Weekend Reads: Wisdom From Around The Web

Weekend Reads: Wisdom From Around The Web

It’s Friday so it’s time for another edition of Wisdom From Around the Web. This week’s edition includes:

  • An infographic on the scientific benefits of compassion
  • An article about relationship lessons learned from a dog
  • An article about life lessons learned from an unexpected visitor (a cat)

Happy reading!


Top 10 Scientific Benefits of Compassion — Emma Seppala

I prefer to share items which were published recently. However, I also believe strongly in the importance of compassion! So while this infographic was actually published last December, I thought it was definitely worth sharing.

And since Dr. Emma Seppala is the Associate Director at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, she definitely knows what she’s talking about!

Eight Important Relationship Lessons I Learned From A Dog — Good Men Project

As I mentioned last week, I recently joined twitter. I’m still trying to figure out how it works, but one thing that I like is that I’m able to find quality articles that I wouldn’t be able to find on my own.

This is a definite example. It’s a guest post on The Good Men Project by author Perry Brass who has his own blog at Perry Brass. The article covers lessons that are applicable to any type of relationship.

10 Life Lessons From An Unexpected Guest — Always Well Within

Shortly after finding the above article, I found this one! In this case, the unexpected visitor was a cat that snuck into the author’s home. Check out the article to find out what the author and her husband learned by accepting the unexpected guest into their lives.

And now we have balance…one article for dog lovers, and one for cat lovers!

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter at @edherzogcoach and I’ll follow you back!

Life Is Easy. Why Do We Make It So Hard?

Life Is Easy. Why Do We Make It So Hard?

Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?

That’s the idea presented in the video below, a video that I urge you to watch when you have time. The video is 15 minutes long but even if you only watch a few minutes of it, I think you’ll find great value in it. Though I hope once you start watching, you’ll want to see the whole thing.

Of course, the idea that life is easy, isn’t a universally accepted one. After all, the Buddha is famous for having said “Life is suffering”.

And psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, author of the best-seller The Road Less Traveled, opened his book with the words “Life is difficult”.

So which is it? Is life easy? Is it suffering? Is it difficult?

I suppose it can be any of those things depending on your perspective and where you choose to focus your energy.

For today though, let’s assume that the speaker is right and that life is easy.

Here then is your challenge for today: What is one change that you could make in your life in order to make it easier? And when do you plan on making that change?


Weekend Reads: Wisdom From Around The Web

Weekend Reads: Wisdom From Around The Web

Below are this week’s selections for Wisdom From Around the Web. I hope you find them useful!

By the way, I’m now on twitter! Feel free to follow me at @edherzogcoach and I’ll follow you back!


4 Imaginary Problems You’re Experiencing Right Now (and how to fix them)Psycholocrazy

Jamie doesn’t publish many articles on his blog, but when he does, they’re guaranteed to be well-researched and thought provoking. Make sure you read through to the end for his 3 simple steps for solving your imaginary problems, which will likely make you laugh and/or put a smile on your face. (I will have to disagree with him on the value of life coaching).

10 Ways To Be A Better HusbandThe Bridgemaker

Alex Blackwell has been married for 29 years so he knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a better husband. And this article is great timing for me since I’m getting married soon (tomorrow to be exact!). Now I just need to find the counterpart article for my future wife. :)

5 Mantras for Mindful Parenting — Huffington Post

Sarah Rudell Beach has her own blog called Left Brain Buddha where she writes about a variety of issues related to mindfulness and daily life. This is a guest post she wrote for the Huffington Post on mantras she uses for challenging parenting situations. Highly recommended for parents and parents-to-be.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Most Dangerous Idea: You Should Always Put Yourself First

The Most Dangerous Idea: You Should Always Put Yourself First

“Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals.” – Albert Einstein

Recently a fellow blogger published an article “Why You Should Always Put Yourself First”. I’m not going to link to the article. Nor am I going to criticize my fellow blogger because I think overall she provides a lot a value of her blog.

That being said, I disagree strongly with the idea of always putting yourself first. I consider it a dangerous idea. In fact, I’d go so far to say that the idea of always putting yourself first is the most dangerous idea there is.

Unfortunately, I come across this idea quite often. So it’s time to start fighting back, to express a different perspective.

I think almost all problems in the world today, from the rampant destruction of our planet, to wars, to poverty, stem from this idea. Even the smaller, day-to-day issues and disagreements come from this idea, from the idea of putting yourself first and not caring about others’ needs.

