Following your path

I admit I became a specialist on burnout. Too often I have seen individuals who were unhappy at work but could not admit to themselves that they were in the wrong place. They saw themselves as failures and somehow felt that by holding on to their work they could prove to themselves that they had not failed.

But how long is it really worth holding on to a job? Some people do routinized work and feel scared while others take inordinate risks and feel great.

It is important to realize that often it does not have to do with the work itself but with the inner attitude we have towards things we do in general. Have you heard of Joseph Campbell? I became fascinated with his books while I was at college. He was a man who became interested as a boy in Native American mythology at the New York Museum of Natural history and later traveled the world to study the world’s oldest mythical tales and stories as a scholar. He wrote a number of books that became bestsellers from the 1960s onward and have shaped the collective consciousness of innumerable screenwriters and authors. Campbell focused on themes and structures that recurred in the world’s greatest stories and more than indirectly influenced films such as Star Wars. Director George Lucas actually remarked that he modeled Yoda on Joseph Campbell, the wise old story teller.

Joseph Campbell studied a number of subjects at various institutions, lived in a shack near Woodstock and traveled to California where he met John Steinback. He wrote a number of widely read books and gave many lectures before he died on Hawaii in 1987. All along he followed a path that might have been straight in his own mind but probably not to many other people.

Many people cannot follow their path because they do not even see it. But the problem is not that good alternatives and rewarding paths do not exist. Many do not trust themselves in feeling passionate about something. It often comes down to fear of one’s own passions. Where will they get me? Can I trust that they will be the same in a year from today, in ten years? What if they change? Will I then be miserable because I built a career on the wrong passion or set of passions? It is a fear that I as a person might change away from what I am today.

So the first thing we have to do is trust our personality more than we often do. We are what we are. While it is possible that someone changes under severe circumstances ‘for the worse’, humans usually try to change for the better. Our personalities become richer over time as we accumulate knowledge, experiences and communication skills, not narrower. So, a genuinely felt passion today will most likely be a genuinely felt passion tomorrow. Take more faith in the longevity and strength of what makes you feel good. This is an important key to success.

Interesting books on communication by the author and others: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21

If you want to find out more about communication and how it can help you:

  • http://www.chrishaverkampf.com
  • http://www.ivy-experts.com

(c) 2013 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction and/or dissemination prohibited. Thank you for your interest in my work. This means very much to me. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Love Yourself

The commandment of neighborly love form the Christian bible is well known, “love thy neighbor as you love yourself”. As humans we still seem to be far away from this goal, which becomes obvious anytime you turn on the TV or hear people talk about their relationships or workplaces. But there is a part of this biblical message which often goes overlooked, that of self-love.

Loving oneself does not mean narcissistic self-love, which is not really love but overcompensated insecurity in disguise. It also does not mean ego-centrism which means seeing oneself as the center of the universe. We know this cannot be true for any world with more than one person in it.

But self-love is important because if we do not love ourselves how can we love any other person if we are to love the other the same as ourselves? It is the starting point for self-confidence and success.

Many people find it hard to love themselves and replace self-love with the narcissistic love mentioned above. But in the long-run it is unfulfilling to pretend one is desirable because deep down most people can see through it. Many of us are in a rat race for the goals they halfheartedly believe in, often for a little piece of love and attention they thirst for. If they were loving themselves they simply would not have to do that. So, the question becomes how to love oneself.

Absent self-love is often a result of not thinking oneself as worthy of love. I have heard many people tell me about the parts of themselves are somehow ‘damaged’ or ‘soiled’ and they would like to get rid of. Out of this feeling of deficit comes an idea that is even more destructive. Love is something one can and has to work for. This concept is at the root of the problem why we engage in self-destructive behavior. We believe we have to work for something that cannot be earned, and so our efforts and the limits we are willing to transgress spiral upwards. However, the moment you realize that love cannot be earned and that you can actually give it yourself all this becomes unnecessary. A person who loves herself or himself becomes infinitely attractive to the world, and the best part of it is that it does not require anything. You already do it but cannot believe that you do it.

