Archive for September, 2016

Lower Your Stress By Eliminating These People From Your Life!

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Stress exists for everyone. One stressor is certain types of people that inhabit your life.

Casey Imafidon has written an illuminating article about removing certain types of stressful people from your life. These people are toxic. They sap energy and positive feeling from your life and detour your adventurous life moving forward. Here are the types with my added descriptors.

  1. EGOTIST: This arrogant person, full of him/her self tends to make you feel inferior while s/he poisoning the energy in your milieu. No room in the spotlight of life for you.
  2. ENVIOUS: These jealous types seem to enjoy your down times rather than your victories. They welcome your down times but have difficulty in championing your successes.
  3. PRETENTIOUS: These people are not capable of being there for you when you need them. They are superficial shallow people who are too busy putting on airs to be there for you.
  4. RETROGRESSIVE: These people are stuck in their stagnant way of life and do what they can to stifle your progress going forward. They like the old you and are threatened by your movement forward.
  5. JUDGMENTAL: Nothing is good enough for this type of person. They believe criticizing and scolding is better than praising.
  6. CONTROLLER: They are devious in trying to twist or out-muscle you to fulfill their desires. You become a pawn in their masterful chess game as they move you around to meet their needs.
  7. LIAR: You cannot trust these people. In order to grow you need trustworthy people around you who support you with candid and honest opinions.
  8. GOSSIPER: These insecure people use their tongue to twist facts and distort information. They get attention this way. Don’t turn your back on them or share information that you do not want to be spread around in ways that hurt you.
  9. PARASITE: These people are only in your life to suck and feed off you. They are users with only self interest in mind.
  10. VICTIM: They never accept responsibility. They blame and point fingers at others for their misfortune. The “woe is me” theme from them is draining and exhausting.

There may be other types of people in your life that are stressful to you. Look closely! There is some solid research that says you are a composite of the five people closest to you. Select wisely! Start by eliminating the above listed toxic people. If you do so you will have eliminated significant sources of stress and delimiters of your success moving forward.

On the positive side, seek out, find, and nurture relationships with people who bring out the best in you, and you in them. There are so many wonderful people in this world. Be with them!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Want Deeper Relationships? Try “My Life Story”!

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

I admit it. I find trivial conversation boring. It is fine for openers but if it doesn’t lead to something of depth, I’ll find an excuse to move on. Perhaps I’m just not good at it and/or perhaps I like to go deeper into who people are, what they believe, and how it impacts their life choices and behavior. Life is too short to live in the superficial. I’m not judgmental of those who think and communicate differently, just not my style. Plus, I do believe that there are many individuals who trivia talk that would prefer more in depth conversation and connection with others. For those of you interested, read on.

Monique Honaman, a corporate trainer and fellow blogger, wrote an interesting piece recently about a technique she has used to develop trust and bonding with employees of a company she was consulting with. The technique is to have each person have five minutes to share something of his or herself with the others. The beginning point is “My life story”. To get the ball rolling she suggests some starting points. They are:

  1. “Take us through your life highlighting the key points”
  2. “Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why?”
  3. “What are you most proud of?”
  4. “What aggravates you?” ( I don’t like this one. It puts negative energy into the room)
  5. “What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?”
  6. “Where and when did you meet your spouse?” (I added that one)
  7. “Why did you choose the career that you did?” (I added that one as well)

None of this is life threatening, yet it opens up a sense of connection to others. As the founder of Humanistic Psychology, Dr. Carl Rogers, stated, “That which is most personal is most universal.”  Below the surface each of us human beings share so much in common basic to life’s adventure, as well as unique idiosyncrasies. It is a shame that too often we don’t find the mechanism to share these commonalities and differences. It’s where the “good stuff” resides!

I like that Monique, (we’ve met and talked in depth so I can call her “Monique” J)  uses this technique in her professional consulting with corporations.  She finds in this setting that this human sharing leads to team members collaborating better with each other or as she states, “completing each other instead of competing with each other”.



I addition to doing counseling and therapy, and giving workshops, I have led “personal growth” groups. These have been enormously fun and productive as I facilitated and watched people share their “life story”. I witnessed people empathize, learn from, be motivated and supported, to move forward in their personal growth in various forms. Friendships formed, and in some cases, romances began, as a result of such personal sharing.

Respected Reader, I invite you to share your personal “life story” and invite others to do the same. A connection based on such a sharing results in a more caring trusting relationship. Give it a try and see if your life is enriched by sharing something in depth with another. I know my life continually is enriched by this interaction – both personally and professionally. My life is never boring thanks to the wonderful people who share their “life story” with me and invite me to share mine. Ah, depth!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Living A Life Without Major Regrets: Younger People Take Heed!

