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How To Turn a Bully Prospect Into a Paying Customer – Steli Efti

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Sure, not every sales call is going to go smoothly. But when a prospect turns into a bully, listing off all the reasons your product and company is terrible. It’s hard not to feel discouraged and not know what to do.

But there’s a mantra you can use in these situations to regain your confidence and turn a bully prospect into a paying customer. When they start yelling just ask yourself: If what we have is so bad why are they still talking to us?

The reason a prospect picked up the phone and called you is because they want to buy from you. Plain and simple.

However, they don’t want you to know this. Your prospects know that if they attack your confidence, they’re going to gain the upper hand in the negotiation. So they start rattling off a laundry list of reasons why they won’t buy from you:

  • You’re too expensive
  • You’re lacking critical features
  • Your company is too small
  • You’re not offering a big enough discount

And I get it. It’s hard to hear these things and still feel like you can sell at your best. But you need to remember that mantra: Why are they still talking to us?

If you’re too expensive, why did they both to waste more time and money by picking up the phone and calling you?

If you’re missing critical features, why are they even entertaining you as an option?

If they love what they currently have, or competitors are offering them a deeper discount, why even come to you (or anyone else) at all?

This is the key question you need to ask whenever a prospect starts trying to bully you. Because there’s only one logical reason why they’re still talking to you: They want what you’re selling.

Remembering this mantra puts you in a position of strength

Negotiations are all about power. And the stronger you can come into one, the better chance you have of getting everything you want. These bully reps know this, and they’re using it against you.

When most sales reps get yelled at or told their product is terrible, they lose their confidence. They think there’s no chance they’re going to get the sale and the only way they remotely might be able to is to fix all these problems and give the prospect everything they want.

They become insecure and end up in a position of weakness in the negotiation.

Yet by asking “Why are they still talking to us?” it puts you on equal ground with your prospect. You know they’re still interested in your product, despite their complaints that you’re too expensive or lacking features.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t more expensive than the competition. Or that you’re not missing features they’d like to have. What it does mean, is that these issues aren’t dealbreakers.

So, instead of feeling beaten by the bully, you can come back at them with a position of strength:

“Yes, we’re more expensive than the competition. However, we offer X, Y, Z, and our technology is better for these reasons…”

Your attitude needs to be, if we’re so bad why did you take the time to talk to us? And then remember that they came to you, because they want what you have.

When the prospect starts yelling, just remember, they called you

It’s easy to get shaken or lose your confidence when a prospect starts trying to bully you. But just remember, inside every bully, whether they’re on the schoolyard or a sales call, is someone looking for attention.

Look past their anger and frustration and ask: Why are they still talking to us?

You know why.

Write it out. Print it out. Tape it up on your desk. And whenever a prospect starts yelling or getting aggressive, look at it and use it to turn the negotiation into an even playing field.

Have you successfully turned a bully prospect into a paying customer? Tell me your stories in the comments below. 

Don’t let a bully prospect kill your confidence. Stay one step ahead with our free Objection Management Template.

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

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These Glasses Can Help People with Disabilities use Technology without their Hands

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Glassouse can be worn like a pair of glasses and allow people with disabilities to use their smartphones and computers hands-free. Head movements will control the mouse cursor and biting on the blue extension will select items.

When looking at the OrCam MyEye, one might think they are just another pair of glasses for blind people. However, the OrCam device is much more than that.

OrCam is an intuitive portable device with a smart camera mounted on the frames of a person’s eyeglasses. The device uses the power of Artificial Vision to assist people who are living with vision loss. They are interactive glasses for blind people to “see” their surroundings in daily life.

The OrCam device has two parts. There is the lightweight camera that clips onto the wearer’s glasses and is connected by a thin cable to the second part of the device which is a tiny wearable computer designed to fit in a pocket. The computer uses audio feedback to relay visual information (through speech) to the user via a mini earpiece.

These glasses for the blind have three main functions. It can read texts, recognize faces, and identify products.

The OrCam device has the ability to read printed text in real time from any surface. A person can read books, newspapers, signs, labels, menus and even text on a smartphone or computer screen. Essentially, they are glasses for the blind to “see” the world around them.

Users also have the ability to personalize the OrCam device by teaching it to recognize particular products and identify faces. Previously stored faces are both identified and announced after entering the camera’s view.

