31 December, 2009

Value Of Time Management

This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is important, because
I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes,
this day will be gone forever,
leaving in its place something
that I have traded for it.
I want it to be gain, not loss;
good not evil; success not failure;
in order that I shall not regret
the price I paid for it.
- Author Unknow

The Truth About Frogs

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long. Your "frog" is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.
Conquer the Hardest Task First
If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first. This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.
Don't Procrastinate
If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn't pay to sit and look at it for very long. The key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning. You must develop the routine of “eating your frog” before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.
Take Action Immediately
Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete. “Failure to execute” is one of the biggest problems in organizations today. Many people confuse activity with accomplishment. They talk continually, hold endless meetings, and make wonderful plans, but in the final analysis, no one does the job and gets the results required.
Develop a Positive Addiction
You can actually develop a “positive addiction” to endorphins and to the feeling of enhanced clarity, confidence, and competence that they trigger. When you develop this addiction, you will, at an unconscious level, begin to organize your life in such a way that you are continually starting and completing ever more important tasks and projects. You will actually become addicted, in a very positive sense, to success and contribution.
No Shortcuts
Practice is the key to mastering any skill. Fortunately, your mind is like a muscle. It grows stronger and more capable with use. With practice, you can learn any behaviour or develop any habit that you consider either desirable or necessary.

A Time for Truth

Most of our social, economic, and political problems are rooted in the desire to get something for nothing, multiplied in intensity by the twin emotions of envy and resentment. Just as the lowest common denominators of human nature are greed and laziness, the fastest and easiest way to justify an attempt to get something for nothing is to proclaim that those who have what you want do not deserve it, and you do.
The Two Worldviews
There are two general ways of looking at the world. A person can have a benevolent worldview or a malicious worldview. A person with a benevolent worldview looks at life and the world honestly and realistically, recognizing that there are many problems and deficiencies, but for the most part, it is a good place and definitely preferable to the alternatives. People who have a benevolent worldview create everything good and worthwhile in society.
Stinkin' Thinkin'
People with a malicious worldview, on the other hand, are primarily negative and cynical in their outlooks. They look for the worst in people and situations. They are characterized by low self-esteem and self-worth. They don't like themselves, and as a result, they don't like many others. They see problems everywhere. They see injustice, oppression, unfairness, and inequalities of income and status. No solution is ever enough. No situation is every satisfactory. For these people, there is always something wrong.
Your Self-Esteem and Self-Image
The central role of self-esteem and self-image—how much you like yourself and how you see yourself—cannot be overemphasized. They constitute the person you are inside. These core elements of your personality have overwhelming affects on your worldview. Each person has a deep inner need to feel important and valuable, and be respected by others. Each person needs to believe in something bigger than himself.
Political Opportunism
At the political level, there will always be opportunistic people who will offer to represent those who do not want to work for what they get. These opportunistic politicians will create elaborate arguments to prove why these prospective voters should be given free money. As soon as the ghost of free money, of something for nothing or very little, raises its ugly head, more and more people will attempt to get it.
The Test for Truth
The two great questions you have to ponder when considering any personal and government action are these: First, “Is it true for me?” Is what you are saying or hearing true for you, or do you think it may be true for others, but not for yourself? Listen to your inner voice. Be perfectly honest with yourself. Trust your own instincts. Only accept the premise or promise that feels right and is consistent with your own personal knowledge and experience.
Many of our most complex problems could be quickly relieved if each person were to ask themselves this question, “Is this true for me?”

