How To Teach Your Kids To Care About Other People – Caroline Bologna

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As deep-seated divisions, vitriol and disturbing news fill headlines, many people are wondering what happened to the qualities of empathy and kindness in our society.

In the same vein, many parents are wondering how to raise kids who will be a force for love and goodness in the face of bitterness and hate.

HuffPost spoke to psychologists, parents and other experts about how to instill empathy in children.

Talk About Feelings

“The gateway to empathy is emotional literacy,” said Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and the author of numerous parenting books, including UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

A simple way to foster emotional literacy is by promoting face-to-face communication in the age of texting and smartphones. “Digital-driven kids aren’t necessarily learning emotions when they pick emojis,” Borba said. “Make it a rule in your house to always look at the color of the talker’s eyes because it will help your child tune in to the other person.”

Another key aspect is teaching kids to identify their own emotions early on. “Use emotional language with kids. Say things like, ‘I see you’re really frustrated,’ or, ‘I see you’re really mad,’” Laura Dell, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Education, told HuffPost.

“Before children can identify and empathize with other people’s feelings, they need to understand how to process their own feelings,” she continued. “Once they can identify their own emotion, they’re better able to develop those self-regulation skills to control their own emotions ― and then take the next step to understand the emotions of others.”

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Ravi Rao, a pediatric neurosurgeon turned children’s show host, believes parents should teach feelings as much as they teach things like colors and numbers.

“You’ll see parents walking through the park and taking every opportunity to ask, ‘What color is that man’s jacket?’ ‘What color is the bus?’ ‘How many trees are there?’” he explained. “You can also practice emotion by saying things like, ‘Do you see the woman over there? Does she look happy or does she look sad?’”

Rao also recommends playing a “guess what I’m feeling” game at home by making happy or sad faces and asking your children to identify the emotion. “You just get their brains in the habit of noticing the signals on other people’s faces.”

Once kids have a better sense of emotions and how things make them feel, you can ask them about the emotional perspectives of others. “You can ask things like, ‘How do you think it made Tommy feel when you took his toy?’ or, ‘That made Mommy really sad when you hit me,’” said Borba.

Use Media To Your Advantage

Watching TV or reading books together presents another great opportunity to cultivate empathy, according to Madeleine Sherak, a former educator and the author of Superheroes Cluba children’s book about the value of kindness.

“Discuss instances when characters are being kind and empathetic, and similarly, discuss instances when characters are being hurtful and mean,” she suggested. “Discuss how the characters are probably feeling and possible scenarios of how the situations may have been handled differently so as to ensure that all characters are treated kindly.”

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Borba recommends engaging in emotionally charged films and literature like The Wednesday Surprise, Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Set An Example

Parents need to walk the walk and model empathy themselves, noted Rao.

“Kids will pick up on more things than just what you say. You can say, ‘Pay attention to other people’s feelings,’ but if the child doesn’t perceive or witness you paying attention to people’s feelings, it doesn’t necessarily work,” he explained.

Rao emphasized the importance of parents using language to convey their own emotional states by saying things like, “Today, I’m really frustrated,” or, “Today, I’m really disappointed.” They can practice empathy when role-playing with dolls or action figures or other games with kids as well.

It’s also necessary for parents to recognize and respect their children’s emotions, according to Dell.

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For kids to show empathy to us and others, we need to show empathy to them,” she explained. “Of course it’s tough as a parent trying to get multiple kids to put on their clothes and shoes and get out the door to go to school in the morning. But sometimes it makes a difference to take that pause and say, ‘I see it’s making you really sad that we can’t finish watching ‘Curious George’ this morning, but if we finished it, we wouldn’t be able to make it to school on time, and it’s really important to get to school on time.’”

“It doesn’t mean you have to give in to their wants all the time, but to recognize you understand how they feel in a situation,” she added.

Acknowledge Children’s Acts Of Kindness

“Parents are always praising children for what grades they got or how they did on a test. You can also boost their empathy by letting them know it matters to develop a caring mindset,” said Borba, noting that when children do things that are kind and caring, parents can stop for a moment to acknowledge that.

“Say, ‘Oh, that was so kind when you stopped to help that little boy. Did you see how happy it made him?’” explained Borba. “So your child realizes that caring matters, because you’re talking about it. They then begin to see themselves as caring people and their behavior will match it.”