These interactive glasses for blind people are activated by a simple and intuitive gesture, a point of a person’s finger, or the press of a single button.

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The device really makes daily activities easier for those living with vision loss. “I can get a quick view of the newspaper without all of the strain. I read my email from my smartphone on the go. With OrCam you really get more out of life – I feel less dependent and more relaxed.” – “Moshe F, Legally blind from childhood

So although the OrCam device looks like a regular pair of glasses, they are so much more than that. They are glasses for blind to “see” their surroundings, an incredibly life-changing device that can help people who are blind or visually impaired regain their independence.

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 Psychology of Emotional and Cognitive Empathy – Lesley University

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Empathy is a broad concept that refers to the cognitive and emotional reactions of an individual to the observed experiences of another. Having empathy increases the likelihood of helping others and showing compassion.Empathy is a building block of morality – for people to follow the Golden Rule, it helps if they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” according to the Greater Good Science Center, a research institute that studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being. “It is also a key ingredient of successful relationships because it helps us understand the perspectives, needs, and intentions of others.”

Though they may seem similar, there is a clear distinction between empathy and sympathy. According to Hodges and Myers in the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, “Empathy is often defined as understanding another person’s experience by imagining oneself in that other person’s situation: One understands the other person’s experience as if it were being experienced by the self, but without the self actually experiencing it. A distinction is maintained between self and other. Sympathy, in contrast, involves the experience of being moved by, or responding in tune with, another person.”

Emotional and Cognitive Empathy

Researchers distinguish between two types of empathy. Especially in social psychology, empathy can be categorized as an emotional or cognitive response. Emotional empathy consists of three separate components, Hodges and Myers say. “The first is feeling the same emotion as another person … The second component, personal distress, refers to one’s own feelings of distress in response to perceiving another’s plight … The third emotional component, feeling compassion for another person, is the one most frequently associated with the study of empathy in psychology,” they explain.

It is important to note that feelings of distress associated with emotional empathy don’t necessarily mirror the emotions of the other person. Hodges and Myers note that, while empathetic people feel distress when someone falls, they aren’t in the same physical pain. This type of empathy is especially relevant when it comes to discussions of compassionate human behavior. There is a positive correlation between feeling empathic concern and being willing to help others. “Many of the most noble examples of human behavior, including aiding strangers and stigmatized people, are thought to have empathic roots,” according to Hodges and Myers. Debate remains concerning whether the impulse to help is based in altruism or self-interest.

The second type of empathy is cognitive empathy. This refers to how well an individual can perceive and understand the emotions of another. Cognitive empathy, also known as empathic accuracy, involves “having more complete and accurate knowledge about the contents of another person’s mind, including how the person feels,” Hodges and Myers say. Cognitive empathy is more like a skill: Humans learn to recognize and understand others’ emotional state as a way to process emotions and behavior. While it’s not clear exactly how humans experience empathy, there is a growing body of research on the topic.

How Do We Empathize?

Experts in the field of social neuroscience have developed two theories in an attempt to gain a better understanding of empathy. The first, Simulation Theory, “proposes that empathy is possible because when we see another person experiencing an emotion, we ‘simulate’ or represent that same emotion in ourselves so we can know firsthand what it feels like,” according to Psychology Today.

There is a biological component to this theory as well. Scientists have discovered preliminary evidence of “mirror neurons” that fire when humans observe and experience emotion. There are also “parts of the brain in the medial prefrontal cortex (responsible for higher-level kinds of thought) that show overlap of activation for both self-focused and other-focused thoughts and judgments,” the same article explains.

Some experts believe the other scientific explanation of empathy is in complete opposition to Simulation Theory. It’s Theory of Mind, the ability to “understand what another person is thinking and feeling based on rules for how one should think or feel,” Psychology Today says. This theory suggests that humans can use cognitive thought processes to explain the mental state of others. By developing theories about human behavior, individuals can predict or explain others’ actions, according to this theory.

While there is no clear consensus, it’s likely that empathy involves multiple processes that incorporate both automatic, emotional responses and learned conceptual reasoning. Depending on context and situation, one or both empathetic responses may be triggered.

