Tag Archives: Self-development

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.

Continue reading Brain fitness: your super-power activator

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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?

Continue reading Motivation: Where is that magical “on” button?

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.

 

 

 

Do you stop developing if you decide to stay at home?

This is a comment I heard way too many times. “I cannot imagine that I would stay at home! That will be a total degradation!”; “A woman has to get a job otherwise she will become stupid and not interesting”, and many others with different words but the same basic message. Arh! To note I am not talking about situations when a woman has to work to provide for the family, I am only talking about cases when a husband actually earns enough to ensure a decent living of his family.

I hate labeling. You can have a salaried job and have no personal development whatsoever. You can have no job and have an amazing personal development. If you are lucky you can have both. Whatever your choice, don’t think it’s the only right one. If somebody chose not to go to work everyday it by no means automatically signifies that this person is not interesting or will face “degradation”. Personal development is only a matter of a personal choice. And a job as such doesn’t mean that you will stay or become interesting. Let’s face it: a lot of people go to work, have their morning coffee, gossip with colleagues, do some stuff, go to have lunch, procrastinate in social networks, do some repetitive stuff again and count down until they can go home; and that’s what they do day in and day out every single working day. The funny thing is that one of the classic representatives of the above example actually did comment on “no job means no development!” – oh, seriously?!

I did have a salaried job, I did freelance, I am thinking about my own business, when kids grow up a bit, but at this particular point in time I am a stay-at-home mother by choice. As I already said in some previous posts just that already hones a whole bunch of skills. Yet, at all times in my life, whatever I was doing to earn the living, I also had  and still do have quite some hobbies.

  • I love reading and I am usually even reading several books at the same time – just finished Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury and am almost done with Walden and Civil Disobedience by Thoreau. After I discovered Kindle my reading hours increased even more, as it makes reading in all circumstances so extremely convenient – Kindle Paperwhite has an in-built light, so you can read in the dark; you conveniently hold it in one hand and don’t need your second hand to turn pages; it has an effect of a paper, so no reflection, allowing you to read in a bright sun; not even talking about being able to have a lot of books without the need to carry around a lot of weight. And it’s not only fiction that I read, but also quite some non-fiction, mostly business books or articles on raising bilingual kids.
  • As regards cooking – it is not only a mere necessity, but also an additional hobby of mine. Frequently it is inspired by Foodpairing (c) and sometimes – by a molecular cuisine. I love experimenting, I love surprising. Cooking allows for that.
  • I did quite some online courses – e.g. Child Nutrition and Cooking by Stanford; Open Permaculture School by Regenerative Leadership Institute; Cognitive Psychology, as well as Crisis Intervention: theory and practice, as well as some others by WEU; Introduction to Psychology by MIT, just to name a few.
  • A week ago I have already planted tomato seeds inside for the subsequent replanting into my square foot garden – yet another hobby of mine.
  • I do cross-stitch embroidery .
  • When an inspiration comes I write poems which couple of years ago I assembled into a book published by Lulu. I write in Russian but for the book I provided translations into English, mostly for my husband to be able to understand them.
  • Recently I started calligraphy;
  • Also recently I finally got to sewing resulting in a nice set of clothes for my daughter and son.
  • I learned to play golf and when the weather outside allows for it, my daughter is in her “school” or willing to join and my son is peacefully asleep in his buggy, I am pitching in the garden with my Tailor Made or hitting some perforated balls with Big Bertha. Also, we do escape to the field with my husband from time to time.
  • I am intensively learning Dutch to get it to the fluency level. Next will be Spanish, where I have some basics, and Italian which I just love.

The bottom-line is – and I repeat it once again – everything is a matter of your choice and your priorities. If you want to keep on developing you will find a way, if not – you will find an excuse.

As a Postscriptum – no, I don’t have a nanny and never did. It is possible to cook together with even a very small kid and in that way develop the motor skills and the speech, if you talk at the same time of course; it is possible to do calligraphy together, when you little one is scribbling something on another piece of paper; it is possible to sew and make a toddler cut the threads; it is possible to pitch and allow the happy toddler bring the balls;… But I will talk about all this in one of the subsequent posts on how to include a kid in your life.

Solutions, no excuses!