Thursday, October 14, 2010

Self-esteem and Serving Others

I am reading a book: Perfectly Yourself - Lessons for enduring happiness by Matthew Kelly. I recommend this book for anybody who wants to enhance their self-esteem and happiness.

In his book, Matthew Kelly says:

"Self-esteem is essential to enduring happiness. Service is the surest way to build a healthy sense of self."

"Having self-esteem and making a contribution are directly linked to each other."

Albert Schwietzer also said: "I am certain of one thing. The only ones among us who will ever be truly happy are those of us who have sought and found a way to serve"

So examine your lives and see what you are contributing to your family, friends, community, work, charitable organizations, etc. Ask yourself: what are my talents and gifts, and how can I serve others? By focusing on what you are here to give, you will inevitably receive a healthy self-esteem, and may be enduring happiness too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Creating the life you want

Creating the life you want

If you are planning for a long trip and vacation, you want to have a road map and look at places you want to visit and stay. A lot of people spend more time planning their annual vacation than they spend planning for their life. Life is a journey too. So you need a road map to get to your destination. Do you have your road map?

Most of us want to live a successful and fulfilled life but we don’t have a well thought-out plan to get there. To create the life you want, you need to ask yourself some important questions, and be willing to take the time to answer them to your satisfaction. What does success and fulfilment mean for you? What matters most to you: family, partner in life, relationships, work/career, health, spirituality, etc? What are your goals and priorities in your life? What are your core values and beliefs?

If you long to live a more authentic successful and fulfilled life, you need to reflect on your values and beliefs. If you live your life in alignment with your core values, beliefs, priorities and goals, the life you are meant to live tends to unfold before your eyes.

Once you really understand what do you want out of life, then you can start planning for it. Determine what are the actions you need to take and the changes you need to make to accomplish your goals in life. Your detailed action plans and strategies are an important part of your road maps to success and fulfilment.

Have a positive mental attitude and confidence that you can indeed create the life you want. Along with some successes, there will inevitably be some set-backs. Believe in yourself and persevere. Don’t forget to be grateful for all the small successes along the way, and celebrate them with your loved ones.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Taking time-out to rejuvenate

All of us need to take time-out to rejuvenate if we want to lead a successful and fulfilling life. It may be as simple as taking a walk in the park or just lying in the sun. It may be listening to music or reading a book. It may be taking time to meditate or to pray. It may be going to exercise in the gym. It may be slipping into a hot soothing bath after a stressful day. It may be going to the spa for a sauna or massage. It may be having a celebration dinner with your loved ones. It may be more elaborate as taking a two week vacation to a exclusive resort or on a big cruise ship. You may even decide to take one year maternity leave or a sabbatical from your work.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the pressures of work and stresses of your personal life, you need to take a break to rejuvenate yourself. In this fast changing environment, you can feel pulled in all directions with different demands. In these tough economic times, it’s very important to look after your well-being, and your physical, emotional and mental health. Taking time-out for yourself gives you the opportunity to refresh, re-energize and rejuvenate so that you are ready again to face the stressful demands from your work and personal life. Taking regular time-out to rejuvenate enables you to thrive as an individual and lead a successful and fulfilling life.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quest to become our best

People of all ages, countries and cultures are driven to become their best and to make the most of their potential.

For some people this quest is associated with a desire for more money and financial security. For others, it may be seeking the ideal partner in life and fulfilling relationships. For some, it's the need for a satisfying job or more fulfillment in their workplace. Others want to change their communities and the world for the better.

This quest is really a desire to make the most of your potential and become more perfectly yourself. It can be expressed in different ways but ultimately it is a quest for personal growth and development.

If you are interested in learning more about personal growth and development, check out my blog on my website:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stretching beyond your comfort zone

Building self-confidence requires that you stretch beyond where you have been before. As you do this, your confidence about being able to take on new challenges increases. Self-confidence gives you the ability to set smart goals and to overcome obstacles and fear.

Leaving your comfort zone means moving into unfamiliar terrain and facing uncertainty. You need to transform these fears into focused thinking and action. By taking decisive actions and sometimes even learning from your mistakes, you grow and enhance your confidence.

If you feel stuck in a comfort trap, it's time to set some new goals. Setting and achieving your goals boosts your confidence and leads you to pursue greater challenges.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dealing with self-doubts

Most of us struggle with self-doubt at one point or the other. In my opinion, what makes the difference between success and failure is not whether we have self-doubts, but what we do when the doubts creep in.

What I do is I go back to my two solid foundations: Positive Mental Attitude and Health Self-esteem. I accept my thoughts about the self-doubts, and reformat them in a more positive way i.e. as an opportunity to test myself and my capacity to move forward knowing that there may be obstacles along the way.

What works for me is taking decisive action, either abandon the idea as being unrealistic for the moment or going ahead facing my doubts and fears squarely.

Taking decisive actions and learning from our mistakes and successes also build your self-confidence.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Put the extra effort

What do you think will happen to you and your self-esteem if you always do your best and more in everything you do? Most likely you will feel good about yourself. If you constantly put an extra effort in whatever you undertake. You will reap rewards in the form of recognition, promotions, friends, pride in your work, self-satisfaction and gratitude. If you sow only positive thoughts in your mind, you are bound to reap a harvest of abundance, success and satisfaction.
The stretch and extra effort will do you good and will build your self-confidence. You will be stretching yourself in a way that is beneficial for you when you walk that extra mile, when you put out that little extra effort, when you hang in there just a little longer. The more you reach out by extending yourself, the more you will grow and the more people you will influence with positive results. The following are some ideas for extending yourself which are good exercises for the mind and spirit:

1. Be extra nice to at least one person everyday.
2. Work a little longer than you have to at the factory, farm, shop or office.
3. Go out of your way to help someone regularly.
4. Volunteer to do something for others or some charitable organizations, without expecting anything in return.
5. Be extra understanding and loving to your family, parents and friends.
6. Put in a little more time to educate yourself.
7. Give a little gift to someone for no special reason.
8. Extend a welcome hand to a new neighbour, colleague or acquaintance.
9. Visit someone who is sick or in need of someone to talk to.
10. Phone someone you have been thinking about for a long time.
11. Compliment someone for his or her clothes, hair, smile, work, effort, patience, skills, etc.
12. Send loving thoughts through space for others to connect to.

There are many other ways in which you can walk the extra distance in life. Practise some of these on a regular basis. You can choose which way you wish to put in the extra effort that best suits your circumstances. It may stretch your comfort zone and sometimes you may not even be appreciated. When you put the extra effort, don't expect immediate results. Be willing to assume greater responsibilities. Strive to deliver high quality products, goods and services at all times. You can literally set your own salary by the quality of your work.
Be generous with your smiles and praises to others. People who consistently put the extra effort in their work as well as in their personal life command attention and respect. Inevitably their efforts are recognized and they reap the rewards of their labour. I urge you to put the extra effort when you are playing and laughing with your children, when you are romancing your spouse, when you are educating yourself, and when you are working on your plans for your major goals. By making the extra effort throughout your life's journey, the outcome of your endeavours will amaze you. Whatever you sow, you will reap!