Friday, September 16th, 2016

For those of you who read with some regularity my penned thoughts you know that one of my favorite mottos from my Socratic mentor is “The unexamined life is not worth living”. I challenge myself in this manner and invite other people who want to live the fullest and happiest life possible to do the same. If you examine your life, both backwards and forwards, you probably say to yourself, “I wish I had not done that”, whatever “that” may be. Everyone has some of them, hopefully none too catastrophic in impact. And going forward what are areas to be “examined” that involved life choices that could lead to fulfillment or regret?

Dr. Kari Plummer, Professor of Human Development, at Cornell University has written an intriguing article entitled “Living a life without (major) regrets”. Over the past ten years he has surveyed around 2000 older people. He asked these elders this question, “What can younger people do now to avoid having regrets at your age?” The results were interesting and may shed light on how to make life decisions, big and small.

Here are the results – the top five recommendations by these thoughtful elders.

  1. CHOOSE A MATE WITH EXTREME CARE: The elders felt that this was the most important decision a human being makes. They say “we are not careful enough”. They say, “question the decision, then question it again. Or you may be in for deep and serious regrets. Respected Reader, do you have any doubt as to why I chose this topic to write about?! I truly believe that your marriage is the most impactful event in your life. Thus “due diligence” is so important. I’ll say it again, too many people spend more time and money researching a car, house, or other significant investment than they do a potential life partner. Incredible!
  2. ALWAYS BE HONEST: Elders felt that honesty is an indisputable core value. Dishonesty was mentioned over and over as a source of profound regret. To avoid later life remorse, “tell the truth and don’t cheat anybody”.
  3. TRAVEL MORE: Do it now as much as you are able. Elders say that when your traveling days are over, you will wish you had taken one more trip.
  4. WORRY LESS: Elders deeply regret wasted worrying time about things that never happened. “Worry wastes your life” said one.
  5. SAY IT NOW: Elders emphasize this lesson either because they were grateful that they spoke their piece while there was still time, or because they profoundly regret not having done so. “Send flowers to the living. The dead never see them!”

Surely there are other possible regrets but these are some of the major ones for most people. May this message heighten your awareness, Respected Reader, of potential regrets that you may have should you leave this planet earlier than you were expecting!

Curiosity Has Many Benefits!

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Are you the curious type? Or, have you lost that child-like curiosity?  Do you remember when you used to continually ask “why”? If you need a reminder just listen to your children, or your grandchildren,  as they ask “why” about many things in their world. Asking “why” leads us down the path of learning, understanding more about what life is all about.

Unfortunately many people quit asking “why”, their quest for ongoing learning comes to a halt. Lack of inquiry leads to a “hardening of the categories”. Rigid thinking develops. Curiosity has died. However, it is capable of resurrection. Enlivened curiosity has many benefits. May I sell you on some of them?

I am guided in this presentation by some of the research work done by Emily Campbell, Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. The benefits are intellectual, psychological, emotional, social, and physical health.

  1. Curiosity helps us survive. The urge to explore and seek novelty helps us remain vigilant and gain knowledge about our constantly changing environment. This experience leads to the release of dopamine and other feel good chemicals in our brain as we encounter new knowledge.
  2. Curious people are happier. Research has shown curiosity to be associated with higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well being.
  3. Curiosity boosts achievement. Studies reveal that curiosity leads to more enjoyment and participation in school and higher academic achievement, as well as greater learning, engagement, and performance at work.
  4. Curiosity can expand our empathy. When we are curious about others and talk to people outside our usual social circle, we become better able to understand those with lives, experiences, and worldviews different than our own.
  5. Curiosity helps strengthen relationships. People are perceived as being warmer and more attractive if they show real curiosity in exchange with others. Deeper connection and closeness are the result.
  6. Curiosity kills boredom. (My addition). Try to be curious and bored at the same time. You can’t.

In my practice and in encounters with many people I encounter individuals who have lost that sense of curiosity. They think they have all the answers and refuse to open their minds to new knowledge. Being stuck gives them a false sense of security. They do not want to be “confused” with new knowledge.

It is my hope, Respected Reader, that you are not a person who has lost your curiosity. If so, work to regain it. Challenge the givens of your life. See if there are other perspectives, rationales, explanations that can be additive to your life. If you choose not to, may I ask “why”? I’m curious!