There is one person you can always love, and should love, and that is yourself. Since everything you do, including loving someone else, has to be through you, you need to love yourself to be able to love someone else. And loving really worth it, because it truly makes you feel better when you can give something many times over that you value highly yourself. My observation over the years have been that many people can trust others and a more positive about the world than it seems, even if they had a difficult past, but they first have to learn to trust and love themselves. Even if you sacrifice yourself for someone else, this can only be out of love if you love yourself, which makes much martyrdom and self-sacrifice not acts of love but a psychological problem.

So what to do if you find it difficult to love yourself. The first step is to realize that you may have to change how you see yourself. Often the problem stems from unpleasant and negative experiences in the past. A twisted magical belief sets in that shedding one’s self will also dispose of the negative experiences one had to endure. However, the more mature solution is to accept that the past has happened and as a compensation be especially good to oneself. We can embrace and console others, but what about our own self that had to endure difficult times? Many professionals have experience with helping one work through this. And you will see, that once you are there for yourself you can be there for others who are struggling through difficult times themselves.

Loving oneself not only helps deal with psychological reactions to negative experiences, but it also means more happiness and greater success. The reason for the last point is that people who can experience a healthy self-love come across as more authentic and genuine. You are more likely to have confidence in those who have confidence in themselves.

Interesting books on communication by this and other authors: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21

If you want to find out more about communication and how it can help you: http://www.chrishaverkampf.com & http://www.ivy-experts.com

© 2013 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction and/or dissemination prohibited. Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation warrants it. Thank you for your interest in my work. This means very much to me. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Personality and Confidence

We remember a person’s personality even when the impression has waned. Our – often subconscious – memory of someone’s personality influences how we will deal with that person in the future, if at all. One’s personality is largely a predetermined quantity, but how you communicate can enhance or weaken the best aspects of your personality and make a difference in your social world and your feelings of self-confidence. The key is to adopt styles of communication and behavior that fit your personality.

Knowing more about your personality can significantly help improve how you communicate with yourself and others. Communicating in a way that fits, or is congruent, with your personality leads to more effective and successful communication, which in turn can increase your feeling of self-confidence. If you interact with others in tune with your personality your success in life is likely to be greater. A number of very successful people come to mind who could communicate very well because their style of interacting fit their personality. Politicians Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel are such examples, all very different in their communication style, but each seemingly genuine in what they did because it fit their personality. For people who make a living on self-expression, artists, entertainers, actors, breaking down the barriers to living out their personalities, and even transcending beyond it, is critical for success and survival.

Make your true personality shine by leveraging who you are, and you will increase your self-confidence. Since our personalities are a sum of inheritance and personal experience, changing the experiences we are exposed to can change our lives.It comes as no surprise that some of the most successful actors play characters that have something. They often focus on the part in them which contains a similarity to the character, which makes them more believable and helps the audience to immerse itself in the story.

Many people try to be something to themselves or other people which does not fit their personality. The result is that their effectiveness and their self-confidence is lower than it could be. Imagine someone with an introverted conscientious personality type applying for a sales position involving hard face-to-face selling. This will very likely lead to disaster, in personal and in business terms. I worked with a number of people who tried to be someone they were not. This had an averse effect on self-confidence, self-esteem and effectiveness in their professional and personal lives. The mismatch is may be obvious to their environment, but only subconsciously so to themselves.

From my experience of working with people I could clearly say that it never pays to play a role that does not feel right to you because it will not feel to others either. Successful relationship building depends largely on being oneself. People who have difficulties in their relationships with others often do not spent enough time on discovering who they really are, the kind of person, the expectations they want to induce in others, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Many fear to look themselves in the mirror unreservedly, a fear which usually goes away once it has been done.

Personality is one’s unique pattern of acting and reacting to others. It has a large inherited component and changes only slowly over a normal life-span, though under extreme – mostly traumatic – circumstances a more rapid change is possible. A stable personality is actually something that is needed for a healthy level self-confidence. Acting in similar patterns over a length of time bolsters confidence because one has more practical experience with one’s patterns of behavior.

