The Killer Formula to Winning in Every Negotiation

What do you expect when you enter into a negotiation? Do you expect to win, lose, or settle? One thing you can expect is to expect the unexpected. Many of us think we enter a negotiation thinking we must settle, but what if you knew a strategy to increase the likelihood of winning every time?

Think of this in the form of an analogy. If your emotions were the buttons on a remote control, would you give the remote to the person you are negotiating with? If the person does possess the remote control, then you better know the buttons. [1]

Let’s take a look at the strategy to win in every negotiation and how you can use it.

The Winning Formula = Emotion + Logic + Repetition

What tactics would Aristotle have used during a negotiation? Well, he actually told us what he would use. They are The Modes of Persuasion: Aristotle referred to his ethical strategy as Ethos + Pathos + Logos (Appeal to Authority + Appeal to Emotion + Appeal to Logic). Similarly, Maria Ploumaki informs us that the elements to the art of negotiation include: Emotion + Logic + Repetition. She says that cold facts and evidence alone will not be as appealing as presenting your ideas within a emotional appeal. [2]

Ploumaki sees negotiation as a combination lock, where we have 3 rotating dials (Emotion + Logic + Repetition). By understanding these elements, we will have a better chance of remaining calm when we find ourselves in a defensive position. She compared this to someone pushing us from the side as we are walking toward a destination. When this happens, we are typically forced off our destination. What we should do is immediately stop, stay calm, and reposition ourselves toward the original target.

Let’s look at each of the elements in details:

1. Utilize emotions for a successful negotiation.

Chris Voss is a former negotiator for the FBI and author of the book Never Split the Difference. Voss developed his negotiating skills in tense situations, situations where lives were literally on the line. Where most people liken negotiating to keeping a poker face, Voss uses a different approach and strives to influence people’s emotions. In his view, emotions are not obstacles, they are the means to a successful negotiation. Here are 5 techniques he uses to win every negotiation and get what he wants. [3]

  • Mirror words selectively. Simply repeat the last one to three words your counterpart says. Additionally, use what Voss calls the “late night FM DJ voice” and slow the conversation down.
  • Tactical empathy. Voss recommends we list the worst things that the other party could say about you and say them before they can.
  • Get to No. Pushing people to a “yes” makes them defensive, so trigger a “no” instead. Voss recommends using no-oriented questions, such as “Is now a bad time to talk?”
  • Get to That’s Right. Voss recommends trying to trigger a “that’s right” response by reaffirming how your counterpart feels. He says the moment you have convinced the other person you understand their feelings is when breakthrough happens.
  • The illusion of control. If you want to gain the upper hand in any negotiation then you must create the illusion of control. Voss recommends forcing the other person to use their mental energy to figure you out. He recommends using questions beginning with “How?” or “What?” in order to elicit this type of energy drain from the other person.

2. Logically approach the situation and make your arguments presentable.

Logic alone will not work. It’s not just the facts, perception changes the way we see things. I am reminded of a quote from Albert Einstein

“Not everything that can be counted counts; not everything that counts can be counted.”

Let’s take a look at 4 actionable steps in order to get what we want during a negotiation. [4]

  • Assess. We must first assess the situation by conducting a cost/benefit analysis. Ask yourself if you have any influence over the final outcome.
  • Prepare. Before starting any negotiation, first try to understand what you are attempting to achieve. Then try to understand your counterparts’ true interests.
  • Engage. Every dispute or negotiation involves information. Neale encourages us to look at disputes as opportunities to negotiate as we have information they want.
  • Package it. Always package your issues. Do not negotiate issue by issue; instead, propose alternative solutions to your counterpart through packages. Neale recommends using If-Then language, such as: “If I give you this, Then I get…”

3. Never allow your buttons to be pushed and repeatedly bounce back.

People are eventually persuaded if something happens often enough. This is the repetition principle and it works. Our brains are awesome pattern-matchers and repetition creates a pattern.[5] Let’s take a look at how Ploumaki uses repetition.

  • Expect the unexpected. It doesn’t matter how many negotiations you have been a part of, they will all be different. Always enter a negotiation expecting the unexpected to occur, because it will.
  • Leave your comfort zone. The moment you feel comfortable is the moment you get in trouble. This is also when you stop developing. You will never win in your comfort zone.
  • Never be left without options. Be willing to back away from any negotiation. There might exist constraints limiting the other party; however, these may change over time. What’s not negotiable today may be negotiable tomorrow. [6]
  • Always act, never react. Prepare for tough question during a negotiation and don’t hide from them. Most importantly, remember what people do is their choice, how you react is your choice.

To consistently make the formula work, separate a good deal from a bad deal.