Extract from my book: Become your best

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Volunteer your time and service


One of the most rewarding commitments you can make is to volunteer your time and services to your family, your friends, your community, a charity or an organization of your choice. Volunteering is rewarding for everyone who is involved. The minute you choose to volunteer, you set ripples in motion. By helping a person in need, a charitable organization, working for a worthwhile cause, you are giving something back to society. The payoff for you, the volunteer, comes when you do get the warm feeling that you made a difference in someone's life which means that you have ,in fact, made a difference in your own life.
There is always an abundance of work to be done. Contribute in whatever way you can, beginning where you are and looking for what needs to be done. Give some time and assistance to your fellow man. You decide the amount of time and the kind of service you want to provide. Make an effort to help and serve others in some small way every day. You can experience great joy and a sense of accomplishment in your service to others without having to feel egotistic about it. Being there for others when they need you is one of the most loving choices you can make. You are rewarded by knowing that you are making a difference in your sphere of influence. While you are helping others in need, you are also helping yourself. It is only by caring very much for your life that you will be able to care for the lives of others. By giving the gifts of affection and caring, you will be receiving an abundance of joy, appreciation and love. When you help people better themselves, there is no question that you better yourself along the way.
There is no shortage of volunteer agencies who could use your help. You can help out in seniors' homes, hospitals, children's groups, libraries, secular or religious service organizations, community service and charitable organizations. Sometimes the number of organized volunteer groups seems so overwhelming that you might experience some difficulty in making a choice. You may even ask how a single person like yourself can contribute to make a difference. A simple solution is to give some of your time, money and skills to help just one person, a child or a family. You may decide to make up your own projects by yourself or with the help of some friends. Make sure your help is welcomed first and ask how you can be of best help. Do not assume that your actions and interventions are always necessary and are in the best interest of those concerned. When you perform an act of kindness to someone, telling him or her something kind and encouraging, you feel good about it and that should be your sole reward. The receiving person sometimes remembers it for the rest of his or her life. It is not that you would expect the person you helped to have gratitude but very often he or she does. If the recipient of your kindness insists on paying you back you could ask him or her to return the favour to somebody else.

Extract from my book: Become your best

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Be ready and willing to learn


The most important and effective type of learning is one that is self-motivated. The knowledge and skills you acquire through education by your choice and effort are yours for life. Nobody can steal them from you. The mastery of a skill or a subject and the wisdom to use it are exquisitely satisfying. Learning is the continuous process of becoming who you are. Every time you learn something new, you change and grow as a person. From your birth to your death, you learn countless skills which you use and perform daily and automatically. You learn to walk, to talk, to read, to think critically, to get along with other people, to be creative, to cook, to drive and to run a business. Learning to make decisions and solve problems are competencies you need to develop throughout your life. Your effectiveness as a human being and your stature as a person have a direct relationship on the number of skills you have mastered and that you use daily in your job and in your life.
The key to work in the future and to remain marketable will be up-to-date skills, knowledge and information. In the next decade, we are going to be swamped by the tidal wave of technology. Nearly half the jobs created will require post-secondary education and computer literacy. For most people just to get a job they want will require between 15 to 20 years of formal education. By contrast, the number of jobs requiring less than a high school education is rapidly declining. Everybody understands the importance of education, training and skill development. If you want to have a good paying job and improve your standard of living, you need to be ready and willing to learn and adapt to the reality of the marketplace. Take full responsibility to seek every opportunity to further your education, to strengthen your areas of weakness through appropriate training and to focus your energy on marketable skills.
The admission of your ignorance is the first step in improving your education. Pretending to have knowledge of a subject is far worse than admitting your ignorance and being willing to learn it. Don't hesitate to ask questions even at the risk of revealing your ignorance. It's the best and most direct way of learning and growing. Always start by revealing to your teacher at what level of knowledge or skill you are at. If you want to learn how to use the computer or how to access the internet, admit your ignorance or let your teacher know what level you are at. It is impossible to bypass and shortcut the learning process. Many people are tempted to seek a shortcut to the learning process. Most of the time, this will result in frustration and confusion. If you are just starting to play tennis, it makes no sense for you to start lessons at the advanced level right away. In any area of self-improvement, you have to be willing to take one step at a time, be patient and put in the necessary effort and discipline.
If you did not have, or missed the opportunity for, a good education, you can still learn many things and skills you need to have a meaningful and productive life. Apart from the formal education system, you should also be ready and willing to learn from everyone and anyone. In any interaction, the other person forms part of your current learning experience and vice versa. When you are truly ready the teachers will appear. Reach out and find the right people with the right resources to help you. Prepare yourself and understand that there is no shortcut in the learning process. There is always some room for new input and for improvement. Every person you encounter in your lifetime has the potential to teach you something. If your outlook on life is positive, you will have a high level of readiness to learn and to grow. As a student you know that everyone is in some way your teacher and has something to offer you. Once you are ready and willing, you will find teachers everywhere. A wise teacher leads you to the threshold of your own mind and potential.
If you come upon something which or someone who could show you a better way to live, be ready and willing to learn. Your teacher might be a book, a motivational tape, a magazine article, a friend, a religious leader, a child, a thought that is there accidentally at the right time and place. Sometimes you have to seek the teachers and the resources too. Some of these resources include further education such as vocational courses, workshops, seminars, colleges or universities. You can also acquire and develop new, complex social skills by studying successful role models. It helps to observe and learn from others who are doing what you would like to do or who have qualities that you desire. Be humble so that you can accept and acquire the wisdom and understanding of others. Learn to listen, to evaluate and to use the wisdom, experience and expertise of others. Try to break up complicated concepts and problems into simpler units that you can understand and master. Realize that everyone had to learn from someone else.

Extract from my book: Become your best.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Begin with the end result in mind


Stephen Covey talked about beginning with the end result in his bestselling book: Seven habits of highly effective people. Here is a practical and powerful way of how you can envision your own successful end result in your mind, and let it guide you to a purposeful and fulfilled life.

If you had your life to live over again what would you do differently? What do you think you could do about it? What is the biggest mistake you have made so far? What would you change? These are questions you can ask yourself when you want to reexamine yourself in terms of your life situation. Be fair and honest, as fair with yourself as you would be with somebody else. What is your purpose and goals in life? This is a fundamental question that most people ask themselves at one time or another. If you think I have the answer for you, you are wrong. You have the answer. We all have the answer within each one of us. For those of you who have not yet found your purpose in life, I can guide you in your search for it by beginning with the end result in mind.
To begin with the end result in mind means you need to have a clear and precise understanding of your destination. Find a quiet place where you can relax, be alone and uninterrupted when you are concentrating on the following exercise. You need a piece of paper to write your honest impressions, feelings and visualizations. Take your time to do this exercise. If you are impatient to read this book then go ahead but come back to this exercise and give it the time and consideration it deserves.

