Are you Proactive (good) or Reactive (bad)?
Hello! Kevin here with the first episode in the 7-part series, The Habits of Highly Effective People by the author, Stephen Covey.
Why am I starting with this book? This book is one of the most popular books on self-improvements that I know of. Most people that like reading about these types of topics will know this book, have read this book. It is often used in business classes as well.
All of these ideas are very, very useful in business and in personal life. A lot of these ideas will help you become more productive, more liked by others, less stressed, and in general, be able to deal with situations in life in a better way.
There are seven different habits. I’m going to do an episode on each habit, talk about the main idea, and give you some actionable tips and advice on what to do and how to implement these ideas into your own life.
The best way to listen to these episodes if you really want to not only improve your English, but also really absorb the ideas from these books and Ted Talks is to repeat the lessons at least a couple of times. They’re short. It shouldn’t be too hard to listen to each episode two or three times. If you listen to it ten times, your English will improve even faster. That’s how it works, believe me.
The first habit of the book, this habit is called be proactive.
There are two types of people, people that take action and people that don’t take action. It seems that so many times, through teaching English, students, business as well, and even myself, of course, I’ve had many, many times where I was not taking action on things.
And what do we do? We’d find ways to blame others or to put the responsibility on other factors – other people, other situations, your teacher, your boss. We don’t take responsibility for our lives.
The one deciding factor between people that produce results are they take action. It’s not easy. It takes discipline, learning how to form habits, all these different things I will talk about in different episodes. There are strategies, but it is something that I truly believe. To get to where we want to be, we have to take action. We have to be responsible adults to achieve our goals.
So, without further delay, let’s get into the first habit. Bam-o!
So, this is the first habit in the book of 7 Habits. And this habit is called be praoctive. Basically, with this habit, the author is telling you to take control of your own life. This is all about taking responsibility for your life.
So, there are two types of people. A lot of people are not proactive. They are reactive. They react to external circumstances. Their emotions and behavior are dependent on what goes on around them.
What goes on around them, what happens to them in their lives, what happens to them at work, what happens in their family, all of these external factors that constantly are changing and happening and causing chaos and all of that, affects how they react to situations. This is being reactive.
You can see this manifest itself most clearly in their use of language. People who are reactive place the responsibility for their fate on external circumstances. You can always tell a reactive person by how they talk. Reactive people blame others for everything that happens to them.
“Oh, it’s their fault… they did that. It’s their fault that I don’t speak English well. Oh, my teacher sucks. My teacher is not a good English teacher. It’s his fault I don’t speak English well.” I’ve hearrd that so many times.
Productive people take control of their own fate. The decisions that they make make them who they are. the decisions they made about English made them become fluent. No one else gave it to them. And also, if you don’t speak English, it’s nobody else’s fault.
Stop blaming everybody. Take responsibility for your life. Take responsibility for your English. Nobody else will.
One idea in this habit (and I’m not going to talk about this very much, but he talks about two different things) is the circle of concern and the circle of influence. Positive energy enlarges the circle of influence. The more positive you are, the more optimistic, the more responsible, the more influence you can have.
I’m sure you’ve seen this at work or at school, people that take responsibility for what they’re doing become more influential at work. In English class, people that take responsibility for learning and practice and study outside of class, they become more influential in class. They become better.
Versus the other side, the reactive, they focus the negative energy. It reduces your circle of influence. So, you complain, you blame other people. Where does that get you? Nowhere. Nothing happens from that. You end up just being a negative, annoying downer of a person. “She complains all the time. She’s a downer.”
Taking control of your life comes down to realizing you are responsible for your results. You have to be proactive. You have to take action. You have to stop being lazy. You have to be disciplined. Figure out, learn, discover ways to become better at the things you want to become better at.
If you are trying to become a fluent, powerful English speaker, you have to be proactive. You have to do the necessary listening and reading and find people to talk to, find the enjoyable ways to go out and to practice and to study. It’s not crazy difficult. It’s not extremely challenging. It’s just a matter of taking action.
Stop blaming other people. Stop blaming your teacher. Stop blaming your course. Stop blaming your family. Stop blaming your lack of money. Stop blaming your poor country.
Take control of your life. Take action, be proactive. Better your English and better your life. That’s the goal here.
Being proactive, it’s now time to take action. What can we do if we find ourselves being too reactive? I’m sure you’ve been there before. I definitely have been there before. I still always have to catch myself if I’m being too reactive, and I have to, say, stop blaming others, stop basing my emotions and my behaviors on others. That’s never going to work.
I need to be more proactive. I need to come back and say, “I am responsible for this. I am responsible for how I deal with the situation. It is my responsibility. I need to take charge.”
So, as you can see, the first thing we need to do is change the language that we use. Simply change the language. Start noticing these times when you start blaming somebody else or you start thinking about what you don’t have in order to get what you want.
And start thinking, “What do I need to do? What do I need to take responsibility for? How do I need to deal with this situation? What do I need to create to make this situation better?”
Stop depending on others to create your reality. Start creating your own reality.
And the first step to do this is just to change the language in your head, literally in your mind. Change the language in your mind when these situations arise.
Find solutions. This is proactive. You can’t always control your environment, but you can control your feelings.
Another way to start being more proactive is take these reactive tasks, things at work that maybe you have to always react to. “Oh, I got to get this done. He wants this done. I have to do this.” Try to make it more proactive. Try to be ahead. Try to maybe outsource some of these or systematize some of these tasks. And you can not have to be so reactive when these things come up. You’re already prepared for these tasks.
And I think in English, it’s simple. Take responsibility for your English. I’ve talked about it enough in this episode, but that’s the difference. The difference between great English speakers and not great English speakers is usually the great ones take responsibility for their learning. If nobody is forcing you to become fluent by next year, you very possibly won’t unless you take responsibility and you find the discipline that you need to do that.
Now, I’m going to explain and define some of the words and vocab and expressions from this episode that might be unfamiliar to you. Can I go through this quickly? I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this. But finding out the definition, discovering more about these words and expressions will help you understand the concepts even better, and also, obviously, improve your English. Listen to these, learn.
So, the first one, proactive. That’s the title of this episode as well, to be proactive. To be proactive means to be prepared for something before it happens, to be responsible for something before it happens, not reactive (you don’t react). You’re prepared, you’re ready to take action before it actually happens to you, to being in control.
Next one, fate. Fate is when things happen because they were supposed to happen and there’s not a lot anyone can do about it anyway. Another word for fate would be destiny. What is your destiny? This is fate. You meet the girl or boy of your dreams. And of course, it’s destiny. God wanted you to meet this person because God considers every relationship out there. It’s really important for Him to make sure everybody finds each other. That was a joke. Just kidding.
So, fate. Fate, “It was fate when we met. It was destiny.”
Another word I used, sucks. In this context, it’s when you don’t like it, that sucks. It’s discouraging, it’s depressing, it’s not of quality, it’s not what you like. “That sucks. That movie sucks. Oh, that song really sucks. Oh, my boss, he sucks.” It’s just a very general term for saying you don’t like something at all. You hate it.
Next one, a downer. If somebody is a downer, it means they’re depressing. They’re boring, they’re depressing. “That person is a downer.” He brings my emotions, he brings down the spirits down. He literally brings the emotions and the vibe down and makes things depressing and boring. So, don’t be a downer.