However, apart from these fundamental personality constellations we are free to design our interactions with our environment the way we want to. Through new experiences we adopt new patterns and discard old ones. If your environment changes rapidly because you are moving to a different country, your patterns of how you interact with other people also changes rapidly. This might lower your self-confidence while you readjust to the new environment before it can return to a normal level.

The match between our personalities and our environment not only influences how other people see us but how we see ourselves. The better the fit between one’s personality and the expectations one’s environment and oneself has, the easier it is to communicate and act successfully externally and internally. Many personality traits have an effect on our sense of confidence. While there are many categorizations of personality traits, three frequently encountered ones shall serve as illustrations: anxious, contemplative, extrovert

If you are the more anxious type your thinking focuses on risk and the consequences of a negative outcome. This view of the world can lead to lower confidence in yourself and others. But you may also become very successful as a safety and health campaigner which can actually increase your self-confidence. People have more control over the effect of their personality traits in real life than over the personality traits themselves. In most diagnostic systems a ‘low self-confidence personality’ does not exist because confidence is not a personality trait, it is what you do with what you have. What matters is how we chose the environment we live in and the experiences we make there. This is largely under our control.

If you are the contemplative, or introverted type you are used to communicating with yourself while planning or undertaking activities rather than with others, you want to share the finished project rather than the project while it is under way. This affects how your social network around you develops, whose shape may be more or less suitable for what you want to do in life. The pivotal point is to do design your life so that your introversion will be a major asset. You may enjoy more being a writer, designer or even an entertainer who can bring self-dialogue out to the world and thereby paints over the distinction between extroversion and introversion. There are actually a number of people in show business who consider themselves quite shy, so it depends again on the situation. If you are weary of large audiences you can still become a film star, as long as you are not afraid of film cameras. But to spare you unnecessary grief you should accept yourself for who you are … before you build on that.

Often within a field there may be a wide variety of jobs that fit better one personality type than another. Unfortunately, many people stay in jobs where their personality and their talents will never be able to shine as radiantly as it could. Many people I have worked with did not shine at all because the job was only something they felt was expected of them. No wonder they were never able to build confidence in their performance, as long as they stayed in their current job, which often spilled over into less self-confidence in other areas in their lives. Before you get trapped in such a situation think how you may change your work slightly to fit better with who you are, or – if this does not seem drastic enough – consider a change in your work.

Extroverted people may seem to have it easier. But many of them are actually trapped in jobs where they cannot really express who and what they are. Extroverts may be at an even greater risk of burnout than introverts. We thrive on living out who we are, so most extroverts are happier when they can connect with other people and build something meaningful with them. Many jobs in offices and factories do not give an extrovert the opportunity to live out this important side. This leads to a lack of confidence in one’s performance, which often poses the risk of swapping over into life in general.

Be who you are and  do the things that fit you best. There are many personality tests out there, which can be found in research journals and the worn down magazine at the barber in equal distribution. Soliciting genuine feedback from honest and authentic people is one of the best ways to learn more about oneself. You can also try to listen better to yourself, and find out what insightful feedback is available right inside you. I have written on this topic in previous articles/ Whatever self-examination you undertake, it should

  • lead to insights that feel right and, eventually, good
  • be future oriented
  • be positive
  • focus on your strengths

It is important to know one’s weaknesses, like being uncomfortable in public speaking situations, but since our real strengths are usually fewer than the things we are ‘half good’ at, it can be more effective to concentrate on the strengths. So, focus on the strengths rather than the half-goods and the weaknesses, if you are human that is. You will actually find out that the fewer real strengths you have can be a blessing because it helps you focus more easily.

Discovering strengths is something most people have a hard time with. An important starting point is taking stock of one’s personality in a constructive, positive and future directed way. In a previous articles I have looked deeper in how to discover your strengths. It should be an enjoyable and relatively easy process.

Interesting books on communication by this and other authors: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21 or search for “Christian Jonathan Haverkampf” on your local Amazon website or at your local book dealer. Suggestions for further explorations in communication: http://www.chrishaverkampf.com & http://www.ivy-experts.com

© 2013 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction and/or dissemination prohibited. Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation and/or the risks warrant it. Thank you for your interest in my work. This means very much to me. Trademarks belong to their respective owners. If this article is marked as a work of fiction all references to persons, living or deceased, or organizations, including former ones, are coincidental. I know that this is reiterating the obvious, but thanks for bearing with me.