Exercise Visualize yourself at your own funeral after a long, happy and fulfilled life. Assume that you have lived your life to your full potential.
Your family, friends and colleagues have come to honour you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.
Think deeply and write down the epitaphs and eulogies you would like each of the following speakers to say about you and your life:

1. Members of your immediate family: your spouse, children and siblings.

2. One of your best friends.

3. A colleague or member of your profession.

4. A member of your church and/or community.

Try to imagine what these people would say about you in your various roles. What would you be remembered for? How did you touch and influence their lives? What contributions did you make to your family, friends, profession and community? Write down what you would like to be said of you at the end of your life.
You can repeat this exercise until you are pretty sure that you have identified your inner sources of identity such as beliefs, values and primary characteristics. This exercise will help you identify the core values that are most important to you, for example: happiness, love, good health, honesty, peace of mind, spirituality, gratitude, simplicity, beauty, respect, integrity, joy, trust, understanding, fairness, hard work, recognition, professionalism, service to others and caring relationships. Aside from making you face your own mortality, this exercise guides you in discovering your roles and goals in life. It is necessary to reassess your different roles in life as time goes on in order to take into account your personal sense of balance and significant emotional events. Regular self-examination forms part of life's journey and plays a major role in awareness, insight and wisdom.

Extract from my book: Become your best.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Choosing your partner in life

Choosing your partner in life is certainly one of the most important decisions you have taken or you will be taking.
So how did you go about or how will you go about looking for your partner in life? Is it a matter of luck or a deliberate choice?
What qualities do you look for in your partner in life? What do you expect from your partner in life?
In my case, I started to look for my partner in life after I finished my university education and was already working full-time. I needed to be capable of earning a good living before looking for a partner. I believe then I was restricted by time, geography and my limited network of friends and acquaintances. At that time, I was a young debonair naval architect, 26 years old, living in Glasgow, Scotland. All the girls I could meet were either in Glasgow, or in London, UK where I spent most of my holidays. During the period when I was 26-29, I had 3 - 4 intimate relationships with potential life partners, all had physical and personality traits that attracted me. My goal to to be married before age 30.
I made my final choice really instinctively based on how comfortable I felt when I was with her. Also her values and beliefs were compatible with mine. Most importantly, she was very natural - minimal make -up, with a beautiful face and smile, and with kind eyes. After 31 years together, I still recognize these same traits every time I look at her. More importantly, we have stood side by side in good and bad times. We have 3 lovely young adults as children, and we share a long history of building our family together. I do not expect my partner to make me happy. I am already happy and contented in life. I expect and have love, respect and trust from her. In return, she expects and has no less from me.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Life in a nutshell

Do you really value your life? What brings joy and happiness to your life? What makes life worth living? What is life in a nutshell?

Let me describe to you the lives of three of my best friends in a nutshell. They were born about fifty-eight years ago. Like most of us, they had loving and nurturing parents. They all went to school, made friends, and pretty soon they became teenagers. They had their first puppy love, broke some hearts, and had their heart broken and moved on. All three of them went colleges or universities, and afterwards they joined the work force. One became a naval architect, the second one a medical doctor and the third one a businessman. Like most men, their prize possession was their first car, which they used when they started dating girls. They chose their life partners and got married. They bought their first house. They had beautiful children.

We had some good times together, partying hard when we were single, great dinners and BBQs when we were married. We even went on holidays together. After approximately 26 years of hard work with some holidays and great times in between, we were starting to look forward to retirement. Then without any rhyme or reason, they passed away in their early fifties, Norman, the naval architect died of brain cancer, Patrick, the doctor died of Leukemia, and Maurice, the businessman died from complication following his foot amputation. That basically was the lives of my three friends in a nutshell!

So let me ask you, is that really life in a nutshell? Is that all I have to look forward to? To this day I still miss them. So does that mean that I am going to join my three friends soon? When I think of all this, I must admit that I get a little depressed. Luckily, I can still talk to my three friends even though they are dead! So when I am down, I asked them to give me some advice on how to move on. I suppose you are dying to know what they tell me! Well let me tell you the message of my friends from the spiritual world.

All three of them tell me: “Kin, get off your butt and start living! Cherish the moments you have with your family. Build strong and meaning relationships with your loved ones and friends. Express your love and affection to them. Hug them and spend time with them. Support and encourage each other, and help others in need too. Most importantly, don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t even worry about the big stuff, because sooner or later you will die and join us too.”

I miss them dearly but I would rather join them later than sooner.
Their advice is surely among the best advice I have ever had in my life. I must say their advice from their graves is much better than their advice when they were alive. Back then, when I talked about learning to play golf together, they would say “Hey, golf is for when we retire, we have plenty of time in our hands.” When I suggested we take a world cruise, their advice was “Let’s plan a two-month round the world trip right after we all become millionaires!” And I am still planning and working on that. They used to advise me to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die. Unfortunately, they did! We used to eat succulent roast pork, great lobster tails, and delicious roast duck like there was no tomorrow. As you can imagine we were all real gourmets and gourmands at the same time. My pot belly is a testimonial to this fact!

So what is life in a nutshell? Before I answer the question, I would like to thank my three friends, Normand, Patrick and Maurice, for giving me the answer.

Today I cherish my precious time with family and loved ones. I am building stronger and more meaningful relationships with them. I am always there for them, expressing my love and affection at every opportunity for I never know when it could all end. I give them plenty of hugs, kisses and smiles. I support them, and help others in need too. And I don’t worry too much anymore. I urge you to incorporate their wise advice into your life too, and watch your life changes for the better.

The bottom line is that life in a nutshell is all about meaningful, fulfilling, and loving relationships.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Being in a virtuous cycle

Being in a virtuous cycle

We’ve all been or heard other people talking about being in a vicious cycle where nothing is working out for you.

Well, the opposite of that is being in a virtuous cycle where everything is working out great for you. You are succeeding in all your endeavours. Other people are coming out of their way to assist you in your projects and in supporting you to achieve your goals.

Some people call it being lucky, being in the zone, being in the flow, being in the now, being confident and resourceful, etc. I call it being in the virtuous cycle. Whatever you want to call it, the important thing is, have you ever experience it. More importantly, do you want to experience it on a more regular basis in your life?

If you do, then you need to:
· develop a positive mental attitude;
· nurture your self-esteem;
· be grateful for all your blessings;
· set SMART goals;
· be in harmony with nature;
· be a loving and lovable person.