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Cultivating Empathy

Empathy seems to arise over time as part of human development, and it also has roots in evolution. In fact, “Elementary forms of empathy have been observed in our primate relatives, in dogs, and even in rats,” the Greater Good Science Center says. From a developmental perspective, humans begin exhibiting signs of empathy in social interactions during the second and third years of life. According to Jean Decety’s article “The Neurodevelopment of Empathy in Humans,” “There is compelling evidence that prosocial behaviors such as altruistic helping emerge early in childhood. Infants as young as 12 months of age begin to comfort victims of distress, and 14- to 18-month-old children display spontaneous, unrewarded helping behaviors.”

While both environmental and genetic influences shape a person’s ability to empathize, we tend to have the same level of empathy throughout our lives, with no age-related decline. According to “Empathy Across the Adult Lifespan: Longitudinal and Experience-Sampling Findings,” “Independent of age, empathy was associated with a positive well-being and interaction profile.”

And it’s true that we likely feel empathy due to evolutionary advantage: “Empathy probably evolved in the context of the parental care that characterizes all mammals. Signaling their state through smiling and crying, human infants urge their caregiver to take action … females who responded to their offspring’s needs out-reproduced those who were cold and distant,” according to the Greater Good Science Center. This may explain gender differences in human empathy.

This suggests we have a natural predisposition to developing empathy. However, social and cultural factors strongly influence where, how, and to whom it is expressed. Empathy is something we develop over time and in relationship to our social environment, finally becoming “such a complex response that it is hard to recognize its origin in simpler responses, such as body mimicry and emotional contagion,” the same source says.

Psychology and Empathy

In the field of psychology, empathy is a central concept. From a mental health perspective, those who have high levels of empathy are more likely to function well in society, reporting “larger social circles and more satisfying relationships,” according to Good Therapy, an online association of mental health professionals. Empathy is vital in building successful interpersonal relationships of all types, in the family unit, workplace, and beyond. Lack of empathy, therefore, is one indication of conditions like antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. In addition, for mental health professionals such as therapists, having empathy for clients is an important part of successful treatment. “Therapists who are highly empathetic can help people in treatment face past experiences and obtain a greater understanding of both the experience and feelings surrounding it,” Good Therapy explains.

Exploring Empathy

Empathy plays a crucial role in human, social, and psychological interaction during all stages of life. Consequently, the study of empathy is an ongoing area of major interest for psychologists and neuroscientists in many fields, with new research appearing regularly. Lesley University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology gives students the opportunity to study the field of human interaction within the broader spectrum of psychology.

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How To Transform Learning with Google Tools – Miguel Guhlin

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Teachers often struggle during professional development sessions, wondering how to make connections between how-to at the workshop and classroom learning. Diana Benner, Peggy Reimers, and I did some napkin PD planning and came up with a solution.

Here’s a chance to get hands-on Google experience with six different project stations that offer the opportunity to explore lesser-known Google tools. These tools enhance critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.

Developing PD on a napkin with Diana Benner, Peggy Reimers, and Miguel Guhlin. Let’s explore these ideas in more detail.

Essential Elements

Before we jump into the project stations, let’s review a few components common to each. Each project station includes three components:

  • Explore
  • Adapt/Create
  • Share

In the Explore portion, participants develop background knowledge in the key concept shared. In the Adapt/Create, they make connections between their own experiences as learners. Two ways to accomplish this include adapting an existing work in light of new information. The second way is to create a new product. After they create or adapt, they share that online with a global audience. An additional component is listing what Google tools will be used.

Project Station #1: Inquiry-Based Learning Developers

In this station, participants will explore inquiry-based learning (IBL). Why continue to introduce IBL in professional learning? IBL creates engagement in both teachers and learners. Research has shown it has several benefits. It can:

  • Boost students’ learning in inter-disciplinary studies
  • Motivate students to learn, developing flexible, real-life, problem-solving strategies
  • Deepen critical thinking skills
  • Use of knowledge in new areas (Source)

Learning to ask the right questions and then finding answers that work remain critical to the work of educators and their students. To that end, it’s important to scaffold the use of IBL in the context of modern tools. Not unlike Dr. Bernie Dodge’s and Tom March’s webquest activity, new approaches adapt IBL for modern technology.