Stanford Professor Margaret Neale provides a way to win in any negotiation through accessing the situation. She informs us that the goal of negotiation is not to get a deal, but to get a good deal. We must know what separates a good deal from a bad deal. To do this, we need 3 pieces of information. [7]

  1. What is the alternative? Think about what would happen to you if the negotiation fails. The person with the better alternative will typically win.
  2. What is our reservation price? Neale says that this is our point of indifference or our bottom line. You must know what yours is.
  3. What is our aspiration? Neal informs us that this is the most important, yet the most overlooked piece of information. This is our optimistic assessment of what we think we can achieve during the negotiation.

If you remember anything from this formula, always remember the importance our emotion plays in any negotiation.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Lastly, think of your negotiation as a deck of cards and ask yourself one simple question… Who holds the high card?

Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

Reference

[1] TED x Talks: The art of negotiation TEDx Talks
[2] Maria Ploumaki: The art of negotiation TEDx Talks
[3] Time.com: 5 tactics to win a negotiation, according to an FBI agent
[4] Margaret Neale: Negotiating getting what you want
[5] Changingminds.org: Repetition principle
[6] Harvard Business Review: 15 rules for negotiating a job offer
[7] Margaret Neale: Negotiating getting what you want

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If You Insist Your Children to Paint the Sky Blue, You’re Murdering Their Creativity

Your child comes home and presents you with a drawing of your house. There’s a blue house, a yellow sun, and a green sky. You admire their handiwork and then gently ask why the sky is green. Shouldn’t it be blue? Most teachers and parents would have the same reaction, but before you speak, stop! That innocent little comment carries a powerful punch. Unbeknownst to you, you are about to squelch your child’s natural developing creativity.

Everyone has the ability to be creative, however, Professor of Biology and neurobiologist Erin Clabough Ph.D. writes that[1]

“creativity can be easily crushed by goals imposed by others.”

Not everyone needs to see the world in the same light- and they shouldn’t. Before you mention that sky should be blue, consider your reasons carefully. Your child can see that a sky is blue, but in their world it isn’t. Allow them the freedom to be creative. Creativity fosters critical thinking and problem solving skills. It helps people to deal with stress and adapt to changes.

Most adults unwittingly squash creativity and limit imagination with misguided good intentions.

In fact, you may be surprised at some of these creativity busters.

  • Criticizing– You may believe constructive criticism helps, but you are crushing their creativity.
  • Pressure to Perfection– Making your child feel pressured to succeed, putting all of the emphasis on a perfect end product instead of their creative process
  • Helicopter parenting– Give your child space. Fluttering around them only builds up pressure to perform for you, not them.
  • Restricting choices– Allowing them to only paint with a brush, not their fingers, the other end of the brush, a chopstick or other items kills creativity. Telling them to play outside but not get dirty kills creativity. Play should be play.
  • Being Bossy– Stop being a dictator. Creativity is best fostered in freedom of space and not from being told this is how you must do it. Should and must are two different words.

The feedback given by adults can either boost or limit children’s imagination.

Even though you may not be able to stop your child’s school from funneling their art funds into a new math text books, there are ways you can work with your child to boost their creativity and stop limiting their imaginations.

Rewire Your Brain

Adults can become set in their ways of thinking. Like thinking video games are bad and today’s music will never match up to that of yesterday. Out-dated ideas. In order to foster your child’s creativity, it may require a rewiring of your own brain and ways of thinking. Stop yourself from running on autopilot and praising the product, rather than the process. That sky may not be blue, but it took your child a long time and hard work to create it. Before you condemn that computer time, realize that digital art is as creative as drawing with pencils and ink.

Realize Your World is Not Their World

Stop trying to make your children see the world as you see it. Your judgements, your viewpoints belong to you. You’ve had numerous years and experiences to base them upon and with which to measure them. Your child has a short span of experiences. Children have the ability to use their imaginations better than adults because they aren’t tainted by time and judged against the massive amount of data that adult-brains collect. Allow your child the freedom to use their own senses for themselves, unbiased by your suggestions.

Provide your child with the tools, space and time to help foster their creativity. Watch out for those creative busters, like helicopter parenting and dictatorial decrees. Try not to inadvertently crush their creativity, even if that means rewiring your own ways of thought. Work with your child’s creative process, not against it. You never know, you may be raising the next big innovator.

Stop Criticizing their Work

You may believe constructive criticism helps, when you believe their clay bunny should have longer ears, but you are crushing their creativity. The rewards are in the process, whether they come out looking like a rabbit or resemble a melted lump with eyes. When they began, they may have envisioned their masterpiece in their mind, but it is the process that exercises creativity, not the outcome. They will learn more from their own trial and errors- like those long bunny ears needing support, than if you just tell them.

Don’t Interfere with Their Creative Process

Don’t get in the way of their play. When they add a bucket of water to that pile of dirt and start squishing their hands through it, bite your tongue. When they set their paintbrush aside and dip their fingers straight into the paint and start coloring their paper with thumbprints, twist your hands behind your back and close your mouth. You are witnessing imagination at work. Remember, you can hose them down and wash those hands afterwards.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] Erin Clabough Ph.D. Psychology Today: Travel with Your Kids for Creativity’s Sake

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Get Rid of These 3 Thoughts We All Have That Stunt Our Growth of Resilience.