After many years of trial and error, I have found that being in the virtuous cycle come relatively easy to me, when I:
· think of helping others rather than myself;
· have an attitude of gratitude;
· think of abundance rather than scarcity;
· act in love rather than in fear;
· see opportunities rather than problems;
· start and end everyday with a thanksgiving prayer or thought;
· give 100% in everything I do.

Make it a habit to be fully engaged and awakened in your daily activities in a spirit of love, caring and gratitude. Living in the virtuous cycle will come easier to you. Like all things that are worth having in life, you need to persevere to acquire it. In doing so, enjoy the moments along the journey.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What matters most to you?

What matters most to you?

Have you ever asked yourself the question what matters most for you? I guess we all may have different answers. What I know is that it makes sense to think about it. Because if you know what matters most to you, then you can do something about it. You can focus your time, resources and energy on these important priorities that mean a lot to you.

Let me share with you what matters most for me. The three things that are most important for me are:
1. My family
2. My relationships
3. My work

My guess is that family matters to all of us. Our happiness is greatly enhanced if we have a happy and healthy family where everyone loves, respect and trust each other. The secret for a happy and healthy family is being there for each other in a loving and caring way in good and bad times. Society would be much better off if each family learns and implements this simple principle. Barbara Bush once said “Your success as a family, our success as a country depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house”

In my family, attendance at dinner time is very important, so the excuses better be very good ones. Personally, dinner time is one of the most important family gatherings, where we share our stories, successes, disappointments and hopes. That’s where a lot of the family bonding take places and last for the rest of our life.

Secondly, relationship matters. For me, life is simply a series of relationship that I make along my journey through life. These loving relationships enrich my life, and help to make my life more interesting and meaningful. Without the relationship with my family, loved ones, friends and colleagues, my life would not be very interesting and exciting. We support and help each other in our celebrations and sorrows. Relationship is the spice of life! Think about all the lovely people you have met in your life to date and how each of them have contributed to make your life that much happier.

Thirdly, work matters. Your work allows you to earn a good living and to contribute to your family and to society at large. Through my salary, I can provide for the financial needs of my family and loved ones. My work environment is a rich place to develop lasting and meaningful relationships too. My job and profession also gives me an opportunity to make the most of my potential.

In conclusion, the three things that matter most to me are my family, my relationships and my work. I owe a lot of thanks and gratitude to my family, my friends and my employers for assisting me to be what I am today.

So do you know what matters most to you? Are you really putting enough time, resources and energy to nurture and enhance them? If not, what are you waiting for? After all, these are what matters most to you!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Emulate the qualities of healthy families


A healthy and happy family life occupies a high priority for the majority of us. Most people have grown up with their families. Children develop their own values primarily from the models their parents provide. Most of us parents do a pretty good job of teaching our children values such as love, respect, compassion, honesty, forgiveness, hard work and concern for others. The problem is that those values are not necessarily being reinforced by society and by what people watch on television and internet. As a parent, if you want to instill these values in your children you have to take the leadership yourself rather than rely on teachers, religious leaders or the entertainment media.
Telecommunications, computers and iPods are further isolating us from community family members. Many teenagers now own cellular phones, iPhones, iPods, and computers. They are spending hours talking or texting back and forth with their friends. Some are addicted to their PlayStations and other video games. They are posting their photos, information and thoughts on Facebook. People, especially adolescents and young adults, spend hours every week chatting on the internet, using instant messaging programs or social networking websites. Small computer devices and wireless laptops make it easy for people to engage in technological activities wherever they go. Busy professionals and parents take their BlackBerries home and spend extra hours doing office work. Ipods are very popular with young people, and they spend hours listening to their large music collection and even watch videos through the earphones and tiny screens of these devices.
In many communities, there is a real breakdown in the basis of interpersonal life. In our quest for privacy and individual rights, we are starting to sever the links between family and community and even between family members. The influence of the family is declining because of many factors such as:

· Parents do not have as much time for their children as they once did;
· Many supports for parents have just disappeared;
· Approximately fifty per cent of all North American marriages end in divorce or separation;
· The peer group is becoming our children's reference point;
· A lot of children are getting their values and beliefs from watching television.

Twenty years ago, family members worked an average of 45 hours a week outside the home. Nowadays more than fifty per cent of North American households have two full-time income-earners. In these families, both parents are breadwinners working a total of 65 to 80 hours a week outside the home. Single-parent families and blended families experience similar, if not worse, working hours and related stress. Natural communities in the neighbourhoods and churches have broken down in many cases. People are moving more often such that close relatives, friends and extended families are sometimes too far away to help. Fewer people are participating in the activities of the religious institutions. Once the children move into the school system, the peer group is more likely to become their dominant influence by emphasizing instant self-gratification. Our desire for privacy has isolated us from one another so much that children often have few role models to teach them that reality is different from what they learn from their peers or see on television. By age 18, the average Canadian would have watched 12,000 hours of television, twice as much as he has spent in a classroom. As a consequence of this massive exposure, the family is beginning to borrow its values from the media and more particularly from television.
With all these constraints, what can you do to rejuvenate your family influence? You can emulate the qualities of healthy families which are:

Positive and healthy attitudes;
Good balance in their activities and goals;
Management skills;
Emotional maturity;
Free and open communication;
Ability to perceive the world very clearly;