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Finding Your Voice

Life is about relating with others, and with yourself. You cannot be successful in our world without interacting somehow with others, even if it is only by email from a mountain cabin. This is why finding your voice is finding your key to success. Your voice is your unique way of expressing yourself, and it is enormously powerful in a quiet sense once you found it.

 

You are using your voice when you are effectively and positively influencing and shaping your world around you. Often you feel at your peak in these moments, which are attracting much research in various fields from sports to management. Health problems or the circumstances may limit one’s range and freedom to express oneself, but in these cases it is worthwhile to look for alternate modes of expression. Many people have never asked themselves in their professional or personal life how many diverse and great ways there are to relate and communicate in organizations or at home. Much discussion and conflict is really the result of not seeing or being led to see the wide spectrum of means and ways that is available to relate with oneself and with others. Using your voice means expressing the joy in what you do and bringing beauty to the world. We humans have a need to interact with our world around us by whatever means, otherwise we feel alone or even become sick. When you express yourself in your most authentic and genuine way you are using your voice, and this means success in private and in your job. Using your voice may mean feeling goosebumps in the beginning, later it will just feel great and natural, doing the things you are designed to do.

 

You use your voice when you happily perform at your peak, when you are in a state of flow where the outside and the inside word mingle wonderfully. But to be passionate you have to able to feel real and genuine passion. This means you are doing something you love. It requires the self-love to feel alright when you are fully immersed in yourself. Ask anyone who is performing at his or her best and they will tell you that they were fully immersed in what they were doing without noticing or caring for anything else. But they are actually in a heightened state of communication because they are more sensitive to the information from the inside and from the outside. This requires freedom, the freedom to communicate with yourself and others freely. You use your voice when you do what you are meant to do.

 

It is less a finding than a doing. Many people who use their voice authentically and successfully worked hard at it, but they knew it was worth the effort. Finding your voice is an act of innovation because you are creating a unique way to communicate to the world, unlike any other that existed or will exist. It is more than just a mirror image of yourself, it is you. In the light bulb business Thomas Edison went through 10000 trials before he invented the light bulb. Finding your voice is a combination of practice and statistics. The more you try the more likely you are to find your voice. If you play the lottery often enough you will win it, but it may not be as good a deal as finding your voice, because once you found your voice you have something unique only you have to offer. And you know where you find your voice, it is where you feel best expressing yourself and where other people understand you the best in all you have to tell the world. You found it when you can walk the bridge between your inner world and the outer world in which you express what you know and feel on the inside. It is when you can express who you are in a way that benefits you and others.

 

Practice is the key technique which helps you find your voice. I once took voice lessons to learn how to sing and I found out that I always practiced little, no matter how much I tried. I tried to tell myself that if I had a large enough audience I would practice more, but I am sure I was deluding myself. Apparently I had a pretty good voice but having an even better voice in itself was not what would make me happy in the long-run. Something was missing. It was not laziness that I did not practice more but a realization that I was putting a lot of energy into a project were I would not find my voice. You may need to search more actively than your neighbor but your quest should never feel like banging your head against the wall or feeling guilty about not having done enough. When you are at the right place to discover your voice you will just adopt it effortlessly without even noticing that you just actively did something. I wanted to be able to sing good but I did not want to commit the effort to get there. When you find your voice, using it should be fun.

 

The road to your voice is doing the things you enjoy. You are where your voice is because this is how you communicate with the world. If riding the waves on a surfboard is where you feel at one with the world than showing others how to surf is using your voice. You express to the world what makes you unique even among millions of other surfers. No one does it exactly the same way as you do it. But your voice is also always about communication, with yourself to feel what you enjoy more than anything else in the world, and with others to show them something unique and beautiful in the world. Teachers, actors accountant, they all take in information, make some new information from it and then present it. You found your voice when you feel that you can communicate to the world, and to yourself, who you really are. This also means that finding your voice entails being honest and fully transparent with yourself. When you use your voice you are authentic and genuine towards the world and yourself. This part is what many people dread, but with self-love and standing your ground you can be yourself and be successful at it.

