Invest in Positive Possibilities

Written by Thom Rutledge

A young woman who just bought a lottery ticket for a chance to win a multi-million dollar jackpot was recently interviewed onrepparttar 6 o’clock news. She was genuinely enthusiastic aboutrepparttar 131428 possibility of winningrepparttar 131429 jackpot. In fact she considered winning such a realistic possibility that she expressed her fears related torepparttar 131430 potential big-time success. “I worry that I will not know how to handle that much money,” she toldrepparttar 131431 interviewer, seeming as genuine in her fear as she was in her enthusiasm.

Another young woman sits in my office talking about her search for a job. She has arranged several interviews, and has already made a good impression with two potential employers, but she is not very optimistic about her chances of landing a job.

What’s wrong with these pictures? The hopeful young woman withrepparttar 131432 lottery ticket seems to believe in her one in some tens of millions chances of becoming so rich it scares her, whilerepparttar 131433 woman in my office who will certainly land a job, and probably a very good one, tends to expect failure.

How many of us can identify with this? We invest our energy in expectingrepparttar 131434 long shots to come through, and are very stingy with our expectations when it comes to realistic day-to-day possibilities. And we do this with both positive and negative expectation. Consider how much energy we waste in our lives worrying about things that never even come close to happening. If you could recoup just half ofrepparttar 131435 energy you have leaked by way of needless worry, how much extra energy would you have? I don’t know about you, but I have leaked enough energy in my lifetime to light up Times Square for a decade.

Communication 101

Written by Thom Rutledge

Do you remember what it’s like to learn to drive a standard shift car? Or to play a musical instrumental? Or ride a bicycle? At firstrepparttar task seems impossible, far too complex to ever be coordinated from your one body and one mind. But with encouragement and lots of clumsy practice, we do begin to learn.

Even with our 20/20 hindsight we cannot identify exactly when we cross that invisible line from practice into knowing. But we do. We learn. And one day we recognize that what once seemed impossible has become natural, even automatic.

Learning communication skills is no different. Keep in mind that as we learn to act and speak differently, we are also learning to think differently. And that is much more difficult than driving a standard shift car.


Mastering new relationship skills is not forrepparttar 131426 faint of heart. Effective communication --- especially in times of conflict --- calls for a focused dedication and repetitious practice. It calls for honest self-evaluation, humility, a sense of fair play, and a willingness to change according torepparttar 131427 needs ofrepparttar 131428 relationship. And it takes (at least) two.

Changing out-dated, ineffective communication patterns involves a great deal of “unlearning,” a much greater challenge than simply filling inrepparttar 131429 blank slate. (Ever try to ditch a bad habit?) In a word, learning effective communication skills calls for commitment --- commitment to yourself, to your partners in communication, and torepparttar 131430 relationship as a whole.


What follows are 7 important tools to help build effective communication. As with any tools,repparttar 131431 first challenge is to learn how and when to use each tool. (A hammer is very important, but I don’t want to use it to repair my eyeglasses.) And keep in mind that this is only a starter set. You will hopefully be adding to this collection of tools forrepparttar 131432 rest of your life.

The Tools:

1. Take Turns. Two separate agendas can seldom be accomplished at once. Establish some ground rules that will insure that you will take enough time for each of you to talk whilerepparttar 131433 other is really listening.

2. Give Information. State your perceptions and your feelings concisely and respectfully. Avoid “selling your side” asrepparttar 131434 gospel truth, even when it feels that way to you. To resolve any conflict, room must be made for at least two different perspectives. And remember that emotions are subjective information, not open for debate (i.e. “you shouldn’t feel guilty,” or “you have no right to be angry”).

3. Gather Information. You have a responsibility in communication to do your share of listening, being receptive to what your partner is saying, without immediately judging and categorizing. Ask questions with curiosity, like a good interviewer. And --- here comesrepparttar 131435 radical part --- listen torepparttar 131436 answers. Too often we ask questions not to gather information, but to make a point.

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