Manage Your Time Well

To achieve all your goals and become everything you are capable of becoming you must get your time under control. Psychologists generally agree that a "sense of control" is the key to feelings of happiness, confidence, power, and personal well-being. And a sense of control is only possible when you practice excellent time management skills.
Choices and Decisions
If the front side of the coin of success is the ability to set clear goals for yourself, then the flip side of the same coin is the ability to get yourself organized and work on your most valuable tasks, every minute of every day. Your choices and decisions have combined to create your entire life to this moment. To change or improve your life in any way, you have to make new choices and new decisions that are more in alignment with who you really are and what you really want.
The Right Thing to Do
The only way that you can determine that is right or wrong, more or less important, high or low priority is by first determining your aim or goal at that particular moment. From that point forward, you can divide all your activities in to "A" activities or "B" activities. An "A" activity is something that moves you toward your goal, the faster and more directly the better. A "B" activity is an activity that does not move you toward a goal that is important to you.
Begin with a List
The basic tool of time management is a list, organized by priority, and used as a constant tool for personal management. The fact is that you can't manage time; you can only manage yourself. That is why time management requires self-discipline, self-control, and self-mastery. Time management requires that you make the best choices and decisions necessary to enhance the quality of your life and work. Then you follow through on your decisions.
Use Advance Planning
Begin today to plan every week in advance, preferably the Sunday before the workweek begins. Plan every day in advance, preferably the night before. When you make a list of everything you have to do the following day, your subconscious mind works on that list all night long. When you wake up in the morning, you will often have ideas and insights to help you accomplish the items on your list.
Separate the Urgent from the Important
In the process of managing your time, you must separate the urgent tasks from the important ones. Urgent tasks are determined by external pressures and requirements. You must do them immediately.
New Year Resolution on Time Management
Make a list of everything you would like to be, do, or have in the months and years ahead. Analyze your list and select those items that can have the greatest possible consequences in your life.

Threat or sanction?

Below are two classic examples of adults not meaning what they say, and thus demonstrating to students (and/or their own children!) that they are not quite in control of the situation. Using threats, even if unintended, will generally have a negative effect on behaviour, and in some circumstances will increase or escalate the unwanted behaviour.

Example one (at home):
‘Right, that’s just not acceptable; I don’t know what you were thinking! You’re grounded for the week!’

After a few minutes of reflection on what you have actually said to your child, the thought begins to form: ‘Who am I punishing here?’ Realising that to ground your child for a week could mean the possibility of seven long days and evenings of him or her being in the house nonstop, unhappy, away from friends and generally making a nuisance of him/herself. At that point you begin to think about what you have said, realise the consequences and decide to relent: ‘OK then, you’re grounded for the day, but if you do it again then…!’ There you go, here comes another threat!

Example two (at school):
‘Right, that’s it, I’m not wasting my time continually asking you to get on with your work! Come and see me at break time. Got it? Staffroom, break, and don’t forget!’

Break time comes and there is a knock on the staff room door: ‘Yes? Well, I’m having my break now so I haven’t got time to see you!’

The message you have given to the pupil is you are not prepared to back up what you say. He or she learns that in spite of whatever has happened there is no consequence.

It is not always easy to recognise or even hear yourself using threats. Perhaps this is something you could evaluate with your pupils. Try to work out how often you use comments such as:
‘I don’t want to get angry!’
‘I’m going to have to let Mr/Mrs... know about this!’
‘We’ll see what your mother/father thinks about that!’
‘See me at the end of the lesson!’

How many of the above comments do you actually follow up? How many comments do you really intend to follow up and how many do you really believe will actually make a positive change to their behaviour?

To eliminate threats from your verbal comments when managing challenging behaviour means not simply being aware of the words you are using, but also being fully prepared and planned in your styles of approach. There is far more chance of you using threats (comments you are not prepared to back up) when you are unplanned, flustered or facing a challenge to your management style and authority.

A top tip to help you eliminate the use of verbal threats is: when faced with a serious challenge or a difficult situation, say nothing at first. In fact, your initial response may well appear to be nothing in either word or action. Tip two is clearly: in such a situation, don’t do anything for long!

Use the first few moments of such a situation to make an assessment of the following:
a) Calm yourself. Remember, the first person who needs to calm down in a challenging situation is you! (Deep breath, self-talk, calm stance, personal space etc.)
b) Go over in your mind your planned response, focusing on both verbal and non-verbal language.
c) Assess the particular situation: who is the student involved and what is your knowledge of/relationship with them? Who else is watching/listening? What is the appropriate next stage in your agreed hierarchy of school/class behaviour policy? What is the likely outcome of your chosen response? Are you prepared to carry out what you are going to say?

