Create A “Go To Hell” Plan to Help Survive Your Next Crisis Reply

PlanningBy Chris Simmons

From my earliest days in the military, I was taught to always have a plan. It made sense. After all, if something is worth the investment of your precious resources (i.e., time, talents, and treasures), it merits a well thought-out roadmap to success.

But it didn’t stop there. “Your adversary has a vote” we were told, or more emphatically – “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” To offset our foe’s “vote,” we needed to create a “Plan B” (also known as a “back-up” or “alternative plan”). The purpose of Plan B was to have a viable option when the unexpected occurred.

Then they forced us to develop a contingency for when the seemingly unimaginable occurred. This contingency, known throughout the military as a “Go To Hell” plan, forced us to consider and plan for nightmare scenarios. Saddam Hussein got schooled in this concept a week into the 2003 invasion of Iraq when, with all his military forces fighting in the south, a brigade of US paratroopers unexpectedly jumped into northern Iraq. He lost control of the entire northern third of the nation immediately.

Note to self — luck and hope are not planning factors.

We enhanced the value of our plans by role playing through all three scenarios: the most likely, the supposedly less likely, and then the improbable. The mere act of visualizing the “what ifs” better prepared us for a range of situations, not just the ideal one. This de facto rehearsal also had a calming effect. When we needed to jump from Plan “A” to Plan “B” (or worse), we already knew the key planning issues: who, what, when, where, why, and how. This familiarity bred confidence and reduced stress.

That said, we always kept in mind that our personal experiences and biases skewed what we considered to be possible and probable. We knew we could still misread our adversary. This awareness helped reduce the impact of the shock anytime we were surprised.

Finally, a plan need not be perfect. A good plan well executed now is infinitely better than the perfect plan too late.

I quickly grasped that this planning methodology wasn’t just for the military. It is applicable and relevant to everyone’s personal and professional lives as well. Job relocations, births, deaths, accidents, illnesses, promotions, marriages, divorces, financial ups & downs….the list is endless. Life is unpredictable and demanding. Planning adds clarity and reduces anxiety. Life happens, be ready for it.

8 Facts About Self-Control Reply

It takes self-control to stop bad habits like smoking.

It takes self-control to stop bad habits like smoking.

From Reflectd:  Psychological Insights & Perspectives

“… Overcoming the self’s natural, impulsive nature requires self-control … Without this capacity, we would be slaves of our emotional impulses, temptations, and desires and thus unable to behave socially adequately.” (pp. 128-132).

Self-control is delaying short-term gratification in favour of long-term outcomes. It is the investment of cognitive, emotional and behavioural resources to achieve a desired outcome

Self-control often involves resisting temptations and impulses, and habits often undermine self-control. Humans are relatively successful at exerting self-control to achieve long-term outcomes (Hagger et al., 2009).

However, people are better at exerting self-control when it comes to making decisions that are distant in time compared to near (Fujita, 2008). Eight facts about self-control are presented in this article.

1. Self-control is a limited resource

According to the self-control strength model, exerting self-control at one time or over one set of behaviours may deplete the ability to exhibit subsequent self-control over another set of behaviours. A study by Shmueli & Prochaska (2009) supports this idea.

In this study, smokers who resisted sweets were more likely to smoke a cigarette during a break compared to smokers who resisted raw vegetables. Participants, whose self-control strength was depleted (due to temptation resistance), were more likely to smoke compared to those who had not depleted their self-control strength.

A study by Vohs & Heatherton (2000) also supports the idea of a self-control strength model. The study draws three conclusions:

  • Perceived availability and proximity of tempting snacks undermined subsequent self-control among dieters
  • Exerting self-control in one domain leads to subsequent reductions in self-control in another domain
  • Asking dieters to suppress their emotional reactions to a movie depleted their self-control resources

Another study found that people’s ability to exert self-control and resist temptation decreases gradually throughout the day (Kouchaki & Smith, 2014). This finding also suggests that self-control is a limited resource.

Hagger and colleagues (2009) found that breaks in exerting control (since it is a limited resource) and training in self-control makes people better at exerting self-control.

Feature continues here:  Self-Control 

Maysoon Zayid: I Got 99 Problems… Palsy is Just One Reply

“I have cerebral palsy. I shake all the time,” Maysoon Zayid announces at the beginning of this exhilarating, hilarious talk. (Really, it’s hilarious.) “I’m like Shakira meets Muhammad Ali.” With grace and wit, the Arab-American comedian takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled.

