May 2018
Self Improvement, Wisdom, Professionalism, Inspirational Stories, Positivity, Leadership, Management, Stress, Optimism and Peace, Productivity.

Important Lessons for Marriage!

Friends and acquaintances often ask us how we manage to maintain such a happy, healthy marriage, so after thinking about it, I decided to share my personal thoughts about having a good marriage with you. My wife and I got married right after college, and we got pregnant the following year.We were a young couple that rushed to get married but were not necessarily ready.

Sadly, our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage followed by another, but happily – we then had three successful pregnancies that gave us four wonderful children. During our marriage, we moved to four different cities, and I changed jobs five times, which taught me a lot about myself, my partner, and most importantly, my marriage.

1. 50% of expectations will leave you disappointed
We always treated our marriage as a fun competition – “If you can do it, I can do it too”, or “if you do 10 things, I’ll do 10 things”, but the game is over when one side refuses to go the extra mile for the other. This is perfectly normal. It may not happen very often and can even be a result of stress or an illness, but remember: Never tally points in a marriage – someone always loses.

2. Never stop the adventure

When we first met, I was relentless. We would go hiking, I’d prepare candlelight dinners and always tried to surprise my wife. As the years passed, I had more and more responsibilities, which were my excuse for letting the flame die out too often. To keep life exciting and filled with adventure you don’t have to fly to Paris every other weekend. It can also be a quick getaway to a bed & breakfast every few months. Surprising your partner by getting a babysitter and going to a romantic dinner or even a small love note that you leave before you go to work are also great ideas.. Keep the adventure going.

3. Kiss each other

This may be one of the more difficult rules, but one of the most important. I also find it difficult, but I make an effort to kiss my wife when I see her after coming home from work, even before I kiss my kids. It’s a small act of affection with great symbolism behind it: To be a better father, I must first be a better husband.

4. Hardships are the true test of love

When marriage was fresh, it was easy for me to love my wife, and for her to love me. It becomes harder to love when you have financial difficulties or when you lose a child. Fairy tales are great for books and Disney cartoons, but real life can be messy and confusing. When the going gets tough, stick together because both you and your partner need the love.

5. Real life is boring
Getting a raise, a new baby, buying your dream home – the big moments in married life are great, but most of your days will be boring. I’ll admit to missing out on several special moments while working on bigger plans, but I now understand that life happens in those special little moments. I learnt to love the journey as much as the destination.

6. Closeness doesn’t mean being present
Coming home early, getting a babysitter, going on a romantic date, and even take a vacation together are all great, but being together doesn’t mean you’re present. I sometimes think that I spend more time on my phone than with the mother of my children, and that’s a terrible thought. When you’re together in the physical sense, also be there in the emotional sense.

7. Comparing is the killer of happiness
In the age where everyone “edits” their life and presents it to the internet, it’s easy to think that other people’s lives are more interesting/fun/loving/etc. than your own. I used to compare my wealth, home, car, abilities, children, and even my wife with others and always came up short. It would siphon my happiness, leaving me bitter. When I realized that Facebook does not represent real life, I stopped paying attention to it and started paying more attention to my own life and family.

8. Each of you has the power to walk away
We all know marriages that ended in pain and tears, couples that ended up divorced instead of dancing at their golden wedding. My wife and I realized that it could be better to give up from time to time rather than to continue fighting. We’re both aware of our failings during our marriage, but know that they will never break us apart. We understand each other and want only the best for one another. We choose each other every day because we know we’re worth it.
9. Take the initiative
We often find ourselves discussing whether we’re “givers” or “takers” – do we give and support or do we take and use? In my honest opinion, life is better when you allow yourself to give, and the other person will remember. Take the initiative and be a “giver”, you won’t regret it.

10. Don’t forget your friends and family
If you isolate yourself from friends and relatives, you may be tempted to break off the marriage, but when you’re surrounded by supportive friends and family, they’ll help you see things from another perspective. Don’t neglect your family and friends, and try to make mutual friends.

11. Don’t say you’re sorry – ask for forgiveness
I must admit that my wife and I can disappoint each other from time to time. We tell “white lies”, forget important dates, and get upset with each other. There are countless reasons one side can use to fault the other, but instead of assigning blame or avoiding responsibility, you must remember that a marriage grows stronger when you ask “will you forgive me?” rather than saying “I’m sorry”... This question lets you heal and rebuild trust, and will strengthen your relationship.

12. Love trumps all
This list can go on, with dozens of other pieces of advice. I didn’t address things honesty, time management and compliments, but a mile-long list will mean nothing in a loveless marriage. At the end of the day, love conquers all. It vanquishes fears, pushes you through hardships and adds true meaning to your relationship.
source: babamail
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5 Things You Should Know About Going to College in a Big City

You’ve made it. High school is a thing of the past, and you are off to college in the Big City. The question that you have to ask yourself is whether you are ready to face the challenges and changes that await you once you leave the comfort of the small and familiar town where you grew up.