Failures at work, break ups, loss of a loved one, or a tough criticism are all a huge stepping stones on our way to self-discovery and personal growth. We hope to grow, to become better versions of ourselves each new day, yet the situations like these trump our progress and take us one step back each time. However, if we take another look into the seemingly devastating effects a certain trauma, loss or a failure has had on our lives, we may discover that there is another way out of misery, a way that will help us recover much faster and build stronger resilience in the face of adversity.

As humans, we tend to fall into one of the two categories of dealing with grief and/or trauma. We either tend to grief for a short period of time, and then manage to quickly pick ourselves up and move on with life, or tend to get stuck in the grieving period for a very long time, struggling to recover.

In order to find better ways of recovery for everyone, we first need to look closely into the causes of lessened resilience. This will help us to bounce not only back up, but even forward.

You can choose to be resilient. There is always an Option B.

Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg has gone through tremendous grief after losing her husband, and a father of her children, David. Her reaction and grieving process was similar to what most of us would feel and do given the circumstances. Overwhelmed with grief, she had a tough time even getting out of bed and taking care of her children. Thanks to the help of her friend and a psychologist at Wharton, Adam Grant, Sandberg managed to recover from loss and re build her life again. She writes about her struggle and the concrete steps she took towards building resilience in a life-changing book – Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.

As Sandberg herself discovered throughout her journey of overcoming loss and building resilience, first and foremost we need to escape the trap of the “three Ps” that a psychologist Martin Seligman termed as our response to great loss, failure, or any other life-shuttering experience.

The “three Ps” that stand in our way to recovery can be best described through a very common situation – a break up of a love relationship.

Personalization- Relating all the failure personally

The first P stands for Personalization. Once the terrible feeling of loss strikes, we tend to respond in a way that includes the belief that we are at fault. No matter what the situation was, most of us would immediately blame ourselves for the failure of the relationship.

When it comes to the first P, the Personalization, we need to take a more objective standpoint in order to break the habit of always blaming ourselves. For, example, in the break up situation, we need to realize that, in the end, it involves two people, and therefore, it can never be a one person’s fault. It is always a good idea to talk to people close to us to help us gain a more unbiased perspective.

Prevasiveness- The feeling of that 1 failure will affect all the aspects of your life

The second P is related to Pervasiveness. This is when a feeling of failure suddenly overcomes all aspects of our life, even though, in reality it is only our love life that is not going so well at the moment.

The approach is similar with Personalization. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and letting the negativity overshadow other aspects of our lives, we need to take a second look and start to find even the littlest things that we can appreciate about it. For example, if you have just gone through a terrible break up, you can be thankful for your friends and their great and honest support. This method will not only make you more resilient, but your friendships will get a new, more honest and supportive dimension.

Permanence- The idea of the effect of the failure will last forever

Finally, the third P stands for Permanence – the reason many of us have a feeling after each break up that we will never be happy again.

As for Permanence, even though it can be almost impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel, when your entire life you had planned is falling apart, you can overcome it as well, with a different frame of mind. In those moments that seem to last forever you need to remember that you have gone through a similar heart break before, and you have managed to move on and love and trust again. In the end, you have learned so much from each heartbreak and you soon realized the bigger picture and how those seemingly negative moments brought you to something amazing later on. Having a perspective in tough times doesn’t always come naturally, yet once you start practicing these and similar principles, you will be able to recover much faster each next time.

Going through grief is a must. It’s hard but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

Although overcoming these and similar beliefs and responses to adversities can be quite challenging, it is worth the effort as the awards bring about not only a quicker recovery, but an entirely new and more joyful perspective that we wouldn’t have realized otherwise.

As it is our thoughts and beliefs that create the “three Ps” and trap us into believing that we cannot overcome grief and sorrow, the only way to truly avoid this is to go through each of the Ps and find a counter thought that will make us see another perspective, and will ultimately help us build resilience.

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Maintain A Successful Long Distance Relationship is Less Harder If You Understand Your Partner’s Attachment Style

The adage “out of sight is out of mind” is more fitting in relationships than is “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Clichés as they both might be, long distance relationships are indeed no cakewalk and need far more effort and patience to maintain than a normal relationship where people live together or live in the same city and meet up often. Long distance relationships are hard to maintain simply because bringing the physical gap of not being able to see each other often, not knowing what the person is up to and even seeing your loved one in the presence of other people is a tough nut to crack! Also, it might have something to do with our attachment styles! [1]

Your attachment styles can predict the success of your long distance relationship.

