Hidden Language of Success

Image from http://www.socialphy.com/
Image from http://www.socialphy.com/

Body language

Adjusting your posture or stance is not just for outwards benefit of perception, studies and personal experience shows that it can have a profound effect on your own emotional state. Here is a TED talk that explains how adopting powerful poses affects hormone production in the body.

When we consider that personal attitude is key to handling stressful situations, understanding how body postures can be used to augment reactionary behavior is very beneficial.

Have you noticed that whatever mood we are in, our natural behavior is to perpetuate that mood? As example, when sad or stressed the tendency is to resist positive influence. We close off, build defenses, and generally begin to take up less space in a protective small or hunched posture. Although a natural and acceptable reaction, it does not serve us well when trying to overcome the situation. Instead this behavior can lead us to cycle further into feelings of helplessness. It’s important to be able to recognise this behavior and adjust accordingly.

I’m not suggesting anybody bounce around in complete opposition to the truth of a situation. That would be both irresponsible and ineffective. However be mindful about personal body language cycles, try opening your posture a bit, feel the difference and find what works for you. Even a small change in habitual body posture can make a big difference in your own perception of things as well as how others come to understand you and your ability.

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Study Advice

coffee breakWith exam time racing toward us I thought I would share some of my personal study tips in no particular order.

Put the Highlighter Away! The problem with highlighting is that it draws our attention to that spot. “WHAT!? that’s exactly what it is supposed to do!!” I hear you cry out. Efficient as it may be, the brain is also very lazy, and when it finds highlighted text it recognizes that you have read it before, it then tells you recognition means knowledge, no need to explore it again right? So you believe you have learned it, except, without the reference there in front of you, the information remains lost. What to do instead? Try attaching a post-it or a flag on the edge of the page so you know where to look later. This makes the information easy to find and forces the brain to engage in a search through the material.

Get a Wall Calendar. You don’t need to have a you beaut colour coded study schedule, but you do need to have a good understanding of when your assignments are due as well as other major happenings so that you can plan appropriately. This also helps set your work/life/study priorities in order. I find the big yearly planners great for this as it is easy to see ahead and everyone in the household can have an idea of what you’re up to as well avoiding confusion and conflict.

Get the Elephant Out of the Room. That big assignment you don’t want to do, it lurks in the back of your psyche filling you with dread and guilt… you can’t enjoy anything, its hangs over you like a cloud of misery.. Just do it! and do it early! Usually it turns out not to be as bad as you thought, and as soon as its gone you can get back to feeling good and energetic social and free from that burden.

Create Small Victories. Feel like you have hit a road block in a particular subject? Are negative thoughts creeping in suggesting you may be stupid or slow or not able.. First of all it’s not true! Take a break…breathe…. Re-focus on an area you feel more confident in, or complete a challenge in another area of life or study. A feel good moment can bring you back into the fold, clear your mind, and allow for new growth.

Procrastination is not a Dirty Word. Sometimes it seems impossible to just sit down and study. when the mind and body are both unwilling what should we do? Use it! As long as you have the time, enjoy a guilt and stress free break. You may need it. From personal experience I can attest to being able to perform much better after a small break, and that pushing through can be not only unproductive but damaging to the learning process. So sit back and enjoy a couple of episodes of your favorite TV series or have a night out with mates, even better is productive procrastination.. do the dishes or tidy the bedroom you’ll be glad you did.

Excercise. Even something as simple as going for a walk. It gets the blood,energy and ideas flowing, clears the mind and gives you something else to focus on for a while. Some of my best ideas and conversations have come during long walks out in the fresh air. additionally a bit of exercise can encourage better sleep which in turn makes us more alert during the day. So win win win find 30 today.

As I was writing this I realised that study advice is a topic you could write books about and a single blog post just wont cover it. However I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has been helpful. If you have any additional study advice to offer please feel free to leave a comment.

No-Gap Future

Post first published on LinkedIn 17Nov2014

In response to the overwhelming amount of posts addressing gender gap issues and female only advice etc. Lets stop using the corporate female as buzz words or industry trophy.

In my day to day I live in gender difference denial. I am always surprised when someone points out gender as a defining factor in freeways or road blocks both personally and professionally. I know gender plays a part, I work in a competitive male dominated industry, although I refuse to accept the idea that gender should hold ultimate power over any persons potential future.