The three points above may seem, on first reading, an impossible list of preparatory thoughts/comments, but with practice and reminders it is possible to do it mentally within those couple of seconds of doing nothing before you make any comment to the student in question. Focusing on the three points will stop you being immediately drawn into a conversation or confrontation with the student in which you may well use a threat as a means of attempting to control the situation.

Any form of behaviour management is dependent on consistency, appropriate practical use and, by no means least, the inevitability of your responses. Students need to know you will always be consistently fair, that you will demonstrate calmness and self-control and that you really do mean what you say. Verbal threats will have a totally negative effect on all these areas and will simply encourage students to further test your styles of response and your own self-control.

The 5 Es of effective learning:

1. Engage: create an activity that engages the child, ideally an experience from real life.

2. Explore: create opportunities for exploring the idea viz. let them use different cricket bats of different weights on the field.

3. Explain: explain the phenomenon observed by giving it a name e.g. what they saw was indeed Newton’s second law of motion at work.

4. Expand: help create connections to more complex ideas and thoughts on the subject.

5. Evaluate: test and assess the students’ understanding to know whether they have actually been able to breakdown, digest and understand what was learnt.

16 December, 2009

Boosting Your Self-Esteem - Improving the Way You Feel About Yourself

"Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves."
- Nathaniel Branden
Leading self-esteem researcher and theorist

Improving self-esteem is a very personal journey. It's a key part of feeling happy within ourselves, and of feeling that we're succeeding in the things that matter to us.

Positive self-esteem helps you to be yourself, handle adversity, and believe that you'll win through, despite setbacks. It's an inner force that sustains you, and gives you the courage you need to be the person you want to be.

Low self-esteem, on the other hand, does the opposite. It's connected to self-doubt, and to a general feeling that you're not quite good enough to meet life's challenges. If you have low self-esteem, you may believe that you aren't capable of achieving your dreams, and you may even believe that you shouldn't dream at all. In fact, low self-esteem is used to diagnose many mental disorders, and it can be associated with to a variety of negative emotions, including anxiety, sadness, hostility, shame, embarrassment, loneliness and lack of spontaneity.

What Is Self-Esteem?
You're probably familiar with the idea of self-esteem. It's most often associated with self-confidence, but self-esteem is more than just confidence – it goes deeper. In fact, some people argue that you can have self-confidence and still have low self-esteem – most notably if you approach life with a "fake it ‘til you make it" attitude (in other words, "pretend" until you succeed).

Healthy self-esteem doesn't involve faking anything. And although there's significant debate over the definition of self-esteem, a leading theory is that it's a combination of two factors: competence and worthiness.

Other models have focused on one of these factors or the other. However, it's the relationship between the two that provides the best description. Nathaniel Branden says the following in his book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem":

Self-esteem has two interrelated aspects: it entails a sense of personal efficacy and a sense of personal worth. It is the integrated sum of self-confidence and self-respect. It is the conviction that one is competent to live and worthy of living.

Competence and Worthiness
The competence element of self-esteem deals with how far you believe that you have the skills and abilities you need to succeed in areas that matter to you.

This isn't generalized success, or even a general sense of competence. It's specific to areas of your life that are particularly important to you. For example, if you can sing and dance and entertain a crowd like no one else, that won't contribute to positive self-esteem if what you really value is academic success. Likewise, if you rise to the top of your profession, but you're not proud of that profession, it's unlikely that it will help your sense of self-esteem much.

It's this idea of "value" that brings us to the other element of self-esteem: worthiness. This is where you express your overall evaluation of yourself. It's based on your values, and on whether you routinely behave in a way that is consistent with these values. Together, these factors influence whether you believe you're "good enough", and whether you like and respect the person you are.

By combining competence and worthiness, and by looking at how they relate to each other, we get a full and dynamic definition of self-esteem. Just feeling good about yourself isn't self-esteem. There has to be a competence element, so that your behaviors result in positive actions, not destructive ones. Too great a sense of worthiness can lead to conceit, and even narcissism. Healthy self-esteem keeps those things in balance.

