Tag Archives: advice

Words That Stick With You

I am guilty of loving and saving an inspiring quote, but never living by it – there are so many out there! But what about those lines that find a way to latch on to you the minute you hear it? The ones that stick with you for years and years?

These sort of lines that stick with us always make life just a little bit easier to handle. Here are the words that have stuck with me, that I apply to many aspects of my life, and those things that I absolutely want to pass to my children when the time comes.

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

(Dr. Seuss)

Sure this is a Dr. Seuss quote, but what made it special to me was that a cashier at a store told me this little nugget of truth when I was young. I was with my dad at the register, and I wanted to buy a teddy bear for my boyfriend, but dad was teasing me about it saying it was unnecessary. Then, after checking us out, the cashier said this to me and winked. It really stuck with me ever since.

———–

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

(Maya Angelou)

I’m not sure how I came about this quote, but it’s been written in my diary several times. It helped me to realize that, with a simple change of perspective, you can change your mindset. The mind is a powerful thing. We make our own happiness!

———–

“Reject common sense to make the impossible possible!”

(Gurren Lagann)

Gurren Lagann is an animated show filled with virility. Although it’s centered around battling and mechas, the characters live to “shoot for the stars”. It’s an idealistic and aggressive show filled with daring chutzpah to be the absolute best you can be.

———–

“It goes on.”

(Robert Frost)

Robert Frost says, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life…” I found this in my book of Robert Frost’s poetry and I have it highlighted, circled and bookmarked. And it’s true, out of all that I’ve been through, one thing has stayed true: my life has gone on.

———–

“This too shall pass.”

(Old proverb)

I first heard this line in a beautiful Regina Spektor song called “I Want to Sing”. Regina’s gotten me through a fairly large hurdle in my life, and I recommend her bubbly, jazzy music to anyone who wants a pick-me-up.

———–

“Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.”

(Jane Austen)

While browsing for literary jewelry (yes, I’m a huge nerd), I found a necklace charm with this Jane Austen quote. I love the image of “indulging your imagination” as if it has a body and soul of its own, which sometimes I believe it does! Creativity, adventurousness, and so much more seep from imagination. It is the faculty through which we encounter everything, and what a wonderful thing it is.

———–

“Fake it ’til you make it.”

(Tyra Banks and many others)

Tyra Banks’ America’s Next Top Model is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. It’s laced with tiny delicacies of confidence, beauty, and living your dream. In one episode, Tyra was speaking to a broken-hearted girl, on the edge of giving up her dreams because her lack of confidence. Exhausting all other options of motivating this girl, Tyra tells her to buck up and says, “Oh yeah? Well if you don’t have confidence, just pretend you do. You can fake it ’til you make it!”

———–

“Gain momentum in constant self-improvement.”

This was said by yours truly! It’s my own motto, and I live it day to day. We were all given the ability to improve ourselves, and there are limitless small and large ways to do so. So why not do it constantly? I understand the idea of simply being satisfied with who you are, but self-improvement doesn’t always have to mean changing yourself. There is always more for you to learn, more for you to experience and see, and all of this improves who you are. And once you start improving yourself, keep doing it until you gain momentum like a huge, growing, self-improving snowball!

———–

More personal ones…

  1. “Making something of yourself like I know you do?” – said to me by an old close friend
  2. “Always be an independent woman, and put your school first. No boys, no marriage, until school.” – my mom’s advice
  3. “Trust me – you don’t need rest to be beautiful.” – from my boyfriend
  4. “I like your goals. They seem reasonable and I think you can do them all.” – another from the boyfriend
  5. “You walk like a model!” – one of my favorite compliments from a stranger

All of these lines are very special to me, and I hope that sharing them would stick to some of you as well. I tried not to flood it with too many quotes… just the ones that mean the most to me!

Side note…

Many of my readers have been asking for more content, so I’m going to post smaller, easier ones like today’s while I plan out my more meatier, heavier posts. I hope these can keep you occupied and make you think while I draft up the big ones I have planned.

I’ve got an opinionated post on compassion coming up tomorrow, another “Different Perspective” post, and one later that will look into the psychology of imagination.

So keep in touch, readers! And be sure to let me know what lines and meaningful words have stuck with you throughout your life!

Photo credit: ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 )

An Exercise in Kickstarting Your Day for the Unenergetic, Unmotivated Dreamers

It’s a bright day, the natural light reveals all the outside world, and the birds are chirping. The world is alive. But you don’t know it, and you don’t care. You slouch on your couch hunched over with the blinds shut so not even a fraction of light shines through to warm your numb, expressionless face.