Always putting yourself first is about your ego. The world doesn’t need your ego, nor does it need mine. What the world does need is US, it needs WE. 

Personally, I don’t want to live in a world in which everyone always puts their own needs first. What a horrible place that would be!

I want to live in a world in which people work together, in which we work cooperatively, to make sure that everyone’s needs are met, as best as possible.

Just to be clear, I’m not making any sort of political statement or arguing for a particular type of government. I’m simply advocating that we think beyond ourselves and that we learn to work collaboratively when possible.

Nor am I saying that you should never put your needs first. Life is about balance. There are certainly times when you should rightfully put yourself first. But there are equally times when you should put someone else first. And there are other times when you should work together to find ways to meets everyone’s needs.

Every parent already knows this. They know that sometimes the needs of their child comes first, even if it means doing things they don’t want to do, like waking up at 3 am to feed their child, or working a job they don’t want to in order to support their child.

And anyone in a successful, flourishing relationship also knows this. Sometimes you come first, sometimes your partner comes first, but the best is when the two of you work together collaboratively to meet both of your needs.

Life is simply more beautiful when we stop thinking just about ourselves, and when we start thinking about ourselves AND other people. When we recognize that others matter just as much as we do.

So what do you think: Should you always put your needs first? Or are there times when someone else’s needs should take precedence?

Five Simple Communication Strategies For Improving Your Relationships

Five Simple Communication Strategies For Improving Your Relationships

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

In my opinion, the most important life skills that we can learn is how to communicate. It’s a skill that we can use in almost any situation.

Unfortunately, most of us aren’t taught how to communicate.

Instead, we learn how to communicate through osmosis. We learn by watching and imitating others – our parents, our friends, TV and movies.

The problem is that most of them don’t really know how to communicate either. At least not in a way that leads to authentic communication. Not in a way that leads to healthy, quality relationships.

So if we want to improve our communication skills, if we want to improve our relationships, we’re left to our own devices. The great news is that communication is a skill just like any other.

We can learn how to communicate just as we can learn anything else. Through practice and repetition.

Below are five simple communication strategies that you can use to improve your relationships.

Pause Before Responding

Pausing before responding is a particularly useful strategy when you’re having a difficult or contentious conversation.

When someone stops speaking, we often feel that we have to jump in right away with our response. But our initial response normally comes directly from our ego.

Next time, instead of responding immediately, wait one second, two seconds, five seconds, before responding. You might be surprised with how your response changes during that pause.

Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood

If you’re familiar with Steven Covey’s bestseller, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, then you’ve seen this phrase before.

Unfortunately, we often approach communication with the opposite intention.

We want the other person to understand us. We see our own perspective as correct and the other person’s as flawed.

We expect that once they understand our perspective, they’ll magically change their perspective. Instead, the opposite often happens. Both parties become more entrenched in their positions.

Instead, begin by focusing on better understanding where the other person is coming from. Use phrases like:

  • Can you tell me more about that?
  • That’s interesting but I’m not sure I understand.
  • Is there anything else you’d like to share about this?

Check In For Understanding

We often assume that we understand the other person’s perspective. But rather than assuming, we’d be best off making sure that our assumptions are correct.

The best way to do this is to simply ask the other person. Paraphrase what they’ve said and then ask them if what you’ve said is what they wanted to communicate.

Use Tentative Language

We have a tendency to present our opinions as if they’re facts. This only leads the other person to become defensive.

Instead, use tentative language. Introduce your ideas and opinions using phrases such as:

  • I could be wrong about this…
  • It appears that…
  • I’m not exactly sure about this….

You get the idea. You can play with these to come up with phrases that resonate with your style of speaking.

Remember That Words Can’t Harm You

Children are fond of repeating the phrase: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.”

As adults, we tend to forget this wise advice. If someone says something we don’t like, or something we don’t agree with, we feel that we have to respond.

But we don’t.

If you have a healthy self-esteem, you’ll realize that other people can’t hurt you with their words.

Let them say whatever they want about you. Be strong in your knowledge of who you really are. And recognize that anyone who says something negative about you is probably having a bad day and dealing with their own issues.

Summary

When it comes to improving our communication, this post is just the beginning. I plan on writing additional posts with additional simple communication strategies.

If you want to incorporate any of these strategies into your life, my suggestion is to pick one and practice it for about 30 days. Once you feel you’ve mastered that strategy, and it’s become a regular part of your communication, then you can add another one,

One final note: while my post focused a bit on challenging and contentious situations, many of these strategies can be used in any communication situation.

Happy communicating!