Monday, July 20, 2009

#1 Way to Improve Relationships

I've read quite a few relationship self-help books over the past ten years. As an author, coach, and speaker on the subject of improving relationships, I find it useful to check out other people's thoughts on the subject.

However, this next tip is something that I wish I'd learned thirty years ago. It is a tip I learned through my own interpersonal relationships. It is wisdom to improve any relationship. In fact, I feel strongly enough about this tip to claim it is the #1 way to improve your dating relationship, marriage, friendship, or even work relationships.

The #1 Way to Improve Relationships:


They say it makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me" to assume. That is when you assume the worst from your friend, lover, partner, or co-worker. Assuming the worst is a bad thing, right? So, what's a good thing? In this case, assuming the BEST is a good thing. If you assume the BEST in others, sure, you may be a little gullible, and you might occasionally be taken advantage of... BUT you will also set ground rules for interacting that many other people do not follow: you're seeking the best in them and giving them the benefit of the doubt that the best is what they are offering to you.

Why would we treat relationships any other way?

I encourage you to give your friend the benefit of the doubt! You'll get along with people so much better when you allow people to be their best by simply looking for the best in them and the best in their actions.

When I look back upon my past relationships, I can say that the reason communication broke down, or the friendship went sideways, was almost always because they stopped assuming the best in me, and thought I said something to hurt them or did something to be selfish - or worse - mean to them. Or, perhaps I was the one who started seeing what they did as selfish, hurtful, or non-caring. Whichever, when either party readjusts their point-of-view lenses to see the best and look at the other as trying to give their best, the hurt feelings fade away much easier and resolution is found without strife.

Just this past Friday, an ex-girlfriend saw me and commented to a friend that she was surprised I'd walk right by her and not say anything. She then followed that up by saying "I'm so over Scott, anyway." She probably said it because she felt hurt and figured my friend would tell me, which would in turn hurt me. But the reality is when I walked by her I didn't even SEE her. I did not even know she was there. Had she said "hello" to me, my nature would naturally be to say "Hi" back. She assumed the worst, and in turn, probably felt hurt by it. By assuming the best she could have reached out and changed the situation and at least walked away feeling that she didn't have an enemy or whatever. I still think of her fondly, so that's where I'd leave it.

That's just one interaction. Eight years ago I was head-over-heels in love with someone who I'd gone to high school with. I can remember the day I wrote a letter trying to improve upon the things that I felt could be better in our relationship. My girlfriend, instead of seeing the letter as what I'd intended, felt criticized, and felt that I was putting her down. That was completely not my intention, but due to previous relationships where everyone assumed the worst in each other, she immediately went to that place. From that day forward, we never got the ship righted in the water again. It was too bad, because today we're not even friends anymore.

On the contrary, I recently let someone down by not delivering what I'd promised to them, in terms of a work project. Rather than get down on me, the assumed the best in me, and knew I'd deliver as soon as I was able, which I did. As a result, that work relationship remains vital, alive, and filled with mutual respect. See the difference?

Assume the best in others and YOU become happier with your relationships!

I share from this topic from personal experience.

People going through divorce or other separation could benefit from this advice. Be nice, assume the best, and ask for what's best for them. Hold to the things you need to hold to, and give on the things you don't, and even in those most difficult of situations you can process easier than through fighting or assuming ill of each other.

Recently, my guitar player and lead singer in my band quit the band to form his own band. Now, while he may have needed to do that anyway, he didn't need to trash our friendship. After all, we'd talked on the phone almost every single day for a year, and played music together going on six years! But he took an email I wrote the wrong way, and rather than assume the best, assumed the worst. I hoped he would talk about it, but he chose not to talk and to simply leave it and stop returning calls and emails. As a result, he trashed the band, trashed our friendship, and now does not communicate with me in any form. It hurt me for this to happen, as I was only seeking what was best for the band. If he had received my email differently, and assumed that I only wanted the best, he would have at least communicated better and kept the friendship as he exited the band. What's weird is had he talked with me about wanting to leave the band, I'd have supported him in that endeavor completely. I support him in his music and preferred to keep the friendship, but it is what it is.

If someone is being abusive, that's one thing - get out and get help! But if someone is just being who they need to be there is no reason to assume the worst in them, right?

If you want to improve your relationships, don't be afraid to take the chance to assume the best in someone else, even if it looks like they're not being nice, or like they might be putting you down, or whatever. In most cases, they are trying to improve or offer the best. They may be offering this to you from their perspective. And, they have a right to their perspective. So, consider this #1 way to improve relationships the next time you feel hurt, adjust your viewpoint to give your friend, partner, or lover the benefit of the doubt, and see if you don't roll through the challenge with ease instead of conflict.

I wish you the very best with your relationships. If you need professional counseling, I recommend you seek that therapy rather than relying on this article for help. I provide relationship advice for entertainment purposes only and do not expect you to hold me legally reliable for the choices you make with your life. Fair enough? All the love, success, and happiness to you today in living the life you want, finding the love you seek, and manifesting your dreams.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lower Your Stress With Free e-Book from Michelle Casto

Are you a bit stressed out?

Well, you know I like to give you cool stuff for free whenever I can, right?

So you can imagine how excited I am to help you lower your stress levels with an exciting free offer from my pal, Dr. Michelle Casto.

Michelle, who is also an Aspiration Advocate and Life Coach, is offering free access to her e-book called "41 Ways to Alleviate Stress" for a limited time only. I recommend it personally. Just click here to enter in your basic email to receive this power book informing you how to lower your stress:

Let me know how you like it!

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lance Armstrong - Inspiring Us Again - Lessons from the GREATEST

When you're great, you're great. Some people excel at certain things. In sports, I like to study the greats in matches that require individual greatness, such as tennis, golf, bicycling, skiing, etc. And, often, the greats perform at their best in the most difficult of circumstances, such as major tournaments.