Last word here is blame. To blame somebody is to put responsibility of something happening on them. You assign responsibility for a fault or a wrong. “You did it. It’s your problem. You broke the glass.” I’m blaming you. Your boss gets upset, “Who did this? Who didn’t do this? Who didn’t turn this in? Who didn’t send this to the client in time?” You say, “Oh, of course, it was her.” You’re blaming her.
There you have it, the first lesson in the 7-part series, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Be proactive. Take action. Start small. Take small steps. Do something right now or the soonest possible time, but start small. Change takes time. Implementing little changes, little steps can help you build bigger habits, bigger changes for lasting results.
Another important idea here is that the first thing we can do is change our language. Whenever we find ourselves blaming somebody else, not taking responsibility for something that we are not satisfied with, in our heads, change the language we are using. Instead of “Why did this person do that? Why can’t I do this? Why does this have to be this way?”, say, “I am responsible for this. I am responsible for making this different.” Changing the language in our head will also help us to change our future actions.
So, let’s be proactive people, not reactive.
The joke for the day is, “Why can’t you give Elsa from the movie, Frozen, a balloon?” Because she will let it go.
See you next time!
The purpose behind your English goals. Discover this FIRST!
Hello! Welcome to another episode of the Feel Good English Podcast. This is Kevin, your host and teacher. In this episode, the second episode in this series, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, we’re going to talk about developing a clear understanding of where you want to be after you achieve your goals.
Oftentimes, people think what is important is to be successful, make lots of money, be the best athlete, get the best grades, be popular and famous and the most beautiful. But this is where people often go wrong. And eventually, when they do reach their goal of being the prettiest girl on Instagram, they find little fulfillment in their accomplishment.
It all goes back to the beginning and being able to know why you are doing what you’re doing. So when you get to the end point, you feel good about it. This comes down to self-awareness, knowing your values, knowing who you are.
And Stephen Covey, in the book, gives you a couple of tasks on how to discover what might be the most important things for you to consider when making big decisions and starting new projects and having a clear path based on your values.
In this episode, I will talk about a couple of ideas Stephen Covey gives on how to direct our actions, so we can find fulfillment and happiness once we reach our goals. And interestingly enough, it has something to do about your funeral.
So, listen to this lesson here. We will get into how to visualize and set up a future for yourself that you will be happy and fulfilled by before dedicating so much time and effort into things that might take you down the wrong direction. So, let’s get started.
The second habit in this book, the second episode in this miniseries is begin with the end in mind. I think this is extremely important. Begin with the end in mind.
So many of us, we work so hard on goals, trying to achieve them as fast as possible. But we really don’t even know why we’re trying to reach these goals.
An example, you’re at a company and you really want to become a manager. Of course, you probably get better pay, your salary increases, maybe more responsibility. And you try to get there as fast as possible.
So then you become a manager, you make more money, you have a lot more work, you’re stressed out more. You do have a new car, but you’re usually in that car stressed out. Often, we don’t think about what we really want in the end.
We need to start with a clear destination in mind of where do we want to be. This is great because you can use your imagination. This is where we visualize the future. This is where we dream of the future we want.
And Stephen Covey uses an example of your funeral. “What do I want people to say about me at my funeral?” So literally visualize you’re lying down in the casket, peaceful. You’ve got your nice suit on, your nice dress on. Somebody may have put nice make-up on you (I guess if you’re a man, you still have make-up because you’re dead and you need to look pretty).
What sort of person do you want to be remembered as, somebody who worked hard, had a lot of money, didn’t care about anybody else as long as they made a lot of money and was successful, whatever that means, or somebody who cared a lot about their family and put their family first and the needs of others first, whatever that may be? You could probably imagine what you would want to be remembered as.
And this is pretty private. I’m not going to talk about what I want to be remembered as. I think these things are a little bit private. You don’t have to share this with the world. And the big word here is self-awareness. Self-awareness is something that I think is so important. And for me, I’m always trying to connect, “What do I value in life? What’s important to me?”, not what other people prefer, not what they think is right for my life.
A lot of times, people think what’s good for them is good for me too. Of course, that’s just the way people are I think. They assume that everybody is the same. They think if its’ good for them. It’s going to be good for us. Maybe your parents are like that. They grew up in a different time, a different generation. So, they have different values. They assume it’s right for you too, and that’s fine.
But awareness, being aware of who we are, helps us live an authentic life. Be authentic.
Begin with the end in mind. What is the meaning behind the goals that I set for myself? What do I really want to achieve from this? What are the feelings, the emotions that I’m going to create from these goals? What are the feelings and emotions I will help be able to create for other people if I achieve these goals.
So, taking action on this, what do you do now? Again, visualize in detail your own funeral. Who is there? What are they saying about you, about how you lived your life, about the relationships you’ve had? What do you want them to say?
Now, you could get a little more specific and start breaking down different roles in your life, professional, personal, your community. Write some goals down, some long-term goals, goals for the future that you want to achieve for each of these different roles, professional, personal, community. Just write some goals down.
Based on these values, you’ll have maybe a clear vision now of what you want.
Also, habit there is connected with this. It’s going to help you focusing on specific actions to take to help you reach these goals, to help you reach the end.
There are only a few words I’m going to talk about from this episode. The first one is self-awareness.
Self-awareness is knowing yourself, knowing who you are, knowing what you believe, knowing what you like, knowing what you don’t like, being authentic really.
Next word, assume. Assume often means to think you know something without having all of the information that you need to correctly know it or not. So, you assume somebody is tired just by the way that they look. Now, you’re not totally certain, but you assume they are. “Oh, I assumed she was tired because she was up all night.” So that would be assume.
You could also assume in another way, to assume the position of. I’m assuming the position of the CEO because the other CEO disappeared. So, I assumed the position of CEO. Two meanings there.
Last one, roles. I already said role model, but also a role is a position that you take in a certain situation. What is your role at work? “My role is director. I am the person that directs the office.” What was Brad Pitt’s role in that movie? What character did he play? What character did he play? That would be a role. So, R-O-L-E is a role. It’s a position or character in –
A role model is somebody who you’ve looked up to, a person who you want to model. So, it’s a person in a position of somebody who you want to model. Makes sense? A role model.
So, that was the lesson for today, begin with the end in mind. I know it’s a little intense if you’re thinking about your funeral. But the purpose of that is just to think about what values are important to you. It’s easy to think that what other people’s values are are our values, and we just follow the path of other people. But we really need to discover our true selves, what’s valuable to us.
And just in order to be more fulfilled and knowing the values and knowing the direction, having a clear understanding of where you’re going can help with big picture things like career, school, where you want to be in five years, ten years, 20 years from now.
And it can also help with small things. Maybe you have a monthy goal. “At the end of this month, I want to weight this amount of pounds.” Think, “Okay, at the end of this month, I will weight this. And why do I want this? What’s the purpose of this?”, not just blindly going in, but having a clear destination and a clear reason for doing what you are doing.
And here’s your joke to leave you for the day. “What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet? What did the janitor say when he jumped out of the closet?” “Supplies!”
See you in the next lesson.