  • Explore: In this station, participants are given twenty minutes.
  • Adapt/Create: Participants, having explored hyperdoc exemplars, rely on a template to develop their own hyperdoc.
  • Share: Participants share their hyperdoc creation or modification with others via a sharing space, such as Google Forms tied into a Google Sheet or link their hyperdoc in an existing Google Doc created for that purpose.
  • Tools: Google Docs, Google Slides

Project Station #2: Research Explorers

One of the first uses of the internet for teachers involves encouraging students to use it for research. It’s important to clarify expectations for research-based activities. While research should be embedded in the context of an inquiry-based learning lesson, some additional expectations can be set. Students can be expected to:

  • Craft a research question
  • Locate and gather appropriate sources
  • Consider and assess the quality of the sources
  • Seek patterns in the data
  • Develop a position about the research

Given that the internet is a deep ocean of information, it’s important to assist students to engage in content curation using frameworks like the Big 6, Super 3, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). While there are many online research tools that could be introduced, one of note is Google Scholar.

“I usually start with Google Scholar or Google just to figure out what the topic is. Once I have a better idea, I’ll go deeper,” says Leslie Harris O’Hanlon. “For example, if it’s a history paper, I’ll use the online library catalog, or sometimes there are e-books online through the university” (Source).

  • Explore: Participants experience the power of Google Scholar as a tool to find journals, save document sources in a personal space, and obtain citations. First, participants go through the process of developing a research question using the infographic from UC San Diego Library as a guide. Then they complete the steps.
  • Adapt/Create: Participants begin with a general topic, then narrow the topic down with How and Why questions, not unlike what is shown in the image below:
  • Share: Once participants have identified a topic using Google Scholar to identify research and information, they can create a Google Slides PDF ebook or Google Docs.
  • Tools: Google Scholar, Google Docs ePub export or Google Slides PDF ebook

Project Station #3: Multimedia Tour Builders

Mix up learning for your students. Create engaging and relevant learning experiences for students with Google Tour Builder. Better yet, turn students loose to create their own multimedia tours of relevant content. Tour Builder enables students to create a virtual tour of their research data, adding photos, text, and video as needed. This map-based approach enables students to organize their research according to location and impact, which is appropriate for various topics. Students combine research, life stories, images, and video to make a compelling case for their research thesis.

  • Explore: Encourage participants to explore existing Google Tours available and then reflect on how current content in their curriculum goals could be aligned.
  • Adapt/Create: Using a simple storyboard template, participants use Google Tour Builder to create a multimedia tour relevant to an area of study.
  • Share: Once participants have completed their tour, they make it available via a Google Form or common space or backchannel (e.g. Tozzl in lieu of Padlet).
  • Tools: Google Tour-Builder, Maps 3D

Project Station #4: Toontastic Reporters

Whether you have students synthesizing information from a variety of sources and then reporting it in front of a green screen (read tips about setting up your own inexpensive green screen, as well as see examples) or creating reports with Toontastic, students can learn quite a bit. Putting students in the role of journalists has a powerful impact on their own ability to curate and construct knowledge. Consider the following benefits:

  • Students develop the critical thinking skills needed to be smarter, frequent, transliterate consumers (and creators) of information
  • Students learn to tell between fact and opinion
  • Learners explore how to become better-informed citizens and voters (Source: The News Literacy Project)

One approach to achieve this involves presenting a problem and then inviting students to create a report that presents facts.

Wait, There’s More

Ready to get going with these project stations? Consider adding two more, if time allows. Two more final project stations include casting teachers in the roles of Flipped Learning Creators and Digital Breakout Artists.

In the former, flipped learning is explored. Participants learn to create screencasts, embed assessments with EdPuzzle, or engage in post-reflection activities with Google Forms. In the Digital Breakout Artists project station, participants learn how to create engaging activities that involve clue finding and problem solving.

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

7 Forms of Content Marketing That Can Help You Generate More Sales Leads – Chirag Kulkarni

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According to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc., customers are shown more than 5,000 ads and brand messages per day, so it’s no surprise that content marketing is becoming one of the most successful strategies for reaching the consumer. People are tired of having traditional outbound ads forced on them, so when a brand steps in with authentic, useful content, consumers can’t get enough. That’s probably why content marketing generates six times the conversion rates of traditional marketing methods.