We all have specific behaviors, when it comes to romance, which remain unchanged, even if we change partners. Many of us are often dubbed as clingy, or commitment-phobic, or even too independent when it comes to our relationships and basically, it all boils down to our specific attachment styles. [2]

Attachment styles are simply the way we behave with our loved one, and this behavior of ours then can make a relationship smooth and enjoyable to be in, or bumpy with too much strife and expectations. Remember that attachment styles can change with a big change in life – things like pregnancy, a new baby, adoption, a sudden financial crisis, the loss of a job, an accident or injury. [3]

Now the thing with attachment styles is that depending on the kind we have or are, and depending on the kind of attachment style our loved on has, is key to making a relationship work, or not!

Secure Attachment

If you grew up in a warm, safe and loving environment then you are the kind who feels secure in your relationship with your partner, are close to him or her but still respect individuality and independence in a relationship. You are the kind who can be with any kind of attachment type, and most likely to make a long distance relationship work to your advantage as well. [4]

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment

If you are the anxious attachment type, you are likely to be the one most partners describe as clingy, possessive and even stifling. You often remain worried about the future of your relationship and depend on your partner for your happiness and fulfillment. You might find it difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship as your demanding nature will not find satisfaction in not getting the due attention over the distance. [5]

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment

So, you are the one who would probably thrive in a long distance relationship for you probably like to keep detached from your partner and may not even consider him or her that important, to begin with. You are likely to come off as cold, distant and perhaps even narcissistic in nature. [6]

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

You are the one everyone dubs as commitment-phobic. Being in a relationship is scary enough for you, naming it and establishing concrete boundaries makes you run strike back and be rather moody. A long distance relationship should work for you as well as you basically like some distance between you and your significant other. [7]

Do the right thing based on you and your partner’s attachment styles to sustain the LDR!

If you’ve already had a failed long distance relationship and fear being in another one since you took that failure personally, well don’t, on all counts. Your failure may not have been your fault or even the other’s, rather it may be a relationship doomed to fail due to different attachment styles. But does that mean that you can never be successful in a long distance relationship, like ever?

Of course not! We all can be successful at anything we so wish to if we only put in a little effort and also change ourselves a tad. Depending on your attachment style, here’s what you need to do, to make it work! And mostly, the work remains the same – trust, patience and a lot of loving attention along with space given! [8]

  • Secure Attachment: You are the kind of person who remains happy and loved in any circumstance of your relationship, distance immaterial. The problem in a long distance relationship will arise if you are with a person who has an anxious attachment type. Your security in the relationship could be mistaken for taking the relationship for granted, so you might need to shower some special attention on your “clingy” partner.
  • Anxious Attachment: You need constant reassurance in every relationship and a long distance relationship is particularly hard for you to maintain. If your partner is also anxious-preoccupied, frankly, the long distance may not work out for either one of you for both of you need to remain in constant touch with each other. If your partner is a secure attachment type, then remember that he or she is happy in your relationship and you need not feel abandoned or ignored. Your avoidance attachment partner is likely to be the happiest in this long distance relationship and may need a gentle reminder every now and then that you need attention too.
  • Avoidance Attachment: So your secure partner may not be affected by the distance or even the various emotional phobias you have, and in case your partner is also the avoidance attachment type then you guys would probably revel in the relationship you have over the miles. But if your partner is anxious attachment type, Houston, we have a problem! You need to get over yourself and give a little part of you over the phone or the chat to your loved one to make sure the distance does not stress out your already hyper anxious partner. And with the distance, a little more attention should be easy for you to maintain as well.

Remember that all relationships are same only in that they all need work, effort and plenty of love to work. Mostly, if the love is there, you can make it work – distance be darned! That said; a long distance relationship does need that extra bit of effort more to retain the spark for an ending that’s equally bright and happy!

Reference

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How We’ve Been Learning Wrong

What is learning, really? At the heart of it, do you approach learning something as truly consuming it, letting it ruminate and understanding it before applying what you know? Or do you simply memorize information that’s being fed to you and consider that “knowledge”? If it’s the latter, you may be using learning as an excuse to avoid putting in effort.

I know I have been guilty of simply memorizing information for an exam or paper and realizing I couldn’t recall any of the facts afterward. In school I never saw this as a problem. After all, I was acing tests! But now in my adult life, I realize there are certain things I truly learned, as I have retained them all these years. But there are plenty of things I remember being taught but have no recollection of beyond that.

Attending lessons doesn’t equal learning

Have you ever thought about how bizarre it is that we wake up five days a week and go to a building filled with desks, only to sit there counting down the minutes until the bell rings and we go home to do homework before starting it all over again the next day? If you feel like you aren’t actually learning anything, this can seem like a huge waste of mind-numbing time.

You’ve probably heard people say they learn best by doing. I know I do. But what if we all do? Think about it: you could watch someone build a car all day long on Youtube, but if you were then given all the parts, would you truly know how to put it together it? You would know how it should look in the end, and you may even have a general idea of where things belong. But the odds of you putting together a working car just from seeing someone do it are slim. Until you apply the knowledge you’re witnessing to your life, you haven’t truly learned it; you’ve just seen it.

