Play Each Ball

October 30, 2007

“I suck!”

A few weeks ago, my friend, Quinton, was kicking my butt in tennis. And I was pissed. Not at him, but at myself.

We’d been playing almost every week since the beginning of summer. At first it was a rediscovery for both of us. Neither of us had played in a while–in my case it had been something like 10 years since I’d played.

The first couple of weeks were awesome. Sheer joy. It didn’t matter to us who won or lost. We were caught up in the fun of whacking tennis balls back and forth.

So what had changed?

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Loving & Hating Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2007

Valentine’s Day is peculiar, isn’t it?

I can’t think of any other holiday that triggers such joy in one group and such envy and resentment in another. Even those who don’t care either way are forced to define themselves as participants or non-participants by the oh so prevalent, “So are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?”

Valentine’s Day feels like a finger pointing at me to remind me of my relationship status. Last year I was in a romantic relationship; this year I’m not. The break-up was painful, but I’ve accepted it. Still, it feels like Valentine’s Day is that cruel co-worker tapping me on the shoulder to remind me that I was passed over for promotion.

It’s just a date on the calendar! No different than February 13th or 15th. So why can it feel so pleasurable one year and so painful the next?

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The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

October 2, 2006

In order to be successful in today’s demanding, interpersonal world, you must have a high level of emotional intelligence. Without it, your actions and reactions become emotional compulsions instead of rational choices, and your interactions become frustrating antagonisms instead of powerful synergies.

Emotional intelligence consists of four skills:
1. Self-awareness
2. Self-management
3. Social awareness
4. Relationship management

In The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book, Bradberry and Greaves do a good job making the case for increasing one’s emotional intelligence and they contribute some useful suggestions for doing so. My one complaint is that the book is a little light, in my opinion. I would have preferred more real-world advice and more detailed information—more content, to be blunt.

But I think The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book makes an excellent introduction to the subject. Note: If you want to take advantage of the included online assessment, you must buy the book new. Each book comes with a unique access code.

Fear & Anxiety – 3 Simple Remedies

September 25, 2006

Fear and anxiety are the enemy of healthy relationships, personal development, business growth, and physical health. They can sour any experience in life. They are what stop you before you even start. But there are powerful, yet simple remedies you can begin using immediately to overcome your worst anxiety and fears.

1. Move Your Body

Sustained physical activity like exercise increases blood flow, improves alertness and mental acuity, and reduces muscle tension. It increases serotonin levels (low serotonin levels have been linked to depression). It also tends to bring your focus to the present moment, away from any anxiety-producing thoughts about the past or future. And regular exercise improves self-esteem by giving you a feeling of progress, growth, and being in control.

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Being Present – The Art of Paying Attention

February 1, 2006

For many of us, the phrase “pay attention” conjures up memories of parents, teachers, and maybe even bosses who would scold us for not being focused on what they felt we “should” be focused on. But paying attention has a much deeper and fundamental meaning. Paying attention is the equivalent of being present.

We’ve all had intense moments of presence. For example, someone driving in front of you brakes really hard and you almost hit them. You feel present then, don’t you? But it’s also possible to be present on a more regular basis. Before I explain how, let’s first discuss the rationale for being present.

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Controlling Emotions

November 15, 2005

Are you in control of your emotions, or do your emotions control you?

Tell me if you’ve had this experience: You stuff yourself at dinner, and later that night or the next day while you’re thinking back on what a glutton you were, you promise yourself that you’ll never do that again. Starting now, you’re turning over a new leaf. Things are going to be different! And they are…for a few days, maybe. But before you know it, your old eating habits have returned. Why?

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