Expose Them To Differences

“Parents have to help their children grow up and thrive in a diverse society through education about and exposure to others who are different, whether culturally, ethnically, religiously, in physical appearance and ability or disability,” Sherak said.

There are many ways to expose your children to the diversity of the world ― like reading books, watching certain movies and TV shows, eating at restaurants with different cuisines, visiting museums, volunteering in your community, and attending events hosted by various religious or ethnic groups.

“It is also important to follow up such visits and activities with open discussions and additional questions and concerns, if any,” said Sherak. “It is also valuable to discuss differences in the context of our children’s own environments and experiences in the family, at school, in their neighborhoods, and in the larger community.”

Parents can urge local schools to promote cross-cultural awareness in their curricula as well, said Rao.

“We also just have to eliminate jokes about race and culture from our homes,” he added. “Maybe back in the day making jokes about race like Archie Bunker seemed acceptable and part of what the family did when they got together on holidays. But that actually undermines empathy if the first thought a child learns about a race or group of people is something derogatory learned from humor. It can be very hard to then overcome that with other positive messages.”

Own Up To Your Mistakes

“If you make a mistake and behave rudely toward someone who messes up at a store checkout, for example, I think you should acknowledge that mistake to kids,” said Dell. After the bad moment, parents can say something like, “Wow I bet she had a lot on her hands. There were a lot of people at the store right then. I should’ve been a little kinder.”

Acknowledging and talking about your own lapses in empathy when your kids are there to witness them makes an impression. “Your child is right there watching, seeing everything,” Dell explained. “Own up to moments you could’ve made better choices to be kinder to the people around you.”

Make Kindness A Family Activity

Families can prioritize kindness with small routines like taking time at dinner every night to ask everyone to share two kind things they did, or writing down simple ways to be caring that they can all discuss together, said Borba. Playing board games is another way to learn to get along with everybody.

Borba also recommended volunteering together as a family or finding ways that your children enjoy giving back.

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If your kid is a sports guru, then helping him do arts and crafts with a less privileged kid might not be the best match, but you can find other opportunities for face-to-face giving that match their interests,” she explained. “Help them realize the life of giving is better than the life of getting.”

Families might also consider writing down their own mission statements, suggested Thomas Lickona, a developmental psychologist and author of How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain.

“[It’s] a set of ‘we’ statements that express the values and virtues you commit to live by ― for example, ‘We show kindness through kind words and kind actions’; ‘We say we’re sorry when we’ve hurt someone’s feelings’; ‘We forgive and make up when we’ve had a fight,’” he explained.

Lickona also recommended holding everyone accountable to the family values at weekly family meetings centered around questions like, “How did we use kind words this week?” and, “What would help us not say unkind things even if we’re upset with somebody?”

“When kids slip into speaking unkindly ― as nearly all sometimes will ― gently ask for a ‘redo,’” he said. “‘What would be a kinder way to say that to your sister?’ Make it clear that you’re asking for a redo not to embarrass them, but to give them a chance to show that they know better. Then thank them for doing so.”

Another piece of advice from Lickona: Just look around.

“Even in today’s abrasive, angry, and often violent culture, there are acts of kindness all around us. We should point these out to our children,” he said. “We should explain how kind words and kind deeds, however small ― holding the door for someone, or saying ‘thank you’ to a person who does us a service ― make a big impact on the quality of our shared lives.”

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Are Empathy & Musical Appreciation Related to Social Skills – Brenda Kelley Kim

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Are music, empathy, and social information processing in the brain related? A new study from researchers at Southern Methodist University-Dallas and UCLA suggests there is a connection.

The study looked at people who are “high empathy” meaning they are affected emotionally by the feelings of others and lower empathy people who are not as emotionally invested in the actions of others. The role of processing music in the brain is complicated, and many neuroscience research projects have looked at the relationship between how we encode music in the brain and our actions in social situations.

Zachary Wallmark is an assistant professor in the SMU Meadows School of the Arts as well as the lead author of the work. “High-empathy and low-empathy people share a lot in common when listening to music, including roughly equivalent involvement in the regions of the brain related to auditory, emotion, and sensory-motor processing.” They aren’t exactly alike however and the areas where there are differences are relevant to social situations.

Wallmark and his colleagues used previous research that showed about 20% of the population is considered highly empathic. Their responses to social and emotional stimuli are much more pronounced than those who have typical levels of empathy. In the study, people who were more empathetic, processed music in an area of the brain where social stimuli are processed. In these individuals, music is treated in the mind liked a “pleasurable proxy for a human encounter” or, in other words, like spending time with other people and interacting.

