I sometimes yell at my immediate family members when arguments arise. I’m not proud of it.
I’ve talked with other anger “patients” that have road rage or easily yell at strangers or people in public, but never at their own family—something I don’t identify with.
Granted, I believe 99% of outbursts are wrong, regardless of who they are directed at. But I feel extra guilty for having better manners with strangers and fellow drivers than the people I love most.
Because of that, 11 years ago I admitted myself to anger therapy. It was a life-changing experience that didn’t fix the problem, but it definitely improved it and gave me great coping mechanisms.
This January, I had an epiphany. “I wonder what would happen to my temper if I willingly removed swear words from my vocabulary?” To find out, that’s exactly what I did this year.
Here’s how it went. Continue reading…
My wife—hi, hot stuff!—bought me ballroom dance lessons for Christmas. Even though I can cut rug freestyle, I was really excited about taking formal instruction. After finishing the eight week course last week, I am pleased to report it did not disappoint.
I fully expected to learn some new moves, but I didn’t expect the class to broaden my worldview and deepen my appreciation for music. But it did. Here’s what ballroom dance lessons taught me: Continue reading…
How you interact with others has an enormous impact on your life.
According to most experts, there are four types of communication. All four are learned by observing and interacting with our families, friends, and coworkers. While it’s possible to adopt a mix of all four in different settings and relationships, many of us tend to gravitate towards one dominant style.
Problem is, 75% of those styles often complicate our wants and needs while also frustrating the wants and needs of those we live and work with. For example, passive communicators put the needs of others above themselves and rarely if ever share their own wants. Passive aggressive communicators sarcastically put the needs of others above themselves, while obscuring their own true wants. And aggressive communicators put the needs of themselves above others at all costs, while exaggerating their own wants.
But there is a better way. It’s difficult to master but it leads to a lot more honesty, respect, understanding, and freedom. It’s called assertive communication and it can do wonders for both your professional and personal life. Continue reading…
Watch this comical video to see what I mean. Not everyone talks like this, of course, but a lot of companies do.
For whatever reason (usually cultural ones), businesses like to speak in code to each other, and then they pay me to decode the nonsense into something actual humans can understand in written form.
It’s a confusing phenomenon, but I ain’t complaining. I love doing it.
See also: Why corporate speak is garbage language
credit: lindsey snow
I get quite reflective and often sappy during the final weeks of the year. After reviewing the past 12 months, this is what I learned: Continue reading…
Okay, that’s not true. But I haven’t IM’d more than 5-8 lines of text in the last five years.
Why? I loathe the technology. It’s so obtrusive. Consequently, I only turn on Skype when I need to make a call. And I haven’t logged in to Google Chat since 2006.
No, asynchronous email is a better respecter of your schedule when it comes to TCB (taking care of business). And meetings and phone calls are my go-to source for real-time communication.
What about you: do you still use instant messenger? If so, why?
No. Although no longer a hip technology, I think it will be around for several more decades.
I was pretty stoked by the U.S.’s 2-0 victory over Spain today, which vaulted the unlikely team into the final of the Confederations Cup, a World Cup warmup. In my excitment, I do what I always do: head to Twitter Search (no account required) to start reading immediate reactions from fans. (Google is just too slow sometimes.)
Without an active Twitter account, I don’t participate in the conversation—I do that elsewhere; on my blog, on Facebook, and in various comment sections. But it’s fun to get up-to-the-second reactions to breaking news in one location, without perpetrating your offline life like so many Twitter users seem to do.
A message—whether an email, voice-mail, sticky note, or blog post—is just a mini presentation. It’s a way of conveying information to an audience. To effectively do so, I try to adhere to the following 3 principles.
Be brief. Say what you need to say and nothing more. Keeping it simple will allow your audience to understand and remember what you want them to.
Be detailed. In what you do choose to say, tell the audience specifically what they need to know, including quantities, hard deadlines, and delivery.
Have structure. Write, record, annotate, say, or outline your message in an organized manner, so there is no confusion.
If you are brief, detailed, and structured when conveying information to an audience, your message will be loud and clear. Just be sure you have something important to say…
While on a recent cruise, I played on-board tennis with a Belgian girl and a married couple from South African. It was decided that I would play doubles with the Belgian, upon which she asked, “Which side would you like to play?”
I answered her question with a question: “Which side would you like play?”
“No, I’m asking you a question,” she authoritatively said in a thick European accent.
“Oh, right — I guess you did. I’ll take the right side,” I responded.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at the language confrontation. In trying to be overly courteous, as many Americans do, I complicated what should have been a simple exchange. The take-away: forced modesty should always be avoided.