Too busy for English ? Prioritize the RIGHT tasks in your day
Hello! Kevin here with another episode of the Feel Good English Podcast. In episode three of this 7-part series, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we’re going to figure out how to prioritize the most important tasks in your day to help you reach your goals faster.
Maybe use a to-do list, you have a lot of things to do, but what do we do first? What’s the most important? How do we best manage our time, so we can get to where we need to be in the fastest way possible?
Getting into the episode now, listen. At the end, you’ll hear to the vocab. Then you go back and you listen to the episode again. And you will learn all of these cool lessons from these wonderful books and improve your English at the same time. Let’s get started.
So, in the second habit, the episode previous to this, start with the end in mind, we’re setting up goals, we’re creating our targets, what do we want to achieve. Now, the third habit is called first things first. This is going to help us reach those goals. We have to prioritize our day, prioritize our tasks and our actions on what’s most important, not what’s most urgent.
The big idea here is in order to manage ourselves, we must put first things first. We must put the most important tasks first, not the most urgent tasks.
So, the author of the book, Stephen Covey, he creates this 4-quadrant system to identify what’s most important. The most important tasks, what are they? In the book, you’ll find four quadrants.
And these four quadrants are based on two factors, urgent and important. So, urgent, we’re talking about time, when something has to be done soon. And important is obvious. It’s something important. So these are the two deciding factors here. And these are separate. We’re going to look at four quadrants. Quadrant here means areas.
The first area, quadrant one, area one, things that are important and urgent. So, they have a time factor and they’re important. Emergencies at work, really big problems that have to be solved, or deadlines (a deadline, a project has to be done tomorrow by 8 a.m.), that’s urgent and important. You don’t have an option. You have to finish it.
These things really stay in the mind a lot. We think about these a lot because they’re important and they have to be done soon. They’re very stress-causing. This causes a lot of stress, mostly because of this urgency. Whenever we think we don’t have a lot of time to do something, we get stressed out about it, which could be a good thing as well. It puts us in a mood or it gives us motivation to get things done. Sometimes, we have to have a little bit of stress. So that’s quadrant one, the first quadrant.
The second quadrant are things that are important, but not urgent. So, these things are important to do, but they don’t have a deadline or they don’t need to be done soon.
So, building your skills, becoming better at what you do, building relationships with who you work with or who you study with, these things are important, but they’re not urgent. You don’t have to become best friends with your boss tomorrow. But it’s something that you build on. Being open to new opportunities, recognizing new opportunities, planning for your future, planning future positions or yearly goals or things like this that aren’t supposed to be done soon, but are important, that’s quadrant two, area two. They’re important, but not urgent.
Next quadrant, three, these are not important, but urgent or you think they’re urgent. These days, we are bombarded by urgent but not important things, these quadrant three things like interruption and social media posts and messages and all of these things, WhatsApp messages (people send you all those crap and pictures of whatever and videos of people doing stupid things). You think it’s important, “Oh, I got to check this now.” It’s obviously not important, but you think it’s urgen, so it interrupts you a lot.
Also, meetings at work, how many times you have meetings that are just pointless. They’re not important. They say, “Oh, we have to have a meeting in an hour,” but then you go to the meeting, nothing that’s important is talked about. It’s just a waste of time. So, quadrant three.
Quadrant four, the last one, area four, quadrant four, these are not important and not urgent. So, these obviously should be taken out of your life like busy work, talking to co-workers in the kitchen for 30 minutes about TV or wasting your time searching the net just looking at different things and wasting time basically.
If you think about a day at work, how much of that time is spent on this area four, these quadrant four tasks, doing things that aren’t important, that aren’t urgent. They’re pleasurable, they’re fun, they’re entertaining, they’re relaxing. When you’re lazy, you’re in this area. You’re just surfing the net or doing whatever. So, these are quadrant four. Get rid of these activities. Start looking for these activities.
Summarizing these different quadrants, if we focus on quadrant one and spend our time managing crisis and problems, they keep getting bigger and bigger until it consumes us. We’re stressed out, we’re burnt out and we’re constantly resolving problems and issues. We’re basically just reacting to everything. We’re reacting to things that happen to us, trying to put out the fire. We get stressed and burnt out.
Quadrant three, we spend most of our time reacting to matters that seem urgent. We think these things are important like boring, worthless meetings, when the reality is that the urgency is based on other people’s expectations and priorities.
Of course, if you work for somebody, if you work for somebody, you can’t just say, “I’m not going to the meeting,” but you get the idea of why they are worthless. It gives you a little more insight to why they are pointless. If you are a manager or if you’re in a supervisor position, maybe you can use a little more discretion on when to have meetings.
Quadrant four, area four, we’re basically leading an irresponsible life, or being lazy. We’re wasting people’s time, we’re wasting our own time. You can possibly get fired from your job or you’ll just be dependent on the workers. The boss will see that you’re not a very good worker. You’ll never get promoted, you’ll never move up because you’re wasting time. Make sure you get rid of these areas in your life. These time-wasters need to go.
Smart people, focus as much energy and time into activities that are important, but not urgent. An obvious example here is your English. You might not need to speak English perfectly by next week, you might not even have a deadline of a year, but you know it’s important. You know that it’s important.
However, what happens? Other things come into your life that you think are more important and more urgent – problems at work, problems at home, in your personal life. These things come into your life. You give them more priority in your day.
So then English learning is put to the side. English is extremely important in your life. And you want to get to where you want to be, you’re going to have to realize that now and you’re going to have to focus on that now. It’s important, but it’s not urgent.
This involves discipline. Where does this discipline come from, to stay disciplined enough, to put your time into things that are important but not urgent like English? Building habits, all of these stuff comes into play here. But you know why it’s important, and you also know why it’s hard. If it’s not urgent, it’s difficult to stay focused and to stay disciplined. If it’s urgent, it’s easy to stay disciplined and focused, right?
So, make sure you are focusing on this, finding these important yet not urgent activities from quadrant two like learning English. And these will bring you the most value in the future. Be smart, think smart, act smart. Focus on these activities.
Often, there’s no immediate result. It’s just being smart, being patient, doing what you need to do for future value.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I struggled with recording these episodes. I do other things that are not important. And I often know that I’m doing these things that are not so important. I’m cleaning my house instead of recording an episode. I’m fixing my website instead of recording an episode. I’m doing other things that I know aren’t as important, but I don’t know, we just do this. We procrastinate. We try to avoid things that make us scared or nervous or that we don’t want to do for whatever reason. And usually, these are the things that we need to do the most.
And think of your own life. If you can see these things, you keep avoiding doing something, that’s probably what you should do. It’s probably what you should focus your time on. Practice this. It takes practice. But we’re all learning, we’re all improving.
Going through the vocab from today’s episode, number one, urgent. Urgent means something needs to happen fast, something needs to finish fast, or something needs to be resolved fast. There’s a time factor.
Next word, number two, bombarded. Bombarded, that’s a great word. Bombarded means a lot of information, a lot of things, a lot of stuff comes at you very quickly in a large quantity. An example, online these days, you are bombarded with information. There’s so much information through social media and news and all different areas. You are bombarded with information.
