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5 quick quotes from books to fuel your day better than caffeine

5 quick quotes from books to fuel your day better than caffeine

You’re driving to work on a cold, rainy Monday, frowning into your nearly-drained Starbucks latte and wishing that it would magically refill itself with one of those handy Harry Potter replenishing spells, or wondering whether or not it’s too early for a bloody Mary.

The pile of paperwork you know you’ll find on your desk is already making your eyes twitch and your head ache. How are you going to drag yourself toward the 5 O’clock finish line?

We’ve all had days like this, and sometimes when we reach into the well of inspiration inside us and find it dry, we turn to other sources—nature, music, or, in my case, books. I’ve always loved the powerful punch that a good quote can deliver to give me a shove forward into productivity.

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The right quote can, at any given moment, encapsulate just what I’m feeling and help me to focus on whatever task is at hand. If you’re running low on motivation juice, here are 5 book quotes to fuel your day faster than caffeine.

1. “Congratulations! Today is your day! You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! You’ve got brains in your head and feet in your shoes, and you can go wherever you choose.”- Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go

If the fact that this book is quoted exhaustively at graduation ceremonies isn’t enough of a motivator, the sheer number of exclamation marks should get you moving. The truth is, every day is your day, to do with as you choose, and Dr. Seuss is reminding us never to waste that potential.

2.“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Even if we follow the doctor’s advice, we first have to make a conscious choice to tackle life’s to-do lists. When I teach students to write resumes, I remind them of the basic principle of selling their skill sets: list your abilities in short, action verb-packed bullet points that leap off the page and make your potential employer feel like you’ve gotten the job they want done even before you’ve set foot in the office. Knowing your abilities is one thing. Showing the world what you can do with those abilities separates the wheat from the chaff.

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3. “Waking up begins with saying am and now.”- Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man

The opening line of this novel hooks me every time I read it; hardly surprising when the entire novel strikes at the white hot center of life. Isherwood has packed this beautifully simple sentence with three active verbs that communicate one thing, and one thing only: live. Now.

Isherwood reminds us of the importance of just being, of embracing the moment and telling ourselves that where we are is where we’re meant to be, because unlike Doctor Who, we can’t mess with the time space continuum, and whatever we need to do we can only do in the here and now.

4. “I will not: drink more than fourteen alcohol units a week. Smoke…Get upset over men but instead be poised and cool ice-queen…I will: Stop smoking…reduce circumference of thighs by 3 inches (i.e. ½ inches each)…purge flat of all extraneous matter.” – Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

OK, so anyone who knows Bridget Jones knows she’s better at making to-do lists than accomplishing them, but I always turn to her for motivation, because if nothing else, she reminds me never to bite off more than I can chew, and that life is a work in progress.

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Part of making change in your life, whether minuscule or monumental, involves establishing a plan of attack. Sometimes nothing motivates you to jump into the day more than writing down your goals, large and small, because it focuses you and demands accountability.

5. “I have only resolved to act in that manner which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Four words: preach it, Lizzie Bennet! Sometimes no one dishes out a dollop of life advice better than Jane Austen, and she’s made herself pretty clear here: keep your eye on the prize, no matter what anyone tells you.

And if that prize happens to come bundled with 10 thousand pounds and an estate in Derbyshire, lucky you. Whether the prize is a raise, or a new job, or two-for-one margaritas at happy hour, the promise of a reward is a tried-and-true motivational method. .

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What quotes motivate you? Share your thoughts!

Featured photo credit: Determination via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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