Don’t be afraid to be a fool

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Image by Francesca Zama. Taken from Pexels free stock images.

In Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, communication expert Vanessa Van Edwards writes the following anecdote to illustrate the inefficiency of faking a skillset one doesn’t have:

“Imagine it’s your dream to play professional basketball. You’re fast and have
great ball-handling skills. You also happen to be six feet two inches tall. You
have two choices: You could play center, but the average height of an NBA
center is six feet eleven inches. If you went for center, you would have to
fake your height by wearing lifts during games and spending a ton of extra
hours after practice working on your vertical jump. Or you could play point
guard, where the average height is six feet two inches. …


Love maps: the most underrated social hack

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Image from Slon_dot_pics. Taken from Pexels free stock images.

A long time ago on an airplane, an attractive long-haired older stranger suggested a book to me: The Education of Little Tree. It was a whimsical, poignant story about the life of a Native American kid. I must have been about 11 or 12 years old when I read it, but one theme has stuck with me through the ripe old age of 31:

Love and understanding are the same thing.

The more you understand someone, the book said, the more you can love them. You cannot love without understanding. Understanding is the very fabric, the substance of love.

Eminent relationship psychology John Gottman has a more scientific way of expressing this theory. Through his many years of painstaking research, he developed a seven-principle system for fortifying marriages. However, the first three principles are applicable to all human relationships, not just couples…And the very first principle sounds a heck of a lot like the principle laid out in this book about Native Americans. …


Work with your mind, not against it.

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Image by Andrea Piacquadio. Taken from Pexels free stock images.

“I’m too ADD to meditate.”
“I tried, but I wasn’t good at it.”
“I don’t have the right personality for meditation.”

In nearly ten years of a fascination with meditation that led me from college classes to monasteries in Nepal and ashrams in India to starting my own meditation groups in new cities, I’ve heard those three sentences more times than I care to count. Each one of them is based on a misinterpretation of meditation, 100% of the time.

Meditation is often not about ‘quieting the mind’ or ‘thinking about nothing’. A long attention span is in no way a prerequisite to meditation (although regular meditation practice may lengthen your attention span). …


And how it is often a prerequisite for economic sustainability

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Image by Gaia Education

During my years as an online English teacher, I have watched one of the companies with whom I work go from an industry leader to scrambling to get by. Along the same timeline, language trainers went from very happy to be working with the company, to fed up, bitter and jaded.

I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a story of a company that prioritized economic growth while neglecting social sustainability, and the resultant fallout. It’s a story with a moral, so that your company can avoid making the mistakes ours did. …


…And how you can use them to fortify your relationships

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Image by Nappy. Taken from Pexels Free Stock Images

Psychologist John Gottman was troubled by the high failure rate of traditional couples counseling. Baffled, he spent many years gathering data and probing into the heart of why some marriages succeed and others fail. He can now predict with 91% accuracy whether any given couple will stay together or divorce, and has created a data-based framework for understanding and improving human relationships. Many of the concepts he has pioneered are relevant across all human relationships.

The basic unit, the atomic particle, of any human relationship is called a bid for connection. A bid is attempt from one person to another to get attention, connection, affection, emotional support, or any other kind of response. A bid can be verbal or nonverbal. …


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Image taken from Krakenimages on Unsplash free stock images.

As our world becomes more globalized and businesses reach across the sea to collaborate with an increasing quantity of foreign partners, business success often hinges on our ability to understand and effectively communicate with our colleagues abroad.

I want to do an experiment. Call to mind the attributes of a typical German person.

What did you think of?

Did you imagine someone punctual and direct, who isn’t very keen on small talk?

Great! Those are indeed attributes of many German people. …


How a simple technique could transform the world

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Image by Aleks Marinkovic. Retrieved from Unsplash free stock images.

Although conflict is an inevitable part of the human experience, it is possible to transform it into a growth experience by arming oneself with cognitive, emotional, and practical tools that can aid in conflict resolution.

Mindfulness, an ancient Buddhist concept becoming more popular by the day among jungle hippies and high-status business executives alike, is rapidly becoming more and more prolific in the literature on conflict resolution.

The concept of mindfulness has changed substantially over time; it was originally rooted firmly within an ancient Buddhist ethical, philosophical, and cultural framework. …


A slight adjustment in thinking can completely revamp your relationships.

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Image by Fabian Gieske, taken from Unsplash free stock images.

If you make a habit of keeping this tip in mind when you communicate with others, they will…

-Like you more than they would otherwise
-Trust you more easily and more fully
-Feel more comfortable with you
-Feel understood by you

Everyone has heard of the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. But what if I told you that the golden rule is kaput? What if other people, in fact, come from different backgrounds and have different ways of viewing the world, different ways of making meaning, and even — gasp — different preferences than you regarding how they’d like to be treated? …


How to construct the perfect apology, restore trust, and strengthen relationships

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Image by Tim Mossholder. Taken from Unsplash free stock images.

It’s Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of fasting and atonement; I’m sitting here hungrily trying to figure out how to best put the feeling of ‘I’m sorry, I care about your feelings, please forgive me, is it time to eat yet?’ into words while my stomach loudly reminds me that there are still 22 hours to go.

My friend Anya is a (superb) marketer and businesswoman. I recently asked her professional opinion on what to say to an English student to whom I had miscommunicated, creating an awkward scheduling blunder. …


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Image by Jackson Simmer. Taken from Unsplash free stock images.

As an extrovert, you may be eager to connect with others and feel recharged after sharing yourself with the people in your life. Maybe you have a great conversation, share some laughs and maybe even some vulnerabilities, and walk away feeling totally energized.

However, unbeknownst to you, the introverts or quiet people in your life may walk away from the same interaction, feeling…exactly the opposite. Despite your friendly heart and kind intentions, they may come away depleted and short-fused.

Maybe you even notice that towards the end of what you considered a great conversation full of connection, the other person suddenly begins acting annoyed, closed off, or withdrawn. What happened? Here are 3 tips to relate well with quieter people, complete with explanations of why their experience in the same conversation may be different from yours. …

About

The Clumsy Gypsy

Long-term low-budget nomad writing about travel mishaps and adventures, relationships, sharing economy, and whatever else strikes my fancy that day.

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