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Have I ever told you that I joined a dragon boat team? I know. Please stop laughing… I am telling you this because I want to share one very important concept with you. The concept of support. In dragon boat sport when you train for a 500 meter race, there is a moment (somewhere in the middle of the race) when people...

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self-helpWho said that success has to make sense? Or that our personal development can be broken down into a certain number of clear and linear steps?

I recently stumbled on an article by Gretchen Rubin that talks about Happiness Paradoxes that she discovered as she worked on her Happiness Project.

Some of the resolutions and contradictions on her fascinating list struck me as true. In fact, they made me realize that the whole self-help theory, as any serious science, is full of paradoxes and opposite truths that complete each other instead of being mutually exclusive.

How can this be? I talked about it in my post “Three Little Rules of True Understanding of Life”. Sometimes in order to understand something fully, we have to make peace with the idea that a sound paradox is what makes any serious theory complete, logical and practically useful.

Here is a list of 10 Biggest Paradoxes of Self-Help and Success that we may need to embrace and practice:

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success skillsHave you ever wondered why so many successful people did not do well at school or dropped out of college in their first year?

There are plenty of examples of this – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Thomas Alva Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walt Disney, Woody Allen, Mark Zuckerberg and Tiger Woods.
The list goes on…

Maybe while the rest of us were busy studying calculus and writing long essays, these people were acquiring much more important skills? Skills that actually helped them to start successful business ventures, invent, innovate, dream big, rather than become more knowledgeable at things they could not care less about.

Here is a list of 5 Essential Skills that we might not get a grade on, but that will largely contribute to our professional success, personal growth and quality of life.

1. Asking questions.

This skill is encouraged by many, yet we still feel reluctant to demonstrate our incompetence in a certain area. I can not recall how many times in high school I would nod to the teacher’s question “Is this clear?” while thinking to myself, “I will have to figure it out later at home…”

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think bigOne of my old bosses had a funny habit. He would always walk into his office asking a secretary, “So what heroic exploit do I have planned for today?

At the time this question seemed a joke to me and I did not give it much thought. Only years later after I had changed several jobs, started my own websites and learned a thing or two about human psychology I started to see the real connection between Thinking Big and Accomplishing a Lot.

Oh, have I mentioned that this boss of mine was one of the most productive, creative, intelligent and,definitely,the strangest person I have ever worked with?

He passed away a few years ago, but every time I think of him I catch myself smiling.

Today I want to ask you a question – What heroic exploit have YOU planned for yourself?

Anything daring? Anything fascinating? Anything that will push you out of your comfort zone?

No?!

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Here is an interesting question - What does it take to create a flash mob, get on the NBC News, raise $60,000 within one day and start your own foundation? The answer is: • An old auto parts store • One customer • And a very determined 9-year-old with a great idea At least this is what happened to young Caine Monroy, who hand-built his...

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slow down tipsBusy, busy, busy – that’s how most of us spend our days. We are too busy to exercise. Too busy to meditate. Too busy to sit down and actually enjoy the lunch we brought to work.

I manage to squeeze in a meditation, and if I am lucky – I actually take time to sit on the balcony and savor my lunch.

What I can’t seem to get round to is cleaning. It has got to the point where I try to walk around the house looking straight ahead. I guess I hope that doing so will make it easier to ignore the fingerprints on my glass top of my coffee table, the crumbs on the kitchen floor and the layer of dust on the bookshelves. But no matter how hard I try, I still know that all of it is there.

For the last 6 days, I have woken up and promised myself that today is the cleaning day. But every time something more urgent came up and I let myself get pulled into a whirlpool of busyness only to go to bed in a bad mood.

Today, I finally managed to fulfill my ‘womanly duties’ and now my sweet home is sweet, airy and smells of a mixture of lemon and cinnamon spice.

And it is not because I had fewer tasks on my to-do list, or because I thought I would catch up with my work on the weekends. No. I made the time. And what helped me was a Slow Down Manifesto I accidentally stumbled upon this morning.

Here is what it said:

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall slow down in the office, and on the roads. We shall slow down with growing confidence when all those around us are in a shrill state of hyperactivity (signifying nothing). We shall defend our state of calm, whatever the cost may be. We shall never surrender!”

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We all have heard about Albert Einstein – the absent-minded genius who gave the world the theory of relativity and won the Nobel Prize. Some of us have even heard that Einstein was offered the Presidency of Israel in 1952, or that there is a chemical element named “Einsteinium” in his honor. But only a few people are aware that before becoming a world-known scientist Einstein had to face repeated setbacks, failures and criticism even from people he loved most.

einsteinWho would ever guess that he had speech difficulty as a child and was considered “slow-minded” by his own parents? Or that the brightest mind of our century failed his University Entrance Exam? Or that when Einstein had applied for promotion from patent clerk third class to patent clerk second class at his first job, his request had been rejected on the grounds that he was not “fully familiar with mechanical engineering.”?