Knowledge is more accurately 30% consumption and 70% creation

First things first, knowledge does not equal 100% consumption. You cannot simply read about something all day and call yourself an expert. It takes time and application. Think of consuming knowledge the same way you consume healthy foods on a new diet. Eating nothing but raw veggies and lean protein for one full day will not instantly transform your health or body. But doing it for a long time and making it a part of your life will lead to the results you want. Just like learning something, applying it to your life, working with it and adjusting what you really know will give you true knowledge over time, too.

Knowledge is more accurately 30% consumption and 70% creation. When you learn about something, you’re consuming it and allowing some ideas to take shape in your mind. When you are learning to do something, you’re using motor skills and memory to truly understand concepts and grasp facts. That’s when knowledge becomes real and powerful.

You learn the most by failing

It’s never fun to fail at something. In fact, in certain scenarios it can be embarrassing and upsetting. But with every failure comes a lesson. If you can use that lesson in your next attempt, you may still fail, but you’ll be closer to getting it right. I remember when I was taking Spanish in High School and later French in College. Both languages required dedication and study, but I didn’t figure out how to communicate in either of them by simply reading about what words translated to what and hearing someone tell me about conjugation.

I learned through trying to speak and occasionally messing up. In fact, I was on a study abroad trip in Ireland with an exchange student from France. He was incredibly handsome and I was the only one who could speak any French. Of course I seized the opportunity and would strike up a conversation at every opportunity. One morning, I tried to tell him I liked his sweater (le pull) but instead told him I liked his chicken (poulet)!! Thankfully he found it hilarious and not absurd, but I was mortified! But you can bet I never forgot the word after that. It took failure (and humiliation in my case) for me to actually learn the word rather than assume I knew it.

Stop using learning as a method of procrastination

When you accept sitting in a desk and hearing about something as the equivalent to knowledge you’re cheating yourself out of success. You’re procrastinating by sitting there and pretending you’re an expert simply because you wrote a paper about something.

In order to truly be successful and master a subject or idea, you will still have to research and study. The idea is to truly implement the things you’re learning – even through something as simple as having a conversation about it with someone – in your every day life.

My friends and family all know I am a wealth of random facts and “worthless information,” but it’s because I heard things that sparked my interest, researched them, told people about the things I had learned and applied them to my life when/if possible. I’m sure I would be great at math if I had a passion or career that required me to excel at it. I’d be a phenomenal scientist if I had ever truly cared about the experiments we did in my chem class. But I didn’t put forth the effort. Instead, I watched, I listened and I forgot.

So think about your daily life and your career or aspirations. What could you be doing differently that would help you apply the things you’re learning about in order to truly know them? What areas of study do you have difficulty in? Are these the subjects you don’t care about and often cram for the night before an exam? Take that into consideration and realize what that could be a sign of.

Featured photo credit: Krzysztof Puszcyzynski via stocksnap.io

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The Only Effective Way to Talk With Children When They Are Acting Out

Did you know that yelling at your child can cause just as much damage to them as hitting them? [1] The majority of parents resort to yelling, screaming, or simply raising their voices when they are trying to get a message through to their child who is acting out. They know that yelling isn’t the best way to parent, yet time and time again they find themselves raising their voice as it seems to be the fall back method to get their child to listen.

The Problem of Yelling: It’s Too Weak to Change a Child’s Behaviors

The problem with being a parent who makes it a habit of yelling, is that this tactic can be as damaging as hitting your child and the yelling often becomes ineffective, which is exemplified by parents who increase the volume of their yelling over time. Parents will raise their voices louder and louder, until it reaches a point where every time they go to correct their child they yell at maximum volume, as this has become the habit and way for getting any reaction out of the child. If the yelling has no consequences other than the yelling itself, most kids find this is not a strong enough deterrent or effective agent of change to permanently change their behavior.

An Effective Parenting Approach Can Be a Whisper With Prompt Results

Effective parenting uses a softer approach that not only communicates to the child on their level for greater understanding but also uses an approach that has immediate consequences that are consistently utilized.

There are ways of parenting that use a softer approach that actually get children to obey. If parents start using a “One Ask Approach”, they will find their children listen the first time they say things.[2] It isn’t magical though. It takes time and consistency. The child needs to understand that if they are given a warning and they still fail to obey then a consequence immediately follows.

Parents who are consistent with the follow through will see that over time they can even whisper the warning to their child and get effective and prompt results. Yelling is not efffective in the long run. However, since yelling is the most habitually used parenting tactic when children act out, the one ask approach needs to be better understood and practiced by parents in order to reduce their habit of yelling.

Use the “One Ask Approach”

The one ask approach is simply a method of parenting that involves warning your child only once and if they don’t alter their behavior the consequence/punishment immediately follows. There are three basic steps for a parent to follow:

1. When the child does something wrong, they are told only once how and why their behavior needs to change or there will be a specific consequence.

