Tag Archives: changing

How to Make a Bad Habit Good

How to Improve Your Relationship with Your Spouse and Kids

1 minute to read

Have you ever met someone who has an infuriating habit? Perhaps worse, does your spouse or one of your children have such a habit? I don't mean something that annoys you but one that really sets you on edge. Did you analyze why it aggravates you? You may be surprised.

How to Make a Bad Habit Good

Why Does the Habit Infuriate You?

I have had a friend for many years who is a profuse thanker. When I would give her something to drink she would say thank you three, four, even five times. Occasionally I found myself commenting that once was sufficient. I started to get angry about the excessive thank yous.

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What to Do About It

One day I decided to explore why her habit made me so angry. I came up with several conclusions:

  1. Unquestionably, her thanks are sincere.
  2. She intends to improve friendships through expressing gratitude.
  3. Her habit upsets me because she is better at being thankful than I am.

The last point surprised me. I was disappointed in myself that I had created so much negativity by being jealous. The lesson:

Question – When you reacted negatively toward someone did you ever find it was for the wrong reason?

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How to Discover Your True Challenges in Life

Is work driving you crazy because of the demanding hours? Can’t stand your overbearing boss? Feel unproductive because you have such a long commute to your workplace? On the basis of such difficulties, you might conclude that your career is your biggest challenge. And you would be wrong.

How to Discover Your True Challenges in LifeRecently I worked with someone who was going through several personal challenges, including the death of someone close to him. His life hit a crisis when he was called upon to essentially abandon dealing with these things and get back to work. But since he had kept himself so busy with other tasks, he never mourned his loss. His emotional state became an insurmountable hurdle to his fulfilling his job responsibilities. He knew he needed to grieve, he just kept putting it off. Here is how to avoid the same fate:

1. Just for a week, keep a journal of the tasks or issues you think about but put off. As each one comes up write it down on a list. When an item comes up again put a check mark by it. At the end of the week add up the number of times you avoided taking care of each one. Whichever responsibility has the most check marks is your biggest challenge.

Reality is, while you may dislike spending long hours at a job or whatever else is consuming your time, you are comfortable with what needs to be done so you spend your time there. But when you are not sure how to handle a task you avoid doing it. Yet figuring out how to handle it is the surest path to growing your skills and intellect.

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2. Tackle the unknown. It will lead to your greatest accomplishments. Successful people know this. They are afraid, but they overcome it and face their real challenges.

Did you avoid prospecting for more business more than any other task? Embrace your terror of rejection and move forward anyway. Learn new techniques and practice them instead of retreating into what will absorb all of your time but retard your growth.

You will not have a successful marriage until you spend the time to build one with your spouse and learn the skills it takes to nurture this relationship. Likewise with your children.

3. Internalize the idea that the only way to fail is continued avoidance. Failure is not an option because you say it isn’t. It is not an option because you decide to keep growing and learning. No one can make you a loser without you choosing it first.

Which is more satisfying: a busy life with many regrets at not having tried to overcome life’s challenges or a busy life with many frustrations that came from continually striving to grow? If you are working hard anyway, why not make it worthwhile?

Question – Must you continually face challenges for your life to be valuable?

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The One Thing You Have to Do to Start a Business

Many people tell me they want to have their own business but they do not know what they want to do.

The One Thing You Have to Do to Start a Business

Often, embedded in this statement is the fear that they lack the knowledge, skills, or ideas necessary to be successful. Having met thousands of prosperous entrepreneurs I have found:

  • Some have advanced degrees, many did not go to college.
  • A few started out with most of the skills they needed to succeed, most learned as their businesses progressed.
  • A handful had unique or clever concepts, nearly all did not.

The only trait they have in common is a commitment to be and stay in business.

“Are you saying talent is not a factor?” Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Look at this equation:

Talent = Latent

They look almost identical. That is because any expertise you need is resting inside you. You may think I am just playing a word game. In truth, if you always remember this equation you will succeed.

For example, most entrepreneurs learned how to sell. There are some natural born salespeople. But often they take their gift for granted and are eclipsed by those who studied and practiced.

All the talent you need to be successful in business is latent within you. Will you commit to developing it and prospering?

Question – Which skills or knowledge, that cannot be learned, do you think are essential to succeed?

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Lesson from Taking Lyrica

When should you break the rules and when should you obey them? It seems being radical is the new norm. To label something as traditional is its death knell. But is this the way to live?

Lesson from Taking Lyrica

About a month ago I awoke to severe back pain. Visits to an urgent care clinic and two emergency rooms did not help so my wife took me to a pain specialist. He prescribed Lyrica, a drug for nerve pain. Even better, he gave us free samples.

Within a day I was feeling better. I finished taking the medication on a Saturday and was looking forward to getting back to exercising. Late that night I started feeling strange and remarked to my wife that this must be what the DTs feel like. She laughed.

Twenty-four hours later I was in severe emotional distress. Some research revealed that Lyrica must be tapered off of slowly. It took a week for me to be able to think calmly, and almost two more weeks for the medication to work its way out of my system to the point where my body could properly regulate temperature.

The funny thing is even if I had been given the finely printed document with all of the warnings I would not have read it.

The rule is: when taking medicine read the warnings. Once you are conversant in how medications work and their side effects you will know when or if you can break this rule. Indeed this is part of being a doctor or nurse.

Of course not everything is as serious as taking medication. Nonetheless, you have to know the rules, inside and out, including why they were instituted. The greatest painters, lawyers, musicians, salespeople, composers, athletes, and filmmakers know this. There is no shortcut to creating this foundational knowledge. Once you know how to play by the rules then you are qualified to decide when they can be broken.

Question – If everyone is rebelling which is rebellious: breaking the rules or following them?

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Don’t Let Your Weaknesses Make You Feel Inferior

“And Moses said to the people, do not fear, stand and see the salvation of G-d that He will do for you today.” (Shemos/Exodus 14:13)

When the Children of Israel thought they were trapped between the Reed Sea and the Egyptian army they panicked, complaining that Moses brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness. Just days before they witnessed the miraculous Exodus. How could they have lost faith so quickly?

This coming Sabbath we read Parshas Beshalach. In it the Children of Israel leave Egypt only to have Pharaoh once again change his mind and chase them. G-d splits the Reed (usually incorrectly translated as the Red) Sea and the Children of Israel walk between two walls of water on dry land while the Egyptians are drowned. They sing the Song of the Sea thanking G-d for their deliverance.

On their journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites complain they are hungry and thirsty and are given Manna from heaven and water from a rock.

After making the same mistake for the umpteenth time, too often I find myself lapsing into despair. The defeats weigh heavily on my spiritual fitness. So in a small way I can appreciate how the Children of Israel must have felt. Following centuries of being slaves, is it surprising that they did not prepare to defend themselves against their former masters? Though they vastly outnumbered them, as the Ibn Ezra notes, from their youth the Israelites bore the yoke of Egypt’s oppression. Such feelings of inferiority prevented them from fighting.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz commented that the same principle applies to everyone. If you view yourself as inferior or feel excessive guilt, you will be unable to combat your yetzer hara (evil inclination). Lacking faith in your ability to prevail over your oppressor, at the slightest negative impulse you will get completely discouraged.

Your task then is to view the elevated aspects of your character. Focus on your strengths, internalize knowledge of your assets, and your resolve to triumph over your weaknesses will be unshakable. You will succeed because you see yourself as a good, worthwhile person.

Question – How can you focus on your strengths but avoid becoming or being perceived as conceited? Please leave a comment below.

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