Interesting books on communication by this and other authors: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21 or search for “Christian Jonathan Haverkampf” on your local Amazon website or at your local book dealer. Suggestions for further explorations in communication: http://www.chrishaverkampf.com & http://www.ivy-experts.com

© 2013 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction and/or dissemination prohibited. Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation and/or the risks warrant it. Thank you for your interest in my work. This means very much to me. Trademarks belong to their respective owners. If this article is marked as a work of fiction all references to persons, living or deceased, or organizations, including former ones, are coincidental. I know that this is reiterating the obvious, but thanks for bearing with me.

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Dare to Dream the Future

To make it through the stormy seas of our world or to succeed in new areas, an idea of the future a powerful aid to have. Individuals who were exceedingly successful in one area of our world often had a concrete vision about the future. Bill Gates saw a computer on every desk in every home, Steve Jobs saw the unification of various media experiences into one, Sam Walton saw a future of discount retailing, Mozart saw himself composing great works, Mahatma Gandhi saw a peaceful and free India, Martin Luther King had a dream about children sitting at one table without racial stereotypes and prejudices, Abraham Lincoln believed in a just and peaceful union, Steven Spielberg saw himself as a great director, Albert Einstein dreamed of a unified theory in physics, … The list could go on and on, to an extent that it is surprising that creating and holding on to a vision is not taught in school. If this seems too young an age, consider that all those individuals mentioned above, especially the ones from the arts and sciences, set out on their journeys in their teens, or even years before. Albert Einstein set out on figuring out how the compass he received as a gift worked when he was not yet ten years old. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began composing when he was not even five years old. In both these latter cases the environment at home was extremely supportive, but, if support plays any significant role, we can look for our own supportive environment even as adults and initiate momentous change.

 

Visions are incredibly powerful because they motivate and push us towards them, as if we were creating a magnet in our mind which begins attracting us to it in the real world, even if the vision is not completely realized (Albert Einstein and Steven Jobs). A vision should be close enough to reality to be believable, yet far enough away not to be reached any time soon, if ever. Visions are different from goals because they feel like a realistic picture of the future, which is what makes exert their forceful attraction on us. The fact that we piece them together from our experiences of the world around us makes them so real to us. If we feel positive about our vision, emotions and thoughts in us make us want to set out to reach it.

 

Visions transport us into a future reality, so we can feel and experience the future. Just think back to this one film where you lost all sense of the movie theater, the people around you, and time itself. Communication scholars call this effect, whereby you are being fully immersed in a story, aptly ‘transport’. Watching the film you were transported into the film and lived emotionally with the characters in their world. A vision which comes from inside you already fits you and your world, and should be able to motivate you with considerable force. This is why great visions always come from inside yourself, and rarely from other people. Albert Einstein’s parents were not physicists, Steven Spielberg’s not filmmakers, Steven Job’s not consumer electronics designers, Sam Walton’s not large scale discounters and Bill Gates’ not computer programmers. (Mozart’s father was a violinist.)

 

A vision that is emotionally strong enough to pull you into the future can be put together from the things in your world which you feel strongly about. It is future oriented, but anchored in the past and the present. Why do not more people develop compelling visions? It may be a lack of self-confidence and a fear to trust one’s visions or negative experiences in the past that interfere with the construction of the vision. But a vision can build self-confidence and resilience. Look at the things you like and the path they point at, your vision will often form by itself. See if it can make you happy and that it coincides with your values, and promotes life in general. You may see obstacles on the path towards your vision. A good idea is to feel and think through them, maybe even with outside professional help, but your vision should give you the energy and motivation to do so. I have discussed how to build greater self-confidence in other articles and you may want to take a look at them. But once you can enjoy and cherish your vision your path becomes wider and much easier to walk on.