Healthy families extend positive attitudes in all spheres of their lives, encouraging enthusiasm, confidence and excellence. They live with purpose knowing where they want to go and how to get there. They are involved in their communities. Relaxation, leisure and enjoyment are always part of their goals. They know when it is time to stop working and play a little, thus avoiding fatigue and irritability. Family activities are very important priorities: picnics, holidays, sports, fairs, cultural events and social outings. They have lots of games and playing time with each other at all stages of their lives. They read a lot to their young children and introduce them to the pleasure and discovery of reading for themselves. They have a family structure, with parents in a strong and equal coalition, prepared to lay down the law if they have to, but always consulting fully with the children.
The members of healthy and functional families know in their hearts that they are loved by their families, even if they occasionally forget to take the time to express it. They pay close attention to how they behave toward each other, toward their children, among the siblings and toward themselves. In healthy families, siblings learn to share and cooperate with one another. As members of functional families, they learn to give and take and to compromise for the good of the family. They know what is important for their families and put their effort accordingly. While no family will ever be perfectly functional, healthy families can deal fairly well with problems, crises and suffering that life and fate will present to them. Some of the worst problems that some members of families are facing are unemployment, financial crisis, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse, and gambling addiction. If you find yourself in such a situation, seek help immediately from members of your family or other people you respect and trust. There are also many agencies like Alcoholics Anonymous, anti-addiction organizations, community help centres, government departments, crisis centres and volunteer groups in your area who are very helpful. Family members facing and coping with these problems need intensive human and spiritual support, love, care and empathy. If it is warranted and you can afford it, have professional counselling and advice.
While members of healthy families enjoy each other's loving companionship, they have a degree of emotional independence which allows them both intimacy and their own space. They cherish each other's company and attention while being able to enjoy themselves when they are away from their family without feeling guilty. They may have mutual interests and goals but they do not attach themselves emotionally to one another nor become dependent on each other completely. They are strong and independent people while being able to give and receive help when needed. They encourage each other to grow to their full potential in all spheres of life. They believe in progress and in the possibility of their personal growth and development. They can communicate openly and freely with each other with honesty and trust. Not only do they talk to each other but they also listen to each other and respect the individual's views. They can share their feelings and troubles openly, as well as listen to others with empathy.
The parents of healthy families share their values and beliefs with their children. They provide a family structure with roles and rules which are flexible and negotiable in certain circumstances. They empower their children by giving them responsibility and stewardship of increasing importance as they learn and grow. They tell them what they find acceptable and unacceptable in their behaviour. They confront and criticize their children when it is necessary, just as they will accept criticism from them. Effective parents expose their children to a variety of social situations encouraging them to mix with others. They do their best to instill acceptable social behaviours and habits into their children.
These parents teach the children to talk openly about their feelings and problems. All members are allowed to express what they feel, think and need. The parents encourage each other and their children to understand that none of the feelings and emotions they experience are unacceptable or forbidden, giving a feeling of freedom to being themselves. Empathizing is their approach to a lot of their problems. They have the ability to perceive the world very clearly, coping quite readily with changes. Rather than unplug the television, these parents watch television with their children and give them a brush on reality. They believe in allowing their children to embark on their own paths of progression with some guidance when asked or when appropriate. They will try to help their children through painful moments and crisis but they know that they can never live their lives for them nor do they want to. All they can do is to give their support, reassurance and love. Try to emulate these qualities of healthy families in your own family.

Extract from my book: Become your Best

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Job Hunt Strategy

The way to manage your job hunt stress is to develop a strategy.
- Determine your goals and job targets.
- Have an action plan and implement it with discipline and perseverance.
- Track down job leads through effective networking.
- Develop the confidence to sell yourself and your skills and attributes at the interviews.

In this economy, a job hunt can be a frustrating process. I know because I am going through it right now myself. That's when a positive mental attitude and a healthy self-esteem are crucial.

Using my own advice, I have just been successful in finding myself a new position, as Director, Planning and Priorities at the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. I attribute my success to a lot of factors:
- Setting clear and smart goals
- Having a positive mental attitude and perseverance
- Being coached and mentored
- Having supportive networks
- Having my family and friends solidly behind me.

Good luck to all who are still looking for a new job.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Get hired in the competitive job market


One of the most important decisions you will make in your adult life is choosing a job that meets your interests and expectations. You need to know what you like to do, what your interests are and what skills and knowledge you have. The art of finding a job is knowing how to sell yourself by using what you have to your best advantage.
During the last decade, the job market has changed radically. On one hand, people are not content to stick to a job for a long time and are moving around from job to job. On the other hand, organizations are always reengineering and as a consequence there are more people being laid off. By now, most of us realize that a cradle-to-grave job is out the window along with regular raises. Approximately one quarter to one third of all jobs are in transition. The average worker can expect to change jobs six to ten times and careers two to four times. It seems that jobs are disappearing faster than new jobs are being created. There may be a shortage of jobs, but there is always an abundance of work to be done and therefore lots of opportunities. Although the unemployment rate is relatively high, there is still plenty of opportunities for people with the right attitude, entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to contribute to get hired. If your job isn't giving you the satisfaction you are looking for, it's time to invest a few hours reflecting on what would bring you more fulfillment. Even if you are comfortable with your work, when an opportunity presents itself you could still move on to do something even more interesting and challenging. Look for opportunities and take them as they arise.
In planning your career, you need to have a clear idea of the sort of job you would like to do. Do you like to use your hands to make things? Are you a self-starter with lots of initiatives and enterpreneurial spirit? Do you like to work with people? Do you like investigative work and to deliver high quality products? Whatever your preference, you need to know it. If you have difficulty in making decisions about your career choice, talk to a friend, spouse, mentor or career counselor. Find out what the growth industries are out there. Presently, there is a great demand for nurses and post traumatic stress counselors in North America. Technology and computer companies are still growing and hiring. If you are interested in a career in technology for example, use every opportunity to build a foundation to make your way in the technology-infused world.
Set realistic targets and work toward them with a positive attitude, discipline and enthusiasm. As you get to know more about your job and gain experience, you can begin to plan further ahead. In your early years, you must be prepared to move around to learn and gain experience, as well as to take more than you think you can handle. Be prepared to change your plans if necessary and be flexible in your attitude. Gain confidence by doing your work, whatever it is, to the best of your ability and believe in yourself. Your perseverance in looking for the right job and determination to keep going until you achieve your goal will make the difference between finding a job or not.
More and more organizations are looking for the right people at the right time with the right skills and right culture fit. Nowadays, organizations are likely to base hiring decisions more on skills than on past job titles. Many technical skills become obsolete with progress in technology. Organizations of the future will need people with generalist skills. Employers are seeking people with the following generic skills:

· the ability to take responsibility;
· the ability to communicate and to manage information;
· the ability to learn continuously and think critically;
· the ability to solve problems analytically and make decisions;
· the ability to direct teams, motivate others and meet objectives;
· the ability to work on a team to plan and accomplish goals;
· the ability to design, plan, research and investigate;
· the ability to set priorities and meet deadlines;

Employers are seeking people with the following qualities:

· positive attitude;
· self-confidence;
· willingness to accept challenges;
· adaptability and flexibility;

In short it is very competitive out there and you need to sharpen your skills, competencies and qualities to market yourself and get hired. It is important that you ask yourself if you are achieving the goals you really want and if you are doing the things necessary to become your best in your chosen profession. Self-analysis is needed on a regular basis to evaluate whether your performance and skills measure up to your own standard and the organization's needs. The core competencies that are always in demand include such skills as leadership, communication, problem-solving, analytical and strategic thinking, negotiating, planning and organizing. Being competent is more than simply acquiring a skill, knowledge or experience, it is using and applying them in your workplace to your advantage in order to meet your business needs. You have to develop the creative thinking ability to see the desired goal and plot a course to get from here to there. Strength in these core competencies gives you an edge over competitors and makes you a desirable asset for any organization.
Before you can gain experience and have a chance to contribute in a job, you have to get one first. This takes time, energy and perseverance, but there are techniques and strategies that can give you a head start. The following list of suggestions may be useful if you are looking for a job.