The study cohort was a group of 20 UCLA undergrad students. They underwent fMRI scans while listening to music they liked or disliked as well as pieces of music with which they were familiar or unfamiliar. An fMRI is a functional scan, meaning it captures images of the brain and its activity while the patient is performing some cognitive task. The participants chose the pieces of familiar music before the study began.

While many neuroscientists and music professionals have always posited that a connection exists between music and empathy until now no studies could document the differences in the brain. In addition to the differences between empathy levels and the social aspect of music, there was also a difference in levels of reward activity in the brain. Listeners who were more empathetic showed more activity in the brains reward center than those who had lower levels of empathy. Highly empathic individuals seem to feel the music more intently than others.

Marco Iacoboni, a co-author of the work, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Lab at the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center UCLA where the scans were carried out. He stated, “The study shows on one hand the power of empathy in modulating music perception, a phenomenon that reminds us of the original roots of the concept of empathy — ‘feeling into’ a piece of art.

On the other hand, the study shows the power of music in triggering the same complex social processes at work in the brain that are at play during human social interactions.” The research is published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The video included shows how some perceive music as a “social fix.” Check it out.

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7 Easy Ways You Can Become More Generous (Without Breaking the Bank) – Jesse Wisnewski

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Even though you may feel like you don’t have enough money to give, there are many ways you can be more generous. And don’t worry. You don’t have the break the bank, rack up debt, or get a second or third job so that you can donate more.

Below are seven simple ways you can become a more generous person with what you have to give. Regardless if you’re not used to giving or you’re just looking to become a more generous person, the list below will help you to get started.

1. Start small

Like many things in life, it’s best to start with small steps. If you don’t have a ton of wiggle room in your budget or a history of donating, then plan on taking small, generous steps at first.

  • Do you only have $5 you can spare?
  • Does giving $20 feel like a stretch?
  • Do you have the ability to donate $150 this month?

It doesn’t matter if you can only give $5, $50, or $500. Start giving whatever you’re able to donate.

Start giving what you have to give

Regardless if you think your donation is little or large, start giving what you have to give. “How can I start small when the Bible talks about tithing?”

Well, that’s a great question, and one we don’t have the bandwidth to answer in this post. But you can read this post to see what the Bible says about tithing: 106 Scriptures About Tithing in the Bible, Giving, and Generosity.

In the meantime, keep the idea about starting small in mind as you read through the suggestions below.

2. Reduce one expense.

 2. Reduce one expense

Before giving as much as you’d like, you may have to cut back on some of your expenses:

  • What is one think in your budget you can reduce or remove?
  • Can you cut your cable bill?
  • Can you reduce your mobile phone services?
  • Is there a miscellaneous expense, like coffee, you can reduce?

Take a few moments to look through your budget to identify one expense you can minimize or delete. To shed some light on how much you should save, take a look at all of the Bible verses about saving money. Now, with the money you save, be prepared to funnel it into a cause, which leads us to the next point.

3. Find a cause

Do you financially support your organization you want to help? What about a local organization, individual, or family who has a need?

However you choose to be generous with your money, it’s crucial for you to know who or what you’re going to support. Not committing to help someone or an organization may lead you not to give at all.

4. Give away stuff

There are times when life makes it difficult to be generous with your money. After paying your bills and putting gas in your car to get to work, you may not have a ton of money left over to give. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you can’t be generous.

Walk around your home to see if you can find things you can donate or sell so that you can give away the money you earn. You’ll be surprised by how many extra things you have lying around your house.

5. Share your time

There’s more to being generous than giving money.

In other words, God calls you to steward your life for his glory and for the good of others, which includes your time and skills.

If you’re not already volunteering your time, can you spare one hour per week to volunteer at your church or a local organization? How can you use your education, training, or work experience to help someone else?

Take time to think through what skills you have and how you can volunteer your services.

6. Look for opportunities to give

Commit yourself to looking for opportunities to give today. From carrying cash in your pocket or just being open to helping someone in need, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to be generous during the day.

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7. Set up recurring giving.

Arguably one of the easiest ways you can make start making small regular donations is to set up recurring giving. If the church or ministry you support uses Tithe.ly, you can set up a recurring monthly gift for as little as $5.

Whether you set up a recurring donation for $5, $50, or more, take a few minutes today to make an ongoing gift every month.

