At one time or another, we compare or rank ourselves against others. We tend to focus on points of comparison that interest us. We want to know how we measure up: "Hey, I'm not so bad," or "you sure don't measure up to their talent, smarts or looks," or "you better get your ass in gear."
Competitive thoughts can also make us victims of envy, jealousy and inadequacy. Not so good.
Healthy competition or playful rivalry seem to be good things when they motivate us to do better. We can all respect competitive people. They work hard and want to be good at something.
On the competitiveness spectrum there are all kinds of people, who:
I entered my first ballroom dance competition a few weeks ago, after three years of lessons and lots of practice. This came after a lifetime of believing that the competitive mindset was not part of my hard-wiring. I finally admitted that I wanted to know if I was any good, and the only way to do that was to be judged against other dancers.
I had to reassure myself over and over, that "there is no sin in wanting to win a competition." I had to train very hard, both technically and psychologically. First, I had to embrace the not-so-comfortable desire to compete and win. And then I had to develop work-around strategies to address the more likely reality that I would not win.
I told myself things like: "It's not about winning... You can't control the outcome, what matters is to do your best... If you don't do well, you will do better next time."
I placed first in all of the 40 dances I entered. The thrill and sense of accomplishment was mind-bending. I was flying.
Then I discovered there were no other dancers in my category. Forty empty first place medals. The sense of disappointment was mind-bending, too. I crashed.
So in my first-ever competition, I experienced the thrill of victory followed by the agony of discovering that my victory was empty.
All I can say is that, while competing against myself, I did quite well for a newbie.
To compete or not to compete, that is the question.
The internet is undoubtedly a valuable tool when it comes to your job search — thousands of companies post every day and they are all available at your fingertips.
According to the Pew Research Center, online search has become the most frequently used tool for job seekers.
But even though the postings are there, are the jobs? That’s why the team at Reviews.com spent six weeks consulting with experts and hands-on testing the most popular sites to determine which has fresh, frequent, relevant unique posts, as well as which aggregate posts from other places on the web.
Here are a few takeaways from their research:
1. Consider the ‘metadata’ these sites provide
Rather than seeing each post as a potential job, consider what they suggest: which companies are hiring, what credentials they are looking for, and who you might know that can help you get a foot in the door.
2. It’s important to be proactive, not reactive when it comes to your job search
Seeking out current employees at a company you’re interested in and obtaining a referral may not be as immediate as applying directly to a job through a site, but it could be much more meaningful.
3. Job sites are a tool, not a crutch
A good job site will scrape for new postings regularly, giving you a strong indication of what is available — but don’t expect the site to get the job for you. Networking and putting yourself out there, both online and off, is the best way to make sure you’re getting the productive results.
For the complete study, along with Reviews.com’s top picks for job sites, visit: http://www.reviews.com/job-sites/
On December 30th, early in the morning, I will be interviewed on CBC radio about my thoughts on New Year's resolutions. This blog is part of my preparation for the 5-minute interview, and I'd like to hear your thoughts, too!
What is a New Year's resolution?
The New Year traditionally and metaphorically symbolizes a new beginning and a fresh start. We have many such symbols: the phoenix that rises from its ashes, the caterpillar that emerges as a butterfly, and the snake that sheds its old skin.
January 1 can mark the start of a new chapter in your life -- a chance to start over. Starting the year with a renewed sense of hope and optimism is both motivating and energizing.
Should I make New Year's (NY) resolutions?
As I see it, resolutions at any time of the year are useful. So if you appreciate having a high profile start date and can use the time leading up to the New Year to strategize on how to succeed, I say go for it! NY resolutions can help you kick off a bold new plan.
NY resolutions are especially good if you are:
NY resolutions are not ideal if you like to inch your way towards change, making gradual refinements over time. So don't make them if you:
I see two choices:
Prepare mentally. Changing behavior is not easy, at all. If you are sitting on the fence, don't make any NY resolutions. You are better off reading up on the subject of interest (exercise, diet, finances, procrastination, you name it), reflecting on the benefits, and considering the long-term consequences of not making a change.
Set realistic goals. You might want to lose 15 or 50 pounds, but the key is translating that into a series of smaller and highly makable goals. For example, start with one of the ideas below and gradually add others:
Change via the tweak. Change is not an all or nothing proposition. Small and frequent, or little and often, can result in significant changes for the better.
Recognize when you are slipping back into old ways. Slipping up is part of the human conditions, so just make adjustments and keep on.
if you want support this New Year, you know where to find me.
Wishing you all the best in health and happiness in the New Year,
On New Year Resolutions
We all have a habit of letting our minds drift and roam, wandering from one thought to another. It can be sweet to daydream, imagine, rehearse or romanticize. Or simply mull over a problem.
There isn't a living soul who doesn't slip into an inner world of reverie. Our minds tend to wander more when we are stressed, bored or uninterested by the task at hand.
While catching up with a friend this weekend I confessed that I have been experimenting with consciously choosing to give my thoughts free rein — letting my mind wander without direction— curious about the ideas and feelings below the surface. I give this activity a start time: I let my mind dart wherever it wishes, creating whatever fantasies and stories it desires. And it does so with great abandon. I admit this feels indulgent.
I am aware that I am allowing myself to daydream. And, it feels very different from the daydreaming that happens when you are reading a book and realize you haven't absorbed one word, because your attention has wandered.
I think we need to let our minds wander freely, without any particular goal. To pursue a degree of mindlessness, from time to time. But to do this well we also need, in addition to a start time, discipline and an exit strategy. For me, this is being able to turn OFF the ON switch to my daydreaming sessions. On a dime.
When our daydreaming becomes addictive or compulsive, and leads to excessive rumination, the rehashing of old stories, or repetitive analyses of who did what and when, I see this as a negative form of mindlessness. It leaves you unhappy, worried, overwhelmed and unproductive. It lacks an on/off switch.
I prefer to cultivate a mindful meditation practice, where you pay more attention to your breath and not your thoughts, but if you need a dose of mindlessness, just make sure you know to flip the switch.
in mindful mindlessness,
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.