The Skill of Self Confidence Reply

As the Athletic Director and head coach of the Varsity Soccer team at Ryerson University, Dr. Ivan Joseph is often asked what skills he is searching for as a recruiter: is it speed? Strength? Agility? In Dr. Joseph’s TEDx Talk, he explores self-confidence and how it is not just the most important skill in athletics, but in our lives.

How Expectations Drive Behavior and Performance Reply

By Chris Simmons

First developed by Yale Professor Victor Vroom, Expectancy Theory holds that a person will act (or not act) based on the certainty of a reward or punishment. Additionally, the more convinced an individual is of a specific outcome, the more motivated he/she becomes to pursue the reward or avoid the punishment.

Thus, Vroom’s formula is Motivation = Reward/Punishment x Personal Expectations x Certainty of Outcome. For example, a budget-conscious individual will generally not drive his/her car over the speed limit if the odds of receiving an expensive traffic ticket are high.

One weakness of Vroom’s theory, however, is the requirement for excellent insights into the mind of the target audience. First and foremost, the individual(s) must perceive the outcome as a valuable reward or unacceptable punishment. Offering someone a promotion, for example, may not be seen as a reward if their work hours increase significantly. Secondly, the audience’s perceived certainty of a reward or punishment may not be accurate. This would lead them to overestimate or underestimate the likelihood of an outcome favorable to them.

On a related note, use caution when employing Vroom’s theory in the workplace or in the sporting world, as the “Expectancy” component can have significantly broader connotations. In these environments, individuals have not just different expectations, but distinct confidence levels regarding what is personally achievable. This can have a significant impact on the use of Vroom as a motivational tool.

How to Instantly Recognize Whether Someone Feels Powerful or Weak 1

By Chris Simmons

Have you ever noticed how much space people take up when they feel powerful? Everything becomes BIGGER. They talk with their hands outstretched. Their feet are planted firmly on the ground; spread 12-24 inches apart. If sitting, they are likely leaning forward on the edge of their chair or couch. When speaking, their speed and volume tends to increase. All these indicators come together to create an impression of energy and power.

Conversely, when feeling less confident, weak, or vulnerable, one’s body language becomes defensive and draws in close to our body. If gesturing, the hands remain close together and generally within 12 inches of the body. Arms and/or legs may be crossed. Eye contact decreases sharply. If seated, the person draws back into their seat. In fact, the only behavior which may remain steady or increase is vocal speed and volume, and that is wholly dependant on the emotional commitment at the moment.

Chen Lizra on “The Power of Seduction in Our Everyday Lives” Reply

With nearly a decade of experience in the animation industry, working on projects for MTV, TVA, Alliance Atlantis, Mainframe Entertainment and Radical Entertainment, Chen Lizra’s intellect, imagination and creative thinking evolved her into a branding expert.

In 2009 & 2012 Chen was nominated as one of the “YWCA Women of Distinction in Vancouver,” and was recently honored by the Australian government with a Distinguished Talent Permanent Visa for her international achievements in the arts. As the international author of “My Seductive Cuba, a unique travel guide”, Chen has won two awards in the US, including the prestigious IPPY Book Award. With a passion for dance and creative movement, Lizra offers students seduction workshops and focused lectures and seminars about the art of seduction in our everyday lives.

A Tiny Pronoun Says a Lot About You Reply

Do You Say “I” Too Much?

How Often You Say ‘I’ Says More Than You Realize

By Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal

You probably don’t think about how often you say the word “I.”

You should. Researchers say that your usage of the pronoun says more about you than you may realize.

Surprising new research from the University of Texas suggests that people who often say “I” are less powerful and less sure of themselves than those who limit their use of the word. Frequent “I” users subconsciously believe they are subordinate to the person to whom they are talking.

Pronouns, in general, tell us a lot about what people are paying attention to, says James W. Pennebaker, chair of the psychology department at the University of Texas at Austin and an author on the study. Pronouns signal where someone’s internal focus is pointing, says Dr. Pennebaker, who has pioneered this line of research. Often, people using “I” are being self-reflective. But they may also be self-conscious or insecure, in physical or emotional pain, or simply trying to please.