For example, if your child is jumping on their bed you simply state “you need to stop jumping on your bed by the count of 3 because I don’t want you to fall off the bed and get hurt. If you don’t stop jumping by the count of 3 you will be put in time out for 5 minutes”. This warning is only said once and is said in a calm yet firm tone. No yelling or raising of voices is involved.

2. Thank the child for listening; don’t give multiple warnings if they don’t listen.

If the child stops the behavior, commend them and say thank you for listening. If they don’t stop, you do not give another warning, or multiple warnings as this will become what they expect, so they will not listen the first time. If they failed to follow instructions, it is time to immediately follow through on the consequence.

3. Talk with the child on their level following the punishment.

The level of the offense determines the level of discussion needed. If it is for jumping on the bed, you can simply express to your child on their level that you would be very sad if they fell off the bed and got hurt. You have these rules to protect them because you love them.

Being consistent with your words and actions will help your child learn that you mean business when you speak to them about their behavior.

The warnings have to include very specific and realistic consequences for their actions. If they know you won’t follow through, for example, by threatening to let them out of the car on the side of the freeway, then they likely won’t change their behavior because the threat is not valid. Use realistic threats and consequences you can follow through with immediately. Time outs and taking away privileges are the most often utilized effective threats and consequences. These are the easist for parents to implement as well.

Behavioral change happens in the heart to make the change permanent.

There are key components to talking with your child to help them understand their behavior issues in their heart and not just in their mind. After all, if they are just acting robotically because of fear of consequence, then their mindset has not changed. Parents need to get to the root and core of the problem. That way the child’s heart is affected and they understand their need for change emotionally (heart) and intellectually (mind). Here are some tips of doing just that:

Get on Their Level

If you are preaching down to your child, your message is likely to go over their head or in one ear and out the other. They don’t want to tune into your message if you are towering over them, shaking your finger, and using a stern or harsh voice (even if you aren’t yelling). To communicate with your child, here are 7 ways to speak so they listen and take the message to heart.

1. Physically get on their level.

Crouch down or sit down on the ground in front of your child so that you are at eye level. Use eye contact while speaking so can connect. It is a powerful tool in human communication that we, as parents, often take for granted. Look your child in the eyes so they know they matter and that you are serious about the conversation.

2. Use their name.

Make it personal. Use their first name when speaking to them, so they know it is about them and not anyone else around. Be sure to maintain that eye contact as you say their name and focus on them only.

3. Use a softer approach.

Compassion is what is needed when you really want to yell at your child. What parents need to remember is that your child is just that, a child. They don’t have all of our life experience, wisdom, or working brain activity. They are still learning and growing, so speak with compassion and understanding recognizing that your three year old is acting like a year old, acceptable or not. When conveying your message use a softer tone of voice but one that is firm to convey that you mean while you are saying. Avoid yelling as it will cause your child to either shut down or to act out even further.

4. Keep the message simple.

Small children are not capable of understanding big words and big concepts. Keep your message simple and brief. They have short attention spans, so you will lose their attention if you drone on and on. Say what you need to say in a few brief sentences that a child can understand. Avoid big words and anything that is going to cause them to be confused about the issue.

4. Listen when they speak.

When you are getting on a child’s level to communicate, it should not be a one way street or it will just be preaching to them. Allow time for the child to respond to your words, to converse, and to actually listen intently to what they are saying. Remember that your ability to express yourself verbally is much greater than that child’s. Be understanding of the message they are trying to convey, as it may be the only way they know how to say it.

5. Use “I” statements and encourage the child to as well.

Start your statements with “I”. If you start off by saying “you are always hitting your brother” it is not as effective a saying “I am sad that you hit your brother”. Showing the emotional connection and how their actions affect others, including your own feelings is much more likely to affect the child’s heart than simply stating the offence.

Encourage your child to respond using “I” start as well. It creates less anamosity and playing the blame game when “I” statements are used. It is taking things from a personal perceptive, with responsibility for one’s own role in that situation. An example of this in day-to-day parenting is rather than yelling “get down from that table you are going to break it!”; Instead you speak calmly and say “please get off the table, I don’t want your to hurt yourself because that would make me sad”.

Using your feelings and “I” statements are much more effective in getting through to the child. Children have a much greater understanding of feelings than many adults realize. Children can relate to feelings, so it is important that parents express their own feelings so that a connection is made on their level when discussing a behavioral issue.

6. Show them you understand by paraphrasing their words.

It is great to do all those previous steps, but they are not helpful unless the child feels understood and heard. Show them you understand their perspective even if you may not always agree.

Paraphrase their words back to them, that way they know you were listening. You can follow up with explanation if you feel their logic is wrong, but be sure to first repeat back to them what they said in a paraphrase, so they know their message got through to you. They are less likely to argue with your follow up parenting lesson if they know their side of the story and perspective was taken into consideration and understood.

