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Thought-Provoking Ideas that Inspire. 

Dialogue or Debate?

personal growth Jul 15, 2020
I’m a proud member of AARP... 🤷🏾‍♂️
 
For my non-American audience, that’s the American Association of Retired Persons. No, I’m not 50 (yet) but I read a Forbes article a couple years back that said they’d let a 35 year old in. At 40, they let me in... 👊🏾
 
In our most recent publication that was mailed to me, AARP’s President, Catherine Alicia Georges wrote a compelling piece. This attached words really capture the heart, spirit, and soul of what we need most right now:
 
Unity over Division
Hope over Hate
Faith over Fear
Compassion over Confrontation
 
A more “just, caring, and thriving world” (in the words of LeaderShape) is impossible without Unity, Hope, Faith, and Compassion.
 
I only have one thing to add to the list above: Dialogue over Debate.
 
If we focus on proving each other wrong, we can’t find common ground. All relationships depend on common ground (not complete agreement)....
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We Can’t Sustainably Live In The “Red” Zone

personal growth Jul 10, 2020
I wouldn’t recommend running with an oxygen deprivation mask in 83% humidity. Most sane people wouldn’t do it even under the best weather conditions 🤷🏾‍♂️

Stopping to take this picture this week gave me a brief break from my insanity. I wanted to illustrate something that many of us tend to do too frequently: staying in the “red” zone too long.

Like the RPMs in a vehicle, nothing good comes from spending too much time in the “red zone” — we could damage the engine. Yet, we push ourselves far beyond the limit a lot.

I’m a firm believer in sustainability. My definition of this word is doing something for the next five years without causing emotional, spiritual, physical, psychological, or other damage.

Running at 173 BPM or more for too long would eventually damage my ticker. That same concept applies to all other aspects of our lives. We can’t sustainably live in the “red” zone.

I’m certainly not knocking putting in...
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Narrative Flexibility

resiliency Jul 09, 2020
Posttraumatic growth involves the powerful experience of narrative transformation. The secret to achieving narrative transformation, and ultimately posttraumatic growth and resiliency, is learning how to assign appropriate meaning to life’s events.
- Disrupted!: Resiliently Reintegrating After Stress & Adversity

COVID-19 has invaded our collective consciousness. I can’t remember any event capturing our imagination on a global scale as much as this pandemic. As a phenomenologist, I traffic in the lived experiences of those I’m fortunate to conduct my research with. The power of story has fascinated me since my childhood in Zambia, where the fabric of our history is woven deeply into our stories and narratives.

As I look at the landscape of our world, it’s clear COVID-19 is seared in every one of our stories. The difference, I believe, lies in how we process this experience and what value we place on this experience. Calhoun and Tedeschi are researchers who...

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Do You See HOPE In A Sunrise/Sunset?

resiliency Jul 07, 2020
What do you see in a sunset (or a sunrise)
The beginning of the day? Or the end of the day?

On Independence Day, I worked a few hours before I got to sit and enjoy some time off and do some reflecting. This sunset was the perfect backdrop for my musings.

I see HOPE in my sunrises and my sunsets...
I’m reminded that a new day is dawning, and that an evening of promise approaches.
I’m consoled knowing that I DON’T have to control everything.
That some of my best blessings are gifts such as witnessing another sunset.

Recent research by Gallup has found that what we all need during this pandemic is HOPE.
I’m not talking about hope springing eternal; I’m talking about visionary hope.
The kind of hope that puts anticipation deep within us.
The kind of hope that makes us yearn for another chance at life.
The kind of hope that puts actions behind dreams and intent.

How do we find that hope?
By SOWING it...
If we want a harvest of hope in our selves...
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Are You A Critical Thinker?

mindset Jul 02, 2020
"You like her...until you don't..."

That's what I told one of my clients recently about her relationship with her supervisor. She's had different supervisors, and everything starts off great with each one...then it deteriorates into complaining about how bad the supervisor is. What I tried to help my client understand is that the common denominator in each case isn't the supervisor...it's her!

We can't win in life without critical thinking.

Do you have an open mind? Or do you dig your heels in and hold your beliefs without challenging them?

How about healthy skepticism? Do you take everything like a large-mouth bass or catfish swallows the whole hook?