Interesting books on communication by this and other authors: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21 or search for “Christian Jonathan Haverkampf” on your local Amazon website or at your local book dealer. Suggestions for further explorations in communication: http://www.chrishaverkampf.com & http://www.ivy-experts.com

© 2013 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction and/or dissemination prohibited. Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation and/or the risks warrant it. Thank you for your interest in my work. This means very much to me. Trademarks belong to their respective owners. If this article is marked as a work of fiction all references to persons, living or deceased, or organizations, including former ones, are coincidental. I know that this is reiterating the obvious, but thanks for bearing with me.

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A Smile

What’s in a smile? When did you last time walk down the street and thought whether you should smile at the person coming towards you? Did you make your decision depend on whether the other person smiled at you first?

Smiling at strangers can actually be a lot of fun. I tried it for an entire day, unsure whether this would get me straight to a psychiatric institution or a lot of random new friends. Now I have to admit that, living in a large city, I could only keep it up for half and hour or so. But its effect was truly revolutionary, not just on m environment but also on myself.

A smile is in its most basic form a gesture. It communicates something which is more like a whole world because we cannot put it in all its meaningfulness into one word. We call it a ‘smile’ but this just extends a general term over something that is more than just a gesture. There are different things people can communicate with a smile, but the gesture itself is universal. We know from psychological and cultural studies that people smile everywhere. Its meaning, the part of it which transmits new information over and beyond a routine behavior, can be different depending on the context, but that it has one is almost certain wherever you are.

Remember your last passport photo? Did you smile? With the bio-metric passports we are told to no longer smile on our photos so that nothing effects the basic coordinates of our faces a computer can identify and read. Interestingly it is the IT world which clearly acknowledges that a smile radically changes what we look like. You smile and you change your appearance in the world. But you also change the momentary image you have of yourself and the emotions connected to it. Try to smile now, and you will see that it changes how you feel. Maybe you should do it more often, I know I should.

People react differently when someone smiles because you are communicating something to them with your smile. And a smile can be contagious because we feel the emotions the other person displays and begin to express them also. This goes beyond the discovery of mirror neurons in our brains, cells that are active when they detect a certain motion or behavior we see and help us copy it. When you see a smile your neural network processes an incredible amount of information, even if you are not aware of it. You translate the sensory information of the other person’s smile into an interpretation that the other person is, for example, happy and, now comes the interesting part, experience this emotion yourself. Your own emotion triggered by the other person’s smile then makes you smile yourself. Thus smiles are hardly ever superficial, but depending on the context they can mean different things in different circumstances. All this information is processed by your brain and lets you feel in a certain way.

A smile used correctly in the culture you happen to be in can work wonders. It not only communicates to the other person how you feel in the moment but also what the other person means to you. This can be very powerful because your smile will then evoke a counter-reaction in the other person, such as another smile, which gives you insight in the other person’s take on the relationship with you. From this playful exchange of information about how you make each other feel moving back forth the present actual relationship develops. Relationships between humans are not a static entity. They change, adjust, grow, whither away, develop or blossom whenever the two people have another interaction in person, over the phone, by email, or even only by text message. A relationship can even grow when you hear information about a friend.  The more contact you have with your friends and the more meaningful theses instances are the firmer your relationship with them will be and the less at risk to whither away. Quality and quantity both count. Relationships when interactions are

 

  • meaningful and/or
  • more frequent

Since meaningfulness really plays the leading role I placed it first in the list. What is meaning? It is about encountering something new and novel in another person, which triggers something inside you because of its uniqueness. It is the communication of new information. We are all unique and continue to take up new information which we process in unique ways. We can still produce meaning a billion-fold to people even if we have seen them regularly for the last fifty years. Meaningfulness is the core ingredient in what makes us attractive to other people and it is directly related to our uniqueness. Meaningful can be the unique smile of your friend, or your own.

 

 

 

Find out more about how communication can help you: http://www.chrishaverkampf.comExplore fascinating books on communication: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21. Other blogs you may be interested in:

Interpersonal Communication

Communication in Organizations and Groups

Communication and Technology

Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation warrants it. (c) 2013 Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or dissemination prohibited. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Being Yourself

In the self-help and personal development literature there is often mention of the term ‘modeling’ which has been made a household name by NLP. It means that you can change your patterns of behavior and thinking, and in a way who you are, by assuming behavior patterns from more successful people. Learning by observation is a well known construct in psychology, but self-help authors, including Anthony Robbins, and a number of NLP practitioners emphasize that it is a key to becoming a better self. The goal is to model people who are more successful than you in some aspect you want to improve on.