1. Set your job targets. Determine and specify what types of jobs you want and the salary you expect to earn. List your most important job target criteria: what you need and what you want. Be realistic and stay flexible. Formulate your job targets to take advantage of your skills, past experience and qualities.
2. Have an action plan. Make a list of companies you are interested in and any other potential employers. Make a list of contacts and network effectively. Establish a job search routine. Make a schedule of tasks: phoning contacts to establish leads only, not to ask for jobs.
3. Track down job leads. Track down all job leads that are of interest to you or have potential. The more obvious ones are: career section in newspapers, magazines, personnel agencies and recruiters. The best sources of job leads are friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues and relatives.
4. Prepare yourself well. Research the field and companies you are targeting thoroughly using libraries and other available resources. Classify your job target criteria into requirement and preference. Prepare and update your résumé. Practise your job hunting techniques with the companies at the bottom of your preference list. This gives you an opportunity to sharpen your skills on the job leads that you are least interested in. If you succeed in getting a job right away, you may consider it as a temporary job until you get a better one.
5. Focus your effort on your best prospects. Customize your résumé for the job leads that interest you most. Make it appealing to your potential employers by showing you in the best possible light. Ask a competent person to evaluate it for objectivity. Emphasize your education, strengths, accomplishments and work experience that you anticipate they are looking for. Find out who is the person who has the authority to make you an offer. Send your résumé directly to him or her with a copy to the personnel manager. Get as many interviews as you can.
6. Develop the ability to sell yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses. A positive attitude, enthusiasm and resourcefulness are good selling points in the job stakes. Relate your qualifications, experience, skills and qualities to the needs and relevance of your potential employers. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer looking to fill a job.
7. Prepare yourself for the interviews. Research and learn as much about your potential employers including their products and services, their strengths and weaknesses, and their needs and expectations. Prepare yourself for interviews by rehearsing some specific questions you are likely to be asked. Anticipate the needs of your potential employer and be prepared to relate your strengths, skills, accomplishments and experience to their needs and expectations. Have a list of carefully chosen references available if asked.
8. Sell yourself at the interview. Win the interview performance by selling yourself. Create an immediate rapport and connection with the interviewer(s) by providing good first impressions like a firm handshake, making eye contact when speaking and listening, and appearing relaxed and confident. The easiest way to sell yourself is to convey your passion for what you do. Highlight your experience, skills, strengths and accomplishments that are important to the interviewer(s). Convince your interviewer(s) that you can and are willing to do the job, and can fit in with the company's organization and their corporate culture.
9. Believe in yourself. Whatever the outcome of the interview, have faith and confidence that you will get hired and achieve what you want. If you have a disappointment, try to keep up your morale and spirit. Ask for some constructive feedback and keep going. Never give up. There is nothing to it but to do it, one contact at a time, one interview at a time. If you are made an offer, negotiate for your needs and requirements, again be reasonable and flexible. Accept or refuse any offer gracefully and respectfully in writing. Do not burn any bridges.

Looking for a job is a tough and stressful commitment. To be successful in today's competitive job market, you need to think of yourself as a small business owner who is offering your core competencies and skills. Identify your potential employers and develop an effective business and marketing plan to sell your knowledge and services. Employers are seeking individuals who can be part of their solution and contribute their bottom line. You must be able to convince them that you can add value to their business. Look constantly for ways of matching your skills to solve the employer's problems. View yourself as a solution-oriented entrepreneur by stating clearly what you can do to assist each potential employer. Your success depends on your ability to understand the employer's wants and needs and convince him or her that you will be an asset who can fill the needs.
The advice outlined above has been used successfully in the past by myself and others. Depending on your own circumstances, you have to determine whether they are applicable to you and put them into practice accordingly. Incorporate some of the best job-hunting advice and suggestions in your own present or future job searching strategy. Good luck!

Extract from my book: Become your best.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Make wise decisions and choices