Three, another word, crap. Crap is a derogatory word talking about something that is not of high quality. “That car is crap” or “This food is crap.” It means it’s not high quality food. You don’t like it, obviously, because it’s not high quality. So, that’s crap. “Don’t buy that. That’s crap.”
Next one is a phrasal verb, get rid of. To get rid of something means to throw it away. Get rid of it. Get it out of your situation. It could be trash. It could be a person. It could be a problem. It could be anything. You are getting it out of your life to get rid of it. To get rid, get + rid + of. Get rid of something. What do you need to get rid of in your life?
Next one, also a phrasal verb, but it’s used in an adjective form, burnt out. “I am burnt out.” To burn out or to be burnt out is to be completely exhausted. You have no energy left. You’re tired. You’re exhausted. I’m burnt out.
Another phrase I use here, use discretion. To use discretion is to use your brain to do something intelligently, to choose wisely. Use discretion when you do this. Use your wisdom. Don’t just rush into it.
The last one here, come into play. “This is going to come into play. This is going to affect something else.” So, this is a phrase here, to come into play.
To come into play is going to affect how things are done. So eventually, the problem of people arriving late to work is going to come into play. It’s going to affect what’s going on here.
Bam! There you go! Any other questions about vocab, find the episode on SoundCloud. You could ask the question right on there or go to my website, FeelGoodEnglish.com, and ask me personally.
So that will do it for this episode. Summarizing, in order to manage your time wisely, you have to decide which actions and which tasks to focus on. Focusing on tasks that will bring you the most value in the future and being able to recognize urgent and unimportant things that come to you during your day and avoid doing those tasks will help you achieve the best results and the most progress.
Learn more about the different quadrants of time management by searching online or reading the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. And practice on how to choose how to best use your time every day.
I’ve got a blonde joke for you today. Here it goes. “What did the blonde call her pet zebra? What did the blonde call her pet zebra?” Spot! She called him Spot.
See you next time!
Are you an effective English listener? No? Well, STOP TALKING!
Hello! Kevin here with another episode of the Feel Good English Podcast. This is part five in the 7-part series, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I’m going to talk about effective ways for building valuable and honest relationships with the idea of the better that our relationships are, the more value we can bring and the better that we can serve others. And specifically focusing on business, being able to know how to serve others in the best way possible is a great way to achieve business success.
So, I’m going to talk about what we want to do here to understand other people before trying to make them understand us. And I’m going to give you five ways in which you can improve relationships with others and bring the most value to others if that’s what you’d like to do.
So, listen up. Go through this. At the end, I’ll talk about some vocab that you’ll find in this episode that might be a little unfamiliar to you. And here we go!
Habit number five. Habit number five is seek to understand, then to be understood. Before we can offer advice or suggest solutions or effectively interact with another person, we have to fully understand where they’re coming from. And this is all about how to best serve others. And if you’ve studied business at all or even with relationships, a very sure way to be successful is to figure out how to serve others.
So, if you don’t do this, if we don’t seek to understand others first before we try to make them understand us, then we prescribe a solution before understanding the problem. We prescribe a solution based on our own lives, our own history, our own dilemmas in the past.
And I think just naturally, as humans, we think everybody is alike. We think everybody is the same. Or a lot of us by default think that we’re all the same.
So, we often tell people to do things based on what we’ve done to solve our problems. But that doesn’t always work. And often, that’s not what they need.
So what are we doing here? What are we trying to do? We’re trying to become an empathetic listener. Empathy, empathetic listener, somebody who uses empathy to communicate with others. So, we must learn how to become an empathetic listener, an empathetic listener. We must use empathy in our communication with others.
Empathy means when we’re talking to somebody, when you’re relating to somebody, you are able to feel their emotions. You are able to connect with their emotions – not just the words, but you are able to literally feel what they might be feeling. This is called using empathy. Somebody who is very empathetic is able to understand others through their emotions, and they’re able to relate to the emotions of others.
So, how do we do this? Maybe you don’t think yourself as somebody who is very empathetic. Like me, personally, sometimes I do want to give my advice before I should based on what I think is right or wrong. I do this too much. Maybe it’s my psychological background, I’m not sure. But for me too, I need to become more of an empathetic listener.
And I’m now going to give you five ways that you can do this, five specific ways that you can become more of an empathetic listener to help you understand better before trying to be understood by them.
The first way on how to become more empathetic in your listening, easy, don’t multitask. If you’re talking to somebody, get off your damned phone. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t look at your computer. Don’t try to do something else. Give them your undivided attention.
Look at them. Make eye contact (not in a crazy way, but at least enough eye contact). And give them your undivided attention. Stop thinking that you can listen, and then also search your Instagram and like pictures of bodybuilders. You can’t do those things at the same time.
So, that one is simple. Drop your damn phone. Look at the person you’re talking to.
Number two, be non-judgmental. Try not to connect what they’re saying with things that have happened to you. Try not to use your own judgments if it’s right or wrong. I do this all the time. Naturally, I hear what somebody is talking about, and then I want to connect it to something that’s happened to me, or I have an opinion of what’s right or wrong. This is hard, but try to start being non-judgmental. Just listen to the words, and try to follow along.
Number three, read the speaker, observe their emotions. That’s what I mean by “read the speaker.” Observe their emotions, not just words.
This can be tricky if you’re learning English. If you’re not a fluent English speaker, it’s a little harder. Howeer, they say that at least 60% (sometimes, I’ve heard 80%) of language is non-verbal, meaning it’s body language. We express what we want to say with our bodies.
And I totally agree with this. I’ve travelled to different countries, not speaking the language or speaking just a little bit of the language. And I could communicate just by paying a lot of attention to what this person was doing with their body and how they were acting. Were they upset? Were they happy? Were they welcoming? Did they want me to leave? Probably all of those things have happened. But it is very important with communication.
So, start reading the emotions. Don’t just focus on the words. And you might find this difficult in the beginning, especially in English, but practicing this will help you. So, focus on emotions too. Respond to the emotions. Don’t just respond to the words.
But if they’re angry or they’re frustrated, respond to those emotions. Don’t just respond with something that’s disconnected. If they’re angry, then respond in a way that would justify their anger. Maybe they’re justified. Don’t judge their emotions.
Number four, be quiet. Don’t feel you need an immediate answer to what they say. Don’t feel that you need to reply as soon as they’re done speaking. Oftentimes, we’re so focused on what we want to say. We’re not even listening. We’re already deciding what we wanted to say as soon as we’re done speaking. We’re waiting for the time when they finish, so we can say what we want to say.
One thing I hate, I hate, is when people don’t let you finish what you want to say, they ask you a question, you start answering, and then in the middle of your answer, they interrupt you. I don’t know why this has happened in certain countries more than others, but it just annoys me a lot. People don’t let you finish one sentence. They’re already saying what they want to next. Maybe they’re nervous, I don’t know, but don’t do that. Listen.
And if you need to pause for a second or two or three after they finish talking, that’s fine. Collect your thoughts. This also allows you to come up with a better reply because you have all of the information instead of five seconds before they’re done speaking, you’re already ready to reply. You didn’t even hear what they just said.
And lastly, number five, ask reassuring questions. If you’re not sure what they said, if you’re confused, if you’re not fully understand what they’re saying, ask them. There’s no problem in this.