Before discussing the concept further it seems justified to emphasize the positive consequences from the new view. At its chore the proponents of modeling say that people can change beyond their wildest dreams. I have seen people change in ways they never expected and a part of it was probably due to a form of modeling, but maybe in a slightly different way than its proponents had in mind.

I have met a number of very successful people from business, the arts, film, and science. There were Nobel price winners and Academy Award (Oscar) winners among them. I always notice that they are successful not because they are trying to be someone else but because they have found their own voice and have learned to express themselves well in their field of endeavor.

In fact, you can learn from anyone who is breathing, has a pulse and is conscious. Remember when you had a memorable get together with a good friend. You formed a bond in which an enormous amount of communication between you two could take place, and did because you were two different individuals with an enormous amount of experiences and information stored in the cells that make up both your nervous systems. Even if there were spells of silence between you and your friend you might have learned something new. As it has been said, it is impossible not to communicate. Now your friend might not be a successful business person. He might not be a great strategist but still you might run your strategy by him. Why? He might not be a great orator, but you still ask him for his opinion about your presentation. In the framework of much success and self-help literature this would not make much sense. You are supposed to select the more successful people to model in their behavior and way of thinking. Modeling means assuming their way of doing things. Just when you think about modeling your friend smiles, and although you know he has not been successful you think this is the greatest smile you have ever seen and if you could just smile that way you could take the audience by storm. You just feel it somewhere deep down.

What has happened? You have seen behavior that felt right to you and fitting to your task. You believe it will eventually help you succeed in your task at hand. And this is really the road to great success, to select what seems successful to you and has not necessarily yet been judged as successful by others. This attitude to the stock market has made Warren Buffet, Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates immensely successful people. The advantage of developing your inner compass rather than looking to those behaviors and traits that look successful to others means that you can be yourself in what you do and apply your talents to their fullest. Maybe it takes a little longer to be successful but it will be more enduring, and, best of all, you can give people something really new. The US constitution used existing ideas but none of its paragraphs is an identical copy of something else. Putting little pieces of copies into a larger image is no doubt a creative process, but doing this from your own observations of the undiscovered treasures of the world can lead to ultimately more success, such as by expressing yourself through the captivating smile of your friend.

 

Find out more about how communication can help you: http://www.chrishaverkampf.comExplore fascinating books on communication: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21. Other blogs you may be interested in:

Interpersonal Communication

Communication in Organizations and Groups

Communication and Technology

Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation warrants it. (c) 2013 Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or dissemination prohibited. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Building Real Power

 

What is power? You have power if you can make some else do something you want. Power does not mean there must be force or pressure involved. To the contrary, the best power base might be the one where the other person actually carries out what you him or her do. Knowing that you can successfully motivate someone else to do something means you have power.

To accomplish anything in the world you need the cooperation of others. In order to obtain someone else’ cooperation three things have to happen:

 

  • you have to communicate successfully to the other person what you want him or her to do
  • the other person is or becomes motivated to do what you communicated
  • the other person acts on the motivation

The first step is communication, and if you are successful in this step the rest falls into place. So what it comes down to is communicating successfully with the other person. This requires that you know

 

  • enough about the person to know how you have to encode and send your message so that it will be understood by him or her
  • how the person reacts based on his or her understanding of the information
  • that the channel you send your message through (telephone, Skype, email, in person, written note) is reliable and will not distort the message too much

So you have to know quite a bit about the person or group of people, the environment and the available transmission channels.

If you are a politician and try to rally a group of people you should know what these people have in common, what their backgrounds are, how they are likely to think, what forms of communication they are used to and, quite significantly, what motivates them to listen to a message from you. Businesspersons and politicians often fail to try to put themselves in the shoes of the people they are trying to address.

Putting yourself into someone else’s shoes means learning about someone else’s environment and background and listening in on yourself. How would you feel if you were this person in this place at this moment in time? Many underestimate our commonalities. Knowing how you yourself feel – given the different life experiences and personality traits the other seems to have – is a good starting point, often much better than doing mass surveys.