A real decision is making up one's mind based on a free, well thought out and personal commitment to a choice, option, proposal or alternative. To make a wise decision, we need realistic information, a collection of facts, figures and feelings. A healthy self-esteem, assertiveness, self-reliance, good judgement and confidence are qualities and characteristics that facilitate decision-making. It is mostly through our ability or inability to make decisions and choices that our life is as it is today. We take charge of our own lives every time we make real decisions based on our priorities and values. We always have a choice in what we do and how we think. Making choices and decisions offers the possibility to change and improve. On the other hand, if we have great difficulty making decisions and choices, we can have all sorts of problems and complications. Decisions can be terrifying since every time you have to make tough choices, there are inevitably risks and implications. Every major decision has an element of risk, but it also offers the possibility of a benefit. No matter what you do, sometimes you will make the wrong decision. In fact every time you take a tough decision, you must be willing to admit that you might make a mistake. No wonder a lot of people abdicate their responsibility to take decisions and make choices. They depend on others, procrastinate and don't participate fully in their own life.
To start with, you need to have an objective perception of yourself and of reality. You have to understand who you are and know what you want. No one else knows enough about you to make the best decision for you. Every time you make a decision, you are expressing your personality, your values and your feelings. Every decision and choice you make and every action you take is based on your level of self-awareness. Your self-awareness can be defined as the clarity and vision with which you perceive and understand everything that affects your life. It determines your concept of reality. Your level of self-awareness dictates your experiences, attitudes, emotional reactions, anxieties and aspirations. Most importantly, it indicates your sense of self-image and personal worth, and how you feel about yourself.
Basic principles can guide you in making decisions in all aspects of your life. Start by asking yourself if it really matters what decisions you take. Ask yourself if you are truely meeting your needs and priorities. There are lots of choices and decisions you make each day that really don't matter a great deal: things like what clothes or ties to wear, what toothpaste to use, what to eat for lunch, which birthday present to buy, what movies to see. While you want to make a good choice, don't waste too much time on them. There are other times you may think you don't have any choice. You have no choice because you are told to do something. You have no choice because you don't like any of the alternatives suggested to you. You have no choice because you have a bad habit that you can't change. These are just excuses. You always have choices even when you don't like them. Accept that some choices will involve tradeoffs and compromises, some of which might be unpleasant.
As part of an organized society, it helps if whatever decision you take is legal. Gather as much information as you can so that you become more aware of the multitude of alternatives you have in any given situation. Inform yourself thoroughly of all options. Remember that you usually have more options than you think you have. Separate facts from opinions, assumptions, rumours and hearsay. Ask yourself what are the consequences of your decision. Get in touch with your deepest values and feelings. You may have to seek professional advice before making some decisions. Consult your lawyer for legal advice, your plumber for plumbing solutions and your doctor for a medical decision. When faced with a tough decision, concentrate on it and list the pros and cons on paper. Select your best option based on your factual information, priorities, and values. The decision taken should support your objectives and goals. To get better directions, you need a good map. Plan ahead and think it through. You usually go through this more rationale decision-making process when you have plenty of time to plan and choose, for example, when you want to buy a new or second hand car. There is an old Chinese saying that goes like this: "It takes less time to think things through to make a wiser decision than it does to correct a poor decision".
There are situations when you don't have time to ponder and you need to make a decision fast. Some examples are: while driving your car you come to a crossroad and you have no idea which way to turn; somebody points a gun at you and asks for your money; you are the only one at a scene of a fire and somebody trapped inside is calling for help. In these kinds of situations, you go with your instinct, impulse and gut feeling. There is no time to use the intellect and go through the rational decision-making process. Whenever time permits and especially for the more difficult decisions you need to use your rational thinking process together with your experience and intuition. When you find it difficult to make decisions, it means you have some doubt. Use your doubt to maintain perspective and to question your assumptions, judgments and motivations. Let yourself be guided by your main purpose in life, your core values and your priorities. Your decision should be consistent with your values, especially the value of respect. Remember: don't do anything you would not want done to you!
If you are unsure about all the specifics of the issue in question but you still need to take a decision, you can ask yourself whether your decision enhances your fulfillment and happiness as well as that of those who will be affected by your decision. Ask yourself whether the guidelines mentioned above have been generally met and if they have, just do it. Sometimes it takes courage to make bold decisions and to achieve results. It helps to ask yourself what it will cost if you don't take decisive action. It can be very tempting to wait for permission and confirmation before taking any decision. Often opportunities are lost that way. On the other hand, if you rush in to make quick decisions without taking into consideration the basic principles of the decision-making process, you can make mistakes and blunders. The most practical ways of making tough decisions are to use your information, insight, references, experience and intuition in conjunction with your values, beliefs and priorities. Basically, know yourself and your decisions will be wiser and more realistic.
We tend to idealize ourselves, expecting and demanding too much from ourselves. Some decisions need time for development and clarity. We want to make the right decisions all the time if possible. We have doubt and we are scared of making the wrong choices. We must overcome our fears of making wrong decisions. Without any doubt, we are going to screw up along the way! No matter what we do, we will sometimes make the wrong decisions and choices. Let's face it, no decision is perfect. There are no absolutely right or wrong decisions, just different ones. While there is never a perfect choice, there are wise and sensible choices. Sometimes no matter how long we consider the different options, there are still several possible choices and solutions which are acceptable. It does not mean that we should be paralyzed by severe ambivalence, changing our mind back and forth. We should not procrastinate by exercising excessive caution, making sure we have ideal conditions for making a choice. Choosing not to make a decision can lead to anxiety, apathy, discouragement and low self-esteem. There is always the danger that other people will make the decision for you. It is much better to assess your situation clearly, think things through rationally and make the best choice you can rather than procrastinate. Remember that even the most serious decisions you make are usually not as important as you might think. Have the self-confidence to believe that whatever happens as a result of your decision, you'll be able to handle it. Most of the time, the supposedly important decisions are forgotten as you move on. Once a decision is made, it's the commitment and dedication you have to see it through that will determine whether it will turn out to be right or wrong. You then have to discard the other options and alternatives. The commitment to the designation and implementation of your choice is crucial to making it a good decision.
Of course, you have the right and flexibility to change your mind and have second thoughts if conditions have altered to warrant it. Sometimes when you realize you have made a mistake, you may still have enough time to correct it. With each decision, if you have done the best you can under the circumstances and it still doesn't work out, you have to accept the fact and live with the consequences. Whenever you make a choice that turns out to be wrong, be honest with yourself, learn from it, use the lesson to make better decisions in the future and move on. Don't dwell on it. Determine where you went wrong and avoid the same mistake in the future. Some of the greatest lessons you can learn are from your own mistakes. When your decisions are based on your opinions, you have the flexibility to change them to fit your preferences. When you are depressed or have severe anxiety, it is wise to delay important and major decisions. Avoid making decisions when you are angry, frustrated or emotionally charged since you may have to suffer the consequences. A low self-esteem, dependency on others and the need to be accepted and liked can block you from making effective decisions.
Remember that you are only capable of choosing as wisely and rationally as you can under any circumstances depending on the knowledge and information you have, your state of mind, your preconditioning, and your thinking skills. Learn to trust your ability to make choices. The more you are prepared and willing to make decisions, the easier and more natural the process becomes. A larger percentage of your choices will align themselves with your values and will to be right for you. Successful decision-making experience builds self-confidence which in turn facilitates the process. Realism and knowing oneself is the key to wise decision-making. It is through your decisions and choices that you shape and determine your destiny. Make a decision right now that can steer you in a new and positive direction of growth and happiness.

