Strategies For Managing Change

Articles & Resources Of Interest

Preparing The Ground - For Things You Can Not See

We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the ground.

The phrase "preparing the ground" is a metaphor for making the necessary preparations to create the favourable conditions for something to happen or succeed.

The business as usual approach tends to focus on tangible things, things you can see, but these basic principles for preparing the ground can also be applied to things you can not see. Things such as how to:

  • Thrive in unforeseen chaos, disorder and disaster.
  • Position yourself to identify and exploit unseen opportunities.
  • Stand in the gap between the reality you experience now and a future reality you may aspire to.
  • Play the long game.
Here is a brief overview of each of these situations together with access to extensive resources for preparing the ground in each of these scenarios...

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Easing The Weight Of Expectation

Don’t you often feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your back?

Our start point is understanding that the ego has a very clear idea of how things ought to be, and its intention and expectation is inextricably linked to circumstance. It has no sense of interconnection and the bigger picture.

As a result of this we favour the visible, the embedded, the personal, the narrated, and the tangible; we scorn the abstract.

When reality doesn’t match that expectation the result is frustration and pain.

Here are some practical guidelines for easing the weight of your own expectations.

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The Power Of Patience - Why You Need The World's Toughest Quality

Nothing in the world can take the place of patience. Patience and persistence are omnipotent.

In everyday life, patience is often overshadowed by the desire for immediate results.

We live in an era of instant gratification, we want microwave results where waiting even a few seconds for a webpage to load can feel like an eternity.

From a bigger picture perspective and beyond the annoyance of everyday frustrations, the power of patience in difficult circumstances is that it fosters resilience in the face of adversity which allows us to weather setbacks and failures without losing sight of our objectives.

Patient people are resilient people who persist in their efforts. Here's how to develop the power of patience.

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Why You Should Embrace Anomalies - The Incredible Value Of Disconfirming Evidence

Is Your Desire To Be Right Greater Than Your Desire To Have Been Right?

An anomaly is a deviation from what is expected or commonly regarded as the norm. It often appears as an unexpected observation that defies conventional wisdom or established theories.

It is frequently regarded as an abberation, a nuisance or an inconvenient interruption to a long cherished assumption.

There are two fundamental reasons why you should embrace anomalies, and they are both related to your long term health wealth and happiness:

[1] The identification of new and unrecognised opportunities.

[2] The avoidance of ignored risk and disaster.

Please read on to find how to do this...

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Inversion - The Power Of Opposite Thinking

How To Avoid The Unwanted Outcome.

The power of opposite thinking, also known as inversion, lies in its ability to stimulate creativity, enhance problem-solving, and provide a fresh perspective on challenges.

It is especially useful when launching a new initiative or attempting to resolve a difficult problem.

Instead of focusing on how to achieve a desired outcome, you consider the opposite – how to avoid the undesired outcome. Here's how to do it:

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How To Make Better Decisions - By Avoiding The Narrative Trap

To Understand The Truth We Have To See The Whole Picture.

One of the best ways to make better decisions is to have a deeper understanding of the many things that might stop that happening.

To understand the truth we have to look at all the known facts, and see the whole picture which is often not as binary as presented.

In this article we are going to focus on another often overlooked factor, and that is the stories that we tell ourselves, the narratives that we weave, and to look closely at how we can avoid what is referred to as the narrative fallacy.

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Who Is In Charge Of Your Brain?

How Not To Be Stupid.

Who is in charge of your brain? This is not a silly questions. It matters because the outcomes that you experience in your life are determined by how you respond to the events that impact you.

The quality of your responses are shaped by how effectively you think, and this is a learned skill.

Your ability to think effectively, your responses, and the long term impact of the choices that you make can have a major effect on your health, wealth and happiness.

So let's take a look inside your skull and see if we can figure out who is in charge of your brain and what that means.

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Change Questions - Unlock The Secrets Of Sustainable Organizational Change

No two organizational change efforts are the same, so why should your approach be?

Change Questions unlocks the secrets of sustainable organizational change by showing you how to ask then implement a set of vital business questions in five critical areas. This method produces a customized approach for change that lasts.

Lynn Kelley and John Shook offer practical examples from their experiences as transformative leaders. They candidly describe what to do in tough, real world business situations in each chapter based on their experiences. They share lessons learned that will benefit any organization that is ready to embrace change.

