What if tonight while you were sleeping, a miracle occurred? And that which appeared to be a problem went away.

How would you know in the morning that the miracle had occurred? What would now be different?

Try this with a friend. Each of you tell each other what problem you’d been having. Then ask each other, “What if a miracle occurred, and overnight it went away? What would be the immediate signs the next morning that it had gone away? What would the world be like? What would you feel like?”

Try it. This one works best when I don’t explain it but you just give it a shot.

Also try it here in the comments – what would the world feel like today if something wild had occurred during the night and your problem suddenly went away?

Wonderful Friday to you!

I first heard this question in the context of appreciative inquiry at a conference a couple of weeks back.

“What is a Teacher? A Teacher is the special person who has the responsibility to provide the “Eyes” for a student, and helps the student to “See”. A good Teacher directs the student’s eyes to the simple parts first, and slowly, bit by bit, gently guides the seeking hands along a proven path. He carefully points out the next bits of knowledge, skillfully combining the simplicities, until the top of the mountain unfolds, not as a “complexity of facts”, but as a workable system, perfectly understood and usable by the student.”

~ Violin method book by Eden Vaning-Rosen

One of my favorite people in the world emailed me this today. I absolutely love it. So often, I say, “life is easy. it really is. I can choose the easy way to do something or the hard way. what if it were easy?” And the easy way needs to also be the right way.

I love too that this is in a violin book:
* Directs the student’s eyes to the simple parts first
* Points out the next bits of knowledge
until …
* a workable system
* the top of the mountain

I also like that the end result is not a “complexity of facts.” By the time you get there, you’re not memorizing facts; you’re using parts you understand. This is how I want to be as a teacher.

I’ve been giving some thought to why I think self-regulation is so important, and it comes down to one simple thing:

What are you telling your body? “I care” vs. “I don’t care?”

When I …

  • Haven’t sorted my laundry
  • Haven’t done the dishes
  • Haven’t exercised
  • Haven’t had fresh vegetables
  • Haven’t had enough water and feel dehydrated
  • Haven’t accomplished my goals

… then I feel pretty terrible.

And why is that? Why do I feel terrible when I’m not doing small simple things? Because those little things are signs. Those little things are signs just like Bandura’s mastery steps are signs… if you want to become an expert at something, practice, practice, practice. Each time I have a clean kitchen and watered plants and have done exercise that day, I FEEL GREAT THAT DAY.

They are all little markers in my progress. All these little accomplishments are reminders of my self-valuable habits. They’re reminders of which habits are useful to me.

It’s like me speaking to myself and saying, “Body! I’m the boss here.”

“Who, you, up there? Nah, I got you beat. I just throw a few TV shows and heavy food at you, and you’ll dose off.”

“Yes, you used to, you did, but now I’m in charge, cleaning things up, exercising, keeping things orderly and on time. Sorry, body, you better shape up.”

“I thought you didn’t really care.”

“News for you: I care.”

Here are five specific techniques from Positive Psychology that you can do regularly (I brought these up in today’s call):

Positive Thinking: Read the APE Method to get yourself out of a bad mood.

Positive Emotions: Do the “Three Great Things” exercise.

Positive Authenticity and Strengths: Go online to www.authentichappiness.com and take the Signature Strengths Questionnaire. It’s one of the best exercises I do with my clients. Then choose one strength and use it more this week. Doing this for one week has been shown to increase happiness six months in the future.

Positive Choices: Check out this article and consider limiting yourself reasonably, creating some GOOD constraints.

Positive Habits: Decide to make a great habit this week. For example: exercise a certain number of times this week. Tidy up one of the rooms in your home.

Senia Maymin, MAPP, MBA, is the Editor of Positive Psychology News Daily, and an assistant instructor to Martin Seligman for the master’s positive psychology course at UPenn. Senia is also an executive coach and presents workshops on productivity and engagement at work. Senia Maymin will be interviewed by Dr. Cynthia Barnett.

LINKS: Senia’s coaching website, Senia’s workshops website, Senia’s bio.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM, EST in the USA.
Phone number: (712) 775-7000
Your Access Code is: 122856#.

This call is presented by the Virtual Happiness Club, and is free while normal long distance charges apply. Everybody is welcome to participate. The first 90 callers may participate. The Virtual Happiness Club meets one night each month from 7:00 – 8:00. PM, EST in the USA.

Past Virtual Happiness Club interviews include Tal Ben-Shahar, Chris Peterson, and Rabbi Zelig Pliskin. To listen to past interviews, click here. Here are past announcements on PPND for the Peterson and the Ben-Shahar calls.

Why is it that when business people are taught about creativity, they start to create voraciously?! Writing poems, painting, singing, writing songs? You wouldn’t think that the pinnacle of business excellence is when the person could take some time off and pursue creative endeavors? But maybe that is the pinnacle, and maybe it should be.

Did you read the WSJ cover article last week about Peter Muller, the Morgan Stanley quant trader who took years off to do creative things, including writing songs and playing music in the NYC subway… the WSJ had a quote something along the lines of “if anyone had known that this particular subway musician was worth millions…”

Why is it that Mike Csikszentmihalyi, the creator of the concept and author of the book Flow, says that creativity is important? Is creativity important to flow? Why does creativity become so important along so many lines?

Maybe it’s because of this…

“I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that too is a deed.”
~ Etty Hillesum

Here is Etty’s quote bio from the Daily quote list:

About Etty Hillesum
Etty Hillesum, less famous than her contemporary, Anne Frank, lived a short life of great courage. She was born in 1914 in the Netherlands to a Dutch father and a Russian mother. She studied law, Slavic languages, and psychology. Hungry for knowledge, she cut down on food in order to buy books. She went voluntarily to the Westerbork camp to help fellow Jews interned by the Nazis. Her letters detail her experiences; her more meditative diary focuses on issues of faith. She died at Auschwitz in 1943.

I was at a talk a few days ago, and the speaker in his last exercise, asked us to speak to a partner about a goal we want to accomplish in the next 30 days.

September is the time we used to return to school as kids. September is when people return from vacations and buckle down again to work. September is a time for new things, including new projects and new habits.

What is your September goal?

On the day of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, I wish you to plan even bigger than you imagined before, and to meet with a success unparalleled in common hours, and I wish you comfort in your own approval of all these events. In other words, think big, act bigger.

Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.
~ Golda Meir

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
~ Henry David Thoreau

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
~ Mark Twain

There are a few very fun traditions in Judaism. Passover is one of them – go find a Jewish friend around March and get invited to her or his house for Passover.

ShofarAnother great tradition is the blowing of the shofar, the horn’s ram. This only happens a few times a year! And today – Rosh Hashanah – is one of the times.

Go, go, go! The sound of the shofar is really interesting.
The shofar is the oldest wind instrument.

Here are ten reasons why the shofar is blown, including “the shofar stirs the conscience” and “the shofar reminds Jews of the Day of Final Judgment.”

Here you can read about the four different types of shofar notes, and HERE YOU CAN LISTEN to the sharp and almost primal sound of the shofar.

In non-religious terms, there is a beautiful fairly well-known phrase …

The shofar of freedom shall sound for you and all peoples.


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