Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why it's more fun in person


Well, yes. Sometimes something on facebook or youtube has actually made me laugh (really, laugh means out loud - it's not a laugh if you keep it in your head). But . . .

There are times when I have been with friends or my family and I have really laughed OUT LOUD. I've laughed so hard it was hard to catch my breath and my stomach actually started to hurt. I've laughed so hard that I was having too much fun to stop.

Has that ever really happened to you on social media?  Has it even happened on the phone, that uncontrolled, slightly crazy, fully engaged laughter?

Nothing kills a good time like trying to explain humour so we won't go there.  We will go there to say that it's probably not possible for a human being to be fully engaged with a machine.  There are just so many parts of our brain that only get busy when they are in the presence of another real live human being.  We're just learning how they all work and, most importantly, how they all work together. But it seems clear that somehow we know the difference between a person we are actually seeing in the room with us and a person that we are reading about or watching on a screen.  And knowing that difference means that the quality of our connection is different when the other person is an idea on the other side of a social media connection.

We've all tried to explain one of those times when we laughed so hard we challenged certain muscles in our lower abdomen.  Usually after the other person smiles vaguely or gets impatient, we interrupt our own laughter (even memories of laughing are funny) and say "I guess you just had to be there."

So. . . the next time you see me writing about an event at NLP Canada Training and wishing you could be there, think about it for a moment.  I really do wish you would be there.  Because it's just not as much fun connecting over the net.  It's a great alternative to not connecting at all but,

It's way more fun to connect in person.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do You Have to Let Them Rattle You?

From time to time we all end up in situations where someone else wants us rattled.  Whether we are competing, conflicting or negotiating, sooner or later someone will want to shake us up.

The first question to ask yourself is:
How strong is my outcome here?

Sometimes people get rattled because they have been taking a strong stand for a goal that they hold much less strongly. If you're not sure what you want, it's easy to be thrown off your game.  The answer is not to manage conflict or to generate strategies for keeping cool. The answer in this case is to discover an outcome that is so strong you are willing to keep cool to get it.

Is your outcome worth keeping your cool?

In a perfect world, when I want something I want it enough to stay focused through distraction. No one in a perfect world would want to rattle me, but even if they did, I would be so intent on following through to get a result, I would probably not even notice any attempt to push my buttons or throw me off my game. Sadly, I do not live in a perfect world and you probably don't either.

If you have a strong outcome and it's important that you keep your cool to achieve it, then try this: act as if.  Act as if you were cool. Act as if you were so focused that you don't even notice the attempts to rattle you. Act as if you were someone who took the high road.  Act as if your achievement were inevitable.

Acting as if means changing your voice, gestures, expressions, behaviours and language to match those that you would use if you were really immune to being rattled.  Listen to your breathing and voice, and let them be relaxed and clear. Drop your shoulders and sit or stand tall.  Make a list of the actions you would take if you were sure you could keep your cool and keep the list where you can see it so that you stick to the script.  Change the voice in your head so that it comments on your progress towards your outcome and not the thousand and one reasons to give up or blow up.

Can somebody else make you mad or hurt you or make you crazy? Of course they can.  While the theory is that we are all in control of our own reactions, we react first and then try to impose control. While we have lots of choice about what happens next, we do not have to feel like we have failed every time someone else turns up the heat.

But if you'd like to keep your cool, plan to keep your cool.  In the summer, you don't hope that you can out-think the temperature: you get air-conditioning, buy fans or shades, and wear lightweight clothing. You plan to be cool.  You can do that in the rest of your life too.

Here's the basic plan:

1) Be clear about what you want
2) Act as if you were inevitably making progress towards your goal
3) Correct your course as necessary; if you begin to lose it, go back to acting as if

It's okay to be a normal human being with normal human reactions.  Other people do have the power to make you uncomfortable. They just can't make you stay there.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The people we miss in the winter

It's true that the holidays are often difficult. We have memories of other years, years when the whole family was happy and present. It's hard to match those memories. We miss people who are gone and sometimes, people who have changed.

The truth is, that missing doesn't end when we go back to work in January. There is something about a Canadian winter that makes us consciously and unconsciously want a hug. We want to curl up somewhere cozy with someone who knows how to make us laugh, how to have a long conversation that drifts off into quiet, how to sit quietly when our eyes fall shut and our breathing becomes soft and even.

The people we miss in the winter are the people we would want in front of the fire with us, even if we don't really have a fireplace. Sometimes they are people who have been in our lives, and sometimes they are the people we have wished were part of our lives. Real or imagined, however they have been lost, we miss them.

You can wrap your arms around yourself and stare into the fire. It's not the same.

In winter, we long for someone to share a small warm space in a large dark world.