Dr. Pennebaker and colleagues conducted five studies of the way relative rank is revealed by the use of pronouns. The research was published last month in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. In each experiment, people deemed to have higher status used “I” less.

The findings go against the common belief that people who say “I” a lot are full of themselves, maybe even narcissists.

“I” is more powerful than you may realize. It drives perceptions in a conversation so much so that marriage therapists have long held that people should use “I” instead of “you” during a confrontation with a partner or when discussing something emotional. (“I feel unheard.” Not: “You never listen.”) The word “I” is considered less accusatory.

“There is a misconception that people who are confident, have power, have high-status tend to use ‘I’ more than people who are low status,” says Dr. Pennebaker, author of “The Secret Life of Pronouns.” “That is completely wrong. The high-status person is looking out at the world and the low-status person is looking at himself.”

So, how often should you use “I”? More—to sound humble (and not critical when speaking to your spouse)? Or less—to come across as more assured and authoritative?

The answer is “mostly more,” says Dr. Pennebaker. (Although he does say you should try and say it at the same rate as your spouse or partner, to keep the power balance in the relationship.)

In the first language-analysis study Dr. Pennebaker led, business-school students were divided into 41 four-person, mixed-sex groups and asked to work as a team to improve customer service for a fictitious company. One person in each group was randomly assigned to be the leader. The result: The leaders used “I” in 4.5% of their words. Non-leaders used the word 5.6%. (The leaders also used “we” more than followers did.)

In the second study, 112 psychology students were assigned to same-sex groups of two. The pairs worked to solve a series of complex problems. All interaction took place online. No one was assigned to a leadership role, but participants were asked at the end of the experiment who they thought had power and status. Researchers found that the higher the person’s perceived power, the less he or she used “I.”

In study three, 50 pairs of people chatted informally face-to-face, asking questions to get to know one another, as if at a cocktail party. When asked which person had more status or power, they tended to agree—and that person had used “I” less.

Study four looked at emails. Nine people turned over their incoming and outgoing emails with about 15 other people. They rated how much status they had in relation to each correspondent. In each exchange, the person with the higher status used “I” less.

The fifth study was the most unusual. Researchers looked at email communication that the U.S. government had collected (and translated) from the Iraqi military, made public for a period of time as the Iraqi Perspectives Project. They randomly selected 40 correspondences. In each case, the person with higher military rank used “I” less.

People curb their use of “I” subconsciously, Dr. Pennebaker says. “If I am the high-status person, I am thinking of what you need to do. If I am the low-status person, I am more humble and am thinking, ‘I should be doing this.’ ”

Dr. Pennebaker has found heavy “I” users across many people: Women (who are typically more reflective than men), people who are more at ease with personal topics, younger people, caring people as well as anxious and depressed people. (Surprisingly, he says, narcissists do not use “I” more than others, according to a meta-analysis of a large number of studies.)

And who avoids using “I,” other than the high-powered? People who are hiding the truth. Avoiding the first-person pronoun is distancing.

Researchers analyzed the language on Twitter of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Mr. Tsarnaev used “I” words (I, me, my, I’ll, I’m, etc.) less and less in his tweets as he got closer to the bombing, according to not-yet-published research by Brittany Norman at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Dr. Pennebaker.

The researchers analyzed all 856 of Mr. Tsarnaev’s original tweets between October 2011 and April 15, 2013, the day of the bombing. They found that Mr. Tsarnaev’s use of “I” words dropped significantly as the bombing approached, with the biggest drop appearing in October 2012 (to 4.81% of his words from 9.57% the month before).

“The data suggest that Mr. Tsarnaev made the decision to do something that he had to hide at that time,” Ms. Norman says.

All his work leads Dr. Pennebaker to conclude: “You should use ‘I’ the same way you use a speedometer on your car—as feedback on yourself,” he says. “Are you being genuine? Are you being honest? Learn to adjust some, to know yourself.”

—- 

An Honest Vocabulary

People telling the truth use ‘I’ a lot. Other words they often use include:

  • Except
  • But
  • Without
  • Unless

—Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at Bonds@wsj.com or follow her column at www.Facebook.com/EBernsteinWSJ or www.Twitter.com/EBernsteinWSJ

Strike A Powerful Pose: Posture Can Determine Who’s a Hero, Who’s a Wimp 1

By Sue Shellenbarger, Wall Street Journal

Video:  How the ‘Power Pose’ Could Change Your Career

Can how you stand or sit affect your success?