You have no energy to do anything today, and the meaning of “productive” has long been filed away in the deepest, forgotten crypts of your mind. So you sink into your couch, and hide behind your pillows – a false comfort – rationalizing, “Well, I deserve at least one more lazy day,” but we both know you said this yesterday.

And you know how dogs feed off their master’s energy? Max is sprawled on the recliner as if his muscles turned to jelly, looking around the room with slow, slow puppy dog eyes sighing and wondering, “When is something going to happen around here?”

You haven’t written a single word for your novel in weeks maybe months, and you stopped your small bout of exercising just short of it being consistent. Sometimes, you don’t even feel like going into work. And sometimes you just don’t.

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? You certainly aren’t thinking, “Man, what an amazing day. I feel so alive!” or “I have energy and momentum today! I want to get things done.”

But isn’t that what we should all be thinking?

What I described is a seemingly down, unmotivated, and numb human being. Someone merely existing, and not living. This was me two weeks ago.

I never thought or felt anything truly positive during those times, and I probably didn’t genuinely feel anything at all. There were so many things that I wanted to do, but I lacked motivation. I had no energy, no will, and no inner foundation of thoughts that set the base and mood for my day. But two weeks ago, I started my vacation from work with a purpose. I thought, “Okay, here’s 336 absolutely free hours of my life, what am I going to do?”

Sitting around playing video games and marathoning “Lost” was my first thought, but then the idea of using the 336 hours to do something extremely unproductive, in the biggest sense of the word, was appalling to me. I was ashamed that I had even given that notion a thought.

So what I decided is that I would use these two weeks as a sort of jolting, “Revival Retreat”. I wanted to shake my life up, I wanted to be progressive, energetic, and motivated. (Did any of those words come to mind when you pictured someone slouched on the couch in the dark?)

Of course, I know not many of you have this much free time, I am very lucky to have such a generous and flexible schedule, but I want to share the few little exercises that gave me the perfect kickstart to each day:

Now it’s your turn.

Close your blinds, make it very dark in the room, and get on your couch, your computer chair, or bed (wherever you lounge around). Now slouch over and wipe the emotion off your face, maybe even frown. Your eyes are only half open as you stare numbingly at your computer screen or television. You browse facebook for the fifth time today, and check your email for the sixth, and yet you’ve only been up for three hours.

Now a big, heavy, long sigh. Your energy is draining, and you may even yawn. What are you thinking? Can you honestly think, “It is the most gorgeous and magnificent day out today!” without feeling… weird?

While writing this, I did this exercise and the first thought that came to mind was, “Can I really finish this post in time?” It was negative right off the bat! I had to reassure myself that it was only an exercise.

Now, all of a sudden…

…you rocket yourself off the couch or chair, and make a beeline to the windows. Pull open the blinds all the way, and let the ALL the light shine in. Notice how you immediately feel better?

Your surroundings have an instant effect on your mood. (Especially light!) So now the light is shining on your face, and already you feel more energized.

Now lift up your head and straighten your back in the most perfect posture, your natural posture. Just think: You are an ancient god or goddess, and now you’re showing confidence to your people, assuring them that, yes, you can take care of things.

Channel your inner Nefertiti or your inner Julius Caesar!

Pretend that, in any moment, someone will make a bust of you to capture your confidence, brashness and boldness for years and years to come. Feeling any better? Good posture harbors more confidence. (And it doesn’t hurt to pretend you’re ancient royalty!) More about confidence and posture here.

Last, but not least, give a big, toothy, genuine smile. If it’s difficult to do, think of your favorite delicious dessert or your loved one unwrapping and freaking out over a thoughtful gift from you. Not only are you a confident ancient ruler, but now you are also charismatic, and people eat that up. Don’t worry about giving an inaugural wave or anything, because your smile alone is an instant pick-me-up. Biopsychology theorists call this “facial feedback“.

Me and my little sister.

Practice switching between these two dramatically different scenes, and try focusing on the outlook of your inner thoughts as you do so. Are they pessimistic? Optimistic? Did you feel a difference?

Any time that I find myself having an uninspired, stagnant day, I try to give myself and my surroundings a little jolt. Even if you don’t feel happy, confident, and charismatic, taking in the light, smiling, and straightening up will at least give physical cues to your mind telling it to “Get up and get going!”

photo credit (1) (2) (3,4) (5) (6)

Who, What, When, Where, and Why?: The Benefits of Asking Questions

3534516458_48e4e8595fWhat is the one thing that drives you to live a better life and helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…

It’s what you were encouraged to do in class and what you use in everyday situations to get you by. It’s what you do to banish confusion, protect yourself, and be all you can be.

Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?

“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?…  What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”

2614294143_186fc3b123The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.

Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.

Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.

On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,

“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”

It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?