Improving Self-Esteem
Now that you know what self-esteem is, you're in a better position to improve yours in a robust and balanced way.

Here are some tips for improving your self-esteem:
Think about yourself positively – The only person who can change your view of yourself is you! No one else can give you self-esteem – you have to build it by thinking about and using all of the positive things in your life. Make sure that you get into the habit of positive thinking, and learn how to detect and defeat patterns of self-sabotage. And be your own best cheerleader and supporter!

Take pride in your accomplishments – When you do something well, celebrate it. Don't wait for someone else to tell you how wonderful you are. Tell yourself!

Set goals – The more successes you achieve, the better you'll feel about yourself. Goal setting is a great technique for targeting, tracking and recognizing success. It helps you to build competence and, from this, build a sense of pride and a feeling of worthiness. Make sure that you embrace goal setting!

Be consistent – You improve self-esteem when you act in ways that are consistent with your values. If you find yourself in a compromising or difficult situation, do all that you can to make a decision that is consistent with these values. Achieve your goals with integrity, and don't undermine your self-esteem by cheating, or acting in a dishonest way.

Remember that you aren't perfect – Don't be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes, and that's often OK, just as long as we learn from them. The only person's standards you have to meet are your own: stop worrying about what others think, and focus on the great things about yourself. If you do, your inner confidence will shine through, and more than compensate for any shortcomings you might have.

Look after your physical self – Being active can improve self-esteem. Activities that improve your overall health help you feel more in control, and give you a sense of satisfaction that carries though to other areas of your life.

Key Points
The way you feel about yourself is key to self-esteem. You're the one in control, and you can make a difference. If you like yourself, and believe that you deserve good things in life, you'll have high self-esteem. If you dislike yourself or criticize yourself excessively, you'll have low sense of self-esteem.

Having healthy self-esteem is important because it helps you get through life's challenges and achieve the things that matter most to you. As such, make a commitment to yourself to value what you do and who you are!
For your Success & Glory!

14 December, 2009

Motivational Leadership

Motivational leadership is based on The Law of Indirect Effort. According to this law, most things in life are achieved more easily by indirect means than they are by direct means. You more easily become a leader to others by demonstrating that you have the qualities of leadership than you do by ordering others to follow your directions. Instead of trying to get people to emulate you, you concentrate on living a life that is so admirable that others want to be like you without your saying a word.

The Most Powerful Motivational Leaders
Perhaps the most powerful motivational leader is the person who practices what is called "servant leadership." Confucius said, "He who would be master must be servant of all." The person who sees himself or herself as a servant to others and who does everything possible to help them perform at their best is practicing the highest form of servant leadership.

The Leader of Today
Today's leaders are the ones who ask questions, listen carefully, plan diligently, and then build consensus among all those who are necessary for achieving the goals. The leader does not try to do it all alone. The leader gets things done by helping others do them.

Qualities of Leaders
The following are important qualities of motivational leaders. These are qualities that you already have to a certain degree and that you can develop further to stand out from the people around you in a very short period of time.

The first quality is vision. This is the only single quality that, more than anything separates leaders from followers. Leaders have vision. Followers do not. Leaders have the ability to stand back and see the big picture. Leaders have developed the ability to fix their eyes on the horizon and see greater possibilities.

Motivate Others
The best way for you to motivate others is to be motivated yourself. The fastest way to get others excited about a project is to get excited yourself. The way to get others committed to achieving a goal or a result is to be totally committed yourself. The way to build loyalty to your organization, and to other people, is to be an example of loyalty in everything you say and do.

The Ability to Choose
One requirement of leaders is the ability to choose an area of excellence. Just as a good general chooses the terrain on which to do battle, an excellent leader chooses the area in which he and others are going to do an outstanding job. The commitment to excellence is one of the most powerful of all motivators. All leaders who effect change in people and organizations are enthusiastic about achieving excellence in a particular area.