New research shows posture has a bigger impact on body and mind than previously believed. Striking a powerful, expansive pose actually changes a person’s hormones and behavior, just as if he or she had real power.

Merely practicing a “power pose” for a few minutes in private—such as standing tall and leaning slightly forward with hands at one’s side, or leaning forward over a desk with hands planted firmly on its surface—led to higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in study participants. These physiological changes are linked to better performance and more confident, assertive behavior, recent studies show.

Marketing executive Katy Keim used to step back from listeners during presentations or conversations, resting her weight on her back foot with her hands clasped in front of her, twirling her ring. She was often surprised when people asked if she was nervous, says Ms. Keim, chief marketing officer of San Francisco-based Lithium, a firm that builds online communities for clients’ brands. After she began working with a coach to improve her skills and saw herself on video, she realized her posture “was slightly standoffish” and didn’t look strong, she says.

In addition to standing straighter, with her hands at her side, the 5-foot-1 executive began getting up from the table when speaking at meetings. “When I’m sitting at a table of men, I feel petite. Standing up is a dynamic change for me,” she says, sending a message: “I want to command your attention. I want you to get off your BlackBerrys and smartphones and listen to what I have to say.” During a three-hour meeting last week where she made a presentation, she says, she noticed no one picked up a smartphone.

Striking a powerful pose can reduce symptoms of stress, says Dana Carney, an assistant professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Subjects in a recent study she headed were guided for five minutes into either high-power poses or low-power postures, slumping or leaning back with arms or ankles crossed. They then delivered a videotaped speech before critical evaluators dressed in white lab coats and holding clipboards. Those who had practiced a power pose before the speech showed lower cortisol and fewer outward signs of stress, such as anxious smiles or biting a lip.

Assuming an expansive body position can also increase testosterone, which tends to boost confidence and aggressive behavior, according to another study co-authored by Dr. Carney. Subjects who struck power poses for two minutes had higher testosterone levels later and were more likely to take a gamble when given the chance. Some 86% of high-power posers risked losing $2 they were given in return for a 50-50 chance of doubling it, compared with 60% of low-power posers who took the bet, according to the 2010 study, published in the journal Psychological Science.

Power posing is also linked to improved performance. In another study published last year, led by Amy J.C. Cuddy, an associate professor of business administration at HarvardBusinessSchool, participants who struck power poses for several minutes before beginning a mock job interview received better reviews and were more likely to be chosen for hire—even though the evaluators had never seen them in the poses.

Other research links power posing before a college-entrance exam to improved scores, Dr. Carney says.

Researchers are studying why the effects of the power pose linger after a person returns to a normal, relaxed stance. One theory: It may prompt lingering changes in voice pitch or facial expression.

Most speakers aren’t aware of the signals they send through body language, says Kelly Decker, president of Decker Communications, a San Francisco coaching, training and consulting firm. “We pick up habits, such as walking into a meeting and sitting down with our shoulders slumped, and we don’t even think about it.”

Steven Murray says seeing himself on video last year when he was working with Decker coaches helped him realize that “you’re broadcasting nonverbal information to listeners from the moment you step up to the podium.” Mr. Murray, president of Direct Energy Residential, an energy company based in Houston, says he learned to adjust his posture, leaning slightly forward rather than standing straight upright in the authoritative stance he formerly used as a military officer. “Leaning forward really engages people” and helps get his message across, he says.

Hunching over a smartphone before a meeting or presentation may be self-defeating, because it forces the user into a low-power pose, according to a recent study led by Maarten Bos, then a postdoctoral research fellow at HarvardBusinessSchool. Participants were assigned to complete several tasks on one of four gadgets—a hand-held device, a tablet, a laptop or a desktop. Then, the researcher tested subjects’ willingness to interrupt another person, a power-related behavior. He left each subject alone in the room with instructions to come get him if he didn’t return in five minutes. Subjects who worked on the hand-held device waited significantly longer before interrupting him, compared with those on desktops, and some didn’t come out at all, suggesting their low-power posture sparked feelings of powerlessness.