What step will you take first?

As you respond to the grace of God in your life, you’ll need to start by committing to becoming more generous. Don’t worry about how your giving compares to others or if you haven’t given that much in the past. God is at work in your life today, and I encourage you to respond to his leading in your life as it relates to your generosity.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

14 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline

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Sadly, your natural genius and an occasional burst of hard work are not quite enough to guarantee success in this life. Great entrepreneurs all have one additional amazing trait in common: discipline. It takes a lot of consistency and determination to get your great ideas recognized and to convert your hard work into dollars.

It is ironic, then, that self-discipline is often a feature that the brightest people among us lack the most. The problem is that there are so many wonderful things to learn about the world; concentrating on any one project can be a big ask.

Related: Why You Need Discipline to Achieve the Good Life

If you’re concerned that your lack of self-discipline is holding you back from fulfilling your full potential, you can remedy this by trying a range of techniques to sharpen your focus. Visualizing the effects of your work, making lists and thinking about the company you keep are all good ways to get started.

Check out the infographic below for further details on these and other methods of honing your self-discipline. Study it today, and you are sure to see the positive results of your new regime before you know it.

14 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

AI Can Now Identify You By Your Walking Style – Ashley Sams

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Similar to snowflakes, every individual’s walking style is unique to him or her. Gizmodo shares that work is being done to create a new footstep recognition tool that could replace retinal scanners and fingerprinting at security checkpoints.

“Each human has approximately 24 different factors and movements when walking, resulting in every individual person having a unique, singular walking pattern,” says Omar Costilla Reyes, the lead author of the new study and a computer scientist at the University of Manchester.

Reyes created the largest footsteps database in existence by collecting 20,000 footstep signals from 120 individuals. Using this database, Reyes trains the artificially intelligent system to scour through the data and analyze weight distribution, gait speed, and three-dimensional measures of each walking style.

The results so far show that, on average, the system is 100 percent accurate in identifying individuals.

Which Online Conversations Will End in Conflict? AI Knows.

According to The Verge, researchers at Cornell University, Google Jigsaw, and Wikimedia have created an artificial intelligence system that can predict whether or not an online conversation will end in conflict.

To do so, they trained the system using the “talk page” on Wikipedia articles—where editors discuss changes to phrasing, the need for better sources, and so on.

The system is trained to look for several indicators to gauge whether the conversation is amicable or unfriendly. Signs of a positive conversation include the use of the word “please,” greetings (“How’s your day going?”), and gratitude (“Thanks for your help”).

On the contrast, telling signs of a negative dialogue include direct questioning (“Why didn’t you look at this?”) and use of second person pronouns (“Your sources are incomplete”).

Currently, the AI can correctly predict the sentiment outcome of an online discussion 64 percent of the time. Humans still perform the task better, making the right call 72 percent of the time. However, this development shows we’re on the right path to creating machines that can intervene in online arguments.

AI Across Industries

In a recent Forbes article, author Bernard Marr shares 27 examples of artificial intelligence and machine learning currently being implemented across industries. If you don’t have time to read the full list, we’ve shared a few of our favorites below.

In consumer goods, companies like Coca-Cola and Heineken are using artificial intelligence to sort through their mounds of data to improve their operations, marketing, advertising, and customer service.

In energy, GE uses big data, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to build an “internet of energy.” Machine learning and analytics enable predictive maintenance and business optimization for GE’s vision of a “digital power plant.”

In social media, tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are using artificial intelligence to fight cyberbullying, racist content, and spam, further enhancing the user experience.

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How To Get Over a Breakup, According to Science – Andrew Gregory

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The aftermath of a breakup can be devastating. Most people emerge from it intact, but research has shown that the end of a romantic relationship can lead to insomnia, intrusive thoughts and even reduced immune function. While in the throes of a breakup, even the most motivated people can have a difficult time determining how best to get on with their lives.

Now, in a small new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, researchers tested a variety of cognitive strategies and found one that worked the best for helping people get over a breakup.

The researchers gathered a group of 24 heartbroken people, ages 20-37, who had been in a long-term relationship for an average of 2.5 years. Some had been dumped, while others had ended their relationship, but all were upset about it—and most still loved their exes. In a series of prompts, they were coached using three cognitive strategies intended to help them move on.

The first strategy was to negatively reappraise their ex. The person was asked to mull over the unfavorable aspects of their lover, like a particularly annoying habit. By highlighting the ex’s negative traits, the idea goes, the blow will be softened.