And if you’re learning English, if you’re not fluent, if you’re not understanding, then of course you can ask questions. That’s not a stupid thing. It doesn’t mean you don’t speak English well. We should even do this in our own language to learn to do it in English as well. This is natural. This is fine.
And being able to answer questions in a foreign language is very important. This is communication.
And I know some of you are thinking, “It’s hard in English. This stuff isn’t as valid. I’m an English learner. I can’t do this as well because it’s hard for me to understand the words. How am I going to understand the emotions too?”
Well, if you stop thinking about what you were going to say when they’re done speaking, it will give you a lot more energy and time to listen to what they’re saying. Don’t worry about, “Oh, how am I going to reply to this?” Let them speak, listen to them, watch their emotions. Take all that in. This will actually help you form sentences.
I know you’re probably worried while they’re speaking, you don’t understand something, “What am I going to say? What if I sound stupid?” It’s okay, it happens. Just let them speak. And then, come up with your answer. Use them as a situation to practice.
Focus on their body language. Start learning how to react to body language. Some people could do this naturally. I think I’m pretty good at noticing the body language of other people. Other people, I don’t think, do this very well. So, start practicing. Start going online and searching “how to read body language” or just start noticing when you’re talking to somebody. Pay more attention to their body language. This can help you understand people from other places that speak other languages too. Fast English speakers, watch their body language. What do you think are they trying to say?
So, don’t be afraid to take a second or two to formulate your thoughts after they’re speaking. Especially if you’re learning English, don’t worry about it. Take a moment, step back, relax. Come up with something. Don’t feel that you need to speak as soon as they’re done speaking.
The last thing here that you can do is consider that your solutions might not be the best for others. Feel free to offer advice only after you fully understand what they have to say or let them express what they want to say. Let them talk about their problems. Try to understand where they’re coming from before you offer a solution. Fully seek to understand before trying to be understood.
Just a few words for this episode I’m going to define for you. The first one is seek. That is the title of the episode, so that’s an important word here. To seek is very similar to search or to look for. We usually use it in a deeper sense. “I’m seeking the answer to life’s problem” or “seeking to understand someone else.” You’re really searching for and trying to discover the true meaning behind somebody else.
So, you don’t just interchange this with “I’m seeking my pen. I lost my pen, I’m seeking my pen.” No, that’s not necessary. You just say, “I’m looking for…” So seek here is a deeper context. I’m really searching for something. “I’m seeking the career path that will make me the happiest in life.”
The next word, to prescribe, to prescribe like a doctor prescribes medicine. In this case, you’re prescribing a solution. You’re kind of recommending something to somebody else. So, a doctor recommends you take a medicine. So, to prescribe being a solution or a remedy to something.
Next word, empathy. A great word, empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand somebody else’s feelings and emotions. You empathize with them. You connect with their emotions and their feelings. You’re an empathetic listener.
Empathetic listener means when you listen to somebody, you really can connect with their emotions and their feelings. You’re not just listening superficially, but you’re connecting in a deeper way.
So, that’s a lot of what this episode is about, being an empathetic listener, really trying to understand somebody else before prescribing your solutions to them.
Last one, multi-task. Multi-task is doing several different things at once. So, you’re trying to talk to somebody and you’re looking at your phone checking how many people liked your Instagram photo. That’s multi-tasking. You have work, you’re trying to get a report done, but you’re also trying to whatever. You’re trying to do multiple things at the same time, multi-task. Multi-task is usually not the best way to do things. It’s better to focus on one thing.
Any other questions from this episode, find the episode on SoundCloud. You can comment right on the point where you have a question or FeelGoodEnglish.com and ask me personally.
And there you have it, number five, seek to understand, then to be understood. I think it’s a very important communication skills, relationship skills. Interpersonal skills in the office are so valuable.
So, put these five ways of improving communication to work. Do a little more research. If you want to read the book, go online. Search about empathetic listening, bringing more empathy into your relationships. Got it?
Okay! Joke for the day. A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender says, “Hey, why the long face?”
See you next time!
Do you hate your colleagues? Learn how to work with them better
Hello! Welcome to the fourth habit in the book, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. In this lesson, we’re going to talk about creating effective interpersonal relationships and interpersonal leaderships. The people you work with, the people you deal with in your life, how to better react and better act with this people in order to manage our relationships in a positive, productive way.
And this isn’t just a technique that you can apply to everyday situations in relationships. It’s more of a philosophy, a whole way of thinking and being.
In the book, he talks about six paradigms or six patterns of relationships. I’m not going to talk about each one here. But we’ll talk about a specific one where your relationships at work and in your personal life are mutually beneficial and cooperative where all parties involved, all people involved, come out a winner.
I’m going to talk about how you can do this, how you could create these. I’m going to talk about how you could create these relationships and also the benefit of creating win-win situations for work, for your personal life as well.
If you want to get into more of the paradigms, more of these patterns of relationships, I suggest you look at the book. Read the book, it’ll talk about each one because there are certain situations where each one might be the most effective. But again, in this episode, let’s talk about win-win situations, so we can get farther, be happier, and be more liked. Let’s go!
Creating valuable, strong, positive relationships is very important in life. We’re talking about business life and personal life. In my opinion, to be happy, we need strong relationships. And these relationships could be at home, could be with friends, could be at work. It doesn’t matter where. In all the different aspects of your life, strong relationships make your days better.
And in this habit (it’s the fourth habit in the book), it’s called Think Win-Win. I’m talking about win-win relationships. In summarizing this,the ability to form good relationships with others is a real asset and the basis of true effectiveness.
How do we build win-win relationships? What is a win-win relationship? How do we build these positive relationships in our life? And what do we do to avoid the negative, the competitive relationships in our lives?
Nobody likes to fight with people. I guess some people like to fight with people, but most people don’t like to feel angry and upset with others, right?
So, in his book, Stephen Covey, the author, talks about how to create positive win-win relationships. Let’s get into that.
Most people in life have a scarcity mentality. They think that there’s only so much to go around. And that if somebody wins, somebody else has to lose. If somebody else makes more money, somebody else will lose money. If somebody gets the promotion at work, somebody else will lose. He refers to it as the whole cake or the whole pie. You think there’s a pie and there’s only so much pieces of that pie to go around. So, you’re trying to get your own piece of the pie. This would not be a win-win relationship.
A win-win relationship, summarizing this, is knowing that working together with other people, working towards common things, cooperating, helping others, being of service to others is how we form positive relationships. And these positive relationships bring us the most success and happiness.
So,a big difference here are two types of thinking. There’s scarcity thing (there’s not enough for everybody) or abundance thinking (it means there’s plenty to go around, there’s plenty for everybody). Having an abundance mentality is important to build strong relationships that last. And we’re talking about what’s going to affect your future. In the future, what’s going to help you continue to progress and succeed and to be happy?
If you’re thinking about now and you’re competing and you’re trying to win certain situations, a win/lose mentality, where you’re trying to win now, you’re trying to get your piece of the pie because there’s not enough to go around, you’re following the scarcity mentality, then okay,you might win for now, but in the future, when you encounter this person again or this person is involved in something that you might be involved in, you may not win. You’re creating negative relationships and this can come back to haunt you. This can come back to hurt you.
So, having an abundance mentality, of thinking there’s enough to go around, my job, my objective should be to help others get their piece of the pie as well as me get my piece of the pie. This will be creating positive relationships which will help you build a better future.
Something that I noticed from past experiences, whenever I would meet a manager or a supervisor or a vice president of a company, people that are not quite at the top, but very close to the top, often, these people are very competitive. They’re not very nice. They’re always seeming like they’re trying to get ahead and trying to push ahead. They don’t care what happens to other people. Their job is to get to where they need to be. They need to win.
And you can see why they would be put in their place. You’ve got the president or the CEO of the company, he wants people to be fighting for their company.
And then, interestingly enough, what I notice is the CEO’s, the presidents, the people at the top are often very, very friendly, very nice and very open even with people that don’t have a lot of significance to them or don’t mean a lot. They listen to them, they give them attention, they’re friendly.
And it makes sense. They know how to create relationships. They know the importance of relationships. They know the importance of these win-win relationships versus the managers, the supervisors, the people under them, always thinking that life is a competition and they need to get ahead, they need to work hard, they need to undercut other people, so they could move up above them. They win, somebody else loses. Eventually, they’ll win everything. They’ll be happy and they’ll stand on top of the mountain. They’ll be the king, and they’ll say, “Yehey! I won!” And that’s just a complete ridiculous fantasy.
So, relationships are important. Knowign that there’s enough for anybody, helping others, others helping you, working as a team, being cooperative, thinking future, thinking long-term, the relationships you create now will help you in the long-term is what Stephen Covey says is the fourth habit of think win-win.
So, let’s think of a few ways you can apply this. Think about an upcoming interaction where you’ll be attempting to reach an agreement or a solution at work, at school or in your life, something that’s going to come up, something that’s coming up where you need to agree or solve something.
Write down a list of what the other person is looking for, what do you think this person will want from this situation. Next to that, write a list of how you make an offer to meet those needs. So, what can you do to help this person get what they want? Don’t go in there thinking, “What do I need?” Go in there thinking, “What do they need? How can I help them get what they need?”
Action step two, think about three relationships in your life. Think about how the balance is in that relationship. Do you give more, do you take more, is it even? Write down 10 ways that you could always give more than you take. Thinking about your relationships, what can you do to give more?
I definitely need to work on this. This is important to me. And it’s not because I’m selfish or mean or whatever, but sometimes, I just don’t make this a priority. I just have so much other things going on. Relationships aren’t priority, and that’s not good.
Connecting with others, making relationships a priority, putting time in, giving to others is a very valuable asset in business and in life. And I think if we make this a priority and we put this into our to-do list and actually make it so we are feeling obligated to give to others, the rewards in the future from those relationships will come.
Action step three, think about your tendencies and interacting with others. Do you usually feel that it’s competitive? Is life competitive in general? Are you trying to win? Other people lose if you win. And vice versa, if you lose, they’re going to win. Where does that come from? Is this approach serving your relationships?
Time to discuss some vocab from this lesson. One is scarcity which is the opposite of abundance. Scarcity is when you do not have an excess of things. You have a very limited amount, a very limited number. Do you have a scarcity mentality? Mentality meaning your mindset, the way that you think, you have a scarcity mentality. You don’t think there is a lot of resources or things to be shared. There’s a very limited number.
When you’re buying something, you’ll see companies and marketers use the tactic of scarcity. They’ll say, “Oh, there’s only two days left to buy this” or, “There’s only one spot left. Buy it before it’s too late.” This is using a tactic of scarcity, creating the idea, either real or perceived idea, that there is a limited amount of time or spaces left, so it forces you to desperately buy something. It’s a good tactic.
Another expression here is to go around. There’s only so much to go around. To be spread, to go around means to be shared. “I only have six beers. That’s not enough to go rouand. That’s not enough to be shared with everybody.” Actually, six beers would probably be just for myself. I would need a lot more beers if I wanted to have enough beers to go around. “I don’t have enough to go around.” I dont have enough to be shared.
Another one, undercut. To undercut somebody can mean a couple of different things. It could mean to charge a lower price. “The company undercut me. I was selling something for $10. They undercut me and sold it for $8. So they sold a lot more.” That’s to undercut.
Also, it can mean to undermine or weaken, impair somebody else, to undercut somebody. Somebody was weakening my power. They were undercutting my power. In this episode, I used it in this case just to try to sabotage, to weaken, to destabilize somebody else.
And lastly, come up with. To come up with something is to invent or to create. It’s a phrasal verb, to come up with. “We need to come up with a plan. We need to come up with a solution to this problem.” So, it’s to invent, create something out of nothing. It’s to come up with.
Is this helping others? So, I hope this helps. Building positive relationships is important, so important, and having the courage to do so. It takes courage. Stephen Covey talks about this too in the book. It’s not easy to do this. You have to be courageous.
So, here’s to you and your courage. And here’s to myself and my courage to be able to know that there’s an abundance in life and we all should help each other achieve what we want. And if we do, we’ll get back good things.
See you in the next lesson.
And the joke of the day, why did the cookie go to the hospital? Why did the cookie go to the hospital? Because he felt crummy.
Don’t know what crummy means? Well, you’ll have to go to FeelGoodEnglish.com to find out. Bye bye.
Achieve amazing results with your team through SYNERGY
Hello! Welcome to another episode. This is habit number six from the 7-part series, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Feel Good English Podcast helping you improve your life through inspiring, practical life skills-building and business skills-building lessons.
This episode, this habit called synergize is all about the benefits of being able to work with others, specifically working well with people that you might not like, you might not understand, you might not get along with. And not only how to work well with people that you don’t want to work with or that you don’t like, but also, the reason why you should be learning how to better work and cooperate with people who you might not see eye-to-eye with, who you might not share a lot of common ideas and thoughts and opinions and values with.
However, if you learn some tactics on how to better work with others, how to bring people onto your team even if you don’t like them, you will see bigger and better ideas and results come your way.
I think it’s possible to be able to get past our emotions and opinions of others and work as a responsible adult and figure out ways to go about things. So, let’s get into the lesson.
Habit six, synergize. Synergize, that’s a cool word, huh? A quick summary of synergy, by understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, we have an opportunity to create synergy which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity. Synergy, things working together, flowing together, synergizing.
And the whole purpose of this is this is group dynamics stuff, so multiple people working together at school or at work or wherever, synergizing the dynamic of this group. That’s what this habit is about.
The purpose of this is to create new opportunities, to bring great results, to bring massive, impressive results to thing. And if this is something you’re interested in, and something you’re trying to do, getting a group of people together and synergizing, this group will bring unbelievable, awesome results. People will be able to work together. You’ll be able to work with people you don’t like so much. You figure out how to deal with them. And you’ll figure out the value they can’t bring. If you don’t like them, it doesn’t mean they can’t bring value to your projects, to your work, to your success.
Learning how to deal with people that you don’t like, learning how to synergize and how to bring out the best of others will help you succeed as well.
And why does this happen? Big results come from when synergy happens. Why? People are working together with different perspectives, different ideas, different solutions to problems. And instead of just judging them and not agreeing with them, we’re able to understand where they’re coming from and take pieces of their ideas and use what they have to offer to improve what we have to offer as well.
So, it’s people working together with diverse values or beliefs or views, and learning how to work with all these people in coming up with bigger solutions, bigger-than-yourself solutions because you can only do so much on your own. Figuring out how to bring in other perspectives will help you get even bigger results.
So, how do we do this? How do we create synergy if you’re in an office with a bunch of people you don’t like and everybody fights, you can’t imagine people working together with the common goals? Well, the habits from four and five work for this. What you have to do in an environment is you have to build trust among the members of the group. Habits four and five help you buid trust, seeking to understand other people, knowing that it’s not a competition where there’s only one reward and you’re fighting for that one reward. If that person wins, you lose, and vice versa. Creating trust so people feel safe in the environment and they can start opening up and start sharing what they want to bring to the table.
By putting forth a spirit of trust and safety, we will prompt others to become extremely open and feed on each other’s insights and ideas, creating synergy. Learn how to create trust among people. Learn how to be open, not to judge, creates synergy amongst group members. Learn how to take different perspectives to build bigger things, to improve on things.
And finishing here, the real essence of synergy is valuing the differences, the mental, emotional and psychological differences between people. If two people have the same opinion, one is unecessary. But if you get a variety of opinions, people with different perspectives, then you could say, “Good, that’s a very interesting perspective. Let me try to understand your perspective. We can combine them and maybe come up with something very creative.”
We’re talking creativity here. We seek first to understand and then we find strength in different perspectives and to create new possibilities and to create win-win relationships. So, they win, you win, everybody wins. Yehey!
Also, you can catalyze creativity and find solutions that are better for everyone by looking for third alternatives. It’s not yours, not theirs, a third alternative that might utilize both sides, both ideas, combining them together to come up with something better. “Combining together to come up with something better,” hey, that rhymes, huh?
And here we are with some vocabulary from this episode. Here’s an expression, bring to the table. “What does he have to bring to the table?” Another word you could use for bring to the table is offer. “What does he have to offer? What does he have to offer? What does he have to offer our company? What does he have to bring to the table?”
Prompt means fast, in a rush, quickly. We need to do this promptly, we need to do this quickly, we need to do this fast, prompt. P-R-O-M-P-T, prompt, opposite of slowly. In this case, we’ll be prompt. He’s always very prompt with his work. He does it quickly, on time.
Also, put forth, to put forth is to exert effort, to put in necessary effort, put in the effort necessary to achieve something, to get something done. “He never puts forth the right amount of effort. He never puts forth… he never exerts himself. He doesn’t try hard enough.”
So, that’s it for this lesson on synergize. How do we synergize? Well, first, we need to build trust and learn how to communicate with others empathetically, again, using habits four and five. Both of those will build skills necessary to put you in an environment where synergy is possible.
All of these habtis from this book, learning how to work with one helps another. So it’s a complete skill set, you could say.
So, synergy is something more that you’ll feel and you’ll find through practicing other habits, being open-minded, finding how to use people around you for the benefit of all, learning how to work with others that are difficult to work with in order to bring the good parts of them or of their abilities (whatever those may be, there’s something good there) to bring that to create bigger and better things.
And leaving you with a joke, what is an astronaut’s favorite place on a computer? The spacebar!
See you next time.
How do you perform at your best, EVERY DAY? The 4 areas to maintain
Hello! Welcome to the last episode in the 7-part series, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This habit, this lesson is called sharpen the saw. And it’s all about balance.
How do you make sure we have the energy and the positivity and stay optimistic about life so we can perform every day and do what we need to do? If you’re like me, some days, you just wake up and you don’t have energy, you’re not in the mood, you’re not feeling very positive. When you’re in that state of mind, when you feel like that, it’s hard to be productive.
So, in sharpen the saw, Stephen Covey gives you tips on how to make every day as productive as possible. And it comes down to putting time and effort into four different areas of your life. We’re going to sharpen four different areas of our life. We’re going to maintain these four different areas. I’m going to talk about these four areas in this lesson, what they are, how to take care of each of these areas which will help you wake up ready to go, ready to take action, ready to be proactive, ready to win, win, ready to seek and understand others, alright? Let’s get into the lesson.
The last habit in this book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is called sharpen the saw. At first, I have to tell you, maybe you don’t know what saw is if you’re learning English and you’re listening to this. It’s not a very common word English learners know. A saw something you cut down trees with. You cut down trees with a saw. So, sharpening a saw is to make it sharp, to make it fresh, to make the blade be able to cut well, renewing, refreshing the saw, making it work like new again.
So, sharpening the saw is a metaphor. We’re using it metaphorically as yourself as the saw, your body, your mind. You are the saw and we need to sharpen the saw. We need to refresh our body and mind consistently to perform our best. Taking care of our most vital resources is crucial if we want to be lastingly effective. If we want to perform at our best, we need to make sure that we’re taking care of our most valuable resources.
There are four areas Stephen Covey talks about that we need to take care of. I will talk about those in a minute.
And just to clarify again why this is important, why do we need to refresh, why do we need to work on these four areas of our life that Stephen Covey talks about. Well, in my opinion, I look at my life, I look at myself, my body, my mind as a machine. I’ve noticed over time over the years that the way that I treat my mind, my body affects how I feel, how I perform, my mental capacity and my mood and my emotions and positivity.
If I’m feeling optimistic about things or pessimistic about things or energized and able to get a lot done versus just being lazy and wanting to just lay on the coach and watch a whole season of a series that I haven’t seen yet that I find very important.
So thinking this way, thinking of your mind and body as a machine and sharpening it and treating it well and fueling it and refreshing it is essential if we want to be proactive, if we want to be able to be proactive using another habit. To be proactive, you have to feel optimistic and positive and also healthy.
Looking at the different areas, what are the four areas of ourselves that we need to sharpen? Well, the first area – Stephen Covey calls these dimensions, four dimensions. It’s very scientific-sounding, but there are four areas, four dimensions of ourselves that we need to take care of. The first one is physical.
The goal of continuous physical improvement is to exercise our body in a way that enhances our capacity to work, adapt to situations and enjoy our day. So, we need to eat well, we need to rest enough, relax enough. We need to exercise, get out of our chair. Don’t just sit there and work 10 hours a day and eat cookies and get fat. Pretty straightforward, the physical aspect, the physical dimension.
And I’m sure you’ve noticed this in the past, you exercise, you feel good. You stop exercising for a while, you start getting fat, you feel bad. What are we talking here? We’re trying to perform at our best, we need to feel healthy.
And so tying this to habit one, if we want to be healthy, we have to be proactive. Nobody is going to come and pick us up off the coach and force us to run an hour – well, maybe if you pay for a trainer, but most people don’t. But you have to proactive, you have to be disciplined.
The next dimension is the spiritual dimension. The spiritual dimension, the goal of renewing our spiritual self is to provide leadership to our life and reinforce your commitment to your values system. Connecting with your values, making sure that you feel that you’re in control of your life, you’re not controlled by your thoughts, your crazy thoughts.
So, there are different ways that you can do this. It depends on how you live. I like to meditate. Meditation in the morning helps me train my mind to relax and to not just go crazy all day. It’s like an exercise for my mind. I think it more of a physical activity, to be honest, than a spiritual activity. It’s physical training for my brain.
Going out in nature, going on walks, hiking, camping, being outside, this can also help you connect with the spiritual side of things or just reading good books, listening to music, just getting out of your head, getting out of work. Connecting with art can help as well.
Tying this to another habit too, habit two, making sure that we constantly connect back to our value, so we know what our end is, the path. Remember the direction that we take to get us to the end of where we will be happy and satisfied, work for goals that will help us achieve a life that we think connects to our values, not just what other people want, but being able to connect with ourselves again, becoming more self-aware.
The third dimension is a mental dimension, mental health, learning another language, improving your English, reading in English, traveling somewhere, studying something abroad. Don’t just become brain dead and spend most of your day looking at Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, whatever, just observing everybody else’s life, putting valuable content into your brain.
One suggestion I would give you (and this was helpful to my life), I stopped watching the news years ago. I’m talking about the nightly news you’ll find in television. It’s just constantly negative. They just search for the bad stuff happening in the world. There are plenty of good things happening. I would say a lot more good stuff than bad stuff. However, the news always shows you the bad stuff.
Some people think this is vital to know. They need to know how many people died today, who got murdered, who fell of a bridge in another country, who whatever. I don’t understand the purpose of this. Take all that negativity, get it out of your life. Put positive content into your brain. Why not? If something is really, really important for you to know, believe me, you’ll find out without watching the news. Somebody will tell you. Don’t be scared.
The last dimension, the social emotional dimension. So, this goes back to habits four, five and six, understanding other people, making contributions to projects that improves the lives of others, having an abundance mentality, thinking there’s plenty to go around.
So, connecting with others, not just competing or being alone, but renewing ourselves socially is to develop meaningful relationships. We’re developing meaningful relationships with others – friends, family, co-workers.
If you go out with friends, you probably feel how this revives you, recharges you sometimes. If you’re tired, you go out and just hang out. It can really renew your spirits and lift your spirits and make you happier. I find this to be true if I’m kind of down. Usually, finding somebody to hang out with, giving them my time, them sharing their time with me helps me feel better.
So, those are the four areas.
You might think, “I don’t have time for all of these. There’s too much going on in my life. I can’t cover all of these areas. That’s crazy!” Well, this is what you can do. This is what you can do. And these are your action steps.
Simplify, go into each four of these areas. And if you want to go on my website, find these areas or go online, search the four dimensions of habit seven, and I’m sure this will pop up in a second. Make a list of different things you could do for each area, and then just choose one activity per area. It doesn’t have to be hard.
People often think big, “Oh, I need to start exercising five days a week for an hour. I do nothing now. I don’t have time for that.” That’s crap! You don’t need to do that. Start small. Walk for 10 minutes.
So, here’s a routine. Here’s an idea that you can cover all of these areas. Physical dimension, let’s go on a walk for 10 minutes a few times a week. This will start getting you active a little bit, starting to be more active. And obviously, if you’re eating junk all the time, burgers and coke and all of that stuff, you know that’s not good. You need to have a balance in your life. But start walking for 10 minutes a day.
Spiritual dimension, well, go take a 10-minute walk in the park. You’re [inaudible 00:09:29] physical and the spiritual dimension.
And then I’m going to add another dimension in the same task, your mental dimension. You’re going to listen to this podcast or you’re going to listen to another English podcast or another podcast in your language or an audio book, something positive, something that’s going to teach you something, something that’s going to add value to your life. Bam! That’s three dimensions.
And then, social emotional, well, if you’re listening to something, maybe you can’t walk with somebody, but you could walk with somebody else and be with them. Make them walk and listen to something as well, or you can walk with somebody else and have a conversation and have a meet-up, “Let’s go walking for 10 minutes.” That’s great! Then you’re connecting with people. You’re feeilng good about that.
As you can see, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Start small. Don’t go crazy. When you’re changing habits, when you’re doing new things, always, I recommend start very small because you want long-term habits to be formed. And to create long-term habits, you have to start small. Integrate these habits slowly into your life. And some months from now, these habits will have expanded and grown and you will enjoy them.
Some vocabulary from today’s lesson. First one, if I’m down. This is an expression. “Are you down with this?” “I’m not down with this.” This means I don’t accept this, I don’t agree. I’m not open to doing something. “Hey, you want to go get a beer?” “Hell, yeah, man. I’m down.” That’s a cool expression. “I’m down.” It means, “I accept. I want to go.”
“Hey, guys. I’m not down with what you’re doing. I’m not down with what you’ve been doing lately, taking money from the cash register. I’m not down with that. I don’t agree with that. I’m not cool with that.”
Next one, hang out, a phrasal verb. To hang out, maybe you know this one. To hang out is to spend time with somebody or spend time doing something or at some place and hanging out at the mall. “I want to hang out with you babe.” “Let’s hang out.” Let’s spend time together in a very informal way. “Hey, let’s hang out some time.” You might say that to a colleague at work. “Hey, let’s hang out some time,” meaning outside of the work environment, to hang out.
Another phrasal verb, tie in. Two words, tie, T-I-E, in like “tie your shoe,” “tie your rope.” But to tie in is to connect something. “How does that this tie in to that? How does this concept tie in with this concept?” So you’re connecting two concepts together.
Last one, straightforward. Straightforward, one word, it means direct, to be direct. “This guy is very direct. He’s very straightforward. He goes right to the point.” It’s kind of redundant if you think about it. Straightforward, you’re going straight forward. Those are basically the same thing. But visualize, he’s very straightforward, he goes right to the point. He goes straight, direct to the point. Got it?
There you go! Those are the words. Now, you know. Go back to the beginning of this episode and listen again. Learn these words deeply.
And there we go! You made it through the 7-episode series of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Or if you just listened to this last episode and didn’t listen to any of the others, it’s okay. You have time. You have time to go back.
So, a quick review, all of these tie in together, working on one helps the next and vice versa. And making sure you are working on all of these will help you synergize, connect. All of these habits are connected. The first three are about prioritizing, taking action, being disciplined, setting goals, deciding what tasks are most important to achieve those goals. And in general, taking care of your own business, being responsible for your life and what you want to achieve.
The next three goals, four, five, six are about relationships and how working with others will help you achieve what you want. Helping others, serving others to help them achieve what they’re looking for, what they want, will help you as well get what you want.
We need to work together, to understand others, to learn how to communicate with others, to learn the best ways, to work together, to not compete all the time, but to work together, to understand, to get to a point of synergy where teams and groups can come together in such a way that the ideas and the results that they bring are much bigger than we could do on our own.
And the last habit, seven, sharpen the saw, the one I talked about is how to maintain the four most important areas of our lives, so we continue to thrive and succeed and to produce results. And so in the end, we are happier, more successful people.
Great! I hope you enjoyed this. I hope you learned a lot. Obviously, the best way to go deeper into this is to buy the book or the audio book. You can do that on Amazon. And I will see you in many, many more lessons to come. This is just the beginning.
And leaving you with a joke as always, what do you call a guy who never farts in public? What do you call a guy who never farts in public? A private tutor. Bye bye.