For example, of his 14 major championship tennis court victories, Pete Sampras won Wimbledon 7 times.

I recall watching Pete Sampras defeat his nemesis, Andre Agassi in the last of his major victories, in 2002. Andre is another great I loved watching. Today, Roger Federer is the man to beat, who is also racking up the victories.

Can you think of people in your field of interest who are great? What made them great?

Continuing with my sports greats, how about Tiger Woods?

Tiger, currently age 33, achieved more victories in less time than any other golfer in history. The previous great was Jack Nicklaus, some thirty years ago. Then, along came a Tiger who changed the history of golf. Being a multi-racial golfer is something I recall that stirred up the pot when Fuzzy Zoeller made some comment about telling Tiger not to order "fried chicken" or "collards and greens or whatever" at the Master's ceremonial dinner - the racism was ridiculous (although it was argued that Fuzzy was a jokester just trying to be funny). Tiger rose above it and won the tournament by something like 18 strokes. He is noted as the first African-American descendant to win the Masters. Yet, here's this amazingly talented golfer just cleaning up the field, time and time again. Clearly, race had nothing to do with it.

It's about vision, training, goals, coaching, and performance. In all of these things, Tiger prevails again and again. He sets his vision upon being the greatest ever. He trained in unique ways, and developed an incredibly powerful swing, chipping, and putting style that could dig out of holes that would bury most good golfers. I've seen him make shots that simply defy the eyes. Then, he double-pumps his arm in a victorious celebration indicative of his winning intensity.

Since his record-breaking win in the 1997 Masters Tournament, Tiger went on to become the youngest player in history to win the Grand Slam (considered the golfing world's most difficult tournaments). Currently, Tiger is ranked third for career victories, behind the other great golfers, Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus.

1Career Wins on the PGA Tour

Sam Snead - 82
Jack Nicklaus - 73
*Tiger Woods - 68
Ben Hogan - 64
Arnold Palmer - 62

From the players playing, Tiger Woods is at such a fast pace it is easy to see how at his age he is likely to become the greatest PGA Tour golfer of all-time. Jack Nicklaus, the player who Tiger most sought to emulate and surpass, is now only 5 wins ahead of him for career victories. According to Wikipedia as of the date of this publishing, Tiger Woods is currently ranked #1 in the World and achieved more earnings at $110 Million this past year. But from among his tour championships, he is ranked #2 in MAJOR tournaments, which receive the bulk of attention on the PGA Tour. He is only four victories behind Jack Nicklaus for most Major victories, career.

Some people are just great.

Saying that, I turn my attention to Lance Armstrong, who once again is making headlines by pushing the field at the Tour De France and creating a likely scenario where he will capture the yellow jersey in this famous bicycling race, yet once again. Coming out of retirement, he now is on pace to not only amaze us having won his seventh Tour (having survived cancer), now four years later he is back doing it again!

Kudos to Lance Armstrong!!! I am pleased to say I saw this one coming:

If you want to be great at something, study those who are great. Find out what they did to become great. Did they practice a certain way? How did they study or train? What did they do to create a unique "winner" mindset? Did they hire a coach? What type of coaches did they use? Can you break down the elements of their greatness and incorporate those elements into your own "game"? These are all questions that start you on the path to your own greatness.

I can guarantee you that a great general studies other great generals. In addition, great leaders study other great leaders.

What makes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other leaders able to achieve the success they do?

For example, Warren Buffett is known for making very good investment choices on Wall Street.

This makes Warren's advice highly valuable, because anyone who can pick winners is likely to help you make more money, right? According to the CBS News, investment firms paid $2.1 Million and $1.68 Million in an eBay auction each of the past two years for the rights to have lunch with Warren Buffett.

Last year, Pureheart China Investment fund won the bidding, this year Salida Capital came in with $1.68 Million to win the lunch.

Can you imagine, someone paying $2 Million dollars to have LUNCH with YOU? WOW. Amazing, wouldn't you say? That's how valuable an experience like that can be, if you're at that level.

What can you imagine to accomplish, as an aspiration, for your own life? Winning a trophy? Accomplishing a rare achievement? What can you do to rise above the pack with your unique gifts, dreams, and capabilities?

Set a goal. Study the greats. Hire a coach. Then do the hard work to become great. And, don't be shocked when you surprise everyone else around you when you become the one who future greats study to learn how to be great in the next generation. Be the very best you can, with what you've got, and you just might do something truly stellar. We all have the capability within us to accomplish great things. I encourage you to develop, research, and take action to be your own great self!

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and used through the Creative Commons license for this article. Copyright © 2009 AspireNow. All rights reserved. Want more? Subscribe to the A-Blog.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Life In The Craziest Places

Have you ever found life in a place that surrounds you?

As I write this question, I remember this photo my brother took in the California desert, where he illustrated this one yellow flower, shooting up from the desert floor, somehow finding a unique and barren position to proudly spring forth a lovely bloom of yellowish white petals. No other flowers competed for attention. This one flower not only survived, but apparently flourished in such an odd place!

Well, last week, I noticed the swallows seeking out the eaves and rafters (in lieu of trees) for their nests. They build nests in the same places annually. My condo resides right where they like to lay their eggs to hatch in the nests. They make nests out of sticks, leaves, dirt, and water (they make a mud-pack using the water from the pool). For a look at what their nest is like, check out this video:

Pretty funny, huh?

Anyway, I encourage you to seek out life and interact with it. I talk to my swallows every day when I come and go. Every part of life is there for us to enjoy, if we merely take the time. It is a valuable aspect of "life purpose" to interact with other creatures in nature. Enjoy!

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