In another prompt, called love reappraisal, people were told to read and believe statements of acceptance, like “It’s ok to love someone I’m not longer with.” Instead of fighting how they feel, they were told to accept their feelings of love as perfectly normal without judgment.

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The third strategy was distraction: to think about positive things unrelated to the ex, like a favorite food. Just as distracting oneself can help reduce cravings, it may also help a person overcome the persistent thoughts that come with a breakup.

A fourth prompt—the control condition—didn’t ask them to think about anything in particular. Next, the researchers showed everyone a photo of their ex—a realistic touch, since these often pop up in real life on social media. They measured the intensity of emotion in response to the photo using electrodes placed on the posterior of the scalp.

The EEG reading of the late positive potential (LPP) is a measure of not only emotion but motivated attention, or to what degree the person is captivated by the photo. In addition, the researchers measured how positive or negative the people felt and how much love they felt for the ex using a scale and questionnaire.

According to the EEG readings, all three strategies significantly decreased people’s emotional response to the photos relative to their responses in the control trials, which didn’t use prompts. However, only people who looked at their lover in a negative light also had a decrease in feelings of love toward their ex. But these people also reported being in a worse mood than when they started—suggesting that these negative thoughts, although helpful for moving on, may be distressing in the short term.

Distraction, on the other hand, made people feel better overall, but had no effect on how much they still loved their ex-partner. “Distraction is a form of avoidance, which has been shown to reduce the recovery from a breakup,” says study co-author Sandra Langeslag, director of the Neurocognition of Emotion and Motivation Lab at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, so the strategy should be used sparingly to boost mood in the short term.

Love reappraisal showed no effect on either love or mood, but still dulled the emotional response to the photo. The authors classify love for another person as a learned motivation, similar to thirst or hunger, that pushes a person toward their partner in thought and in behavior.

That can in turn elicit different emotions based on the situation. When love is reciprocated, one can feel joy, or, in the case of a breakup, persistent love feelings are associated with sadness and difficulty recovering an independent sense of self.

Classifying love as a motivation is controversial in the field; other experts believe that love is an emotion, like anger, or a script, like riding a bike. However, the endurance of love feelings (which last much longer than a typical bout of anger or joy), the complexity of these feelings (both positive and negative) and the intensity of infatuation all signal a motivation, the authors write.

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To get over a breakup, heartbroken people change their way of thinking, which takes time. Just as it can be challenging to fight other motivations like food or drug cravings, “love regulation doesn’t work like an on/off switch,” Langeslag says. “To make a lasting change, you’ll probably have to regulate your love feelings regularly,” because the effects likely wear off after a short time.

Writing a list of as many negative things about your ex as you can think of once a day until you feel better may be effective, she says. Though this exercise tends to make people feel worse, Langeslag says that this effect goes away. Her past research found that negative reappraisal also decreased infatuation and attachment to the ex, so it will make you feel better in the long run, she says.

The findings are particularly relevant in the age of social media, when photos of exes, and the resulting pangs of love, may come up frequently. “All three strategies may make it easier for people to deal with encounters and reminders of the ex-partner in real-life and on social media,” Langeslag says.

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What Super Successful People Do Over A Long Weekend And What You Need To Do Too – Jack Kelly

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The countdown is starting for the long Memorial Day weekend. If you live in a place like New York, you’ve been tortured by an almost uninterrupted run of rain, grey skies and relatively chilly weather for the last couple of months. We’re yearning for some nice, warm and sunny daysespecially since we will be out of the office.

Let’s be honest, three-day weekends have recently become three-and-a-half or four-plus day weekends. By Friday afternoon, most people bolt out of the office to jumpstart their mini vacations. Others catch mysterious illnesses on Tuesday and are “forced” to call in sick.

The average person uses this time to go to the beach, sleep to noon, binge watch their favorite Netflix shows or take in a baseball game or two (or three or four).  My advice to you is to avoid following the herd of mediocrity and strive for success. It is too easy to let the holiday weekend slip by and gorge yourself with hotdogs, hamburgers, soda, potato chips and beer. My suggestion is to use this time as a gift to be proactive and productive.

Since I recognize you would rather take it easy and coast, please allow me to share the weekend habits of successful people that help them get ahead.  I promise that I’ll make it super easy to follow.

