two conversations. What would an observer say about those interactions; and how can the two points of view be reconciled? Give advice on how better to handle the disagreement/situation. Do the best you can to be objective. It can be difficult, but doable.

 Finally, go back to your original seat and face that empty chair again. Start arguing about your point of view. You’ll find that it comes with less intense negative emotions. There still is disagreement, but trust that next time you converse with that person for real, the flow of the conversation will be much different, less intense, and more understanding. You were in his/her shoes and will be better prepared, more convincing, and more in control to handle the opposing arguments.

   One more tip on how to crown your point of view with success: persuasion works best when you start off with the other’s point of view (and after that exercise, you know it really well). Say first what they would normally say, and then refute it. This is how you get the other party’s attention. They get to really listen when they hear their own logic to; then slide in your point of view. Eventually you’ll find that instead of being given the “talk to the hand”, your chances to score rise drastically. So next time you disagree with someone, and you really want to win, why not go “talk to the chair” first?

%d bloggers like this: