Things Change: Can YOU? Do YOU? Should YOU?

I believe the most important skill we might possess is our Adaptability.

Everything moves on.

Humans evolved through being Hunter-Gatherers to Farmers, then to Consumers of produce into industrialized Participants. These are huge transitions and changes.

If we fail to Adapt, we miss the benefits of improvements that any change might bring.

It is essential we move on in practical matters that benefit everyday life.

The principal holds true for our physical well-being. New remedies, treatments and understanding constantly emerge; we should naturally embrace any true advantages we encounter.

And this equally applies to our mental health.

There is a constant barrage of change in our personal lives. People lose loved ones, gain others, both suffer and thrive. Change is simultaneously constant and transient.

Yet Adaptability varies by individual pre-disposition. And we are each uniquely defined in this regard by our genetic makeup, DNA, circumstance, experiences, position, culture and environment.

So, some individuals are considerably more able to ADAPT than others.

Failure to Adapt can result in outcomes ranging from Fortuitous to Inconsequential through to Catastrophically Fatal.

It is better we recognize a NEED for Change and rationally choose the level to which we respond.

Reacting prematurely or excessively can be as great a liability as a lack of awareness. Similarly, the opposite is true where Urgent Action is essential.

Some of us are good at recognizing warning signs. Others remain oblivious to the very same signals.

Certainly, more Introverted Individuals appear at greater risk than those who are Outwardly Focused on potentially threatening and changing external circumstances.

Both events and situation that should cause concern constantly surround us: we are inundated at Work, in the Home and our Private Lives. And this continues throughout our lifespan.

So, our Ability to Adapt may be critical, but this is of little use if our Sense of Urgency or Danger is weak or impaired. Thus, a keen awareness of this liability is usually an essential complement to Adaptability.

But again, being ABLE to ADAPT remains of paramount importance, even when we are slow to understand the NEED to do so.

Do you recognize the Changes currently occurring in your life? They are there; you only need look. Are events trending in a direction or at a rate that will cause you problems SOONER, or maybe LATER?

Change features in every aspect of our lives.

Take the trouble to Recognize, Consider and ADAPT. And, in an appropriately timely fashion.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Abuser or Abused: We are ALL Familiar

To be Human is to have experienced Abuse.

Whether Victim or Protagonist all our lives are touched by Abuse.

Regardless of our cultures or demographic we have witnessed or experienced its barbs albeit to greater or lesser extent; it occurs as either Mental, Physical Harm or Neglect.

By Classical DEFINITION: Abuse – use (something) to bad effect or bad purpose; misuse.

With such blatantly common and prevalent presence, you would think we should all be well-versed and aware in our understanding of associated phenomena? Perhaps we might have been weaned with solid personal comprehension or at least received some basic formal education to affect our awareness and aid in self-protection? But none of this is true.

Rather Abuse is hidden, and events are often unspoken. The result is that social mechanisms provide cover, allow perpetuation and can even effect escalation.

As a Primer, consider these useful pointers regarding Abuse. These are SOME of its features about which everyone needs to (and should) be aware:

  • The Susceptibility of a victim determines the extent to which they are affected by Abuse.
  • Susceptibility is a greater or lesser product of an individual’s genetic makeup, intellect, culture, experience, position and the exposures that establish their personality.
  • Damage from Abuse is not solely what is done to someone, but what is taken away.
  • Dispensing Abuse is teaching abusiveness.
  • Most Abuse is about Control. And Bad Behavior is rooted in Insecurity.
  • Abuse crosses generations, touching close and distant acquaintances alike.
  • Unimpeded Abusive Behavior normally becomes entrenched and often escalates.
  • Chains of Abuse are best (and sometimes only) broken by profound dislocation and dissociation.
  • Opportunity stimulates Abusive actions.
  • Victims typically Blame themselves.
  • Victims often Protect Abusers.
  • Victims are not readily restored nor often made whole.
  • Abuse is behavior or circumstance that diminishes quality of life or peace of mind for another, whether intentional or not.
  • Abuse is sticky, being more likely reinforced to grow than fully removed.

None of these points (above) are expounded upon or explained by example. Their presentation is styled to afford reflection and personal awareness.

If you search your past there are instances of both Abuse and Abusiveness. Can you find yourself as both Protagonist and Victim? We each have our peccadillos, propensities and secrets.

The challenge is to recognize, accept and then act to achieve what your better part should wish for (both self and) all those people you affect.

Only the most determined efforts and meaningful breaks from established practice, habits and environments enable us to change things for the better.

Is there a path you would prefer?

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Those that DO, they who WATCH

When we look around our lives, the workplace and family we’re surrounded by prolific achievers through modest accomplishers and minor change artists, along to those who simply choose stagnation; the entire range of human endeavor.

However, the world is moved by action and those that initiate and make changes.

There are those who are prolific in this regard, seemingly constantly having an effect, making a difference.

But certainly not everyone behaves this way. Many abhor change and seek the status quo. Change is often uncomfortable and makes many fearful.

Others talk of change and what they plan yet do little or nothing towards achieving these ends. Sometimes they seem paralyzed; often considered as talkers not doers.

Not everyone wants change. Some thrive upon its turmoil, others hide away and address only those issues they must.

New situations can be driven by irresistible forces outside our control (social, climatic, disease, political, seasonal, etc.) but many are driven by people with whom we interact. We can make personal adjustments to address effects and impacts upon us from both.

It seems that those who initiate change and strive to impact their own and other’s worlds often live what are regarded or termed full lives.

To many this may be enviable, to others something to be avoided at all cost. After all, to some such prominence and action implies risk.

But being your own Master (/Mistress) over tides of change seems preferable to becoming the flotsam they carry.

In the last decade much has been written and theorized about those who Procrastinate. Certainly, one would think such perceived prevarication impedes an individual’s ability to drive change and novelty.

But Procrastinators can sometimes be highly productive, once direction is set and inevitable they are freed to act.

And Procrastinators are known to often be highly intelligent and capable.

It remains currently theorized that their behavior is driven by three factors:

  • Fear of Failure  
  • Fear of Success
  • Paralysis of Perfectionism

Procrastination has even been linked to psychological disorders:

  • Depression
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • ADHD and more

Most recent theory characterizes the brain as being hard-wired in such ways that they who procrastinate are considered to simply to have poor connections between (and in) the part of the brain that Considers and that which enables Action. It seems intuitively likely this would leave people locked into inaction.

Given the diversity of expert opinion on the subject we are free to choose from theories that best suit our personal perspective, observations and appears most likely.

Certainly, procrastination is a behavior that is often aligned with inaction, rather than doing.

And we can perhaps gain insight about Doers by reviewing these perspectives (above)…

For instance, if someone will take charge of their own and other’s future they are far less likely to be strongly burdened by Fears of Failure, or Success. And anyone demonstrating a prolific output is unlikely to be Paralyzed by Perfectionism.

I am a strong believer that people should take all initiative possible and self-determine their futures and life-styles.

I also believe we should take great care to understand how our actions (and inactions) will influence the behavior of others.

It is not realistic to assume that a strong Leadership Quality (of Doing) will reside in everyone. Our societies and populations are clearly biased towards a dominant mix of Followers.

A society heavily populated by dominant Leaders would be short-lived. We have accordingly evolved to a balanced mix of subordination in our populations; this is more comfortable, less stressful and easier to control.

In practical purposes this means most social groups are in-bred to go with the flow. However, this general homogeneity can diminish the individual’s life and fuel a sense of being unfulfilled.

It seems where something important to us (dreams, goals, ambition etc.) is going unserved and fading away, we’d be wise to quickly recognize/accept the loss and the underlying reason.

If we can repair a weakness or address a fear, then maybe we should.

Look at your own dreams and goals. Are they slipping away?

Maybe a friend, professional or loved-one can illuminate your loss?

Perhaps you can see your own underlying inhibition or fear and can suppress your misgivings? Certainly, you already know the rewards.

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Getting Ahead of Life Lessons

The Human Experience involves us each living unique lives, exposed to diverse encounters, factors and events.

Yet there are universal themes and issues within our exposure(s) that are common to us all. For Example, we each Emerge from family groups, Interact with others in the population and Learn.

Some thrive from their experiences, others fail. Most have mixed results.

How well we fare can easily be affected by basic training, or pro-active exposure.

But how are we normally prepared in practice to address the life challenges we will encounter?

One might suppose it to be in the home. Adults immerse children in their prevailing Culture, Values and Perspectives as they see fit.

Certainly, this is a hit-and-miss process; dependent on the skills, intellect, commitment and awareness of the adults involved. This, plus the overwhelming expectation(s) of the culture in-play.

So, from the earliest age we are fated to deal with generic (and predictable) classes of problems but are each armed quite differently.

And all this occurs during formative development.

Predictably we get a rich diversity of personalities emerging from these early years.

At one stage these individuals may be moldable clay but ultimately will inevitably become largely fixed in Personality, View and Beliefs.

This is the whole, “give me a child until (s)he is seven and I will show you the (wo)man,” scenario and theory (a la Aristotle).

The specific age by, or strength to which an individual might be cast is not the point in this Blog.

The issue is WHAT might we learn and WHEN to best position ourselves to embrace our later life?

Some individuals must learn troubling lessons early: to address (say) extreme safety and survival issues. That is not the majority, however.

Growing up in an industrial, western-style culture there are simple lessons that can commonly provide solid foundations for most individuals.

If we look across the personalities and skills of typical people we encounter there appear common themes of challenges we will all need to address in life and where some basic knowledge gleaned beforehand would be most helpful.

For Example, I believe most people would benefit from basic training in or exposure to what is a reasonable expectation of behavior in:

  • Groups (Familial, Social, Educational and Work)
  • Personal and Partner Relationships

Certainly, if you didn’t know what to expect, you’re liable to tolerate the UNreasonable, to the detriment of yourself and ultimately, others you will influence.

In addition, I’ve seen many people who would clearly have benefitted by exposure to and awareness of:

  • How To Study
  • Common Medical issues
  • Mental Health

Again, if you have no exposure to things you will encounter there are no guarantees you (or others you influence) will manage the challenges well.

There are other generic challenges most of us will encounter. The suggestions herein are simply common (Example) areas to which we will all be exposed.

The more people I meet the more it’s apparent that few received such guidance or training. And the lack of exposure is normally detrimental.

Leaving individuals devoid of such (Examples, above) knowledge and preparedness seems like sending untrained soldiers out to war. Predictably, things will commonly not end well.

It is not a matter for this brief BLOG to identify exactly WHAT exposure should be given, WHEN or HOW; rather the purpose is to flag the dearth of obviously important preparedness.

I am certain that exposure to, awareness of just such example basic elements (Groups, Relationships, Study, Medical and Mental, listed above) would have saved many people I have personally observed from needless disasters, pain, misdirection and grief.

Equally I believe that we have each stumbled through related issues; even when we considered ourselves to have overcome such obstacles we are often merely soldiering on with deeply flawed, self-delusions.

And, we all influence others. Our resultant false impressions and beliefs are foisted upon the unaware and unprotected.

We infect family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues with our adopted Cultural, Belief and Value systems.

Are there lessons you failed to pass along? Are there life-lessons you still have not really learned; do you see warning signs?

Take a close look at your own preparedness and what might still be learned. Significant changes may be essential for your long-term well-being and any level of self-awareness achieved is a great beginning

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Knowing the Truth when you hear it

How do you know when you’re being told the truth?

It matters. We can’t run around functioning on misunderstandings or lies; when you build from fiction you’re not on solid foundations.

There are many ways we compromise ourselves when truths are distorted. These range from us naively accepting things because they fit what we WANT to believe, to willfully positioning facts in ways that help make a case and unfairly influence others.

Truth depends upon the source. Individuals base their realities on their self needs, beliefs, exposure, experience and relative position. The written word is produced in much the same way.

Consider (say) the simplest situation where you might need to glean the truth by playing Solomon to resolve differences in arguments by interpreting from two direct individual inputs. Basically, you listen to both sides and as tactfully as is appropriate determine the most credible and realistic truth of the matter. Then you act on it as the situation dictates.

Some folks are better at this than others: Problem Solving, Communication, Diplomacy, Technical and other skills routinely come into play. Not everyone is optimally trained for the challenge(s). Many are ill-equipped. Others are biased towards desired or preferred outcomes.

But what about picking out undistorted reality (truths) in News Stories? Here you’re on your own; just you and the reporter at the outset. The latest polls are now saying around 70% of people in the US think the stories covered by MSM are questionable in some way… accuracy, bias, portrayal and so on.

Your political leanings and cultural origins should not affect your hunger for truth; unless you prefer just not to know? Some do; many are simply oblivious, unaware or unmotivated.

The need to search out reliable underlying facts is not new. Misinformation has been the way of the world since the printing press was available. Its’ earliest applications were steeped in misrepresentations and portrayals from vested interests wanting to control community perception(s).

Printing, Radio, Movies, Television have all been aggressively used to support agendas and bias opinion since their very inception. All that’s really changed through centuries and recent decades is the general proliferation of accessible sources and escalation of information more quickly available via mass outlet channels and most recently, the Internet.

And before these industrial communication mechanisms existed we used primitive images, speech and handwritings to accomplish the same end, albeit less efficiently. We have an innate desire to not only share information, but also specifically control how it is portrayed by ourselves and then perceived by others.

Today we even encounter fact-checking bodies getting caught biasing their supposedly neutral reporting.

There are political philosophies, institutions and social behaviors built upon leveraging misinformation and outright lies. This is often achieved by simply repeating an untruth until it’s eventually believed; be this through overwhelming exposure or fear of perceived threat.

And even revered historical records are normally based upon the writing and words of victors and survivors; those persons who prevailed. Not too many winners wish to generously heap praise upon those they vanquished. Nor do they extol the virtues of the losers’ beliefs, practices and culture. Why

would they, beyond offering comparisons and pointers that only further enhance images of their own cause, perspective and position.

No more do most individuals blindly believe the trusted reporter (news anchor or investigator) as an ultimate purveyor of truth. Things have apparently changed from the quite recent past.

Which brings us full circle. How can we know with any certainty when we’re hearing the untainted truth?

Well, it takes work. You must dig out the underlaying facts for yourself. Fortunately, there’s generally plenty of information access these days (if we’re not knowingly or unwittingly subject to censorship and bias in our search).

Yet even so, those golden nuggets of truth aren’t just lying around ready for harvesting.

And realistically we simply cannot practically hope to exhaustively research everything that causes us to raise our eyebrows and question. So, you must to pick your battles. Focus on the issues that directly affect your interests or are important you personally.

If you’re lucky you have a trusted friend or colleague that knows their stuff and/or checks carefully and reports predictably. If not, your own legwork is required.

My own trick in efficient research is to only start to believe reports when I see them emanate from a couple of known, at least usuallycredible sources. When this information then appears to NOT be the exact same line repeated over (while stated differently) and has plausibly dissociated origins, then I begin to trust more deeply.

Above all, we must check both sides of any argument even when one view appears to be off-the-rails or somewhat incredible. In such cases there are still often embedded elements of truth that help complete a more plausible overall view of the jigsaw puzzle.

And naturally we should all tune out and temper what we WANT to believe, too. Most of us think we have great noses for sniffing out the truth. But, we don’t. Our own judgement is too often flawed even when generally good; we are biased and driven by our personalities, core beliefs, cultures, exposures, needs, prejudices and more.

So, watch out for your own agenda. Try and keep things in the perspective of likelihood… perhaps liberally apply Occam’s Razor where you might; even though sometimes, just now and then the seemingly unlikely is the actual reality.

Finally, when you believe you have the real story, then Review (R), Question (Q) and Validate (V) to confirm. When things really matter to you, fall back on the old RQV approach.

And never lazily skim over illuminating or inconvenient details that suggest you dive deeper.

This is what it takes to uncover what is important. Being spoon-fed can be a naïve and dangerous option, so check when you should. It’s the only safe approach when accuracy really matters.

Got any truths youre buying into that don’t seem too credible; especially when you stand back and acknowledge the influence of what you want to believe? Are you unthinkingly buying into the positioning and agendas of others? Should you be questioning your sources?

Figure out what matters to you and seek out trusted purveyors. If theyre hard to come by, then do your own digging; but always reliably confirm what you find.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh

Adapt or Die: Recognize, Manage & Survive Change

It can appear as if we wander through life being the sometime victim or beneficiary of Changes.

Often these are thrust upon us, other times they are the consequences of our own actions.

Occasionally, events are monumental, traumatic and appear as frequent and overwhelming occurrences in our lives, but then we often seem to experience periods of relative tranquility.

This appearance derives from what affects us personally, as in practice there is a constant barrage of unceasing and continuous change; just not everything has sudden or immediate impact on us individually.

Some occurrences are subtle and seemingly non-invasive.

Consider, for example: If you (say) drove a vehicle in Western Europe 60 years ago there were minimal road markings, limited signpostings, very few (often no) traffic lights. Now all these things are prolific; there are rigorous lane controls with extensively policed and automated speed enforcement.

These huge changes occurred seemingly invisibly to the indigenous population who were bathed in and anaesthetized by Normalcy Bias. Time mitigated sensitivities and obscured visibility.

Consider also (say) the rules, regulations and Laws constantly enacted; in the US alone over the last few years there were 1000’s of new Bills involving many 100’s of 1000’s of new laws being passed by Congress.

All people governed by Laws are in some form ultimately subject to and affected by these changes and regulations.

Whether specific changes are essential, important or valuable is not the issue, here; it is the extent, pervasiveness and impact of change itself that is under discussion.

And importantly, CHANGES themselves can also take many forms:

NATURAL. Fire, Floods, Earthquakes, Climatic events, Environmental, etc.

SOCIETAL. Driven by Trends, Laws, Technology, Events, Wars, Commerce and more.

INDIVIDUAL. Death, Births, Sickness, Employment, Relationships, etc.

These events flow in an endless stream. Their impact on us as individuals depends on our personal situation and position.

So, if we can’t turn off the spigot, what are our choices?

There is only one choice and that is to Adapt (in some form). Our ability to do this and the way this is achieved affects the impact of the change upon us individually.

We can CHOOSE our Adaptation. We might accept gracefully, resist or do anything in between.

Whatever we choose the Adaptation can be stressful and/or result in Dislocation (Social, Physical, Mental or Individual).

Even going with the flow can ultimately bring its stressors. Being constrained or channeled to anything different can ultimately be contrary to our free will and psyche.  

So, our skill in Adaptability is key. And our flexibility in this is not without consequences. Even lessobvious and apparently simple concessions in changes can eventually take their toll.

Have there been major changes or events in your life? Have you become an unwitting or unwilling victim of circumstance and subtle change?

Are you in control of the path you are set upon?

Look at the obvious and gently changing circumstances that are your life. Are these what you ultimately want?

Maybe it’s time to carefully review where you are and are headed. Perhaps action is required.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh

Always Knowing WHAT To Do.

It’s often been said that, “The most constant thing in life is change.”

There are changes we want and those that are thrust upon us; some lie within our control and others decidedly do not. The type and range of changes we might experience can be vast.

So, let’s consider solely those changes we desire or need and which we can control at some meaningful level.

These represent are our life choices or essential adaptations. They might be alterations that address our situation or circumstance.

Perhaps we choose a new career path, partner, set of friends, behavior, past-time, lifestyle and so on. The list is endless and diverse.

Rather than just casually lean in a different direction, we typically need to truly cement any changes we undertake if we want them to succeed or persist.

So, many of these new directions will require real investments on our part. Relationships need effort, time and consideration. Careers need similar attention, as does behavior modification, lifestyle choices, etc.

All this means dedicated work. Without real, sustained effort our plans won’t hold; they just don’t stick.

The need for this effort is described in my last BLOG-POST, below (“Enabling Personal Development: Effective learning,” dated 4/4/18).

A colleague of mine read this post and commented, “but it’s often as big a problem to know WHAT to do.”

So, how do you know WHAT to do? Is there a way to set off in the right direction?

Indeed, there is. I believe the approach is intuitive and much the same, regardless of the situation you’re trying to address.

Whether refining (or choosing) a career path, tweaking undesirable behaviors, taking up a new recreational activity or working on a relationship we ultimately need to follow much the same UNIVERSAL, 5-PART PROCESS if we are to succeed

  •     Define the desired outcome. Develop a complete and extensive image of how we wish things to be. The more detailed and tangible the picture, the better will be our self-guidance in making it a reality. We can aim as high as we want but should be clinically honest and realistic.
  •     Identify the attributes of that outcome. Make a full list of those skills, behaviors and assets that must normally be possessed to secure the goal we desire.
  •     Make a prioritized list of what YOU must acquire. Recognize what you currently don’t have (be it skills, training, qualifications, behaviors etc.) and must obtain to reach the chosen outcome.
  •     Develop a PLAN to acquire what you need. Look honestly at what must be done and set realistic, prioritized, time-based and quantified objectives to put things in place.
  •     Work your PLAN. Follow up. Do the work required; if the outcome is important, this is the path to where you want to be.

Some objectives are easier to reach than others. A simple, quick plan to (say) switch your spending habits and purchase a car you want is not as persistent and complex as (say) laying out a long-term strategy to reach a specific level of seniority in your chosen field.

The standards for success can be set where you choose. Results may not always need to be world class, just where you need them to be, or in the general direction you want.

The steps we take through this process may be moreorless weighty (i.e. formalized) depending on the nature, magnitude etc. of the desired outcome and the perspective and position from which we begin.

Plans themselves are not generally hard to draft or envision. If the details of what must be done are fuzzy, complex or in some way unclear to you look for guidance, perhaps ask a trusted confidant who knows; just find out.

We can all make plans to reach those goals to which we aspire. Each of us possesses the ability to dream of what might be and invest in the means that carry us along our chosen paths. What differentiates us is the desire we possess and our commitment to do the work and follow-through.

Are there things in your life you want to achieve? Are there choices you should make and still can? Have you made the effort to PLAN and follow up?

There’s always time to get things on a preferred track. The possibilities are as great as your dreams.

NOTE: For those of you who want more detail and specific tools for Career Planning, try the book EMPOWER YOUR INNER MANAGER, Part II: Creating Your Development Plan (pages 139-149, Inc.), by Ian R. Mackintosh.   http://www.empoweryourinnermanager.com

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh

 

Enabling Personal Development: Effective Learning

Sometimes the obvious is not so clear. And occasionally, it just suddenly jumps out.

A few weeks ago a close acquaintance was reading my last Blog (see below) when a seemingly obvious point newly occurred to him.

“Most self-help are not all that profound or different. It just requires that you do the work.

We all have sudden realizations. Sometimes things seem so apparent we wonder how we’d never before been truly aware of them and their deeper meanings.

Important truths are often right under our noses.

In this case: to learn, we need to do the work.

Learning doesn’t simply happen by osmosis.

But The Work is different for everyone.

And Learning is not the same process for all.

Yet we treat everyone as if the way to learn IS a uniform, guaranteed program.

Consider the following…

In most cultures we prepare our children for the world by schooling, to ensure they have a prescribed set of essential tools.

And a schooling process is by definition, standardized. It presumes WHAT needs to be LEARNED and HOW it will be TAUGHT to best effect. Specific learning centers are set up to provide these services.

Well, this probably is the most effective way to simply provide mass schooling. It also may be an ideal (proven over centuries) method for many folks to learn.

But surely, it’s not ideal for all. And it is no stretch to realize that one set method for many may be completely unsuitable for others.

For Example: If you’re a hands-on person, so-called book-learning approaches won’t be the best way for you to absorb information. And vice versa.

Further, the way students prepare for examinations (i.e. revise) is indicative of the highly individualized needs we have for truly embedding learning.

For this situation consider these Examples of wildly varying approaches (to the revision process): Some people demand total silence, others need loud music. One student wants isolation, another seeks bustle and activity in their surroundings.

These differences are quite radical. A person needing any one such option is probably quite unlikely to be as successful in opposing situations. And this is just the process of revision.

What about the entire process of learning itself?

To learn we typically pass through predictable, generalized stages:

Exposure to Information

Ingestion of Data, Facts and Ideas

Adoption– where Information becomes part of our Knowledge-Base

Demonstration of Learning (as proof of Adoption; or Incorporation)

Yet every single one of these simplified learning phases can needs-be different for each person. For Example, Exposure: Some like to see (video), others read (book(s)), perhaps hear (be instructed), or experience directly and so on.

And what we are learning about might be better absorbed (Ingestion) by a varied or different approach. Another Example: Reading a Book about driving a car won’t be as sticky with a student as actually sitting behind the wheel.

The problem is compounded when considering the WHOLE PROCESS of Learning: Exposure, Ingestion, Adoption and Demonstration. Almost every individual will do better when each phase is optimally aligned with their specific and peculiar needs. This much seems obvious but is hard to satisfy in practice.

Teaching Institutions are funded and organized to best serve their communities with the resources available. The intent is to service the needs of many in the most practical way possible.

Schools, Colleges and Universities are from time-to-time incrementally redefined and configured in novel and unique ways (over decades and centuries) to satisfy these ends as best possible, thereby supporting and acknowledging unique requirements. Indeed, some minor amount of accommodation is out there and available, but there are largely set menus of how learning is provided.

And in cultures and communities where resources are scant, its Hobson’s Choice.

But there do exist in the world classes and courses developed for specialized learning…

In many industrialized countries we teach Managers and Executives with novel methods. Troops undergo specialized training and conditioning. There are many so-called hands-on and experiential courses and classes.

Yet these are mostly organized around the peculiar needs of teaching a specific subject and accommodating a particular type of person, not satisfying the distinctly different learning needs of any one individual.

It appears already reasonably understood that some subjects are best truly learned by employing different approaches. One size does not fit all.

The message here is clear: Take care not to limit your OWN learning and growth by HOW you get to learn. Choose methods that work for you (and others you care about).

So now let’s return to where we began this Blog, on the subject of Self Development

Surely there are people who WANT to improve themselves and evolve in their lifetime? But how many search out appropriate opportunities?

One would think anyone NEEDING to enhance their skills (for Career, Work or Social reasons) would be constantly heads-up, looking for ways and means.

Surely those with Behavioral Issues would be desperate to break loose and improve their lot?

Yet I believe most people are not intuitively AWARE of their (learning) needs.

Relatively few SEEK truly robust ways to improve. Even less will commit to do the work to make things happen.

The realization that it ultimately takes work to self-improve seems obvious.

Yet in decades of observation I’ve seen few individuals take up the challenge in other than more superficial situations

We may read a book to flirt with developing an occasional new skill, or perhaps embark on the odd challenge, but we do not seem ravenously hungry to grow ourselves. A gesture toward learning is not the same as solidly embedding real knowledge and establishing essential new behavior.

In many cultures daily work and responsibilities are permitted to consume and overrun our lives.

Ironically, we OFTEN desire to improve ourselves and evolve. We NEED and WANT to advance our qualityoflife, careers and experiences.

Yet we allow the hustle and bustle of daily events to blanket our greatest desires. The present is permitted to smother our future.

In the end we each need to identify what we really want and who we wish to be. But to truly succeed we ultimately must just do the work.

Do you understand who you want to be? Have you followed through and determined what it takes to get there? It’s usually clear what needs to be done and how you should best approach Learning, to match your unique needs.

In the end you need to challenge yourself to just do the work, and you WILL get there.

 

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh

Consider ALL Your Outward Behavior: Fix or Embrace?

Every experience we have is assimilated and used in some way by our minds.

The smallest events can precipitate miniscule adjustments or provide affirmations to our underlying beliefs.

Less familiar, but more significant issues might help update existing opinion(s) and create ideas.

And the clearly traumatic can found wholly new or significantly change existing beliefs and behavior.

By this accounting all our experiences build upon or create who we are. Our very personalities are a product of our exposure.

Current thinking holds that we mostly try and confirm what we already believe when confronted with new or even familiar events, circumstance or people. The primitive mind works hard to validate our existing beliefs be they right, wrong or off-key.

It would appear it takes quite a jolt to move us off pre-established mindsets. So, we are programmed for better or worse, by experience. And a corresponding safety-net is established in our primitive mind.

As a result, our outward behavior reflects what has been learned. And we will react in generally predictable ways based upon our experiences.

The extent to which we are affected and changed by events depends upon our established personality and vulnerability. A minor issue/occurrence to one person may be traumatic to another and vice versa.

Everyone has good and bad experiences. Highly influential and negative experiences (accidents, deaths, abuse, neglect etc.) all leave their mark in our patterns of behavior. We all exhibit them, whether they are normally subtly controlled beneath the surface or bubble up, sometimes appearing visible and irrational when stimulated by events.

Our level of self-control and coping mechanisms will determine our outward reactions.

Unless we hold a crystal ball we are generally on autopilot when surprised by events.

And, we will react to stimulus and situations based on previous experience(s). But why should we care?

Well, there can be times when we simply don’t want to have some of our (undesirable) natural reactions and behaviors on display. They can be unseemly, socially unacceptable or detrimental to ourselves.

These are problems we need address (*), especially when they:

Affect Others in a Negative Way

Harm Relationships

Diminish our Present Lives

Prevent us Living the Way We Choose

Affect our Future in Unacceptable Ways

Some issues can be seemingly fixed; some can just be managed and mitigated.

Whatever the case, if we have undesirable behaviors we can exert a level of improved control ONLY if we Acknowledge, Understand and Address the issue(s).

Well this seems familiar. It looks a lot like AA or some other addiction therapy.

But unless we go through such a process there is no remedy. Problem behaviors can often find confirmation and even harden with time, becoming more pronounced.

Individual steps we might take to remedy such issues may take moments or years to work through, depending on the nature/severity of the behavioral anomaly and our desire or ability to diminish its effects.

It can sometimes be hard to recognize these behaviors in ourselves. Often trusted family members, friends or even colleagues are able point them out. You may already be aware of them and this is merely confirmation; you may not be conscious of them at all.

But if you are looking to identify and understand such problems: When and where you feel safe, you can ask for inputs.

Determining the origins of troubling behaviors can be easy or profoundly difficult. Major events in our pasts often offer clues… if THIS happened to me, how would I EXPECT it to affect the way I act? Some answers are right there and obvious.

Other issues are much more subtle and elusive. Their beginnings might lie (say) within events occurring at a very early age or be hidden within repressed memories. It may take professional help to dig this out; seek that if necessary.

If you want to diminish or eliminate such problems (*) in your life, it’s usually best to understand their origins.

The analogy to this discovery process is being brave enough to go into a dark cellar and turn on a light; you must then find and peel the specific onion that conceals the underlying event(s).

Do you have any behaviors that impact your life in unfortunate ways? Are you affecting others that deserve better? Have you ever checked to ascertain if such concerns apply to your life; perhaps you should?

 

There are many quality-of-life issues that might be successfully improved. So, take that look in the mirror.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh

How We Behave: Lasting Impacts

We inherit from our parents. Not just goods and property, but genes.

We carry the bloodlines of our ancestors and all that accompanies them as physical attributes, medical conditions and even elemental mental tendencies.

Some characteristics are prominent, some fade and others might re-emerge in downstream generations.

We pass such things from generation to generation as we evolve.

But that is not all that passes forwards.