So much goes into women’s issues in the workplace, from societal values and expectations to company tradition or unconscious prejudice. There is no quick fix award winning formula. It should not be about percentage or quota of female held positions within levels of organizations because to gain position or recognition primarily based on gender diminishes a persons value. It can negate the hard work effort and skill the individual has employed get there in the eyes of others.

I believe personal attitudes are the major key, if you think you will be limited then you limit yourself. We (men and women) should place more value on our selves rather than blaming or relying on environmental circumstance.

Female worker percentage, gender up lift, and support programs are great to get companies moving in the right direction, however in the long term both men and women require understanding, education, and experience to bring a true shift in belief about gender difference & equality.

Let’s aim for a future where we hire the right person, not the right gender.

What if Motivation is Not the Problem

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China 2010

A few months ago I stopped doing something I love. At the time I promised myself to return in short order, that is was only temporary as I needed the extra time for more important but less fun things. It was a poor decision.

I really enjoy martial arts training. I am a member of a kung fu school and when I’m active you could find me there for hours on end 3 or 4 times a week. I was extremely motivated. And then I lost all momentum.

I wanted to go back, I craved it, I planned to go in everyday. But there was always something else required my attention. As time passed further and further I began to feel shame that I had left it for so long, I was disappointed with myself. Still I wanted to return. I was motivated but couldn’t move.

despite being motivated I was unable to act on my own. This happened because I prioritized my own happiness and enjoyment too low. And I waited too long to act leading to negative self thoughts which festered and grew into anxiety. I needed help.

Sometimes all we need is a little push. Eventually my Sifu called. He asked me where I’d been and invited me to a workshop event. That’s all I needed. Now I am back doing what I love.

Sometimes self motivation is not enough to overcome stagnation or self made obstacle. Sometimes we need an outside perspective or a little help to get us going. I hope that next time I feel stuck, that I have the strength to recognise early and ask for help.

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Australia 2014

Speak up and Dare to be Wrong

Have you heard the saying “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt” ?

I’m a fairly quiet person and I have heard this kind of ‘wisdom’ many times through my life and although it may be true at times, I believe there are many strengths and advantages to leaving these limiting thoughts behind.  And so below are some of my thoughts on why we should throw caution to the wind, speak up and out, make suggestions,  jump in, and share your thoughts and ideas with others..

Recognition: you are a beautiful, interesting and valuable individual, but if you don’t speak up and show yourself how can anyone come to know this. Be brave and become known.

Support and Connection:  You could be right, wrong, or anywhere in between, there will always be people around you who are willing to help or be helped, but first you have to know where each other are. Share yourself freely make friends and grow your support network.

Accelerated Learning and Growth: We learn from mistakes, and we learn quicker when those mistakes are acknowledged and accepted. Failure is part of process not to be ignored so much as embraced as learning and development opportunities. claim your failure, own it, and learn from it.

Confidence and humility: When we admit we are not perfect we open ourselves to the possibility of change and we accept difference in others more easily. Also we come to realise being wrong is not painful then we can gain the confidence to try for greater understanding in all things.

Less Struggle, Less Stress: let go of fear of judgement, let go of perfectionism. Do the best you can with honesty and integrity and enjoy a life of possibility!

Beginning in the Middle

Have you ever wondered “How did I get here?”  This is the question that has prompted the creation my first blog. In feeling that to get to where I want to be, a better understanding of where I have been is desirable.

Lately I am in a growth stage, consciously assessing and developing many facets life, and it occurred to me.. I don’t know how I got here, or even when the shift truly began. An uncomfortable truth to be sure.  Having no future yet to reference we can only relate what is now to what has been, and even then understanding is limited. I know for myself, I wasn’t really paying much attention until recently. Many of the changes were subtle and insidious, a slow moving wave and suddenly the realization, all is not as it once was.

For example; My world view at age 15 is not what it is today and back then I did not believe it would ever change, nor did I wish for it to do so. In the time between then and now, much has happened, and still, even with conscious effort exploring the memories, I can’t really grasp HOW the experiences have changed me, helped or hindered me, I only know that they have. And so, here I am!

In the last 6 months I left my job, sought out a mentor, passed Special Tertiary Entrance Exam, enrolled in University engineering bridging course full time, celebrated 1 year wedding anniversary, am learning to network and communicate better, and returned to work as a casual employee.