Intellectual humility...is that something you cultivate? Or are you convinced that you alone hold court and know it all?

Are you a free thinker? Or are you prone to groupthink and just go with the crowd instead of thinking for yourself?

Do you have a deep desire (motivation) for Truth? Or you're alright having others tell you what the...
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Transformative Experiences Come From Critical Thought

mindset Jun 29, 2020
Growing up in Zambia, there were three national exams that we had to pass to matriculate into the next phases of school:
Grade 7 exams.
Grade 9 exams.
Grade 12 exams.

In Grade 7, we took two tests — Special Paper 1 and 2 — that checked our critical thinking and reasoning skills. When I moved to the U.S., I was amazed that Critical Thinking wasn’t formally taught for most until college...

Our times call for Critical Thinkers — people who refuse to hide behind the emotion of an experience, and judge it with BOTH a clear mind and a clear heart. Sadly, it’s quite clear that crucial critical thinking and reasoning skills are lacking right now...

Critical thinking doesn’t mean we don’t feel our emotions. Critical thinking means we don’t allow our emotions to blur our vision, poison the well of wisdom, or excuse us of all common sense. We can’t have what my friends at LeaderShape call “a more just, caring, and thriving...
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What Is Your Best Communication Skill?

communication Jun 26, 2020
I taught Interpersonal Communication to College Freshmen for 12 years. I’d informally survey each class with the following prompt: “Raise your hand if you believe you’re a good listener.” Often, 80% of the class would raise their hands. If you were in my class, would you raise your hand?

Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality — we invite others into our very being. Listening, a crucial communication skill, seems to be like “good driving” — surveys show that 80% of people believe they’re good drivers. Reality, however, doesn’t bear that out, does it?

As a Certified Professional in Talent Development, one of the 7 capabilities a CPTD must have is Communication. The truth is, and I might be biased here, communication is the skill that determines all other capabilities. It’s a skill we must all develop and enhance each day.

With everything going on around us, let us LISTEN more than we speak. Let us seek DIALOGUE...
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Do You Have Too Many Tabs Open?

resiliency Jun 24, 2020
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to juggle. No, the circus wasn’t in town, and I wasn’t auditioning! 😡

As a social scientist, I was conducting a study on learning and metacognition. Figured I’d see if the science worked on me.

After many hours of practice, I learned how to juggle three balls, lemons, oranges, etc. Proud of myself, I thought I’d add a forth item...

Short story? As much as I want more, three items is my max. Adding a forth, or fifth, means the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Do you feel that way sometimes?
Like you’re juggling three things like a boss, and then a forth, fifth, or sixth thing is thrown in and the whole thing falls apart?

You’re not alone. The simple fact is that we try to do too much. We shame ourselves into feeling like we’re not doing enough...

Perhaps it’s your culture. Or your upbringing. Or your perfectionism. Whatever it is, it’s not sustainable. Please. Stop.

You have too many...
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To Win...We Never Quit!

resiliency Jun 19, 2020
Nothing beats “earned rest” — the kind you’ve had to pay a steep price for. It could be a long run, multiple extra shifts at work, a season of depression, or fighting for a dream that’s been 10 years in the making...

In my success journey, I’ve found that the great equalizer is perseverance. Talent isn’t enough. Opportunity isn’t enough. Strength isn’t enough. Even courage isn’t enough. To win, we have to never quit!

H. Jackson Brown holds the trophy to my favorite quote: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength but by perseverance.” DON’T YOU DARE QUIT, MY FRIEND!

© 2020, Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai. No part of this blog post may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the copyright holder.
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What Do You See?

personal growth Jun 16, 2020
What do you see?

An “old” pair of sneakers? The holes in the sneakers? Let me tell you what I see...

...I see the most comfortable running shoes I own. I see the countries, cities, towns, and miles we’ve experienced together. I see how I really do have everything I want...

BIG IDEA: Be careful about wanting “new” things — they don’t always fit, they’re not the most comfortable, and they often come with little real and valuable experience. As for having everything I want, it’s just like my main nutrition rule: I can eat as much of the things I like as I want. The secret is in changing what you like...

© 2020, Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai. No part of this blog post may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the copyright holder.
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