The first thing to do is sort-of fun. Use the holiday sales to purchase a sharp, new wardrobe.  It could be for interviewing for a new job or trying to impress your boss and colleagues in the office. Find clothes for the job you desire and not for the position you are currently stuck in.

If you are like me and lack fashion sense, seek out a personal shopper who can ensure that you master the look for the type of industry you work in and come across looking sharp.  While we are being shallow and discussing appearances, put down the frankfurter and go for a jog, bike ride or do some yoga.

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Take an afternoon to catch-up with new developments within your field. You can do this by reading industry-specific blogs, newsletters, articles and books. Then, go to the next level and read some books that will teach you something new and make you smarter. If reading is too much to handle, there are great podcasts and YouTube videos to watch that will help you with self improvement, learning about new topics and current events.

Set aside a few hours to get ahead with your work. Start new projects and take initiatives on things that you know will eventually need to do. Finish work that you have been procrastinating on for weeks. Send out emails and leave phones messages for people at work, especially your boss. They won’t answer or listen to them since they’re squandering their weekend with time-wasting nonsense. However, when Tuesday rolls around, they will be suitably impressed with your motivation.

Draft a game plan of what you need to do over the summer to move forward in your career. Set short-term and long-term goals. For instance, if you are seeking out a new job, search various job boards, update your resume, freshen up your LinkedIn profile, reach out to recruiters and practice your interviewing techniques.

It is important to reconnect with family and friends in a meaningful way. Put the phones away and enjoy their company. Listen to what your spouse and children are up to and what’s really going on in their lives.

Disconnect from social media, television and other obsessive distractions. Take some quiet time to assess where you are in your life and career.   Be honest with yourself because there is no reason to pretend that everything is going great if it isn’t. If you are not happy with your station in your professional and personal life, start mapping out a plan that will help you achieve your goals.

After you have accomplished theseand other similar productive activitiesthen and only then, should you take some time to relax and enjoy the time off.  There will be less time available, but trust me, you will enjoy these precious, relaxing hours since you will feel that you have earned it. Also, you will have a feeling of immense satisfaction that you took assertive actions to improve your life and avoided wasting the long weekend.

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Why Finding Your Natural Fit Is The Key To Achieving Ecstasis – Chris Myers

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After reading Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal’s excellent “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work,” I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into the concept of ecstasis, commonly known as flow.

For those that may not be familiar with the concept of ecstasis, it’s a elusive state of mind where a person become so engrossed in the task at hand that everything else simply melts away. As external distractions are eliminated, people find that their creativity and actions are guided by intuition, rather than rational thought.

Ecstasis is something that many high-performing artists, athletes, and academics draw upon when they’re in the zone, so to speak. It’s a magic state where your consciousness reaches another plane and creativity flows unimpeded.

Ecstasis is a drug in many respects, albeit a natural one that results from the release of various neurochemicals in the brain.

People are going to great lengths to experience ecstasis in their own lives, trying everything from transcendental meditation to microdosing mind-altering drugs.

Of course, for most of us, these extreme measures are neither feasible nor attractive. I believe that there is an important holistic solution that makes finding your flow state easier. I’m talking of course about fit.

In the world of business, poor performance and existential frustration occurs when an individual’s natural skills and proclivities are simply not a fit for the career they chose or the tasks they take on. That’s why I believe that finding the right fit, both in terms of natural skills and interest, is the most important factor when it comes to success.

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This grounded vision of flow was popularized by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the early 1990s. According to Csikszentmihalyi, this toned-down version of ecstasis/flow manifests itself when a person’s natural skills align with the challenges they face in a given situation.

When people operate outside of their flow, problems arise.  For example, if an individual works in a highly challenging environment in which their natural skills are outclassed, they tend to experience terrible anxiety and stress.

Conversely, if an individual’s advanced skills are wasted in an industry that is neither interesting nor challenging, boredom and apathy quickly set in.

Finding your personal flow in the context of work isn’t easy. Fortunately, there are a few key lessons I’ve learned over the years that can help you find your place in the workplace and avoid a life of quiet desperation.

Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses   

I began my career in consulting, because that’s what young business school graduates do. I wanted to do something more creative and entrepreneurial, but I was afraid to take on the risk at the time.

These were tough years for me, because no matter how hard I worked it just didn’t feel right. I tried so hard to conform to the ideal of what a hot shot consultant should be, even though I knew that wasn’t who I was. As a result, I was constantly anxious about my performance relative to my peers and stressed out over everything.