Breaking old body-language habits takes practice, sometimes years. Pamela Lentz used to wave her hands while speaking on her job as a principal at a management-consulting firm, making some co-workers “think I was too emotional or too passionate,” says Ms. Lentz, a Leesburg, Va., management consultant. She also tended to fold her arms across her chest while listening, drawing criticism that she lacked presence. “It looks as if you are withdrawing from the conversation,” she says. Her body language was holding her back in her career, colleagues told her.

She worked with executive coach Tim Allard on changing her posture and movements. “We wanted her to project calmness and confidence,” says Mr. Allard, co-owner of Odyssey Inc., a Charlottesville, Va., executive and business consulting firm. He videotaped her and, with Ms. Lentz’s permission, asked her subordinates for feedback.

Ms. Lentz began leaning forward and placing her hands firmly on the table when speaking. She also put an elastic band around her wrist and snapped it now and then when her hands were hidden under a table or desk, to remind her to keep them still when she began speaking.

Gradually, as she practiced the new habits, says Ms. Lentz, “I felt more in control, and I was having more impact in the discussions.” She was soon promoted to partner.

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at sue.shellenbarger@wsj.com

Get in Touch With Your Hidden Narcissist 1

How to Make Your Implicit Self-Esteem Work For You

by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D.

When we think of narcissism, we think of the clinical condition in which people show excessive levels of such qualities as self-love, grandiosity, and entitlement. Many true narcissists become enraged when other people fail to recognize and admire them because they expect that everyone thinks as highly of them as they do of themselves. However, some people with narcissistic personality disorder base their desire for attention on an overly low sense of self-esteem. Though the causes are different, the results are the same in that these individuals constantly seek attention, have overly shallow relationships, and exploit the people they know.

Narcissism can stem from a number of sources, particularly when it’s of the non-pathological form. Egocentrism, the tendency to see things from your own point of view, can lead you to engage in narcissistic behaviors in which you develop blinders to the needs of other people. Apart from this cognitive distortion, we also have a biased tendency to value the things that are ours more than the things that belong to other people. This bias leads us to engage in the irrational behavior called the endowment effect in which you place greater value on things you already own than the things you don’t have in your possession. Experiments on buying and selling behavior show that people will demand a higher price from a buyer for, say a CD they already own, than they’re willing to pay to purchase the exact same CD to add it to their collection. This is an example of the more general mere ownership effect. We value the things we own because we see them as an extension of our own identity.

The fact that we endow our possessions with greater value because they’re ours is just one example of everyday, healthy, narcissism. A little bit of self-love is good for our self-esteem. Loving the things we own is one form of this expression of healthy self-esteem. Often, we’re not even aware of just how much we hold these inherently positive views of ourselves. These unconscious views, known as implicit self-esteem, often differ radically from our explicit self-esteem, in which we state outright how we feel about ourselves. People may rate their self-esteem as average or even low on a standard self-rating questionnaire with questions such as “On the whole, I feel satisfied with myself.” However, their implicit self-esteem may reveal quite a different picture.

Try this out for yourself.

The following 10 questions are from one of the most widely-used self-esteem tests currently in use, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (R-SES). Rate each question on a 4-point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree:

1. On the whole I am satisfied with myself.
2. At times I think that I am no good at all.
3. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
4. I am able to do things as well as most other people.
5. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.
6. I certainly feel useless at times.
7. I feel that I am a person of worth, at least the equal of others.
8. I wish I could have more respect for myself.
9. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.
10. I take a positive attitude toward myself.

Now you’re going to take another test. This one measures your liking of certain letters. To take the test, please get out a new sheet of paper and follow these instructions:

  1. Write down all the letters of the alphabet vertically in a column on the left of the sheet of paper.
  2. Next to each letter, provide a rating of 1 to 4 with 1= dislike very much and 4= like very much.
  3. Now write across the top of your paper the letters “IYFN,” “IYLN,” “NIYFN,” and “NIYLN” creating four columns. These letters stand for “In Your First Name,” “In Your Last Name,” “Not in Your First Name,” and “Not in Your      Last Name.”
  4. Compute your average letter ratings for the four columns.

DON’T READ FURTHER UNTIL YOU’VE COMPLETED BOTH TESTS

Feature continues here:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201205/get-in-touch-your-hidden-narcissist