The best way to show them you understood their message is to say it back. For example your child may say “I never get to ride on the scooter because Charlie is always hogging it”. You repeat back “you feel that Charlie is always on the scooter so you never get a turn to ride it”. Now you know this is incorrect because you saw her riding the scooter 10 minutes ago. You can follow up with that after your paraphrase, but perhaps it is then even better followed up with a discussion of setting up a timer so that each child gets equal time on this scooter.

Have the Child Put Themselves in Another’s Shoes

When dealing with issues where two children are involved, it is important that both children try to see the other’s perspective, especially the offending child.

When you get down on their level and speak to your child using the 7 tips listed above, you will find they are more willing to put themselves in another person’s shoes. Doing this gives them a perspective of other people and they are likely to show a lot more compassion.

Actively help them to think from another person’s perspective.

Compassion is something most of us learn over a lifetime, let’s give our kids a head start now by consistently and activity helping them to see the perspective of others by asking them to “put yourself in his/her shoes”. Don’t just ask them to do that though, make sure they respond with how they would feel if they were in that person’s position or situation. Processing of those thoughts is what causes the change in their mind and heart to commence.

For example, you take your kids to the park to play and they begin arguing over the same sand toy. One hits the other square on the mouth resulting in lots of screaming from the injured child. After you console and treat the injured child it’s time to calmly talk to the child who hit. The child says to you “he was playing with it long enough, it was my turn” and “he didn’t let me have it so I hit him because I was so mad”.

Now is the parents opportunity to say something like “how would you have felt if your brother hit you for not sharing”. They may say, “well he has” and then you follow up with, “it made you feel bad then didn’t it?” Of course they can relate back to being hit themselves and how it hurt them. Channeling their own past hurt will help them see how hurtful and wrong it was to hurt another person.

Use a Policy of Apologizing and Forgiving

It is all well and good to communicate on your child’s level, have them relate to others by putting themselves in “him or her shoes”, but if they don’t learn to genuinely apologize and forgive, then their heart will never change. When they fail to apologize, grudges and hard feelings build up. They need to be taught this important life skill as part of their process to change bad behaviors and acting out.

Children don’t naturally have the inclination to apologize when they do wrong.

Kids tend to try to minimize or dimiss their responsibility in wrong doing, which is why apologizing does not come naturally. It’s human nature. We don’t come out of the womb with the ability to make our own beds, cook our own food, or brush our own teeth. We also aren’t born with the ability to ask for forgiveness. It is a skill that is taught. It is up to parents to teach their children to ask for forgiveness.

Communicating to your child in a way that they understand and take the message to heart begins by parental example first and foremost. From there it is about teaching the child lessons on their level and affecting their heart. If they only change their behavior to avoid punishment, then the change is likely temporary. Change that happens in the heart makes for permanent change. A soft and consistent approach makes that permanent change possible.

Teaching them to ask for forgiveness is more important than forcing them to apologize.

Teaching them to apologize and that asking for forgiveness for a specific action is far more important than forcing them to apologize when they have no understanding of their offense. This is why the steps 1-7 are so important. They help the child understand how their actions hurt the other person, by putting themselves in the other person’s shoes. Parents.com explains how we need to teach children to apologize instead of forcing the apology process:[3]

Experts explain what’s important is not simply saying the words but learning to take responsibility for a mistake. “Children this age may resist apologizing because they believe the mistake wasn’t their fault”….By breaking the apology process into a few steps you can help your child understand how her actions affect others and learn when to make amends.

There are a few additional ways parents can help children learn to apologize above and beyond helping the child recognize how they hurt others and then helping them find empathy for that person they offended by “getting in his or her shoes”. These things include being an example. This means apologizing to your spouse or partner and doing so in a way that your child can emulate, as you are their primary example for how to act in life.

Another aspect of the apology process that parents need to teach their children is to make amends.

They need to find a way to make it up to the person they hurt. For example, if your child breaks another child’s toy rather than telling them they need to buy a new toy to replace the broken one, you help lead them to that conclusion themselves. You can ask your child “what do you think you should do since you broke your friends toy and they really liked that toy?” Teach your child to find ways to become a thinker of how to make amends when they hurt others, as it is important in the forgiveness and apology process.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Become Successful 10 Times Easier: Don’t Focus on Improving Your Faults

Watch enough nature documentaries, and you’re bound to witness an apex predator singling out the sickest and the weakest prey. People seem to have a subconscious fascination with homing in on weaknesses in ourselves and others. Just like how we watch a lion attacks the slowest antelope, we sometimes watch as our self-doubt and negativity rip our dreams apart. We truly are our worst critics.

To be successful, you must resist the urge to focus on deficits and start capitalizing on your strengths.