It’s easy to segment your content marketing to maximize your own conversion rates. Start by creating content based on your product or service, and then use content to target each of your strongest-performing buyer personas. To get even more specific, focus on the various pain points that these buyers are looking to address. According to Curata, 41 percent of marketers have increased the number and quality of their sales leads by utilizing content curation.

While there’s no denying the effectiveness of content marketing, it’s a broad term. Content comes in many different shapes and sizes and can require varying degrees of upfront investment. To improve your reach and generate more sales leads in 2018, focus on these seven forms of content.

1. Create a company blog. You should already have one, but if you don’t, then join the club and make 2018 the year you finally start that company blog. HubSpot notes that 53 percent of marketers cite blog content as their top priority for inbound marketing.

Putting blog content to work is a great strategy. Content Marketing Institute reports that more than three-quarters of all internet users read some form of blog, and they aren’t just passive observers. When given a recommendation by a favored blog, 61 percent of U.S. consumers made a purchase, which is probably why small businesses with a blog enjoy 126 percent more lead growth than their peers that don’t.

2. Use brand journalism. Part of what gives your brand a sense of authenticity is a strong focus on storytelling. Brand journalism is simply about keeping your audience up to date on the story of your company.

Companies such as PowerPost are making brand journalism easier by providing software that coordinates content publishing across a wide range of channels. They also help with content creation so it doesn’t take up your or your employees’ valuable time. After all, content marketing isn’t helping your bottom line if it gets in the way of running your business.

3. Add video content. According to Cisco, 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021 will be video. It’s taking over the internet, but it’s especially significant in the social media sphere. When it comes to content, an Animoto survey found that customers prefer viewing a video 4 times more than reading text. This hasn’t escaped the attention of marketers — almost 70 percent say they’re ramping up spending on video production.

4. Curate content from influencers. Word of mouth is one of the most effective types of marketing, and online influencers can amplify that approach with powerful megaphones. YouTube is an especially effective means for influencers to reach their audiences — 70 percent of teenagers on YouTube relate to their favorite influencers better than conventional celebrities. According to a 2017 poll by PMYB, 28 percent of marketing managers reported that influencer marketing was their fast-growing method of acquiring customers online.

5. Spice up statistics with infographics. Customers prefer video over text, but an infographic allows information to be digested even faster. Infographics draw customers in quickly while communicating several paragraphs’ worth of messaging in a single visual, and the appeal is undeniable. On social media, infographics are shared and liked three times more often than other content varieties, according to research compiled by Lucidpress.

6. Employ Google AdSense. This advertising tool from Google puts display ads on websites that pay a commission each time they’re clicked. Google automatically scans your website content so it can display the most relevant advertising, meaning some ads are worth more than $1 per click for the website owner. AdSense is a great way to monetize a blog, yielding dollars that you can then reinvest in content generation.

7. Create an online course. If your business has expertise in a particular area, sharing it with your audience will help you gain a loyal following. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of marketplaces for online courses worth checking out, and certain software solutions can make the process of putting together a course simpler for you and your students.

Whether you rolled out a content marketing strategy for the first time in 2017 or you’ve been utilizing this marketing gold mine for years, there are many ways to optimize your content marketing performance in the coming year. Using some of these tools and techniques can help you generate more leads and acquire more customers, but remember that consistency is crucial when it comes to content marketing. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll reap the rewards.

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Emotional Creativity: How We Become Better Creative Thinkers – Brett Steenbarger

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An interesting realization came to me recently: I’ve never achieved a creative insight in a routine setting.

It’s a sobering thought. Think of all the time we spend in routine settings, engaged in routine activities. Consider the typical business meeting, for example. How often have you experienced a creative insight – from others or from yourself – during one of those meetings?

While traveling, however, I’ve experienced many fresh perspectives and generated quite a few new ideas. The more unique the travel destination, such as the glacier shown above, the more likely it’s been that I’ve arrived at important realizations.

The interesting thing is that I never go into those travel experiences expecting or needing creative outcomes. Rather, they seem to come naturally.

Why is it that we can find creativity on a simple walk through the neighborhood, but not in a business meeting where it might be most needed? Why is it that I find the trading floors among financial firms to be among the least creative settings I’ve encountered – so much so that traders and portfolio managers routinely concern themselves with “positioning”: the degree to which trade ideas are widely subscribed?