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The Metagame Approach To Life

How To Achieve Your Biggest Objectives.

The metagame approach to life is all about winning and achieving your biggest objectives by:

- Understanding the bigger picture
- Being better by doing things differently
- Making moves that others find hard to imitate or counter
- Redefining the game on your terms and creating your own path to success

The metagame approach to life can be used in various different contexts which may include your career, your business, your education and personal development and even your personal relationships.

This is not about abstract ideas and concepts, this is about actions. Here are 3 strategies for applying the metagame approach to life.

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Reframing History - Deconstruction And Discussion Not Destruction

History is always about context, not imposing our own moral values on the past.

For those of us fortunate enough to live within western democracies, we are living in an age where a vociferous and intolerant minority have an uneasy relationship with their own country's history over the past 300 years.

This has led to what has been framed as the ‘culture wars’ that are being actively pursued in our media, public spaces, museums, universities, schools, civil services, local government, business corporations and all other public institutions.

This vociferous and intolerant minority claim that ‘facing up’ to a past which they present as overwhelmingly and permanently shameful is the route to "a more inclusive future".

But is it?

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The ABCs of Innovation: How Companies Become World-Changing Innovators

Nike. P&G. Amazon. When you hear these three names, you immediately think “Innovation.” You probably also think, “but that’s not us.” But it can be if you, too, use the Innovation ABCs - Architecture to ignite and accelerate innovation, leadership Behaviors that enable it to thrive, and Culture that transforms innovation into how you do business. Readers will learn how to assess their company’s ABCs and get practical “Do Now” actions that will net immediate results.

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Your Success is Killing Innovation (Here’s How to Change That)

When business is good, executives are comfortable with the status quo, confident that nothing major will go wrong, and hesitant to make big changes. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But what happens when the economy slows, the business declines, competitors enter, new technologies emerge, or the world suddenly changes? Executives scramble to “innovate,” spinning up efforts that take time and resources to produce results. Two things companies in duress rarely have. Readers will learn how to lead innovation in good times and bad, so they always get results.

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Transform Your Team's Culture with This One Mindset Shift

Leaders know that culture is crucial for innovation, employee attraction, and retention but often struggle to go beyond promises and platitudes to create and sustain a culture of innovation. In this article, I’ll share a personal story of an innovation culture in action and the behaviors and habits that built a culture that built a billion-dollar brand.

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What Is Truth - How To Tell A Partial Truth From The Whole Truth?

How the truth and nothing but the truth is often not the whole truth.

My great aunty Flo broke her arm and died.

It is true that she broke her arm in 1923. It is also true that she died in 1949. But there is no cause and effect relationship between these 2 events. The only connection between these events is that they appear in the same sentence.

That is a simple illustration of how the acccurate and honest reporting of two truths is not the whole truth.

To understand the whole truth we have to look at all the known and established facts and see the whole picture, which is often not as binary as it is often presented. Anything less than this is a partial truth.

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The Gap And The Gain - How Your Brain Sabotages Your Happiness

How Your Lizard Brain Sabotages Your Happiness

We are hardwired to measure our progress in any and all areas of life where we have goals and aspirations. We can't not do it.

But what we measure and how we measure matters because our default progress measurement setting leads to self sabotage and results in deep unhappiness and dissatisfaction with our lives.

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Situational Communication - Different Strokes For Different Folks

Situational communication is about taking account of 3 often ignored factors about the other person.

You are a situational communicator when you recognise that effective communication is not an event but a process.

This process is about understanding the other person's past experience, their competence and the way they behave in relation to whatever it is you want to accomplish, and then adopting the appropriate type of communication.

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How To Influence Without Authority - 6 Key Tips

The secret to how to influence without authority is that you get what you really want by giving other people what they really want.

We live in an interconnected world and knowing how to influence without authority is an increasingly important communictation skill.

The fundamental principle of how to influence without authority is mirrored reciprocation whereby you get what you really want by giving other people what they really want.

This goes beyond the transactional and is about building a "win-win" that addresses our deepest needs as human beings.

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Change Questions To Change Your Outcomes

Asking The Right Questions Is Critical For A Successful Change.

Every time we initiate a significant change - whether in our personal life or in an organisation - we will most likely over-estimate our chances of a successful outcome and under-estimate the likelihood that things will not work out as we had planned.

This article is part of a series on the art of persuasion, communication and change based on my 45 years in business, and I going to share with you a framework of questions that will enable you to successfully handle any significant change.

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Group Culture - The Invisible Software That Rules Your Life

Group culture is: "How we do things round here.".

We like to see ourselves as free agents making our own choices and living authentically but the reality is that The Matrix has many layers and we are unaware that we are more enmeshed and ensnared than we realise.

We are, to a very large extent, governed by our conditioning and our hardwired cognitive biases.

Group culture is another one of those things that also has a very powerful influence on our thought processes, decisions and behaviours.

Here's how group culture affects you and how you can take advantage of it.

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Why Getting From A to B Is Not Aways A Straight Line

In circumstances of significant change, the progress from A to B will not be in a straight line.

We run our lives largely on auto-pilot. In most circumstances your experience of getting from A to B is relatively smooth and seemless, and when it isn't you have established ways and means of overcoming the bumps and obstructions.

But when getting from A to B involves making significant changes such as (a) doing something new that will change the existing modus operandi; or (b) launching a major initiative or new venture, the progress from A to B will not be in a straight line.

For you as an individual or an organisation it is critical that you apply the "business as usual" test.

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The Art Of Persuasion Planning For Success - Here's How To Do It!

To be successful in the art of persuasion you must ensure that certain things happen.

To be successful in the art of persuasion you must establish a framework of what has to happen to get you to that successful buyin to your proposal by the other person.

Circumstances will vary enormously. Persuading a friend to bring their family and join with yours on an Airbnb holiday is one thing and less complex than persuading the leader of a special interest group or a public institution to commit to a programme of activity or to adopt a policy.

The process outlined here can be scaled up or simplified as the circumstances require.

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The Art Of Persuasion Advanced Communication Skills - Gaining Buyin

Create The Environment Where They Want To Buyin to Your Proposal

In order to build the win-win you have to uncover what it is that the other person really wants or needs, and to do that you have to ask questions.

There are a series of steps you need to go through, which make the other person feel comfortable with you and see the purpose in your questions.

In this article we are focused on advanced communication skills that will help you achieve this.

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The Art Of Persuasion The One Fundamental Principle

The art of persuasion is based on the simple idea that you get what you want by enabling the other party to get what they want.

Being a nice friendly person with good inter-personal skills may be a good start but it is not enough.

For this to happen you, as the persuader, need to exercise these skills that will enable this to happen.

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Why Understanding Ergodicity Is Critical To Your Long Term Survival

How Not To Be Fooled By Randomness.

Ergodicity is an ugly word from the world of mathematics. It is an umbrella term for two sets of conditions of probability and outcome.

These two conditions form the basis of a lie that you have been sold by governments, economists and investment "advisors" for the past 150 years.

What may seem to be a dry and boring exercise in semantics and mathematical fancy footwork very rapidly morphs into:

[1] A potent expose of how we have been misled and ripped off by the so called experts, and then offers

[2] An explanation of how to side step these lies and fallacies and position yourself for survival and success.

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How To Benefit From the Unseen Margins - 5 Key Tips For Success

These Unseen Margins Can Have A Very Dramatic Impact On Your Life.

To understand how to benefit from the unseen margins we need to start by understanding what they are and where we find them.

In this article I am going to explain:

# What Unseen Margin Is And How To Measure It

# Where To Find Unseen Margin In An Environment Of Complexity

# 5 Key Tips To Benefit From Unseen Margin

# Guiding Principles To Benefit From Unseen Margin

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Intuition & Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Calling Here?

How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety.

How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety?

We all struggle with these inner voices as we try to work out whether it is the inner devils of our insecurities and anxieties that are talking, or whether we are hearing the voices of the better angels of our nature offering intuitive guidance.

Here's how to tell whether you are hearing the voice of intuition or the voice of anxiety.

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The Confident Mind - 4 Keys To Peak Performance

Peak Performance Is Meditation In Motion.

Peak performance is grounded in the Tao practise of Wu Wei which means "doing with out doing". This is all about how you take action by being so immersed in profound concentration on what you are doing that you are "in the zone".

The foundation for achieving this state requires you to have achieved unconscious competence in exercising the required skills to undertake the required tasks and activities. i.e. to function on auto-pilot.

Here are the 4 keys to building the confident mind:

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The Stockdale Paradox

How To Deal With The Attrition Factor.

The Stockdale Paradox is named after the late James Stockdale, former vice presidential candidate, naval commander and prisoner of war during the American-Vietnam war.

It became well known having been featured in author and business guru Jim Collins’ book “Good To Great” following extensive interviews between Collins and Stockdale exploring how Stockdale survived 8 years of imprisonment and torture.

Collins’ specific focus was to identify the principles that underpinned Stockdale’s survival and emergence at the end of the war as not only unbroken but as source of practical inspiration.

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5 Tips For Developing A Growth Mindset

How To Be There When Preparation Meets Opportunity.

The growth mindset holds the core belief that your intelligence and personality is something you can develop and that you can expand and grow.

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.

This is the mindset that allows you to thrive during some of the most challenging times in your life.

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This Too Shall Pass

The Blessing And The Curse Of Impermanence.

There is a story of a king who sought wisdom. Eventually he heard of a man living in a remote part of the kingdom who had a reputation for great wisdom.

The king sent for this man and had him brought to court, and the king offered the man a great reward if he would share the secret to his wisdom. The man agreed and departed from the king’s presence.

He returned several weeks later and presented the king with a ring. The wise man counselled the king:

“Wear that ring that at all times and look at it frequently, and regardless of whether you are experiencing good fortune or adversity remind yourself that this too will pass…”

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Lost, Stuck & Going Round In Circles?

Are You Lost In Transition?

To be in an alien North African city, late in the evening, in the dark, completely lost in transition from the main market square back to the obscure location of our Riad, with no tools for navigation, and finding it impossible to communicate with the locals, was frightening.

That experience of being lost in transition in the Medina, in Marrakesh, illustrates the locational disorientation we can experience when we experience an unexpected change in circumstances, and especially a change that is imposed upon and that leads to hard times.

Transition is a journey - a psychological and emotional journey - and here's how to cope with it.

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How Positive Asymmetry Can Transform Your Life

Finding This Hidden Value Is The Key To A Huge Upside.

Most of us spend our lives working to linear rules where there is an equal relationship between effort and result. Work hard you get a result. Work harder you get a better result.

Live lived on these terms means that you only win by working harder than everyone else. But of course, the harder other people work, the harder you have to work just to stay in the same relative position.

The solution to this challenge is to work to non-linear rules. This involves finding a situation where the positive results of your efforts are very considerably amplified.

This is life lived in positive asymmetry - where you have a lot of upside and minimal downside.

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Learn How To Benefit From The Fat Tail Fractal Factor

Less than 1% of your efforts and resources can deliver over 50% of your results.

Put simply, the fat tail fractal factor is a statistician's way of saying that less than 1% of your efforts and resources can deliver over 50% of your results.

If you can master the dynamics of making this happen you can take a quantum leap in your personal effectiveness in any area of life that really matters to you.

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Asking The Right Questions - How To Avoid Wonky Thinking

The human brain is hardwired to deal with immediate threats but in the modern world we live in a delayed benefit environment.

One of the major points of focus on this site is learning how to think and how to apply the most appropriate cognitive processes to the task in hand. In order to be able to do this we need to avoid wonky thinking.

We are are hardwired to look for short cuts and that tendency coupled with our cognitive biases leads us to conclusions that confirm what we want to hear. So we should never underestimate our capacity for self-deception and miss-perception.

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Recognising Limbo As A Stage Of Transition

Limbo is transformed when you use it as an opportunity to do what you've long needed to do.

Limbo is a situation in which nothing happens or changes for a long period of time, and it is difficult to make decisions or know what to do, often because you are waiting for something else to happen first.

Limbo occurs at times of change. A change has occurred and quite likely been imposed upon you. You have experienced losses. The future is uncertain. Here's how to deal with it.

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Not Confusing Activity With Accomplishment

Speed and velocity is a mental model drawn from physics. Speed is how fast you are moving, velocity is how fast you are moving in a specific direction.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” [Warren Buffett]

You need to be able to distinguish between tasks that offer a lot of speed and those that offer a lot of velocity...and select the latter."

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Avoiding Stupidity Is Easier Than Seeking Brilliance

"It is remarkable how much long term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent." [Charlie Munger]

By simply thinking about what you want to avoid or the opposite of what you want to achieve, you can plan effectively to prevent failure.

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Cognitive Distortions - The Psychology of Human Misjudgment

Cognitive distortions are irrational thought patterns that cause you to to perceive reality inaccurately.

Our focus in this article is the area of decision making in life in everyday situations and also in a work and a business context, its about identifying and avoiding cognitive distortions and biases to cut through complexity and make good judgement calls and good decisions.

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Incentives - WIFM (What's In it For Me?)

Incentives are what drive human behavior.

Understanding this is the key to understanding people. Conversely, failing to recognize their importance often leads us to make major errors.

In seeking to understand what drives the other person, ask yourself, if I was in his/her shoes, what would I want?

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The Red Queen Effect - Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place

The message of The Red Queen Effect is you can’t be complacent or you'll fall behind.

To survive you have to run very fast and hard, and you need to co-evolve with the people and the systems you interact with.

The challenge is to find ways of doing things that enable you to run smarter rather than faster AND to develop the capabilities that will enable you to keep doing that.

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Leverage - Achieving A Large Output For A Small Input At The Right Place

A small well-focused action can produce a significant and long-lasting improvement - when applied in the right place.

High leverage activities are those where you can achieve a large increase in output for a relatively small amount of additional input.

When applied in the right place, a small well-focused action can produce a significant and long-lasting improvement.

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How To Win Without Succeeding - Tennis Lessons For Ordinary People

How To Win Without Succeeding - Failure is The Norm

"Amateurs win the game when their opponent loses points, experts win the game by gaining points." (Shane Parrish)

Most of us are amateurs but we refuse to believe it. This is a problem because we’re often playing the game of the professionals. What we should do in this case, when we’re the amateur, is to invert the problem and focus on avoiding losses.

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Not Confusing Activity With Accomplishment

Speed and velocity is a mental model drawn from physics. Speed is how fast you are moving, velocity is how fast you are moving in a specific direction.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” [Warren Buffett]

You need to be able to distinguish between tasks that offer a lot of speed and those that offer a lot of velocity...and select the latter."

Continue reading "Not Confusing Activity With Accomplishment"

Mental Models - Help You Think Effectively

A mental model is a high level representation, or overview, of how something works.

“...developing the habit of mastering the multiple models which underlie reality is the best thing you can do.”

Our world is multi-dimensional and our problems are complex. Most problems cannot be solved using one model alone.But if you don’t have a range of models, you become the proverbial man with a hammer to whom every problem looks like a nail.

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Adopting The Scout Mindset - Julia Galef

“Do you have the scout mindset and yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?”

Julia Galef is a writer and public speaker on the topics of rationality, science, technology, and design. Applied rationality is her speciality and she asks the question:

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A Masterclass In Self Deception - Stanford Prison Experiment

Yes You Can Fool Most Of The People For Over 30 Years!

"The military told me they used the SPE tapes to train people not to behave like our guards. I used to quote that as a good outcome of the research.

Now I know they also used it to train interrogators to break people.

I had no idea they were doing that"

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You Are Not Your Thoughts - It's Not The Content But Your Relationship With Your Thoughts That Matters

There are four stages in dealing with your thoughts:

# awareness of your thoughts;

# understanding your thoughts;

# accepting your thoughts; and,

# living with your thoughts.

Ultimately, what matters is not the content of your thoughts but your relationship with your thoughts.

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The Power Of Framing - Change Your Language To Change How You Feel

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.

Framing is about how we define context, make associations, establish reference points and emotional touch points all designed and positioned to convey the sense and meaning that we want to convey.

How you mentally characterize a situation has a profound impact on how you respond to it emotionally.

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Luck is Where Opportunity Meets Preparation

We invariably rise to the limits of our own expectations in life.

A significant component of the power of any success strategy lies in the expectation that you will achieve your goal or objective. Whatever you expect - of yourself, your career, your relationships, your life - sets the limit of what is possible for you.

Henry Ford once said: "If you believe that you can do a thing, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right."

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