Extract from my book: Become your best

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Understand your emotions


An emotion is a strong feeling often accompanied by physical and psychological response. Some people blush and feel ashamed when they are caught in an embarrassing situation, others do not. It is important to understand your emotions and to be aware that they can be different from others. Do not make the assumptions that everybody has the same emotions and desires. Your emotions are reflections of your mental attitude. Some of our primary emotional needs are caring, acceptance, trust, respect, self-esteem, appreciation and reassurance which are essentially the need for love. Other positive emotions are hope, faith, sympathy, optimism, and loyalty. We also have negative emotions, like anger, fear, anxiety, hatred, greed, jealousy, revenge, frustration, sadness and depression. Some of the so-called negative emotions are sometimes necessary for our survival. In an extreme situation that someone is threatening to harm you or your family, emotions like anger and fear can help you get out of your predicament. Common sense tells us that if someone has never experienced these types of emotions, he or she will be ill-equipped to understand or predict the kind of situation or behaviour likely to cause these emotional states. Fortunately most of us have experienced these emotions and have a fairly good appreciation of their effects.
Understanding the needs, behaviours and emotions of people is a powerful and practical tool for improving our relationships and deepening our capacity to experience life to its fullest. To fulfill others, you need to learn to satisfy their emotional needs. Likewise by discovering your needs, you can seek and satisfy them through your communication and behaviour. Your emotional needs have to be met in order that you can feel fulfilled. You have to be in tune with how you feel at all times by being honest with yourself about your emotions. Your feelings are an important source of knowledge and wisdom about yourself that is readily accessible to you and nobody else. By tuning in to them, you can access valuable information that cannot be found anywhere else that can be useful in the pursuit of your goal. Understanding your feelings is invaluable in the process of making successful personal change that will enhance your life.
Serious emotional difficulties occur when you cannot adjust to your surroundings and when you have the wrong attitude, poor training or social pressures. Past experiences and habits in the handling of your emotions often determine whether or not you will be able to weather a serious failure, a great disappointment or any emergency crisis. Any personal change can trigger strong feelings which should be acknowledged and understood. How would you handle a major setback in your health, family life, personal finance or employment? It is normal to experience some degree of sadness, anger, depression, fear and even grief in the change process. Accept the facts as they are and do not exaggerate them. Seek professional advice if necessary and develop a strategy to face the situation. A positive mental attitude to life always helps and is even more essential in these crisis situations.
Anger is an emotion we have all experienced at one time or another. It is a feeling of rage and of passionate displeasure caused by acute differences of opinions and major misunderstandings. Anger alerts us to things that are offensive to our values and beliefs. We can avoid anger by keeping our emotional reactions within reasonable bounds, by detecting the many potential trigger signals. Choose not to respond to them with anger. Try not to snap-react to insensitive words, specific actions or irritations. Learn to detect them and deal with them for what they are. Despite our effort, we sometimes get frustrated and angry with ourselves or with other people. For many of us, anger is an emotion which reveals the ugly side of us. We tend to repress the feeling hoping it will dissipate and we can get on with our lives. Repressing anger unfortunately results in blocking other emotions such as caring, empathy, and warmth; and can destroy relationships. Anger does not simply dissolve, it remains and accumulates, creating anxiety, confusion and feelings of rage. If repressed and unexpressed, explosive anger may erupt in the form of acute anxiety, temper tantrums, physical and verbal abuse, depression and self-hate. Before the misunderstandings, problems, and irritations that triggered your anger in the first place can be resolved, it must be expressed directly as anger, preferably at the time of its inception. A lot of times, anger is directed at people we care about the most, like our children, spouses and friends. Let them know how you feel and why. Try to express your anger as warmly, directly and appropriately as possible. You can almost feel the intensity of the anger dissipating once you have expressed it. As the emotion subsides, ask for clarification and give an explanation for your anger. Usually, confusion, turmoil and complication disappear, and good feelings emerge. Do not hesitate to apologize if your anger was inappropriate for the occasion.
Guilt and worry are perhaps the most futile emotions that we waste lots of time and energy on, thereby preventing us from concentrating on what is really important in our lives. Ask yourself why you carry around such a heavy load of guilt and worry. Feeling guilty may mean that you feel upset, dejected or depressed about something you did or said, focusing on past behaviour and happenings. Guilt also tells you that you have violated one of your core values, beliefs and principles. You can certainly learn from your past mistakes to ensure that you are not going to violate that particular standard in the future. Use your mistakes as a self-correcting kind of mechanism but realize that no amount of guilt can ever undo a historical event. Almost everybody spends a lot of time and energy worrying these days. It seems to be a human tendency to have the feeling that, no matter how well things may be going, everything could change for the worse. If you let negative thoughts occupy your mind without questioning them, they tend to leave behind a trail of worry and anxiety.
Worrying is a non-productive activity that steals our precious time. By worrying about a possible future event or about the consequences of something that happened, you are neglecting the present moment and concentrating your attention on the future or the past. Why worry about something that might or might not happen in the future? A high percentage of what we worry about never happens anyway. In any case, not a moment of worry will improve the situation, rather it may lead to fear, confusion and exhaustion. You may feel that your worrying thoughts creep up from nowhere and defy your best efforts to eradicate them. In fact, you create your own worries and determine what you want to worry about. Do not victimize yourself by listening to messages that generate worries and anxieties. Instead focus on a pleasant substitute mental activity whenever you want to banish your worry from your mind. Think of some of your worries that did not come true. Ask yourself whether they were worth the stressful emotions. Give up worrying about things that are beyond your control.
It is much more useful to take some action that can relieve you from worrying. Each time you take action and stop worrying, you can begin to appreciate your own problem-solving abilities. Instead of worrying, switch into constructive planning to resolve the problem. Sit down quietly and write out what is worrying you. Write out the worst case scenario. Ask yourself, if that happened what would you do? When you figure out what you could do if the worst did happen, the intensity of the worry will diminish. You can then take some appropriate actions to ensure that you would survive it or even reduce its impact.
A lot of people worry about losing their jobs. If you can sense that the writing is on the wall, rather than just worry about losing your job, you can spend your time and energy looking at the different options. You can start searching for another job right away. You can plan to start your own business or take some time off to reevaluate your situation. Take some action and begin addressing what you are worried about. By working on self-enhancing thoughts and ideas, you can avoid or eliminate the need for guilt and worry. Everybody worries sometimes and has experienced some form of guilt. You can begin to change your attitude about the things you worry or feel guilty about. Realize that the guilt and worry do not help solve anything. It takes practice to give up worrying and feeling guilty; you need to be determined to eliminate or at least minimize these stressful and futile emotions from your life.
Suitable emotions are facilitated by knowing that every act produces definite consequences. Cause and effect operate in one's emotional life just as they do in the physical world. You should understand your conduct and your emotional reaction as well as those of others. Most people have experienced situations where they are so tensed up that it is difficult to function and perform effectively. These situations usually happen at times when they really want to do well or when they are anxious about lacking some skills. For instance, a common source of anxiety for millions of people is having to make a public speech. Anxiety is present because they believe they lack the necessary skill, and this in turn undermines their confidence and inevitably leads to a poor speech.
As human beings, we sometimes have feelings of ambivalence. We have conflicting feelings about something. All of us have mixed and often diametrically opposed feelings, opinions, thoughts and ideas about ourselves, other people, issues and the decisions that we make in our lives. We must expect a normal amount of ambivalence. We want to be free and independent, and we also rely on our loving family for many things. Some mothers love their careers, while they also want to be home with their children. We want to take risks and at the same time we hold feelings of prudence and security. Some of us are ambivalent about whether God exists. These ambivalent feelings can coexist. This human capacity to feel conflicting feelings simultaneously may be a source of confusion and discomfort. They can prevent us from taking action, asserting an opinion and making decisions. On the positive side, it forces us to make difficult choices, to explore our inner self, to consult our hierarchy of priorities and to trust our values and beliefs. It is a valuable human attribute which makes us more sensitive to our feelings and helps us understand ourselves and others.
The process of growing up emotionally at any age is not easy. Emotional maturity requires considerable effort and endeavour. To achieve it, you should understand what motivates your behaviour and needs. Self-understanding is the ability to analyze your emotions by knowing what sort of person you really are. The best time to handle an emotion is when you first begin to feel it. It's much more difficult to interrupt it once it is out of control. Acknowledge your emotion. Identify what you are really feeling and why. Careful reflection and introspection are needed about the way you talk to yourself and the resulting emotions that you attach to this self-talk. This evaluation enables you to monitor what progress you are making towards your goals and can lead to a better sense of self-worth. The capacity to be patient, to refrain from judgment and to be able to control your emergent feelings are signs of emotional maturity. An emotionally mature person will have some or all of the following characteristics:

1. Healthy self-esteem
2. Ability to face reality
3. Independence and self-reliance
4. Happy social relationships
5. Good values and beliefs
6. Positive mental attitude
7. Harmony and peace of mind
8. Balanced life

From the point of view of emotional stability, it is vital that you think well of yourself. Your self-talk should reflect that. You can make profound changes in your well-being by changing the nature of your self-talk. The ability to face reality demands a courageous confrontation with the facts of life. This self-reliance is based on your independence and inner strength. If you are living according to your values, beliefs and interests, you will have a feeling of self-worth, a sense of fulfillment and a balanced way of life.

Extract from my book: Become your best.