Anne Crawford, Manager – Student Placement Coordinator at Assignment Masters, said, ”Everyone warned me about leaving my hometown and made the big city seem like a jungle where you have to fight for survival. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting the pace to be so frantic, but I adapted, and today I can’t imagine why it was so scary to come here in the first place. I absolutely love everything about it”.

Let’s be honest, going to study in the city isn’t a walk in the park, you have to be able to adapt to new situations, but if you push through the tough parts, you will find that the city has so much to offer. Here are a couple of things that you should know before you take that leap and go to college.

The price is not right

Although the city comes with many perks, getting things cheap is not one of them. For some reason, everything in the city is more expensive, but on the other hand, you have so much more variety to choose from. You don’t need to go to the same store for everything you need. However, getting used to the fact that your money doesn’t go that far anymore can be quite a challenge.

To fill that hole, most students opt for a casual job to supplement their cash flow. There is something for everyone, and you don’t have to hold a degree to get you going.

Where has the silence gone?

Growing up in a small town, the sounds that you are used to is tranquil and soothing. The city, on the other hand, is loud and crowded. You won’t find a quiet spot that easily. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is.

There is always something going on. At first, it might keep you awake and drive you insane, but if you give it some time, it becomes the white noise that you can’t go without.

Spoiled for choice

Very thing in the city is bigger and better, the opportunities that you have is also mind-blowing. So much so that the opportunities can almost feel overwhelming. Whether it is a job opportunity, or a social event or even where you go and do your daily shopping, you have so much to choose from. It’s only natural to fear making the wrong decision.

But think about it, you are young, and you will have plenty of time to figure out what works for you. The great thing is that you can shop around and try out any number of things and settle on what you like. The city has something to offer for everyone.

Campus living is not for everyone

The great thing about going to college in the city is that you don’t have to stay in a dorm. Depending on the city you aim to go to, the campus can also be scattered across the city.

Although this isn’t what you might have envisioned campus life to be, you have the freedom to explore. Although you don’t know it, but your years as a student is the time that you have the most freedom. Enjoy it.


Studies are important, but so is a social life. College can become quite hectic and busy, and before you know it, you spend all your time in isolation and end up feeling all alone and depressed. On the other hand, you might enjoy the partying thing a bit too much and drop out. What you need is the balance.

If you catch yourself one morning thinking that you can’t remember when you last went out with your friends, you have to get out, put down your books and enjoy some time with your friends. If you don’t, you will end up depressed and wishing the time away.
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When everything goes Against you

Don’t give up…

Always remember

A plane takes off against the Wind…

When the going gets tough

The Tough gets going…
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Each person has the ability to think in an advanced and different way from earth’s other living creatures, and that is what makes our world a place full of creativity and progress. However, the intellectual openness we have causes each of us to have different opinions, which inevitably leads to misunderstandings and disagreements between people. This situation often leads to the development of arguments and conflicts in a variety of areas, whether it is strategies for action at work or planning a family vacation with a spouse.

Of course, each of us should try to see the other side's logic, but if you are confident in your position, you should not try to aggressively convince the other side by yelling. Instead, you should learn how to become the type of person who knows how to explain their thoughts in a way that you’ll get the other side to see the full picture and understand you. In the next article, you’ll learn how to become verbal persuaders.

Why is it so difficult to get others to accept our opinion?

The ideas you raise during discussions may be very good, but because you lack persuasion skills you may not be able to convey them in a way that will get others to agree with you. Most of us lack this ability, and as a result, many discussions can turn into arguments in a matter of minutes. When this happens, we and the person in front of us become defensive and try to take shortcuts to prove that the other's opinion is wrong, and at the same time to show that we are right.

Sometimes it works, as long as the argument is not too loaded and is being conducted with someone who doesn’t allow his or her feelings to get in the way of common sense, but usually, such an attempt fails. Even if your argument sounds convincing, the moment you try to prove that the person's argument is wrong, you’re forcing them to change their mind by embarrassing them and making them admit they are wrong, something which not everyone can easily do.

The Boomerang Effect: Correcting mistakes almost always leads to failure in the attempt at persuasion
The argument presented in the previous section is scientifically proven in a study conducted jointly by Michigan and Georgia Universities in the United States. The study is designed to examine why people insist on keeping their political opinions even when others try to show them that they are wrong.

The results of the study showed that trying to correct another person's mental error only increases the ambiguity about the truth in his head. In other words, trying to change one's mind by presenting his own mental error is useless. People who are "corrected" in their opinion more forcefully reject ideas that come from beliefs that are different from their own.

How to convince people by showing them the full picture

Now that we know that trying to change others' minds is a more difficult task than we thought, we may be advised to follow a slightly different and even ancient method. Blaise Pascal, a 17th Century philosopher, wrote the famous article "On the Art of Persuasion" even before the field of psychology was invented.

Years later, his idea was proven by psychologist Arthur Markman, and according to him, there is a foolproof way to convince the person in front of us to see the full picture instead of trying to prove them wrong. This is done in 2 simple steps:

1. Recognizing the validity of the person's point of view.

2. Leading the person opposite us to discover the other side of his argument.

These steps are based on the fact that each person's opinion has value, so we must first identify the validity of the point of view we oppose and admit that there is some truth in it. We then have to reveal the other side of the argument in a gradual manner, that is to show the person opposite us the facts were ignored in their argument.. The following example will help you understand the idea:

Imagine that you are discussing the dinner menu with your spouse. Your spouse says they want to eat a hamburger, but you want pizza. You should respond with the sentence, "Burgers are a good idea, but what about pizza? Pizza is also really filling and Italian restaurants have much healthier options for the kids, no?.”

Such an approach will not offend the other by dismissing their opinion outright because it will show them another side of their argument - Hamburger is a choice that reduces the possibilities, but if you choose pizza you can go to a restaurant where you can find many other equally good and healthy dishes, So no one will be disappointed.. It makes the person in front of you realize that they have not seen the full picture, instead of emphasizing their wrong judgment.

In addition, it is important to know that persuasion attempts usually work better if the other person understands the reasons for their change of mind than if we were to impose it. In the current case, for example, we might say, "Maybe we should eat something healthier with our children?" This will cause the spouse to reconsider their decision and open up to other possibilities.

Give suggestions instead of commands

This approach to resolving disagreements can also help you hide your intentions in order to persuade, so you must pay attention to your tone of voice. You have to play the role of a guide rather than a commander, that is, you have to guide the other person to the thought you want to create in their head instead of commanding them to accept it. Do this by asking questions rather than using judgey arguments. In such a situation, the person in front of you will feel more comfortable considering your opinion and will usually want to hear it, especially since the lack of aggression will cause them not to have to try to defend themselves.

To conclude

A successful persuasion attempt won’t be achieved only by raising an argument of some validity. To prevent others from becoming defensive during a discussion, you should use a technique that encourages collaboration rather than trying to satisfy only yourself. Do not pre-empt the ideas of the person in front of you, but if you see an error in their way of thinking, bring it up and change their mind wisely - this is the only way to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
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Dr. Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cancer in 2008, but wrote a book 'The last lecture" before then, one of the bestsellers in 2007. What a legacy to leave behind.

In a letter to his wife Jai and his children, Dylan, Logan , and Chloe, he wrote this beautiful "guide to a better life" for his wife and children to follow. May you be blessed by his insight.

1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment
3. Don't over do; keep your limits
4. Don't take yourself so seriously; no one else does
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
6. Dream more while you are awake
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
15. Call your family often
16. Each day give something good to others
17. Forgive everyone for everything
18. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
19. Try to make at least three people smile each day
20. What other people think of you is none of your business
21. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.
22. Put GOD first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
23. GOD heals everything
24. Do the right things
25. Whatever good or bad a situation is, it will change
26. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
27. The best is yet to come
28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
29. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it
30. If you know GOD you will always be happy. So, be happy.

While you practice all of the above, share this knowledge with the people you love, people you school with, people you play with, people you work with and people you live with.
Not only will it enrich YOUR life, but also that of those around you.

source: unknown

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After months of planning the big details buying flight tickets, booking hotel rooms and looking for attractions, you are finally going on the family vacation that you’ve been waiting for a long time. You get on the plane with your little children and suddenly they start crying and asking for their favorite toy, wanting to watch a movie on their tablet, don’t the airplane food, and the list goes on and on.

Many parents encounter these problems and many others on trips abroad that cause them to dread these vacations. In order for these scenarios not to happen to you and to get through your family vacation as pleasantly as possible - from the flight to the tours - we recommend that you avoid the following 9 common mistakes that parents make when vacationing, which will completely change your next experience.

1. Leaving your child's favorite toys at home

We adults may not understand this, but most children have one toy or doll that they are especially attached to which serves as a source of comfort. When this item is not around - children may get stressed and can’t relax until they have the toy.

This kind of crying makes children, their parents and the people around them uncomfortable, especially when it comes to flying, so we strongly recommend not underestimating the importance of these toys and bringing them in an accessible bag. Flights for children are stressful enough, and a simple item, a teddy bear, can make a huge difference between a pleasant experience and endless crying.

2. Not preparing travel snacks

On flights, trips or even walks - children tend to be hungry more often than adults. Given the fact that they use up a lot of energy, it is not surprising that children become ravenous, so it is important to be prepared in advance. So that your children will not be upset by hunger and start crying or running wild because of this, prepare small bags with snacks for them to allow them to fill their stomach and calm their spirits.

These snacks should not be fresh foods, such as cheese sandwiches, but rather dried fruits, salty snacks, cut up vegetables in sealed packages, cereal bars and other things that your children love and won’t object to eating on the flight.

3. Inefficient planning of long flights

In the case of remote destinations, it‘s not always possible to avoid layovers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer while waiting. In order for both you and your children to get through the flights and travel safely, try to find 2-3 hour layovers and check to see if there's a play area at that airport where your children can pass the time pleasantly.

If there isn’t a play area available, pack toys so that your children can play and release pent-up energy from the flight, in preparation for the next flight that will be much calmer than one that is long and without stops.

4. Not purchasing important items

Smart packing does not include small items that accumulate and take up a lot of space, such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorants, hair brushes and more. Many people prefer to purchase these items at their destination rather than add to the weight of their luggage, but parents are definitely not advised to do so.

Children are an unexpected people and it is important to be ready for any possible scenario with a first aid kit for parents that includes essential items such as wipes, hair bands, gauze, hand sanitizer and more. As far as these items are concerned, it is recommended not to wait with them, but to add them to the mandatory list of things you’ll take in a suitcase or even in your carry-on.

5. Not charging electrical devices

In everyday life, parents try to reduce their children's exposure to screens, such as smartphones and tablets, but on trips, it is recommended to bend these rules a bit. On flights and trips, you should bring an e-book or tablet with pre-prepared content for your children to watch when they get bored. Watching will make them feel more relaxed leading to you and the rest of the passengers feeling so too.

Don't forget to charge these items before you leave the house. This way you’ll be ready to turn on the screen at any time and provide your children with relaxing entertainment that will enable them to make their journey in a pleasant and relaxed way.

6. Not bringing a stroller

This mistake is one that many parents of babies and toddlers make when they think they can carry their children in a carrier for several hours. Unfortunately, many people find that walking more than an hour with a carrier or child on their arms is not simple and makes it difficult for them to enjoy their trip.

In order for this not to happen, it is strongly recommended to pack a folding stroller that you can take with you everywhere. This will allow your hands to be free, you won’t experience back pain and your children will be able to enjoy the views around them all from the comfort of their stroller.

7. Leaving the car seat at home

Usually, children under the age of two can fly for free if they sit on your lap, but as any parent knows, children at this age move a lot - which can be dangerous for them on the flight. Therefore, it is important to bring a car seat for the flight so that your child will be strapped and safe during it.

8. Early boarding

Most airlines offer parents with children the option to get on the plane early so they can settle in before the other passengers. While it sounds tempting, by the time all the passenger's board – another hour will be added to your flight time. Therefore, it is recommended to be patient and allow other passengers to board the flight while you have fun with your children and let them stroll around.

If you have a number of bags that you want to put on the plane, send your spouse onto the plane so that you can board your flight with a small number of items and, of course, with your children. 

9. Not preparing a meeting point if someone gets lost
You probably don’t know the place you are traveling to well. This is even truer when it comes to children who do not know how to orient themselves in foreign places if they become separated from you. Set a simple and prominent meeting point in case you get separated, and even pin a note with the name of the place on your children’s clothing. This way they won’t have to remember the place and will still be able to meet you there without asking for strangers help.
source: unknown
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An elephant took a bath in a river and was walking on the road.

When it neared a bridge, it saw a pig fully soaked in mud coming from the opposite direction.

The elephant quietly moved to one side, allowed the dirty pig to pass and then continued its onward journey.

The unclean pig later spoke to its friends in arrogance, “See how big I am; even the elephant was afraid of me and moved to one side to let me pass”.

On hearing this, some elephants questioned their friend, the reason for its action. Was it out of fear?

The elephant smiled and replied, “I could have easily crushed the pig under my leg, but I was clean and the pig was very unclean. By crushing it, my leg would have become dirty and I wanted to avoid it. Hence, I moved aside.”

Flash: Realized souls will avoid contact with negativity not out of fear, but out of desire to keep away from impurity though they are strong enough to destroy the impurity. You need not react to every opinion, every comment, or every situation.

Kick the drama and keep going ahead.
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by Lee Jay Berman

Conflict happens. It is inevitable. It is going to happen whenever you have people with different expectations. This makes conflict management critical, whether avoiding arguments, disputes, lasting conflict or ultimately, litigation. Conflict can be avoided if steps are taken early in a discussion to diffuse anger and facilitate communication, and it can be resolved by applying a series of thoughtfully applied steps. As a full-time mediator and trainer in the fields of negotiation and conflict resolution, I see conflict in its final stages - full blown litigation or on the verge of it in pre-litigation mode. What I have learned in seeing these disputes for 10 years is that most of them could have been resolved in the earliest stages if the people involved applied some of the skills that mediators use to resolve conflict.. And wouldn't it be great if companies could resolve these disputes before each side spent hundreds of thousands in litigation costs, before the employee was terminated or before the customer or working relationship was gone forever? Here are some tools for avoiding and resolving disputes in the early stages, before they become full-blown conflicts:

1. Stay Calm.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Nothing gives one so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances." The thing that leads to conflict is escalation. What starts people escalating is their anger. Most of us stop listening to understand as we get angry. Instead, we start listening in order to argue back. Remaining calm is essential for performing these tools. To remain calm, it helps to look at the big picture. If you think about it, most every dispute gets resolved eventually. So when conflict inevitably happens, it is helpful to stop and think that, chances are, it is going to be resolved eventually. As such, why not begin problem solving now? Finally, it is a fact that in our busy lives with rush hour traffic, cell phones, PDAs, overfilled e-mail boxes, too many clients and not enough support, that we are all a little more stressed than we would like to be. When a conflict arises, one of the most beneficial things you can do is to ask yourself, "What might I be bringing to the dispute?" We can usually look at another person and figure that maybe he/she had a conflict at home or that he/she has been under tremendous pressure. However, we are not usually self-aware enough to ask ourselves what we might have going on. It is important in avoiding later embarrassment by checking in with our own personal boiling point before responding.

2. Listen to Understand.

Now, picture a dispute in which you were recently involved. Maybe it was this morning leaving the house, with a co-worker or client or even with a family member. As you replay that experience, ask yourself how much listening was going on. My bet is that any listening was only being done to formulate an argument back to prove your point. When most of us get into a dispute, the first thing we do is stop listening. The only way to settle a dispute or solve any kind of a problem is to listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Perhaps they will surprise you with reason, or their point is actually true. In the mediations that I do, I often learn what people's underlying interests are by letting them go on and on telling their perspective of an issue until they give me the one thing that is standing in the way of them resolving it. They may start out by degrading the product and personalizing it by saying those of us who delivered it are all incompetent, but I find that this is little more than their anger speaking. What they really want is their product fixed, not to insult us personally.

Psychologists tell us that anger is a secondary emotion and that it is usually triggered as a defense mechanism to cover up hurt or fear. When someone is angry, there is usually some hurt or fear that he/she is embarrassed about, or perhaps even unaware of because the anger is so all consuming. In order to diffuse people's anger, you must listen to them. Hear them out. Let them go until they have run out of gas. Let them vent as long as they can until they begin to calm down. You then will see a person start to slow down some, and begin to feel safe enough to finally tell you that what frustrated him or her so much was that the salesperson never returned any phone calls, and/or the customer service person kept trying to place blame elsewhere, rather than taking responsibility and apologizing for the product being unacceptable.
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 The best thing you can do to get people to the point where they are willing to show some vulnerability and trust you with some of the real reasons why they are upset is to engage in "Active Listening." Active listening means giving them active physical and verbal signs that you are with them and understand what they are saying. Simple things like nodding and saying, "Uh huh" or "OK, go on" can make the speaker feel as if his/her story is welcomed by you and that you want to continue. On the phone, people hear dead silence and cannot read your reaction to their complaints and thoughts. Given that we all sometimes fear the worst, people tend to shut down and stop feeling it is safe to continue telling their story..

My friend and colleague Jim Melamed, a divorce mediator and trainer based in Eugene, Ore., said: "You cannot effectively move toward conflict resolution until each participant experiences him/herself to be fully heard with regard to their perspective - what they want and why." That means, if someone says that the product he/she bought from you is unacceptable, and they are interrupted and asked what would be acceptable before they have finished telling all about the problem, that person gets the message that all you want to do is fix the problem. The impression is that you do not care about them or the problem you had with your product, and that can feel a little like being swept under the carpet. A good customer service person in a situation like this would let the client finish before asking if there were any other problems. This may seem counter-intuitive because it might bring on even more of the same, but this is what you want. People build trust as they are listened to. If they had another problem with the delivery timing or any other facet of the transaction, this is when you need to hear it - at the outset, not later once you feel as if you have met all of their original concerns. The only way to solve a problem is to get all of the broken pieces on the table at once before you begin trying to "glue it back together."

The most useful phrases in this part of the process (what mediators call the "Opening Statement") are questions such as, "Can I ask you - what about that bothered you so much?" or "What about that was so important to you?" These invite people to go deeper into the problem and tell you what the "real" problem is. Usually, this is where you hear that their boss is upset and they are afraid for their job or some underlying concern. This is a problem that might be handled with something as simple as a letter of apology, from you, the salesman or the president of your company, addressed to them with a copy to their boss, taking full responsibility and apologizing for the problem. Then, you will have a customer you might be able to keep.

3. Accentuate the Positive.

It is important to find some commonalities, or create them, between you and the person on the other end. It is helpful and empathetic to say, "Oh boy, I know what you are going through. I've had a similar situation just recently. Let me see what I can do about this." This serves to normalize the situation.. It tells someone that he/she is not the only one who has gone through this and that his or her reaction to it is normal. That calms people right away.

4. State Your Case Tactfully.

The key here is to help people understand your perspective on things without making them defensive. To the extent you can disarm them, they will be more able to hear what you are really saying. A couple of tips are to own what is yours - apologize for what you or your team did wrong and do it first. This enables them to hear what you have to say next. Also, try not to state issues of difference as fact. Leave a little benefit of the doubt. Rather than insisting something arrived on schedule, it is better to acknowledge any room for doubt by acknowledging, "My information shows them arriving on schedule. I'll have to take a closer look into this." While you may still be right, clearly you have to gather more information to convince them of that, and if you are not right, then you do not have to apologize for misstating things. It also is helpful to state your position along with your interests. What that means is that instead of maintaining that there is nothing wrong with your product, which is purely argumentative and does not offer any support for your position, it is better to offer something helpful, such as providing another perspective by sending someone over to inspect the product in person. That way, the customer can show and describe exactly why the product is not working as necessary. Your position is the bottom line of what you are willing to do. Your interests are the reasons behind that decision. For example, it might be your position that you cannot take any product back or rescind the contract. However, your reason for that - your interest - may be that your bonus is tied directly to your returns, and that you have every incentive in the world to solve this problem another way. You may also offer what some of those things are, so that you are not just taking away something from them or denying their request, but offering positive alternatives in its place..

One way to do this is to use "I Messages." An "I" message sounds like, "When you didn't come home last night, your father and I got really worried. What we would like you to do next time is call if you're going to be late, so that we know you're OK because we love you and care about you." That is how most of our parents were when we were teenagers, right? Seriously, can you imagine how we would have reacted if they had put it this way instead of the scenario we remember of being grounded for life while stomping off to bed? "I" messages are important because they describe the experience through the speaker's eyes, rather than simply the position (in this case the punishment). That disarms the person you are speaking to, and it takes the fight out of their next statement back to you.

5. Attack the Problem, Not the Person.

Your points will be heard more clearly if you can depersonalize your comments and point only at the issue. Rather than accusing people of "always messing things up," it is better to say, "We'll have to take a closer look at why this keeps happening." In most statements that we make in a dispute, we are fighting with our own anger and are tempted to put a zinger into the point we are trying to get across. You will be heard better and improve your chances of resolving the issue the way you want if you can catch yourself and take the zinger out. Obviously, this is easier with e-mail and requires great concentration when in a face-to-face disagreement.

6. Avoid the Blame Game.

Assigning blame is only helpful in one instance in problem solving - if you assign it to yourself. Generally speaking, figuring out whose fault something is does not do any good if the goal is to fix a problem. It is a diversion and sometimes a costly one because if a person feels blamed, he/she often checks out of a conversation. The trick to resolving clashes is to focus on problem solving, rather than pointing fingers. Focus on what you and the others can do to solve a problem and make it better, and it will be behind you before you know it.

7. Focus on the Future, Not the Past.

In the past tense, we have the purchase order, the contract, the agreement and the deal as it was understood by all involved. The present and future tenses are where the solution ends. Rather than focusing on what went wrong or who should have done what, the secret to dispute resolution is to treat it like problem solving and focus on what can be done to resolve the problem. Once that is done, companies can look to the past tense to analyze what went wrong and how to improve quality control and efficiency. However, when there is a problem that has an angry customer or a disgruntled employee, the solution is all that anyone is interested in.

8. Ask the Right Kind of Questions.

Questions such as "Why is that?" or "What did you think it would be?" make a person who you are talking to defensive. They inherently question the person's judgment or opinion, as well as coming off as curt. More often that not, people ask these short, direct questions, the type that can sound like a police officer's interrogation or a lawyer's cross-examination. These questions are designed to get just what you want from someone, rather than to permit them to tell you what they want you to know about something. If you want someone to answer you with real information, rather than just arguing back, it is best to give them a little information first. For example, "Since I don't have a copy of the P.O.. in front of me, it would help me to investigate this if you could tell me more about how the colors on your order are described." Telling them why you are asking, puts your intent first, so they don't have to guess it. This questioning style tells a person that you are trying to do your job and to figure out some facts to get to reach a solution. By delivering your request in a poised and attentive tone, , it makes the person you are asking less defensive and gets you more of what you want. The other type of question that is especially helpful when you are trying to gather information is an open-ended question. These are the opposite of directive questions, and they invite the other person to tell you what he or she thinks is important about the situation. "Can you tell me what happened from the beginning?" or "Sounds as if this was really frustrating for you" can give you information that you might later use to problem solve.

9. Pick Your Battles.

It is also important when asking questions to remember to Pick Your Battles. Human nature makes us want to be right, even to the point of being defensive or arguing points that do not matter in the big picture. It is even fair game to ask the other person, "On a scale of one-to-10, how important is this issue to you?" If an issue is a five to you and a nine to the person you are talking to, it is best to give that point up and use the same scale when an item is really important to you. After all, business relations are, like my brother's future father-in-law once told him about marriage, a "60-60 proposition." Most people think it is supposed to be 50-50, but the truth is, when adjusted for each person's perspective on how much they givevs. how much they receive, it really is a 60-60 proposition. Another marital proposition is also helpful here, do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?

10. Link Offers.

Car salesmen do this all the time. They ask you what you want your monthly payment to be and then set the price of the car and the interest rate on the loan or lease so that they can match your monthly payment. Essentially, it's a way of saying, "I can either do this or that, which would be better for you?" It really is just sales skills - giving people the choice between two positives, so that they feel as if you are trying to help.

11. Be Creative.

Brainstorm. Remember that everything is negotiable. Feel free to think outside of the box in order to expand the pie. Make it so that no idea is too far fetched. Being creative with resolutions takes longer, but can yield a true win-win solution. The best solution to a dispute is to get more business out of it.. As such, one common problem-solving technique is to propose that instead of a cash refund, giving clients a deep discount on future orders in order to show what a good job you are capable of doing for them. Many of the lawsuits I settle come away with win-win solutions, where instead of just compromising, we actually collaborate to reach a solution that benefits everyone. This requires listening when asking the open-ended questions and gathering morsels of good information that you will later use to formulate proposals that meet their interests. For example, you might learn about particulars that affected an order. From here, you can propose creative solutions that replace things such as broken items, or instead of using the money to re-do the entire order, you can use less money to ship a few dozen shirts with their logo on them so that your counterpart can look like a hero in front of the boss. These kinds of fixes make clients look good and keep them loyal to you, even after an initial dispute.

12. Be Confident.

You can do this! Many people are afraid of confrontation and shy away from it. I have taught everyone, from housewives and high school grads to named senior partners in law firms and CEOs, how to do these simple steps. The process works.. All you have to do is follow the steps.

Furthermore, you must do this. Now that you have these tools, it is imperative that you do something about it. You owe it to your customers and your co-workers.


13. Celebrate Agreement!

This kind of negotiation is a hard process. It requires two people to remain in an uncomfortable, potentially confrontational position for a long time to rebuild trust and be creative while trying to figure out the best, rather than the fastest, solution. Once it is accomplished, both you and the person you are talking to deserve a good pat on the back. There is nothing wrong with going to lunch or dinner to celebrate the resolution of a dispute that could have been destructive, but that ended with a win-win solution where everyone was satisfied. This is an important process for avoiding more serious disputes such as lawsuits and losing hard-earned customers. Congratulate yourself and your partner in this solution. After all, nothing is more important than your company and its survival. Nothing is better for your company's survival than learning to make peace and resolve the inevitable disputes that will arise. Learn to cultivate peace with customers, suppliers, employees, labor and management.

Utilizing these tools takes patience and generally requires changing old behaviors. However, if people on the front lines, in human resources, customer service and client relations, use simple tools such as these, they would resolve most disputes at that level, keeping them out of the legal department and out of the mediator's office.


BiographyLee Jay Berman is a mediator based in Los Angeles. He founded the American Institute of Mediation in 2009, after serving as Director of Pepperdine's flagship Mediating the Litigated Case program from 2002-2009.
Self Improvement, Wisdom, Professionalism, Inspirational Stories, Positivity, Leadership, Management, Stress, Optimism and Peace, Productivity.

Vision without your action, will remain a dream.
Your actions without positive vision, just passes through the time.
Your Positive vision with timely action will bring you nearer to your dreams.
Create a positive vision which is in your reach & which is Possible for you .
You will achieve what you believe.
If you do not have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, then your reality will be determined by others perception.
Self Improvement, Wisdom, Professionalism, Inspirational Stories, Positivity, Leadership, Management, Stress, Optimism and Peace, Productivity.

Once a man got lost in a desert. The water in his flask had run out two days ago, and he was on his last legs. He knew that if he didn't get some water soon, he would surely die. The man saw a small hut ahead of him. He thought it would be a mirage or maybe a hallucination, but having no other option, he moved toward it. As he got closer, he realized it was quite real. So he dragged his tired body to the door with the last of his strength.

The hut was not occupied and seemed like it had been abandoned for quite some time. The man entered into it, hoping against hope that he might find water inside.

His heart skipped a beat when he saw what was in the hut - a water hand pump...... It had a pipe going down through the floor, perhaps tapping a source of water deep under-ground.

He began working the hand pump, but no water came out. He kept at it and still nothing happened. Finally he gave up from exhaustion and frustration. He threw up his hands in despair. It looked as if he was going to die after all.

Then the man noticed a bottle in one corner of the hut. It was filled with water and corked up to prevent evaporation.

He uncorked the bottle and was about to gulp down the sweet life-giving water, when he noticed a piece of paper attached to it. Handwriting on the paper read : "Use this water to start the pump. Don't forget to fill the bottle when you're done."

He had a dilemma. He could follow the instruction and pour the water into the pump, or he could ignore it and just drink the water.

What to do? If he let the water go into the pump, what assurance did he have that it would work? What if the pump malfunctioned? What if the pipe had a leak? What if the underground reservoir had long dried up?

But then... maybe the instruction was correct. Should he risk it? If it turned out to be false, he would be throwing away the last water he would ever see.

Hands trembling, he poured the water into the pump. Then he closed his eyes, said a prayer, and started working the pump.

He heard a gurgling sound, and then water came gushing out, more than he could possibly use. He luxuriated in the cool and refreshing stream. He was going to live!

After drinking his fill and feeling much better, he looked around the hut. He found a pencil and a map of the region. The map showed that he was still far away from civilization, but at least now he knew where he was and which direction to go.

He filled his flask for the journey ahead. He also filled the bottle and put the cork back in. Before leaving the hut, he added his own writing below the instruction: "Believe me, it works!"

This story is all about life. It teaches us that We must GIVE before We can RECEIVE Abundantly.

More importantly, it also teaches that FAITH plays an important role in GIVING.

The man did not know if his action would be rewarded, but he proceeded regardless.

Without knowing what to expect, he made a Leap of Faith.

Water in this story represents the Good things in Life

Give life some Water to Work with, and it will RETURN far more than you put in........!!!
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God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
If heaven and Earth will fade but His Word will still remain
And He will do something new today
Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
Self Improvement, Wisdom, Professionalism, Inspirational Stories, Positivity, Leadership, Management, Stress, Optimism and Peace, Productivity.

If taking a trip to the hospital isn’t your favorite activity but you still care about your health, then the following five tests are just for you. These simple tests will enable you to keep track of what shape your body is in.


To carry out this test, sit on the floor, stretch your legs out in front of you, and try to touch your toes with the tips of your fingers. If you can do this easily, then your body is in fantastic shape. If you had difficulty, then it would be a very good idea to take up yoga, pilates, or swimming in order to improve your body’s flexibility and prevent your joints from becoming weak.

The Heart

Sit calmly for 5 minutes, and then place four fingers on the inner side of your wrist. Find your pulse, measure it for one minute and count the number of beats. For adults and children over the age of ten, 60-100 beats per minute is considered to be normal. More or less may indicate problems with your blood pressure. However, don’t take and make a diagnosis for yourself – go and see a doctor.


Pour some very cold water into a glass, and dip your fingers in it for around half a minute. If the tips of your fingers turn blue or white, then you have a problem with your blood circulation. A significant drop in temperature (or stress) can cause the blood vessels that supply blood to your toes, nose, ears, and fingers to contract. As a result, these parts of the body will be lacking in blood and will go numb. Therefore, you should try to avoid sudden changes in temperature.

The Respiratory System

Light a match and hold it out in front of you. Try to blow the flame out by breathing in deeply through your nose and then out through your mouth. How many attempts does it take you to blow out the flame? If it’s several, then there’s a good possibility that you may have a weakened respiratory system. This could have been caused by a lack of exercise, smoking, or a chronic illness of the airways.

Fluid Retention

Press down on the upper or underside of your foot with your thumb. If there is an indentation on your foot that's still visible several seconds after you have removed your thumb, then there’s a possibility that your body has an issue with fluid retention. It’s recommended that you decrease your salt consumption, and avoid consuming processed foods.

The Thyroid

Close your eyes, stretch your hands out in front of you, cup them, and ask somebody to place a thin sheet of paper in your hands. If the piece of paper starts to tremble along with your hands, it’s a good idea to visit an endocrinologist.

Note: These tests cannot be used to make a specific diagnosis as they can be indicative of other illnesses. However, if you did notice any of the above symptoms, you shouldn’t ignore them. Go see a doctor for a detailed examination.

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