Thus gaining power and exerting it successfully means in the first place being able to communicate with yourself successfully. How to accomplish this I have described in my books and will look into further in future articles. It is something which unfortunately often does not get the attention it deserves, which is one reason why so many people are rather powerless where they could use their power for good and further everyone’s lot in life.

 

Find out more about how communication can help you: http://www.chrishaverkampf.comExplore fascinating books on communication: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21. Other blogs you may be interested in:

Interpersonal Communication

Communication in Organizations and Groups

Communication and Technology

Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation warrants it. (c) 2013 Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or dissemination prohibited. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Consistency in Communication – the Road to Success

This follows on from my proceeding blog on the importance of consistency in actions and behaviors for success. I talked about my observation that very successful film industry professionals I talked to where very consistent in what they were doing, which also made them appear very professional. ‘Job alternatives’ were usually not considered by them. The question was whether success led to this high level of consistency in following a profession or the high level of consistency to success. Success here can be happiness and the fulfillment of one’s needs and aspirations, desires that are unique to us or that we share with others. It may be money, but often it is much more, such as becoming the person one wants to become, which we often call self-actualization.

Consistency shows in how someone communicates with oneself and with the world around. It seems very likely that using these forms of communication efficiently is what makes some more successful than others. Someone who adapts to the communication style of the environment, such as a society, is often more successful than someone who does not. But what about people who are highly creative and seem to be on the fringes of society? Here it is interesting to note that they may appear to be on the fringes of society but use communication styles that are at least latent in a society and thus an integral part of it. Communicating outside of society does not make one successful in a society. The successful musician uses the basic rules of making uses that are centuries or thousands of years old, albeit with a novel twist to it. It is possible that it may take a while until a society bestows success on an individual but the seed of success, the complementary communication style  is already latent in a society. This communication style is the basket of common communication patterns in a society that the artist, scientist, businessperson, professional or scientist taps into. Public fame does not work too differently from individual attraction. It is a feature of communication and its use by the individual.

 

Find out more about how communication can help you: http://www.chrishaverkampf.comExplore fascinating books on communication: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21. Other blogs you may be interested in:

Interpersonal Communication

Communication and Technology

Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation warrants it. (c) 2013 Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or dissemination prohibited. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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Consistency

I have been to the Cannes Film Festival twice where I met industry professionals, stars and Oscar price winners. I also talked to film professionals who were less successful or had just started out. There was something striking I noted when comparing the successful and the less successful ones. It was the consistency with which they did their work. The less successful ones were not as sure about doing the right job as the more successful ones and tried to do branch out into different areas, probably to be on the safe side. Mind you, success here does not necessarily money, although this did seem to come with overall success, but mostly happiness in doing what you are doing.

One of the greatest problems people face when they talk about what work or profession to chose is in thinking only about what they are good at, and not what they are not so good at. It is as if they were thinking that their choices are severely limited, and that they have to be “good” at the thing they are doing at the moment. This is certainly far from the truth in a world which does not only offer millions of different kinds of work but where right now someone is probably starting out on a new job she invented herself. Often it is just a small modification of an existing type of work, but it can make a huge difference.

And once you find something that feels right, which should be the fundamental consideration in selecting a line of work, consistency kicks in almost automatically. If you ask a successful film director or screenwriter if he could imagine doing a different job, the answer you get is often just perplexed silence. When you ask some more you find out that they often feel that they would be bad at other things and do not really have a choice but do what they are doing. This feeling seems genuine and not only an understatement. Knowing that there are things they do better than other things keeps them on their track and maintains their enjoyment of doing what they probably do best. Knowing yourself can make you more consistent in the things you do and bring you a greater level of success in the long-run.

Find out more about how communication can help you: http://www.chrishaverkampf.comExplore fascinating books on communication: http://astore.amazon.co.uk/chrihaveltd-21. Other blogs you may be interested in:

Please note that no professional advice of any sort can be given in this blog. Always consult a professional if the situation warrants it. (c) 2013 Dr Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or dissemination prohibited. Trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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