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Why You Should Cherish People Who Hold You To A Higher Standard

Why You Should Cherish People Who Hold You To A Higher Standard

Have you ever stopped and thought about the people in your life? Are they all the same sorts of people? How do they influence what you do or how you think about yourself and the world around you? It’s often quoted that we are the average of the five people we spend our time with, so what kind of people do you choose to be around?

Have you ever considered that the quality of your life and the quality of your work are a direct result of the standards you have for yourself and the standards of those around you?

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Do You Think About Who You Spend The Most Time With?

Most of us pick up friends out of proximity to where we are at a particular time. Whether they are friends we know from school, work, or the activities we do most, we tend to choose to spend the most time with people we see easily on a regular basis.

Not only that but, as humans, we always want to make friends and spend time with people that praise, appreciate, and recognize us. This seems obvious because we all want to feel loved and accepted without any hassle or feelings of criticism, but is this helping our growth and development as a person?

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Why The “Harsh” Friend Is Better For You Than You Think

Shying away from people that are seen as harsh or critical might be doing you more harm than good. This isn’t about spending time with selfish, manipulative, and hurtful people we all encounter from time to time, instead it’s about surrounding yourself with friends that tell you the honest truth and who don’t feel the need to sugarcoat their opinions – especially when they feel it will encourage you to grow.

These are the people who are actually holding you to a higher standard. They are the people who believe you can do better, who believe in you to do better. They are the ones who always have your best interests at heart and steer you into a direction that you might not have seen or wanted to see.

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I always had the same group of friends who I loved – they would tell me how great I was, they always agreed with my opinions, they always told me I looked beautiful without makeup when I felt insecure in myself. But there was always one friend who challenged what I said, would give me their honest opinion that I would sometimes interpret as harsh, condescending, or critical, but as a result I never felt so close with her.

As I got older, I soon realized that what she was doing wasn’t critical, it was just that I wasn’t used to hearing the truth and I wasn’t used to being challenged. I saw it as a knock to my ego rather than an opportunity for growth.

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Why You Should Surround Yourself With People Who Have Higher Standards Than You

If you want to improve and succeed in your life, whether personally or in your career, surrounding yourself with people who hold you to a higher standard can do more wonders for your self-improvement and personal growth than you realize. These people aren’t the ones we should avoid or escape from, but instead we should cherish them for the unexpected growth they can provide us with.

So, don’t neglect those that love us dearly and tell us everything we want to hear, but also don’t neglect the people in our lives that sometimes tell us what we don’t want to hear. Your life is a reflection of your standards and how much you develop yourself can simply be  down to who you are venting your opinions to and who is telling you honestly how things really are.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of facing your limiting beliefs, limited perspectives about yourself, and what you’re capable of. Cherish those that elevate your thinking and energy. Don’t take what they say to heart but rather, take what they say mindfully and consider using it to push yourself and raise your game. They are not there to criticize, they are there to teach you something about yourself you weren’t aware of.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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