Where Do You Live – Past, Present, Or Future?

What does your past have in common with Jimmy Hoffa? They are both dead!

I have a dear friend who is agonizing over a decision he made several weeks ago. He had to fire someone. It was a good decision, and one that was actually necessary to preserve his own integrity in his business. The person was being paid a high salary, and with that comes responsibility for leadership and willingness to learn new things (especially since it was a position in information technology.) But this person refused to learn anything new. He wanted to show up every day and do the same things he always did. He also had to be spoon-fed assignments. While he was supposed to be my friend’s backup, he showed no leadership potential nor desire to develop it. And, he was using company time to do his side job.

So why is my friend suffering over this? He is a good person, and he thinks he hurt the person he fired. The truth is, he did this guy a favor by giving him a wake-up call. But my real point is this:

What possible benefit do we get from reliving the past? None! After we accept any lesson we needed to learn, it is time to move on. Driving with your eyes on the rear view mirror is dangerous!

That being said, we need a healthy balance between:

Visualizing our future
Living in the present, to take action
In “Think And Grow Rich” Napoleon Hill’s Self Confidence Formula challenges you to spend 30 minutes daily thinking about the person you want to become. But he also says to transform that picture into reality through practical service and to spend 10 minutes daily to develop the factors named in his “The Law of Success” book. One of the principles he teaches is that you need definite plans and you need to put them into action. But without the visualization of where you are trying to go, “any road will do.”

I personally believe some of us spend too much time in the past because we are afraid to move forward. We think if we keep going over what already happened, the success formula for the future will become evident. But it doesn’t work that way. We need to decide where we want to go, and let the Universe show the way.

Setting forth bold intentions and burning the bridges of escape, as Mr. Hill teaches, is very scary! And yet he also teaches us that temporary defeat is to be expected and accepted. There is no reason to fear temporary defeat, as long as it is temporary. The point is to persist and never give up on that burning desire you create in your mind.

Spend just enough time in the future to know what it looks like, and reflect on it daily. But don’t spend all day visualizing! Once the picture is clear each day, live in the present and use all of your senses to get the messages the Universe sends you about the correct actions to take.

And remember, as Mr. Hill teaches, “Through the principle of auto-suggestion, any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of realizing it.”

Negotiating Skills and the 10 Powers of Negotiation: The Critical Role of Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking and the 10 Powers of Negotiation…

Does anyone doubt that men and woman are sometimes different — or that they sometimes view the world differently? Has anyone experienced how men and women can sometimes have different perceptions of the same event? Can anyone seriously dispute that men and women sometimes approach relationships quite differently? So, why is this? And why is this even remotely relevant in the context of negotiation?

To negotiate effectively, we need to use both sides of our brain. Left-brain people focus on logic, mathematics, rational thought, and black-and-white thinking. Approximately 90% of men in the world are left-brain dominated. Right-brain people focus on intuition, emotion and creativity. Approximately 90% of women in the world are right-brain dominated. To be effective negotiators, we must become lateral thinkers by learning to use both sides of our brain.

After spending more than 30 years negotiating agreements around the world and after researching Nelson Mandela’s approach to his historic negotiations with the South African apartheid government, I identified 10 Powers of Negotiation. These 10 Powers reveal the critical role of lateral thinking in the negotiating process by highlighting that negotiators need both left and right-brain skills. You will notice that some require predominantly left-brain skills and others require predominantly right-brain skills. But, to pull all the Powers together, negotiators require a combination of both.

These are the 10 Powers:

• The power of understanding that a negotiation is a process.

• The power of preparation.

• The power of positioning.

• The power of common sense and logic.

• The power of dignity, congeniality, humility and humor.

• The power of truth and fairness.

• The power of observation – of listening and seeing.

• The power of morality, courage and attitude.

• The power of patience.

• The power to walk away.

The advantages of lateral thinking…

Because lateral thinkers are people who have the ability to use both the left and right sides of their brain, they have significantly more insight into human behavior than those who are not lateral thinkers. They not only see unusual patterns of behavior that others might miss, they also have a more nuanced and layered sense of what is happening around them. Because of this, they also see more options for problem solving and have far superior problem solving skills than those who are not lateral thinkers.

And because the negotiating process is about identifying the problems each side is hoping to solve, the identification of the problems and finding different options and approaches to solving those problems lie at the very core of any successful negotiation.

Lateral thinking and empathy…

Nelson Mandela’s negotiating skills and experiences highlight the enormous importance of looking at every negotiation through the eyes of those with whom you are negotiating. He saw the enormous advantages that this can present on many different levels in a negotiation. His life is a remarkable window into his lateral thinking skills. It is quite fascinating how he honed these skills during his life and how he used them in his negotiations with the South African government.

When it comes to being able to see the world through the other side’s eyes, empathy is the name of the game. While it might be tempting to argue, using left-brain skills, that a position the other side is taking is “logical” or “illogical” or “black-and-white,” almost invariably the right-brain skills are far more telling and useful. Clearly, to get into someone’s head we need to tap into their emotional state and understand it. We need to tap into whatever intuitive skills we can muster. In doing so, we come to realize the enormous advantages most women have over those of us who are predominantly left-brain oriented.

This is why we either have to develop both left-brain and right-brain skills, or we have to assemble negotiating teams that possess these skills.

How lateral thinking exposes the risk of negotiating alone…

I’ve accepted that I’m a predominantly left-brain person. I think of myself as logical and rational — perhaps to a fault. I’ve also always accepted the problem that this almost inevitably creates — and the opportunities that I might lose as a result. I’ve therefore accepted the absolute need to work on my right-brain functionality. Unfortunately, what I’ve sometimes found is that, as I began to focus on my right-brain development, I often found myself taking my eye off my left-brain functionality. I needed to find a solution to this — and I did.