Asking questions:

  • fosters your creativity
  • foster critical thinking skills
  • can help you advance in your field
  • increases your knowledge and aids your memory
  • can help you discover new ideas and information
  • can help you make better decisions
  • and can help you to identify the unknown

Be Careful!

Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.

bias_cartoon

Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone - has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.

It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials have been known to give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.

We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:

label-magnify

  • Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
  • Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
  • If any statistics or claims have been made, look for a quoted source.
  • Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication would sometimes cause me to sleep eat, and it was only after doing some searching online that I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
  • Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
  • There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
  • You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
  • Of course, there are standard administrations like the FDA that help filter claims, but even administrations like this can be bypassed. Every month, there are recalled products found to be some kind of danger to consumers or found to give false claims.
  • It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.

And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!

chacha.preview

ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service,  KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.

You can ask for the nearest and cheapest  gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha will help you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

I know it’s been a while, readers. School has started up again, and my schedule is as busy as ever. I’ve always dreamed of keeping this blog up to date every week with long and intricate posts, but I realized that it’s better to have sporadic small posts with bigger posts in between than no posts at all! So I’m going to stop trying to be a “perfectionist” and at least get some content out to you!

photo credit: Marco Belluci | kretyan
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Using Erikson’s Developmental Stage Theory to put your Life into Perspective

The nice thing about Psychology is that we can apply lessons learned to our daily lives, become more aware, and live to our fullest. Being self-aware and creating our own identity is an important, almost necessary concept we should practice every day.

Erikson’s  Developmental Stage theory, is nothing too fancy or complicated. It’s a simple view on eight stages we go through in our lives. According to Erikson, we grow from infancy to late adulthood, and in each stage we must master a new challenge. Once we master a challenge, we gain a certain set of skills. If we do not master a certain challenge, there could be possible psychological consequences. It is not a definitive list, but there are lessons we can learn from his eight stages!

Using this as a guide, identify what you’ve accomplished, what you need to work on, and what you should remember for your future stages.

Stage 1

Infancy (birth to 18 mos.)

  • The challenge: Trust vs. Mistrust
  • What it means: We must learn to trust parents’ care and affection or else develop the beginning of a deep distrust and view world as unsafe.
  • What to take from it: Don’t just take care of your children, let them feel comfortable and safe when you’re around. Let them know, even if they are still too young, that they can trust you.
  • Do you trust the world around you? Do you have hope?

Stage 2

Toddler (18 mos. to 3 yrs.)

  • The challenge: autonomy vs. shame and doubt
  • What it means: We learn to be competent by learning to feed ourselves, use the toilet, and play alone or else we will feel ashamed and doubt our abilities.
  • What to take from it: Encourage toddlers to be autonomous individuals who can begin to take care of themselves.
  • Do you have strong willpower?

Stage 3

Preschool (3 to 5 yrs.)

  • The challenge: initiative vs. guilt
  • What it means: We use our own initiative in planning or carrying out plans or if we cannot live within parents’ limitations, we develop a sense of guilt over misbehavior
  • What to take from it: A child should be encouraged to start projects for their own purpose. Having the ability to take initiative without feeling guilty will allow one to plan and judge accordingly giving one a sense of roles.
  • Have you found your purpose and role in life and are you satisfied with it?

Stage 4

School age (5-11 yrs.)

  • The challenge: industry vs. inferiority
  • What it means: We learn to meet the demands imposed by school or home or else we come to believe we are inferior to others
  • What to take from it: Our responsibilities are what we use to prove to others that we are capable and on equal grounds to others. If we take on no responsibilities, we may begin to feel inferior. Work hard at being productive and responsible.
  • Do you feel competent?

Stage 5

Adolescence (11-18 yrs.)

  • The challenge: identity vs. role confusion
  • What it means: In this stage, we acquire a sense of our own identity or else become confused about our role in life
  • What to take from it: Settle on an identity that you are comfortable with. Ask questions about yourself. Show through your actions, appearance, and achievements what you want your role to be in life.
  • Who exactly are you? Are you happy with it?

Stage 6

Young Adulthood (18-40 yrs.)

  • The challenge: intimacy vs. isolation
  • What it means: We develop a couple relationship and joint identity with a partner or else become isolated from meaningful relationships with others
  • What to take from it: Here, we still want to have an identity with the world around us. If you fear rejection, forming intimate relationships will be difficult.
  • Are you open to new, close relationships? Do you fear rejection and being vulnerable? Erikson argues that:

“Intimacy has a counterpart: Distantiation: the readiness to isolate and if necessary, to destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to our own, and whose territory seems to encroach on the extent of one’s intimate relations” (1950)

Stage 7

Middle adulthood (40-65 yrs.)

