The most important skill for our children (and ourselves)

A large part of our century-old education system emphasizes rote memorization, which hardly seems useful since our phones (and soon all our devices) already have the answers.

Critical thinking may be the most important attribute for success in any area of life.  One prerequisite to critical thinking is asking better questions.  The quality of our lives is directly correlated to the quality of questions we ask ourselves and others.

It seems we’d be better off if we focused on quality questions, and taught our children how to think, rather than what to think.  Perhaps the grown-ups could lead the way.

 

Finding the human in you and others

That waiter you’ll never see again…he’s going through a nasty divorce.
The woman who picked up your call after 40 minutes on hold…she’s just starting her second 8-hour shift.

It’s easy to feel anonymous when you hide behind a keyboard, or know that you’ll probably never interact with a person again.   Yet every interaction is a chance to impact someone’s life, and it takes little effort to make it a positive one.

That girl behind the register at 7-11…how many times do you think she’s had a kind, human interaction today?  You have more power than you think.

Better habits by replacing a single word

The difference between ‘I CAN’T miss a workout’, versus ‘I DON’T miss workouts’ seems trivial. However, studies have shown a 70% difference in people’s actual follow-thru based on this difference in words.

Saying you can (or can’t) implies an external force declaring that you should or shouldn’t do something. When you do (or don’t) you’re making a statement about the kind of person you are.

And the strongest force in our personality is the need to be consistent with the kind of person we’ve decided we are.

If you say these things, you don’t care about growth

Our family and friends who truly care about us want us to be safe. Caring about safety is valuable, but often comes at the expense of caring about excellence, transformation, and true personal growth.

Here are some slogans for mediocrity. If you catch yourself saying them, consider whether complacency and safety are higher priorities than growth:

” At least I’m not as bad as…”
“If it ain’t broke…”
“No one’s perfect”
“Better not rock the boat”
“What will they think of me?”