It was only when I took the time to be honest about who I really was that things started to improve. I grew to understand that my natural strengths were found at the intersection of finance and the humanities instead of analytics.

Once I began to see myself as someone with the soul of an artist trapped inside of a finance guy’s body, things started to make sense.  I realized that I’d never be successful or happy as a consultant and that my ideal state of flow would be found elsewhere.

This ultimately sent me down the path of entrepreneurship and ultimately led to the founding of my company, BodeTree.

Don’t let yourself get too comfortable

Now, the thing about financial consulting is that it generally pays pretty well. The personal comfort that came along with the job that I hated was the one thing that gave me pause when it came time to quit. I found that I could put up with a lot of short-term pain as long as I was well compensated.

Of course, this was an utterly miserable way to live my life, but I’d be lying if I said that money wasn’t a consideration. Ultimately, my desire to make a dent in the universe outweighed my desire for a comfortable lifestyle, but that isn’t the case for everyone.

For too many, the allure of comfort and the fear of financial hardship prevents them from ever making a positive change. My advice is to avoid getting too comfortable in a career that you know isn’t right for you.

Once you pass the metaphorical point of no return, you’ve committed yourself to a path that is both stifling and unfulfilling.

Learn to take risks

I’ll never forget the day I told my wife that I wanted to quit my well-paying job and start a company called BodeTree. She was months away from giving birth to our first child and here I was, proposing to eliminate any semblance of stability we had in our lives.

Still, despite the risks we both knew it was the right thing to do, and she gave me her full support. I was lucky in that when the opportunity for me to find my flow presented itself, I had the ability and support to take advantage of it.

Many people aren’t able to make that sort of a jump, and as a result, miss out on opportunities when they present themselves.

Fit leads to flow, and flow leads to ecstasis

Life is messy, difficult, and complicated. Nothing ever comes easy, and timing is rarely on your side. If you find yourself waiting for the perfect time or circumstances to make a change, you’ll never be able to move forward.

You have to get comfortable taking risks, both big and small if you want to find your perfect state of flow. This can be both scary and difficult, but risk and reward go hand in hand.

By putting yourself in the right mindset and aligning your skills with your endeavors, you make it easier to achieve the elusive flow state. It may not be as sexy or exciting as mastering transcendental meditation or experimenting with mind-altering drugs, but it just might prove to be a more sustainable path to achieving ecstasis.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

The 6 Worst Kinds of Late People (And The Message They’re Sending) – William Vanderbloemen

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You know these people. The late people. They make you crazy. You may be one of these people. The truth is, I’ve been all of these people at one time or another. And all seven of these people make me crazy too.

What people don’t realize is how the simple mistake of being late carries big consequences. When I’m late, it sends unintended messages to the room about me, and it’s not good. If you’re in an interview with me and I get one these messages, you may put yourself in an unwinnable position.

Meet the six worst kinds of late people and the message they are sending:

1. The “Frantic”

Every one of us knows this person. They run in the room with hair on fire (actually, they usually run in the place with wet hair), and bustle in just as you’re getting started (and after you’ve already waited).

Message sent: “I am drama.”

This kind of lateness projects a life that is out of control. A life that stays in drama mode. In the thousands of searches I’ve done over the years, I’ve never had a client ask for someone that is drama. In fact, most people want team members who are calm.

Conversely, being on time reduces stress.

By some estimates, the stress relief industry (products, books, etc.) is an $11 billion industry in the US alone. Here’s a free way to achieve what people are paying to find: be on time.

2. The “Unaware” (aka The Self Absorbed)

Ever have someone walk into a meeting late and not even notice they’re late? “Oh, have you all been waiting?”

Message sent: “I’m more important than you.”

The old saying is true: we measure what matters (to us). If you take steps to be on time for our meeting, you are actively communicating that you respect my time. Conversely, an innocent oversight of time can project a really self-absorbed image. That’s tough to recover from.

3. The “Unapologetic”

Some people just walk into a meeting late and keep rolling as if nothing has happened.

Message sent: “I don’t care.”

Being on time shows you can execute on a promise. Interviewing, at its root, is an attempt to size up whether or not a candidate can do a job. Showing up on time means that one of our very first contracts (the appointment) is one you can execute on. Being late and not apologizing? That tells me not only that you cannot do the job, but also that you do not care.

4. The “Victim”

“You won’t believe what happened to me on the way to work…” Actually, you’re right; I don’t believe you.