  • The challenge: generativity vs. stagnation
  • What it means: We make use of our remaining time developing a concern with helping others and guiding the next generation or else we become self-centered, un-accepting of not being to see the far future, and stagnant
  • What to take from it: Help growing and grown children to be responsible adults, relinquish central role in lives of grown children, accept children’s mates and friends, be proud of accomplishments of your self and your mate. In this stage, we may have much leisure time.
  • Will you use that time to benefit the next generation and yourself or become stagnant?

Stage 8

Late adulthood (60+)

  • The challenge: integrity vs. despair
  • What it means: We reap the benefits of our early stages and understand and sccept the meaning of a temprary life or else we despair over regrets, not having enough time, and not finding meaning in life
  • What to take from it: In this stage, we tend to evaluate whether we’ve reached our goals and whether we are satisfied. From here, we can choose to accept the kind of life we lived and are living now or we can mourn over the past, our loss of time, and our fate.
  • What kind of life have you lived? Did you do what you wanted? Do you have regrets? Would you have done things differently?

By looking at what is to come, we are able to ensure – through every stage – that we are happy with the life that we live. Take each stage into consideration when making choices in your life. Go down the road you feel you will be happy with in the end.

We have long, long lives to live so make sure you enrich it and give it its full potential. If you couldn’t face a certain crises before, it’s all right. We’ve been given the ability to question our lives and behaviors and the ability to change them whenever we can. Use it!

photo credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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trust vs mistrust

Break Time-Wasting Reading Habits

…and boost productivity!

Hey, guys. I was doing some daily reading rounds online and this question popped into my head:

Do you find it hard to keep your Google Reader items under 100?

Or do you own a stack of unread books that seems to grow higher every month?

Faster reading (with the right method) can improve your comprehension rather than reduce it. Most of us, from a young age, learned to read word by word – maybe even syllable by syllable.

Well, that was fine when we were learning new words for the first time, but what about now? Our old method of reading by gliding over every single word becomes inefficient once we learn most meanings and pronunciations.

Reading walls of text was never an exciting thing for me. I am a terribly slow reader, but I was much worse a few years ago. Taking every single English class my high school offered was not the best choice in retrospect. Had I have known there existed a way to re-learn the way I read, however, I probably would have been able to read the 30 pages assigned to me every night and, in turn, get higher grades and comprehend more.

Required reading takes time, but that time can be greatly reduced by changing the way you read. If you’re a slow reader, your comprehension can diminish even during recreational reading.

To make the most of your time, be sure to avoid these poor reading habits:

1. Unclear reading background - To start off, you should focus on the basic concepts of the text you’re reading. With larger texts, determining what important information should be absorbed instead of jumping right into it can be beneficial to your comprehension. When reading a novel, for example, having a grasp on the basic plot and character development will allow you to easily understand, visualize, and read through more detailed passages.

2. Reading…. word… by…. word… - This is my favorite tip, and the easiest way to speed up your reading instantly! You don’t have to focus on every word and move on only when you understand it. I know a lot of you also re-read a sentence or two several times before moving on. Re-reading may allow you to understand what you’ve just read, but it does take time. When speed reading, you should focus not on individual words, but groups of words.

Your reading should flow like music. Breaking this flow make sit as hard to comprehend as breaking the flow of music. Focus on the center of a group of words, whatever can fit your vision in one eye movement, and then move on to the next group. Practice getting into a flow by running your finger along the text without stopping; sooner or later it will become instinct!

3. Verbalizing what you read - Saying text out loud, hearing it in your mind, and even mouthing words while you read will decrease your speed immensely. Thinking is nonverbal and much faster than speech and physical movements. By doing this, you are wasting your brain’s processing power.

4. Holding the text too close - This pairs up with number 2. Holding the text too close won’t let your eyes broadly sweep the page, which will break the flow!

5. Inattention -This is a given, I would imagine, but it is a very important factor in reading speed and comprehension. It is obvious that outside distractions such as the television or your brother’s tuba practice session should be turned off or tuned out, but what if your distraction is internal?

Before you read, take a piece of paper and jot down all of your distracting thoughts. Make sure that your activities before reading were not too stimulating. Watching TV before you read could pull your focus away from your book and onto who was eliminated this week in your favorite reality show!

Try one or two or all of these changes in your reading process and see if it makes any difference. Learning to read in clumps helped me most of all. Reading is an important, needed skill we acquired in our younger and formidable years, but just like any rudimentary machine, improvements can and must be made to gain maximum efficiency!

Just a small step in improvement can benefit large portions of your life in the future.

photo credit: dcolson5201 | diavolo_felice

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