If creativity were simply an inborn trait or an acquired set of skills, setting should not matter so greatly in the generation of new ideas. When we look at business settings that are successful in cultivating creativity, such as those described by Ed Catmull of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, we find that they feature vigorous debate, laughter, and participation; research trips; and active experiments.  Even during meetings, participants actively move around the room, draw on boards, and try things out. In short, they are actively engaged, emotionally and physically. They are doing and feeling new things, and that helps them generate new ideas.

Just like a trip to a glacier: creativity seems to be a function of fresh experiencing.

A provocative line of psychology research from James Averill, Ph.D. of the University of Massachusetts supports this notion. He has researched what he calls “emotional creativity”: the capacity to experience the world in novel, authentic, and effective ways. Creativity, he maintains, is not limited to the domain of ideas; it is expressed equally in our responses to people, places, and events.

Consider the artist who travels to a beautiful area of the world and experiences a vista with a sense of awe. The combination of clouds, sky, and mountains evoke for the artist an otherworldly sense that becomes the inspiration for a painting. In such an instance, the creative work is facilitated by an emotional creativity: the ability to experience the world distinctively.

Emotional creativity is hardly limited to artists. I recently met with a portfolio manager who was visibly excited about the opportunities in financial markets. I expressed surprise, as most market participants perceived few opportunities at that time. The manager exclaimed that this was precisely why he was excited:

In his experience, the consensus of the herd was never correct and now there was a market consensus – not about a trade but about an absence of trading opportunity! Perhaps not coincidentally, this occurred days before the Brexit vote and considerable dislocations in markets. He perceived the same lack of conviction as other money managers. What differed was his emotional response to the situation.

Averill makes the interesting point that emotional creativity may lie at the heart of spirituality, the ability to experience the ordinary world in extraordinary ways. If we think about how we generate spiritual experiences, whether through the disciplines of meditation or yoga or through religious worship and practice, we can see that a common ingredient is a shifting of our focus and state of awareness.

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If we wish to engage the world spiritually, we invariably exit our daily routines and cultivate distinctive states of consciousness. This is not so far from what happens in the creative business practices described by Catmull: we become more physically and emotionally engaged.

The implications are profound for the business world and for our personal lives. Much of what we do is structured to get things done efficiently by turning activities into habits and routines. Yet it is in the mode of habit and routine that we are least likely to be distinctively engaged with the world emotionally and physically.

Quite literally, our modes of physical and emotional engagement with the world are too dialed-down to generate the fresh perspectives that will enable us to adapt to changing markets and changing business landscapes.

We become better creative thinkers when we become more emotionally creative, and we become more emotionally creative when we actively engage the world in fresh ways. Whether in our careers or our relationships, new doing can catalyze new viewing.

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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.

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.

6 Handy Charts for Performing Critical Thinking Assessment – Lee Watanabe-Crockett

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How do we know when our learners are thinking critically? Critical thinking assessment can be tricky to perform as it encompasses such a broad area of skills. However, we can begin to assess critical thinking by breaking it down into more basic components, and then determining criteria you can use with your learners.

The following rubrics cover some crucial aspects of critical thinking. These charts are included along with the amazing critical thinking activities we offer in our popular Critical Thinking Teacher’s Companion. You’ll find specific criteria for each category within the rubrics that will make an initial critical thinking assessment possible.

6 Categories for Critical Thinking Assessment

These rubrics for critical thinking assessment are based on the stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They can be used for either teacher or peer assessment. Here are the 6 basic categories we cover:

  • Questioning Abilities—This is all about a learner’s capacity for formulating questions and framing relevant inquiries around a problem or challenge. It also refers to their ability to state questions clearly and concisely so as to be easily understood by anyone else.
  • Use of Information—Information is everywhere today and the amount we have available is growing exponentially. Part of the critical thinking abilities learners need involves finding information that is useful and relevant to their needs in school and in life.
  • Keeping an Open Mind—It takes many cultures, beliefs and stories to make a world. There are also many possible answers to the questions we face every day in life. Critical thinkers remain open at all times to the multiple possibilities within their environments.
  • Drawing Conclusions—When we draw conclusions, we see the true purpose of an information quest come to its fruition. It gives us an opportunity to clarify whether or not our question was answered or our challenge was met. It is also the recognition of new learning.
  • Communication & Collaboration—The classrooms and workforces of today and of the future are places of teamwork and trust. Learning how to build connections and manage a role in a collaborative group is an essential modern learner skill. Such skills are life skills.
  • Self Awareness—By far, one of the most important aspects of being able to think critically is based in self-awareness. It’s knowing potential without any expectation, limits without judging, and ability without arrogance. In short, it is mastery of the self.

