Tag Archives: Self-development

5 winners of 2017: most read posts of the year

The end of the year is a traditional time for some reviews and conclusions. Although it is actually always a good moment to revise and draw conclusions… Just that on other occasions there seem to be more excuses not to – LOL. Anyways, let me follow the trend and give you my top 5 articles of the year – the ones read close to 2K times and which triggered some truly interesting conversations with my readers (whom I am sincerely grateful for, as I always love exchanging opinions!).

Et voila! Here are the “winners”:

  1. The most read article of the year on the blog is “How to boil a frog?” — a story of how I managed to persuade my mother to allow me to buy a car despite her categorical “no” (and how to get those “mission impossible” type of outcomes in general)
  2. The “silver” medal goes to the article, which talks about the dangers of goals, or more precisely “Why achieving goals could screw up your life?
  3. Two completely opposite reasons of our procrastination with introducing change in our lives is discussed in the third most read of 2017 — “Why are we so afraid to try?
  4. To read about some of my sweet African memories and how elephants made me understand how much more enriching a life can be if you never lose excitement and never cease to be grateful — have a look at “The elephant effect“.
  5. And finally — the article published in 2016 which remains to be one of the most read also this year is “Getting to know yourself” — a collection of links to free online resources for psychological tests, which I believe are truly good to know, especially if you are interested in self-development and in self-awareness in general.

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Brain fitness: your super-power activator

Healthy lifestyle includes doing some sort of regular physical exercises. That part is known. However, there is one part of your body, which is frequently overlooked, yet also requires regular training. Brain.

If you think that by solving a crossword puzzle or playing Sudoku now and then you are good, think again. All the stuff you do for fun, which does not truly challenge you or make you do something completely new, doesn’t qualify as exercising, or brain fitness as they call it. In a nutshell, brain fitness is a system which focuses on improving various aspects of your cognition, such as attention, memory, focus and even brain speed. Brain fitness is also about your diet, as there are certain foods which benefit your brain.

Let me start with the last point — food and then share some brain fitness exercises I consider useful.

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Getting to know yourself: some worthy (yet free) online psychological tests

My first thorough acquaintance with psychology dates back to early 2000s, when we had a special in-depth course on psychology in the lyceum. Back then, while doing all these lengthy tests, I was annoyed and seriously wondering what would they bring me. They seemed to be so boring, complicated, yet the results, in my opinion, were so obvious. With time I learned to value these insights and work further with them. If they seem obvious – that’s great! That means that my self-awareness is at its high. Nevertheless, in many cases they bring interesting insights which I might have never reflected upon before. All that in its turn significantly contributes to further identifying values, wishes, goals and the best way further.

In this short article I would like to share with you couple of free online resources for psychological tests, which I believe are truly good to know, especially if you are interested in self-development and in self-awareness in general. Thus, let’s begin: Continue reading Getting to know yourself: some worthy (yet free) online psychological tests

Motivation: Where is that magical “on” button?

How do you motivate yourself to move forward in life? When you get up in the morning and start your day, is it just a routine and the feeling of obligation that makes you do certain things? And what about the BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals)? There are always ups and downs on the way to them and it is only strong motivation that can get you through the valley and on to the uphill road. So where is that magical “on” button for motivation that will help you achieve the best potential in your life? Related to that is also the  question how you can find that “on” button to help your kids move forward and  achieve the best potential in their lives?

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Life plan: your instructions to the Universe

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable” (Seneca)

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” (Coelho)

Whether you believe Seneca or Coelho, or none of the above, in order to achieve something in life you need to know what do you actually want. In my previous post about dreams – Protecting wings from being cut – I promised to separately talk about writing a “Life plan”, what to put in it and what to do with it afterwards, and that’s what I am going to write about in this post.

When I started writing my own “Life plan” at first I’ve read quite some psychology articles on whys and hows to understand if I need one and how to get to it. There are different approaches out there: you can go for a dream board, or a vision board, or a list, or anything in between – you pick. As long as you take a moment to reflect on your personal values and dreams and then find a way how to fix them be it in writing or in capturing an image, it works.

Having had a general dream board for a while, I decided to try something more structured, so I opted for a list divided in 6 categories –

  • lifestyle,
  • health,
  • emotional well-being,
  • financials,
  • personal development and vocation and
  • family.

The next step was to think about my values and a vision of what I want with respect to each of these categories, and then to write all that down in positive form and in present tense.

Why do you need to write things down? First, it pushes you to clarify for yourself what you want. Second, it motivates you to act. Research in the field of psychology has repeatedly proven that people become more committed to what they write down versus what they say. Third, it allows you to track the progress and thus get an additional motivation. 

I wrote down what I want to be able to do, where I want to go, what I want to have, what I want to improve, enhance. I thought about what type of lifestyle I aspire, what do I want to be doing. What do I want to spend my money on and how much money do I actually need for that. The goal/dream: “I want to have a lot of money” is actually flawed, as money is just means. Unless you collect paper or coins you in fact want not money itself but things and experiences money can buy.

After 6 pages of my “Life plan” were filled up, I identified my top 5 per category and wrote down a to-do list which I am currently actively working on, getting me closer to the realization of my dreams.

I understand skepticism some of you might have – that what is the point, for example, of writing down that you dream to travel around the world if you don’t have any money to do it? Well, if travel is really your dream there are hundreds of ways how to realize it with limited finances and thousands and thousands of people who already did it. If it’s not really about travel but rather about staying in fancy hotels around the world it is a different story, but also here you have options. Whatever it is – everything starts with identifying what do you precisely want in this life. Just be true to yourself.

As a final note, there are two “laws” that are to be taken into account :

  • the law of self-fullfilling prophecy – you become what you strongly believe in; and
  • the law of attraction – you attract into your life what you focus your mind on.

It works both ways – if you focus on negative all the time, if you nag and whine that nothing will ever work, that you will never achieve anything – you will program yourself to exactly that. However, if you focus on your dreams, focus on “how” rather than on “why not”, if you see the good, the positive, the bright, that is what your life will become. Confirmed by experience.