Constructive feedback and a critical eye are great, but many of us spend too much time beating ourselves up over our faults. We need a paradigm shift. Concerning ourselves only with weaknesses breeds more weakness. Compulsive fault-finding is not an efficient self-improvement strategy.

Instead of spending time criticizing yourself, try to take an objective approach to understanding your personal journey. Performing a SWOT Analysis is a great way to retrain the way you think about yourself.[1]

  • S – Strengths. List areas in which you excel. What types of work do you find most rewarding, and what training do you have? If you are not sure about this, think about the types of things that others often ask you to do.
  • W – Weaknesses. What types of work do you dread doing? Are there things that you consistently avoid or put off until the last minute? Take note of training and skill deficiencies that you may have.
  • O – Opportunities. Name specific ways that you can work to grow. Do you have access to professional help? Can you take courses or get training to make your strengths stand out and overcome your weaknesses?
  • T – Threats. Insecurities, physical and mental health, and external forces such as cash flow can threaten your ability to focus and become the best version of yourself.

We all need to take stock of where we are in order to achieve success. Personal SWOT analysis can help us do that without becoming so bogged down in our weaknesses that we forget about all the great things we can do. Below is an example of how a personal SWOT analysis might look for an individual trying to land freelance marketing jobs.

By identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, our imaginary marketer can apply this knowledge to self-improvement and focus on his or her assets while maintaining realistic expectations. Notice that this person’s opportunities didn’t only include possible solutions to weaknesses, but also capitalized on strengths.

Become an asset-based thinker to maximize your strengths.

Develop a growth mindset and recognize that successful people are always striving for improvement.[2] You do have to consider weaknesses, but in some cases, you might be able to delegate tasks that aren’t your strong suit to other people. For example, our freelance marketer who is a whiz at design but awful with social media could learn to navigate various social media platforms. He or she could also outsource the social media work to another person and focus solely on design.

If you take a myopic approach to your life and focus only on weakness, you will only grow in the areas where you have identified a problem. When too much of your focus goes toward problems, you cripple your ability to fully make use of your strengths.

For example, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has delighted fans from many countries around the world. J.K. Rowling, while brilliant, doesn’t speak all 68 languages into which her work has been translated.[3] It wouldn’t be a good use of her time to try to learn all those languages either. It is much more efficient for her to focus on the craft of writing and outsource the translations to many different translators.

Of course, being multi-lingual is an excellent skill, and you shouldn’t be afraid to learn new things. It’s just that sometimes that cost of the skill you need to learn is too high to make it beneficial for you to learn it. Let someone else use their strengths in concert with your own so that you can both be happier and more productive.

Being successful is about working smarter and remembering these 5 things:

1. Identify the things that you want to achieve.

Set goals to define a path for yourself.[4]

You have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. You decide that you would like to run your own business and break away from your 9 to 5 job in the next year.

2. Figure out how your strengths can help you reach your goals.

Those strengths that you defined with your SWOT analysis can serve as a road map for your future.

Perhaps you are a gifted metalworker. You do some research and decide that you should go into business making art from metal. You decide that in the next six months you’d like to pull together the resources to leave your job and be a blacksmith full-time.

3. Focus on the skills that you need grow to develop your strengths.

Instead of stressing out about the things you don’t do well, put most of your energy into refining your unique talents.[5]

Starting your own metalworking business is going to require you to learn some new things. You’ll have to figure out where you can get materials to do this sort of work, and you’ll need to learn how to build up a client base. In addition to practicing your metalworking, you’ll have to spend some time networking. You have to do all of these things so that can afford to grow your metalworking skills.

4. You may encounter obstacles along the way, and that’s when you know which weaknesses to work on first.

Weaknesses that interfere with your ability to achieve your goals need to be tackled head-on. You might do this through acquiring new skill sets or finding a colleague with strengths in areas that challenge you.[6]

Imagine that your business is doing so well that you have to file quarterly taxes. You balk at this because you don’t understand the tax code. Rather than waste time on taxes that you could spend crafting beautiful sculptures with your specialized skills, you hire a CPA. The CPA has a different set of specialized skills and knows how to make sure you comply with tax laws and get the maximum number of deductions.

5. Always focus on enhancing your strengths.

There are things that you can do better than anyone else. If you can find out what those things are, you can spend time working to make your best even better.[7]

You are already excellent at working with one kind of metal. To enhance your strengths, you might practice with different materials or find a mentor who can teach you new techniques. In this case, not knowing how to work with certain types of metal isn’t really a weakness – it’s just untapped potential.

Don’t let yourself drown in deficiencies.

When you dwell on the negative, you don’t give yourself a chance to shine. By becoming an asset-based thinker and appreciating your strengths, you can find success more easily. Instead of going down rabbit-holes to take on work that requires a specialist or beating yourself up over unchangeable aspects of your character, focus on maximizing your talents. Not only will you be more successful, but you’ll be a lot happier too.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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