I decided that, whenever possible, I would never negotiate alone. Instead, I wanted at my side the smartest right-brain negotiator I could find — as well as the smartest left-brain negotiator to keep me focused. I would have to gather around me the smartest right-brain and left-brain people I could find. And because 90% of women are right-brain dominant, that was where I’d look for the right-brain part of my team.

As the 10 Powers of Negotiation highlights, negotiators have to keep their eyes on my different balls simultaneously. And as they have to observe and listen to the other side’s negotiating team, and particularly when that team is sometimes quite large, it is almost impossible to do this alone. To have a team of left and right-brain negotiators watching and listening and assessing what is happening is a huge advantage and will always yield a better result than handling this alone.

So, don’t be proud, folks. Gather together a team of the most skilled lateral thinkers you can find…

The Leading Christmas Presents for Women This Christmas 2010

On the subject of shopping for your female partner, or friend, at Christmas time, you (along with many other men) may be stuck for ideas and in need of inspiration! Although women of all ages consider themselves to be really simple to buy for, us men tend to disagree with their claims. At Xmas time, ladies say all they want is jewellery, perfume, cosmetics, etc; but we all know too well that women are actually very fussy when it comes to the products they use, and this is where men really struggle! If you need a helping hand, look no further! Below I recommend 5 of the best festive gifts to present your female partner with on Christmas morning. Just call me your Yuletide fairy godmother!

As a quick side note, I’ll provide you with a bit of information on ‘what not to get’ in terms of Christmas presents. To begin, don’t bother with cooking devices because, unless your girlfriend is mad about rustling up the best meals every night and see’s herself as the next Delia Smith, then you’ll be greeted with an unhappy face when she unwraps your festive gift. It will probably fall as flat as a pancake and you’ll spend the rest of the day trying to avoid her frosty glare! Nothing says I love you less than a boring piece of kitchen equipment on a wintery Christmas morning. Women don’t want to think about the time they spend in the kitchen when they’re on their holiday break!

If you want to guarantee your girlfriend or wife is utterly embarrassed by her present then get her ‘sexy’ lingerie. On the other hand, if you want to be seen as a caring, kind boyfriend then don’t do it! Unless you get this as a tiny little extra alongside a much bigger, better and more expensive gift, then this sort of gift should not be bought. Remember, when you’re buying a Christmas present, you’re buying for her – not for yourself! If it doesn’t fit her it will ruin her day and it’s not the kind of treat she can show the family is it?!

So, on to the top gifts to buy your lady; let’s start with jewellery. Something flashy, sparkly and diamante is always a great festive treat for your girlfriend and she’ll love the attention she gets off all of the guests who are admiring it. Jewellery is always a safe bet at Xmas time if you want to please your woman and it’s a firm favourite choice across the board at Christmas time.

Just remember though, unless you want your girlfriend to become your wife this Christmas, don’t buy anything that could be mistaken for an engagement ring. Silver rings might suggest a deeper meaning than you intended and you could upset your female friend without meaning to. Another thing to think about is the type of material you go for and the style of the item you pick. Because Christmas is a special occasion, opt for a gold or silver piece of jewellery as it will look more expensive and classy and, if you’ve been with your partner for a while, consider the type of jewellery she likes to wear and pick something similar. Jewellery is a very personal thing so if you know she likes a certain style, go for that. If you’re really not sure what to buy, select something that can be returned just in case (that means don’t get her earrings because most stores won’t take them back).

What about a spa break? This is always a hit with the female species. After the rush and the panic that goes on up until Christmas day, she will definitely love a present that will allow her to relax and be pampered for a day or more. Even if you can’t afford a spa weekend away, treat her to some makeover therapies. For example, a nail manicure, a foot pedicure, hair treatments or a massage will give her something to smile about. If you search around a bit you can usually find good deals because, as relaxing gifts like this are ever-increasing in popularity, the cost price is coming down due to competition.

If you want to pamper her in another way, go for toiletries, fragrances and also delicious chocolates. Girls adore all of these! A good idea is to put together a gift basket or a Christmas stocking filled with all of her beloved products and merchandise. Doing this will make it look like you’ve spent ages thinking about what to get her and, as a plus point, you can create a gift that is as expensive or inexpensive as you deem necessary. The items included can cover a range of products, topics or cosmetics; the only thing holding you back is your own creativity! This will be the most thoughtful Christmas present you could give to your wife or girlfriend.

An individualized Xmas gift will also delight your lady. Personalized presents can be anything at all; homemade treats, for instance a scrap book or a photo album that features your favourite photos of the two of you in special places will make it look like considerable time and energy has gone into creating your present. You could bake her some little sweetie treats from the heart. Or, if you are especially arty or a talented painter; handcrafted items are really interesting and different presents to make your girlfriend feel special at Christmas. You can also look for gifts in stores like personally named mugs, or engraved jewellery. There are literally hundreds of items like this on the market you can research.

Unique merchandise can be found online too. Why not name a star after your partner? Or buy a piece of the moon for her? You can be sure none of her girlfriends’ will already have one of these and she’ll get a certificate of authenticity to keep forever.

Last but not least all women like to read glossy magazines don’t they? A great present, which will last the year round, is a magazine membership. Whatever she likes to indulge in during her free time, most magazines offer a weekly or monthly subscription. So discover her most preferred magazine brand, or favourite hobby, and give her this present which will keep her happy for the following year. You can always re-subscribe for her next year too!

Copyright (c) 2010 Paul Evans