Message sent: “I’m a victim.”

Nobody wants to hire someone that’s a constant victim. Far too often, people respond to an error with excuses, with stories of what happened to them that cause them to be late. Yes, things happen, but not time after time. And when they do happen, the rare and refreshing response is the person who finds a way to own their mistake and learn from it.

5. The “Considerate”

How many times have you gotten the email or text from someone right before the meeting telling you all of the reasons they’re going to be late? Sometimes, this is a good thing, but most of the time?

Message sent: “Don’t believe me.”

I appreciate the heads up, but when the heads up is a three-page email, and the person walks in late with a Starbucks in hand, things get suspicious. How you respond to an error makes all the difference in how it is received. But wasting time writing a long email because the line for coffee is too long? That diminishes credibility.

6. The “Chronically Late”

This one is the worst, and whether you realize it or not, it sends a very clear message:

Message sent: “Don’t count on me.”

Being on time shows you’re in control of your life. It’s a broken world, and people are sometimes late for reasons out of their control. Try to drive anywhere in Houston one day and you’ll understand. In the end, an appointment is an agreement. If you constantly break my trust by failing to fulfill our agreement, I’m at the least going to think you’re undependable, and at worst not going to trust any of your promises.

Now that we have done over 10,000 face-to-face interviews at Vanderbloemen, I realize it’s the simple things that separate great candidates from the rest of the field. This one tip may be the most valuable…..Be on time.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.

 

Constructivism And Behaviorism In Designing Online Learning Programs – Theodosis Karageorgakis

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Behaviorism

The basic principle of Behaviorism is that learning is the result of a person’s response to a stimulus. The student does not work independently on the environment but on the contrary, the behavior is controlled by environmental factors, thus not having the control of the learning or the time it takes to achieve it (Technology in Education, n.d).

All the objectives are predetermined, while the student is tasked with absorbing the offered knowledge so that in the final stage it may present desired and predetermined behaviors. The student is individually assessed and controlled if his behaviors and performances can state that he has acquired the new knowledge according to the criteria the teacher has set the right response (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Thus, the teacher is at the center of learning, trying to find ways to elicit the desired behaviors by providing the appropriate stimuli without taking into account the social-cultural context of the learners as well as their needs, ultimately failing to contribute to the acquisition of a higher level of competence or those skills that require deeper processing (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

Constructivism

On the other side, another predominant learning theory is constructivism, which asserts that learning is an active procedure as students enter the process of building knowledge by trying to clarify the events of the world environment (Technology in Education, n.d.).

Constructivists believe that learning only happens when there is active processing of information and so they ask students to create their own motifs by linking new knowledge to those motives. As a result, this enables them to constantly undergo the cultivation of their post-cognitive skills (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

Constructivists do not share the stance of behaviorists who claim that knowledge is independent of the mind and believe that the mind is the internal representation of the outside world. This way they believe that students are forced to construct their own knowledge through personal experiences and real events (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Actions in the constructivist model enhance the ability to solve the problems of those involved and the ability to conduct research and work within a group. At the same time, the educator plays the role of the assistant-supporter of the learning process and his students, encouraging them to formulate their own ideas and conclusions (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Which One Is Better To Use When Designing eLearning Courses?

The creation and the need to adopt a technological approach to the internet learning stems from the theory of constructivism. In an article by Vrasidas, Zebbys, and Petros, Vygotsky’s theories of self-regulating and reflective knowledge express the inseparably linked nature of those theories with new approaches in the field of education (Vrasidas, Zebbys & Petros, 2005).

 As a result, teaching is driven to its peak, as the teacher is now invited to combine both pedagogical approaches and technological applications and new teaching approaches, effectively designing an authentic learning environment where the learners will benefit the most. (Erben, Ban & Casta ~ neda, 2009; Medina & Alvarez, 2014).

Unfortunately, most applications and tools that are available neglect the need for cooperation between the participants focusing solely on individuality. It is crucial for eLearning designers to add meaningful activities that promote communication and teamwork. This is a win-win solution since at the same time the intrinsic motivation of users is increased because of the interest in those activities.

Despite their differences, these 2 learning theories are well suited to the design of online learning today. Although the various technological tools are primarily designed in the context of behaviorist theories, most teachers choose to use a combination of behavioral and constructionist design patterns, perceiving the dynamics of both theories in order to satisfy the educational peculiarities of each student (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.