There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has been an inspiration for many great minds of Physics, but he also knew quite a bit about the Laws of Life as happiness and success.

Here are 11 Most Amazing Success Lessons from Albert Einstein himself:

1. Keep your mind opened

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

If we think we already know something, we stop learning, we stop questioning, we stop innovating, and, inevitably, we stop improving. Do not let your dysfunctional beliefs, your negative experiences or your education, keep you from moving forward. Sometimes the best way to make a breakthrough in  life is to leave your heavy baggage of knowledge behind.

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voice and personalityDo you like the sound of your own voice? Most people don’t. When they hear their voice registered, the first thought that pops into their mind is, “Do I really sound like THAT when I talk?

We are not used to hearing our voice the way the rest of the world does, but this does not mean that we should diminish its importance.

Just like your fingerprints or your DNA, your voice is unique and it says a lot about you and your personality.
It is enough for people to hear your voice on the phone to make quite a few very important (and often very accurate) assumptions about you – including your age, education, intelligence, maturity, health, background, body build, attitude and even your emotional state.

A few years ago an experiment made in this area showed that people literally “hear” personality in the voices of others and it biases their opinions about everything from the person’s credibility, to the level of confidence, to sexual appeal.

In fact, the science behind our tone of voice is so vast that there is a whole area of non-verbal communication, called Paralanguage.

Paralanguage studies speech qualities such as its pitch (highness or lowness of voice), pace (speed), volume (loudness) and, in some cases, enunciation.

How can knowledge about Paralanguage help you in your day-to-day communication?

Potentially, your voice has the power to engage, charm, encourage, motivate, persuade, or gain people’s attention and trust. Just as, if used incorrectly, it can alter the meaning of your message and give people the wrong impression about your true personality, making you sound unprofessional, indecisive or, vice versa, pushy and demanding.

Take a moment to learn what your voice says about you and what you can do to make the best impression in every conversation.

3 Elements of Paralanguage

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say noHow many ways are there to say “No” without offending anyone’s feeling? Well, there is “No, I can’t”, “No, I don’t have time” and “No, I don’t want to”. But the problem is that many of us try to avoid situations that require us to say “No” to people. In almost every culture this little word is associated with rejection, failure, egoism and a lack of tact and empathy towards others.

I can not recall how many times I have eaten burnt, undercooked, bland and poorly tasting dishes simply because I did not want to hurt the feelings of the person who had cooked them. Or the times when I bought something, I did not need, because I felt guilty leaving a shop empty-handed after spending 20 minutes of the shop assistant’s time.

Whether it is our manager, a customer service representative or an acquaintance asking for a favor, for some unexplainable reason many of us feel mental resistance when we have to voice a straight-forward “No”.

If you are a rare exception, who has no problem saying “I wish I could, but I do not want to” please share your secret! What is running through your head when an 8-year old with huge blue eyes offers you to buy a box of Girl Scouts cookies? Or when your boss asks you in a matter-of-fact voice if you can stay after hours to finish a project?

How do you say “No” without offending anyone or feeling guilty afterwards?

On the other hand, how do you NOT say “No” when you know that if you go along with everything other people want from you, you would be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted?

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Early Life of the “Troublemaker”

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, OM was born 18th July 1918 in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata, South Africa. Mandela’s father had four wives, with whom he fathered thirteen children (four boys and nine girls). Mandela was born to his third wife, Nosekeni Fanny.

impossibleRolihlahla Mandelawas was baptized into the Methodist church and became the first in his family to attend school. His given name Rolihlahla literally means “pulling the branch of a tree“, but more commonly it is a word used to describe a “troublemaker“. His English name “Nelson”, Mandela received at school, at the age of 7.

When the boy was 9, his father died of lung disease. From that point, his life changed dramatically. He was adopted by the regent of the Thembu people, Jongintaba, and had to leave his home to move in with his new guardian in Mqhekezweni.

There, Mandela was given the same status and responsibilities as the regent’s two other children and started to attend the one-room school next to the palace. Following Thembu custom, he was initiated at age 16, and attended Clarkebury Boarding Institute and later Wesleyan College in Fort Beaufort.

University Life and Unwelcome Marriage Prospects.

In 1939, Nelson Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare – Africa’s equivalent of Oxford or Harvard and the only residential center of higher learning for blacks in South Africa.

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