I believe the IMPACT of our Behaviors transfers from generation to generation, too. And it is also capable of crossing blood-lines to non-familial contacts.

We do and say things that strongly influence others. And often more profoundly than we realize; frequently we are completely unaware of our impact.

Behaviors and attitudes surround us as we live out our chosen lives under the overwhelming influences of cultures and societies in which we are immersed.

As children we are influenced and affected by events, strong impressions and surroundings. This will occur whether-or-not a parent is present or even exists.

And, this Resultant is not about bloodlines.

Exactly how strongly any new effect takes hold on an individual is influenced by genetic make-up and predisposition. Engulfing or dramatic events can have overwhelming impacts.

The net result is our Behavior being affected by experiences.

The more insidious prospect is that we then carry forward our own resulting behaviors which can influence others.

Inevitably, everyone we contact will be exposed: colleagues, workers, spouses, children, relatives, friends etc.

When we closely associate with others over prolonged periods their exposure to and likelihood of adopting (or being influenced by) a Transferred Behavior, increases.

Long-term working relationships have us swimming in one another’s Behavior Pools. Inevitably, children are subjected to major immersion within the home.

Where such exposure is positive and advantageous, perhaps all is well. It is almost Darwinian in nature and helps the most fit (best suited) prosper and survive.

But what if the observable behavior is inherently negative or harmful? Some behaviors are useful if experienced in moderation yet prove damaging when consumed in excess.

Imagine (say) a child having suffered some harm from a stranger. He/she may either develop (say) a healthy wariness of new acquaintances until validated or acquire a dysfunctional and visible distrust of others, as a consequence.

Eventually this same child grows up closely interacting with others and in time (say), his/her own offspring. This (now adult) person will strongly (or weakly) imprint their own learned resultant behavior on others. Why would they not.

Again, everything is fine if the behavior is positive and helpful. But if it is not?

We all have strongly imprinted behaviors. Many we have learned or absorbed from parental or other significant influences in our lives.

Not all our behaviors (or Beliefs, too) are sound, appropriate and constructive in our lives. Many may be so, but certainly NOT ALL. So, it’s important we can recognize our behaviors (or, opinions, too) for what they are and preferably understand or decipher their origins.

What of the influences that pre-date our conscious memory?

Many people are unfortunately traumatized when very young. Memories are then not always formed or might even be suppressed in such cases.

And yet it is likely we will begin to demonstrate related behaviors and traits in our personalities as a direct result of these significant events.

More troubling is our legacy.

If our behavior is affected these same behaviors and their consequences can be transposed onto others.

This might be a positive advantage or be equivalent to passing contagion; like spreading a disease forward and outward to others.

Let’s consider this effect with a positive example

Imagine a small child out with parents during Summer holiday on a sunny beach. Child wanders off roaming carelessly and unafraid for an hour or more. Parent has been following quietly at a distance making sure all is well, safe and child is not distressed or concerned.

Eventually parent quietly and re-assuringly approaches child without rapprochement and caringly asks how they’re doing, what they saw, etc. Risks and dangers of wandering off alone are covered calmly and rationally at another time.

The result: Child grows to adulthood always open to exploring the world and new places. He/she then passes same mentality along to own children who also explore and travel.

So here we have it. The behavior (and attitude) is passed along; through generations and to others indirectly exposed or influenced… almost like a gene when within the familial group.

We can similarly envisage a negative outcome to the same events… screaming, panicked parent grabs-up wandering child, scolds them relentlessly, inflicting fear of getting lost or being carried off.

Imagine how that child will likely (not certainly, perhaps) grow regarding adventure, travel and exploration of the new and unknown.

More troublingly, consider the likely future influence they then might unwittingly exert upon the development of others, downstream.

Behaviors (and Attitudes) can be sticky, persisting over time and through generations.

Realistically, can we completely shut down irrational or unwarranted behaviors in our self? Perhaps not, but if they are detrimental or limiting to us or others we should try.

 Strong influencers in our behavior may be difficult to mitigate. Realizing we have such traits and trying to dial them back can help, but if overall behavior is significantly ingrained a complete fix is difficult.

We can advise and instruct others against following us too closely on affected matters. This has greater impact if underlaying reasons for our traits and propensities can be explained; sometimes social norms and relationships can make this approach difficult or simply not viable.

In the end it is hard to fully prevent the carry-forward impacts of our actions and behaviors.

But, we must try.

Are you passing along attitudes that others would be better without? Are your behaviors an unhelpful legacy? Review the most basic interactions you have with people. Are there unfortunate elements that may have undesirable, lasting effects?

As a minimum, take actions with yourself to best help and guide the people that matter to you most.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh