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When Patience Is Not a Virtue


We’ve all heard the common sentiment: “Patience is a virtue.”

It may have been from our parents when we were younger — maybe while we wanted to eat our Mac & Cheese before it had cooled.

It may have been from a teacher or professor — most likely while awaiting the grading of an all-too-important test or project.

It may have been from a boss — probably after we asked said boss for a raise or promotion.

And while patience is an amazing quality — a quality that allows room in our lives for other amazing qualities (like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness) — would you believe me if I told you that patience is not always a virtue? That there are scenarios in which patience is not helpful, and even worse, scenarios in which patience can be counterproductive, foolish, or flat-out detrimental to your success?

This isn’t a war on patience. I believe patience produces a calm in our lives rarely seen in our world today. I believe this calm allows us to remain ourselves in the midst of stress or anxiety. I believe our ability to remain ourselves helps us live intentionally with purpose and build lives based in happiness, understanding, and hope.

However, I’ve noticed moments in the world of over-glorified patience. I’ve seen examples of moments when being patient was producing no results, yet individuals have remained resolutely patient for the tides to change.

Herein lies my issue with patience:

Waiting for things that aren’t going to happen is not patience — it is foolish.

Patience is a virtue when there is an end to the means.

When we were younger waiting for our Mac & Cheese, our patience meant we’d be able to eat it without burning our mouths.

When we were waiting for a teacher or professor to post a grade, our patience allowed us to stress less about something we had no control over.

When we asked our boss for a raise or promotion, our patience was paired with our actively seeking that which we desired.

However, I’ve seen plenty of examples of patience simply for the sake of patience.

The problem with patience for the sake of patience is that it is not paired with any ambition to seek that in which we desire. We are waiting for things to happen that we have not actively worked for — and then we are disappointed when our results don’t meet our expectations.

Patience needs to be paired with action. Sometimes the proper action is to do nothing and wait…and sometimes it’s not.

For example:

This is my fourth draft of this blog. When I first wrote it, I had an idea for the blog, but my idea wasn’t fully complete. If I would have said, “Well, I should probably be patient and not write this blog until I’ve fully formed my idea,” I can almost guarantee you it would never have been published.

It was important for me to start taking action towards my desired outcome. Patience is more about being okay with my first three blogs not sounding how I wanted them to sound — it is less about waiting for the right thoughts to be fully present in my mind before starting.

Another example: 

A girl who wishes a certain boy would pursue her will say, “When is he going to ask me out?” Or worse, “When is he going to notice me?”

Now, I am all for chivalry, but a question seems to arise in my mind when I hear this: “Have you done anything to be noticed?”

It is great to be patient in this scenario (she doesn’t want to come on too strong) — but maybe sending a subtle hint, or at least saying hello, could get his attention. Otherwise, she may be waiting patiently for a boy who is oblivious to her intentions.

 


 

At the end of the day, I am all for being patient. Things may not always work out the way we envision, and it is a good idea to keep a level head.

But patience for the sake of patience is simply waiting. And waiting for something that isn’t going to happen is just foolish.

Be sure to pair your patience with action and intention — it is the yin and the yang of this conundrum. Physical action matched with mental resilience will deliver positive results both in the tangible and intangible sense.

Take action towards your goals. Be patient with the results. When working within this framework, patience becomes a virtue once again.

Why No One Cares As Much As You Do (and how you can get them to do so)

We all have ideas, beliefs, and habits we are passionate about or at least some we hold to be absolutely true (example: I believe smoking cigarettes is bad for humans).

However, when it comes to convincing others to join our side of an argument, most of us do a…how do I put this lightly?… an absolutely horrendous job.

We as humans are wired to believe the way we think just has to be the right way — after all, we wouldn’t think something if we believed we were incorrect, right? So our thoughts have to be the correct ones…right?

Ideas, beliefs, and habits can get us fired up — as we’ve clearly seen enough examples of in 2017.

But most of the time what we find is this:

When describing the things that get us fired up, not everyone around us will get as fired up as we are (and usually it is not even close).

This means we are not persuading in a way that is convincing enough for others to join our frame of thought.

So why do people not care as much as you do?

Let’s have an example first.

I have friends who are gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, and they all have their reasons for doing so. Most are okay with (or at least tolerant of) the fact that I eat both gluten and meat just about every day, but every now and then they will try to convince me to join the bark side (that was a plant joke; sort of a stretch).

The reality is, I just don’t care as much as they do and the reason is simple:

I haven’t had the same experiences in my life as they have had.

Some of my gluten-free friends are simply gluten intolerant. They get ill when they consume gluten, which means they have an obvious reason to be passionate about a gluten-free diet. This is something to which I cannot relate.

Some of my vegan friends care deeply about animal treatment. This can be for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons might be that they had pets growing up that they cared for deeply. I grew up with family members who hunted and fished regularly — this sets a different frame of reference.

Now please don’t get distracted and think this is a blog about gluten-free or vegetarian diets, celiac disease, or animal rights/cruelty — it is not.

This blog is about why others don’t care about certain ideas, beliefs, or habits as much as you do, and how you can be more persuasive.

The foundational point is this:

At the core of what we care about are the experiences we’ve had.

No one will care exactly like you do about anything because no one has lived exactly like you have.

I say this for two reasons — please keep these in mind if trying to persuade.

  1. Using your personal bias typically doesn’t help.
    This would be like a manager saying, “Hey employee, you should work really hard because if you hit your numbers, I’m going to get a huge bonus at the end of the year.” The manager’s enormous bonus isn’t going to do much to motivate the employee (it actually might make the employee work less hard out of spite).
  2. Gaining understanding helps others care.
    Knowing what others care about will help you tailor your message. While my gluten-free friends may not get very far telling me about how gluten is terrible for people with celiac disease (which I do not have), they might strike a chord if they talked about nutritional benefits that lead to a healthier lifestyle, higher energy levels, and increased athletic performance. When they have aligned what they care about with what I care about, they are more likely to persuade me to shift my perspective.

No matter what it is you care deeply about, you cannot expect others to care about it in the same way you do. If you are looking to convince others to care, keep in mind they have not experienced what you have experienced.

Your best ally in persuasion is asking questions.

Once you find out what others care about, you can present your passions in a way that might inspire them (even if you’re presenting a piece of the equation that is not most inspiring to you personally).

People may not care as much as you do about the important topics in your life, but if you are looking to be persuasive, check your personal bias, find out what others care about, and push yourself to speak to their passions.

You will always win more people to your way of thinking when you align your passions with theirs.

What ideas, beliefs, and habits are you passionate about and how are you bringing them into the world? It’s worth a short evaluation — you may make a small adjustment that helps you win over the skeptics with whom you interact every day.

Conflict and Communication

Why the First Can’t be Solved Without the Latter.

No conflict can be solved without communication.

This is a short post because the main point is in the first line.

To bring this point home, I offer you a short story.

Devin recently graduated from college and is eager to excel in his new position. He is motivated and wants to have an impact on the company.

Devin’s boss, Jeff, has been with the company for 22 years. He knows how things operate at the company and has grown accustomed to the process he has built over time.

After several months in the position, Devin begins to feel frustrated because his ideas seem to constantly be overlooked. He was hoping to contribute big things right away, but it seems as though no one is interested in trying anything new.

Jeff is frustrated too. While Devin is doing a good job in his role, he is constantly questioning the process that Jeff has been using for 22 years.

In this scenario, both the boss and the employee are frustrated. This frustration is leading to tension in the workplace; so much so that Devin has begun looking for a new job.

So what should they do?

The answer is simple, but not easy. They should communicate.

There is no clear cut answer for this scenario. This is why effective communication becomes so vital.

Devin may sit down with Jeff and say, “Jeff, I respect your knowledge of the business, and would love to sit down with you once a week to learn from you.”

In this way, Devin can bring his ideas to the weekly conversation in a non-aggressive way. He could say, “I had an idea that could potentially improve our business; I’d like to run it by you because I’m sure you have insights that I’m missing.”

Similarly, Jeff could check in with Devin and become a more active manager. He could say, “Devin, let’s sit down once every two weeks to just check in. You can bring thoughts my way, and I’ll listen. Keep in mind, we may not use them, but it will be helpful to discuss.”

By doing this, Jeff is letting Devin know that his thoughts are valued, even if they are not acted upon. He can also use this time to teach Devin more about the business so his ideas are more aligned with the 22-year-old process he has already established.

However, if neither Devin nor Jeff approach each other for a conversation, the tension in the office will continue to grow. Devin will feel under-appreciated, and Jeff will write off Devin as someone who can’t “get with the program.”

This is just one example of conflict resolution. There are thousands of examples out there. But one thing remains true through them all:

No conflict can be solved without communication.

Don’t Be Fooled – Your Resolutions Do Matter

I change my mind about New Years Resolutions all the time.

I’m human. I think I’m allowed.

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So I don’t know if I’ll look back on this post favorably or wish my former self would not have released it.

Either way, all I can do is tell you how I feel about New Years Resolutions today, at this time.

I feel as though people are pretty down on New Years Resolutions. They roll their eyes or tell you how you’re not setting goals properly. They’ll laugh about your diet changes or tell you your gym membership is going to go to waste.

And I used to be one of those people.

A year ago, I published an article telling you how your New Years Resolutions were broken.

Two years ago, I said that resolutions aren’t working because they are too short-term.

I think the underlying message of both of these blogs was –

“Write better resolutions, or don’t write resolutions at all.” 

Today, I’m going to tell you why I think your New Years Resolutions actually matter more than you think – whether they are structured properly and well thought out or just a passing thought in your mind – They MATTER.

I’m going to tell you why I think you should make New Years Resolutions even if you fail in the first week of the New Year – why even the thought of making a change can have lasting effects on your life.

The reason is a message straight from my book, The Thinking Dilemma – your thoughts direct your actions, and your actions direct your outcomes.

Your thoughts are SO powerful.

Have you heard the term “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?”

What this means is simply the more you think about something, the more likely it is to come true in your life.

So our thoughts literally come to life.

If our thoughts can lead to physical changes in our world, what’s wrong with using this New Year as a moment to direct our thoughts properly?

Given, we probably should be directing our thoughts at all times (or working on it) – but since most of us don’t, it sure seems like a good idea to me to do so in the form of New Years Resolutions.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think people need help writing better resolutions (feel free to refer to my tips from last year).

But the overarching theme is this:

Any action taken toward living a purpose-filled, intentional life is an action I can get behind. 

When people take responsibility and begin to make changes, great things can happen.

I think New Years Resolutions matter. They show we’re trying. They show intentionality. Maybe we’ll succeed. Maybe we’ll fail. Either way, I believe humanity improves when we take responsibility and we try.

If New Years needs to be the designated time to take control of my life and make a positive change, I’ll take it.

So go ahead, set short-term New Years Resolutions. Join a gym. Buy a couple books. Learn a new language. Whatever it is you’ve been thinking of doing, do it.

Because this blog isn’t about doing it right. This post is just about doing it – trying.

I’m not going to tell you that your resolutions are broken. I’m not going to coach you on setting better goals. I’m not even going to recommend you be more intentional throughout the year.

I’m going to stand behind you in full support of your resolutions. I’m going to encourage you to succeed. I’m going to help you any way I can.

Your resolutions matter – even if they’re only thoughts.

Because I believe your thoughts matter.

Let’s do it together.

Kyle

Oh, and if you do come up short, don’t be too hard on yourself either. It happens.

How to Learn More in 6 Minutes than 6 Months

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As a culture, we are obsessed with shortcuts. I’ve read all the headlines:

  • Become a Millionaire in Two Weeks!
  • Get a Summer Body with This Secret Formula!
  • Earn Passive Income While You Sleep!

We’ve all learned to spot a scam or become skeptical when something seems too good to be true. Most of the time, shortcuts don’t exist. We need to put in the time and energy to achieve what we’ve set out to achieve.

I say this because what I’m about to share with you is not a shortcut. I don’t believe in shortcuts. I do, however, believe in efficiencies, which is why I’m writing this for you.

A shortcut is magical (like a unicorn), an efficiency is precise. There isn’t mystery behind these efficiencies which may take away some of the allure, but I promise you they work.

Do you want to learn more in 6 minutes than in 6 months? Here’s how:

A book called The Talent Code reveals an in-depth study on why some people become more talented than others. A key component of the formula is “Deep Practice.” 

We’ve all heard that 10,000 hours working on a craft makes us proficient.

The issue is that this statement is not true. The only time this becomes true is if those 10,000 hours are spent in “Deep Practice” – pushed to the limit of our capabilities. 

If I draw stick figures for 10,000 hours, I won’t be any closer to being an artist. It is not the drawing that matters, it is the fact that I’m working on improving my drawing with each piece. It is the idea that I am working to get better with everything I put on paper.

Learning to practice deeply will ensure you learn extremely quickly. How do you ensure your practice is “Deep Practice?” I’m glad you asked.

Below is my three-step formula for deep practice that will allow you to learn quicker in any discipline.

  1. Remove ALL distractions

    We do not grow when we are only giving a part of our brain to a subject matter. Put your phone away (completely away; no exceptions). If you’re doing something that just involves sitting and learning (like a language), don’t listen to music or have the TV on in the background. If you’re doing something more active (like learning a sport), don’t pause workouts for conversations with other people in the gym or on the field. Focus all your attention on improving your craft.

    Some people say, “Well, I learn better with the TV on in the background.”

    No, you don’t. You’ve conditioned yourself to think this way. It might be difficult for you to turn the tv off and focus solely on your subject matter, but like I said, these aren’t shortcuts. You will learn quicker when your subject matter has your full attention.

  2. Be Intentional

    We truly improve when we want to learn something SPECIFIC. If you’re learning piano, choose a specific scale or song, and focus your attention on learning it; do not simply sit down and play leisurely if your intention is to improve.

    If you’re a basketball player, choose a move and perfect it; do not simply shoot around or play in pick-up games.

    When we are unfocused, we don’t improve. We could be in the weight room every day, but if we spend that time talking with friends, we aren’t any closer to our goals. Our specific actions matter (which is why seven minute abs became such a phenomenon…a program that made people actually work hard for 7 minutes, instead of giving 10 percent effort for two hours in a gym).

    When we’re specific about what we’re learning, we are much more likely to quickly become proficient.

  3. Don’t Allow Yourself to Fail

    The title of this section is misleading. What I mean by this is: every time you make a mistake, stop and do it again.

    If you are learning to play guitar and you have chosen the specific song you want to learn, do not let yourself move forward playing it wrong. Train your brain and your body to do things the right way. You are not improving if you make a mistake and continue playing the rest of the song. Stop, go back, and do it again until you’ve perfected that part of the song.

    You only improve when you stop and do it right. Continuing with the song would only train you to believe that mediocre is acceptable. When you actually want to learn and grow, mediocre is not an option.

 

When you remove distractions, act intentionally, and train yourself to get every little piece exactly right, you will learn incredibly quickly.

This is how we must practice if we truly want to learn more in 6 minutes than 6 months. Train yourself to focus. Train yourself to master specifics. Train yourself to not just go through the motions.

It may still take you 10,000 hours to become a master, but your progress will be noticeable…unlike your friends who are still looking for the secret formula for that ever-elusive summer body.

As always, let me know how it goes for you.

I Asked Mark Cuban About My Personal Brand…And His Response was Awesome

blog for kyleCreating a personal brand can be an interesting topic, and will be presented differently depending on who you ask.

When I was a sophomore in college, I had the chance to meet Mark Cuban. Yes, the billionaire entrepreneur turned Shark Tank star, Mark Cuban. He had just spoken at an event in Milwaukee, and I caught him for a moment afterwards to ask him a question.

 “What would you say to young people who are starting to establish their personal brand?”

That was my question. I remember being proud of it. As a sophomore in college, I felt it was a good question that would allow him to give me some pointers on building a future in business.

His response was one I was not ready for and one I’ll never forget:

“Drink more PBR.”

There was an awkward pause as I just looked at him, confused. I was relieved that he didn’t stop talking there.

“Everyone is walking around making all of their decisions based on what other people think. Stop judging yourself by other peoples’ standards. Take a step back, have a beer, or a few beers, be yourself and don’t worry so much about your personal brand.”

Then he asked me a question.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-one.”

“You have plenty of time to grow up and worry about your personal brand. Enjoy your time with your friends. Enjoy the college experience. Take everything in now. You have your whole life to be boring.”

 That’s some pretty cool advice that has stuck with me through the years.

However, what I’m not sure Mark Cuban realized when he was saying this is, everything he said is exactly what makes up a personal brand.

A personal brand is simply the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that others have when they think of you. While I don’t condone underage drinking (for the younger folks reading this), being easy-going, valuing friendships, and enjoying life are all great things to be known for. What seemed almost like “anti-advice” was actually a pretty solid personal branding nugget.

I think my biggest takeaway from meeting Mark Cuban was this:

Have the confidence to be yourself; it will take you a long way.

Spending time worrying about what other people think can deter you from achieving what you’re meant to achieve. Be yourself. Go for it. Who knows? Your original self may just get you further than you would have gotten otherwise. Apparently Mark Cuban made a billion dollars while drinking PBR. Who says you can’t be next?

“You’re in Boston?”:The Personal Value of Social Media

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I recently realized the true value of social media. This story isn’t actually about social media. It is about how social media can help you be more social…for real. Let me back up for a moment.

The idea of social media has always been about connecting people. Mark Zuckerberg connected college students with one another, and now Facebook has connected the entire world. Twitter was founded on the premise that individual thoughts are important, and that others will care about what you have to say. The concept of social media was always meant to be just that: social.

But there’s an issue.

The idea of being social has now become more about interacting with screens than with each other.

We’ve become more interested in how many favorites we get than how many eyebrows we raise.

We don’t tell stories because we don’t need to; there’s video for that. We’ve moved toward likes, comments, swipes, and (unfortunately) pokes instead of high fives, hugs, and genuine smiles. While social media has been working to connect the world, I certainly don’t feel more connected when sitting alone in my room reading my Twitter feed.

There is a solution.

I am not anti-social media. On the contrary, I use it every single day. This past weekend, I was given a very clear reminder of the true value social media offers.

While taking a weekend trip to Boston to visit a college friend named Sully, I sent a tweet saying how excited I was to be in the city.

Now, my best friend from high school has done pretty well for himself. His name is Ethan Finlay. He played soccer at Creighton University and was drafted 10th overall in the MLS Superdraft in 2012. He now plays professionally for the Columbus Crew and has worked his way into the starting lineup.

Little did I know that the same day I was visiting Sully, the Columbus Crew was playing the New England Revolution just a stone’s throw away from Boston. Here’s the tweet Ethan sent me:

Not only did I attend the game with Sully, Ethan got us seats in a suite which provided an amazing view for the game-winning goal he scored in the 84th minute. After the game, we were able to meet up with Ethan and his teammates (two of them had played in the World Cup; fun to see them in person).

None of this would have happened without social media. I sent one tweet, got a response, and made it happen. This is the personal value of social media: to help us become truly social.

The next time you are bored, resorting to your Twitter feed for entertainment, use it to make a real connection. Send a tweet that says, “Anyone want to get coffee?” Use social media to build your connections. Use social media to truly get connected.

The real connections that can come from social media just might raise your eyebrows.

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