A Word of Caution

It’s important to note that critical thinking assessment isn’t exact. As such, there are many other factors to take into account beyond what’s presented below. What we want to provide for you here is a starting point for contemplating how critical thinking assessment can be approached.

These charts will provide a good baseline to work with. Beyond this, feel free to expand on their concepts as you develop different assessment strategies for different learners.

Develop Critical Thinking Skills the Right Way

Honing and assessing critical thinking skills in your learners can be even easier with the right teaching tools. The above charts are essential companions to the learning you can create with Wabisabi, a revolutionary new way to teach

Imagine real-time reporting against standards, rich media-driven learner portfolios, a vibrant collaborative learning experience, top-notch unit plans from teachers around the world, and much more. Schools all over the world are using Wabisabi to transform instruction for their own learners, and you can too.

Prepare to get excited about the learning journey every day. Check out Wabisabi now—it’s teaching simplified, and learning amplified.

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.

Top 5 TED-Ed Lessons On Creativity – Ellen Ullman

“Do schools kill creativity?” asks Sir Ken Robinson in the most-viewed TED Talk of all time (more than 51 million!). In the video, Robinson challenges schools to promote and inspire creativity, but it’s difficult to know where to start, and some teachers aren’t sure if it’s possible.

“I don’t think creativity can be taught,” says Rayna Freedman, a fifth-grade teacher at Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, Massachusetts. “It’s an experience that inspires students to think beyond their potential and see things differently. It’s about giving them tools and choice to complete tasks and let them fly.”

Other educators disagree.

“Everyone is creative in their own way,” says Nicholas Provenzano, makerspace director at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan and blogger at The Nerdy Teacher. “Too many people view creativity as a connection to the arts. The idea that creative students are the ones that can draw or effectively use glitter glue is nuts. Some students are super creative when it comes to solving problems or creating games during recess. Some are amazing storytellers.”

Doug Johnson, a former classroom teacher who now serves as technology director for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Schools in Minnesota, agrees: “One of the biggest myths is that creativity only belongs in the arts. We may think of creativity as a nice extra, but a lot of us have to be creative on a daily basis.”

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Johnson asks: “Do I want a creative dentist? I’d rather have someone who follows best practices and isn’t experimenting on my mouth, but I do want a creative problem solver who will use nontraditional methods when the traditional ones don’t work.”

How to inspire creativity

Johnson recommends several things teachers can do to encourage creativity, such as asking for multiple possible answers to questions or giving points for “design” on assignments, in his blog post “Myths of creativity” and in his book Teaching Outside the Lines: Developing Creativity in Every Learner.

For Provenzano, creativity is about giving students a time and place to be creative. “I am always an advocate of teachers modeling what they want to see from their students,” he says. “Teachers cannot give students multiple-choice tests and worksheets all year and then wonder why their students are not more creative.”

If you’re looking for more ideas and resources, here are the 5 most popular TED-Ed Lessons on teaching and assessing creativity.

1. The power of creative constraints
Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or … does it? if you’re like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why? Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

2. Why should you listen to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons?”
Light, bright, and cheerful, “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi is some of the most familiar of all early 18th-century music, featured in numerous films and television commercials. But what is its significance, and why does it sound that way? Betsy Schwarm uncovers the underlying narrative of this musical masterpiece.

3. Music and math: The genius of Beethoven
How is it that Beethoven, who is celebrated as one of the most significant composers of all time, wrote many of his most beloved songs while going deaf? The answer lies in the math behind his music. Natalya St. Clair employs the “Moonlight Sonata” to illustrate the way Beethoven was able to convey emotion and creativity using the certainty of mathematics.

4. How playing an instrument benefits your brain
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

5. Can robots be creative?
People have been grappling with the question of artificial creativity— alongside the question of artificial intelligence—for over 170 years. For instance, could we program machines to create high-quality original music? And if we do, is it the machine or the programmer that exhibits creativity? Gil Weinberg investigates this creative conundrum

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