24.3.15

Overcoming setbacks: 7 steps to take when your plan fails

by coachingpositiveperformance

When you are setting goals and attempting to improve your life, you will spend time developing plans to help you achieve your objectives. Many times, these plans will prove to be effective and will lead swiftly to the achievement of your goals. Every so often, your plan fails and you suffer a setback. Setbacks happen to everyone; knowing how to react when your plan fails is an essential aspect of achievement. There is a simple little process which you can work through whenever your plan fails which will help you to adapt and get back on track without any great stress.

7 Steps to take when your plan fails

When your plan fails to achieve its objective, you can implement the following 7 steps to create a new plan and way forward. The end result will be an effective plan which builds on the positive aspects and overcomes the failings of your initial plan.

1. Clarify what the goal was

When your plan fails, the first thing that you need to do is to clarify what exactly you were hoping to achieve. You need to understand how close you came to accomplishing your goal.
Realism and accuracy are important here to help you avoid overreacting.

 2. Clarify the outcome

Once you are clear on what you were trying to achieve, it is imperative that you understand the outcome you achieved. It is rare that absolutely everything goes wrong, so take the time to determine both the positives and the negatives.  Ask yourself ‘What went well?’ and ‘What did not go so well?’ You will need to make some changes but it is important that in making those changes, you do not undo some of the good work that you have already done.

 3. List the things that went wrong

Build on the previous point by making a list of everything that went wrong. Try to capture every little detail. If others were involved, ask them for their thoughts. Remember to focus on the goal. This is not a moaning session; you are trying to identify the things that prevented you from achieving your goal. If people want to talk about other issues, leave that for another time.

 4. Divide the list in 2

When you feel that you have captured every detail, you need to divide the list in 2. When a plan fails, not everything which caused it to fail will have been within your control e.g. bad weather. Therefore, you must name your 2 lists – ‘things which I can control’ and ‘things which are outside of my control’. Review each item on your initial list carefully and place it under the appropriate heading.

 5. Chuck away the list of things you cannot change

Often, when a plan fails, people choose to curse and moan about the things they cannot control. If you focus on the things which you cannot control, you will soon find yourself banging your head against a wall (metaphorically speaking).  Instead, chuck this list away and resolve to focus solely on what you can change. When you focus only on the areas where you can make a difference, you will achieve greater results at a faster rate.

 6. Make an action plan

Now that you are left with a list of things which you can control, you need to develop an action plan for making the necessary changes. Action plans are not effective when they are focused on avoiding the negative. Your list is a list of things that went wrong. You now need to determine what you would want to happen in each of these instances and make plans for making this happen.

 7. Take action

When your first plan fails, you must not waste time wallowing in despair or self-pity. These things happen. At this point, you have now conducted a review and created some action plans for changing the situation. You need to set the wheels of change in motion at the earliest opportunity. Identify an action which you can take to get things going and take that action as soon as possible.
Learn to set effective goals that will take you from where you are to where you want to be with the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.

You may put a great deal of effort into planning and creating your ideal life. This is a good thing. There will be times when your plan fails and you do not achieve the goal you were aiming for. This is natural part of life. It is not a cause for despair. Rather than getting upset, you can review the situation, identify the changes which you can make and get back on track to achieving your objectives. Setbacks happen to everyone so, if you want to achieve your objectives, you have to learn how to deal with them effectively without getting too caught up in the disappointment that comes with them. If you follow the 7 steps outlined above, you will be able to deal with the majority of your setbacks without losing stride.

23.3.15

............. Tips for Learning Spanish .............


  1. Don't expect to be perfect!

    Can you remember when learned to ride a bicycle? Did you ride perfectly from the first time you sat on the seat? When learning a new language, expect that you will make mistakes, and don't be embarrassed by them!
  2. Work on developing an "ear" for Spanish.

    Remember that language is first and foremost oral communication. A written alphabet is merely a collection of symbols used to represent the sounds of the language, and cannot be expected to capture every nuance of sound and intonation. Try to develop a "good ear" for Spanish. An easy and fun way to do this is by listening to Spanish music, watching Spanish movies, or watching Spanish cable TV.
  3. Practice SPEAKING!

    The only way to learn to speak a language, is by actually SPEAKING. You can study for years, and master all of the grammar rules, but unless you actually practice speaking, you will never speak well. When you are practicing speaking, remember to do it out loud, at normal conversational volume.
  4. Be consistent.

    To really learn a language takes time and commitment. Consistency is by far the most important factor. If you can devote a solid twenty minutes a day, nearly every day, you will be far more successful than if you "cram" for an hour or two, but only sporadically.
  5. Talk to yourself.

    When learning a foreign language, it is common for listening skills to develop more rapidly than speaking skills, leaving the learner in the unfortunate situation of being able to understand, but unable to respond. A good way to surmount this problem is to talk to yourself as much as possible. Because there is no one else around, you won't be weighed down by the inhibition that so frequently burdens the beginning language student.
  6. Use flashcards.

    One of the best tips we can give you is to make and use flashcards. Make cards that are small enough to easily carry with you, and write the English on one side and Spanish on the other. Be sure to ALWAYS have some cards with you. This way, you can capture "wasted" time (standing in line, riding the bus, waiting for class to start, etc.) and turn it into productive study time. Even if you only have a couple of minutes, you can use it to study a few flashcards.
  7. Label your surroundings.

    Make labels for things all over your house. For example: la pared (wall), la puerta (door), el escritorio (desk) etc. Remove the labels only after you have mastered the vocabulary.
  8. Be patient.

    Progress in language learning does not follow a straight-line graph. You cannot expect to make the same amount of progress, day after day, week after week. You may find yourself struggling at times, seeming to make no progress. Don't let this discourage you. It is normal to reach plateaus in your learning progress. If you find yourself "stuck" try spending time going back and reviewing things that you already know well. Often this will help prepare you to break through to the next level.
  9. Find a partner.

    Try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. This can be your greatest asset and perhaps you can also provide assistance to your partner in your native language.
  10. Read out loud.

    Try reading out loud. You will get all of the benefits of reading, plus you'll get really good pronunciation practice. In fact, as a beginner, you should read aloud as much as possible.
source

22.3.15

Cheap Novels and Their Value When Learning A Foreign Language


There are two main blocks in a language – vocabulary and grammar. Put in another way, when learning a foreign language you are building a house, and the grammar you are dealing with is like the metal and concrete structure, and the vocabulary are the bricks you put into that structure. This post is concerned with the bricks, the words you have to learn.

You are eager to start talking in that foreign language – but you feel that you don’t know enough words.

Let me help you by telling you about my personal experience. The second foreign language I learned was English (and I seem to have done well LOL). I was exactly in that position, feeling like chatting away with my friends, but always groping for words. Until I started reading English books…….

Now, I obviously didn’t start with Shakespeare, but I got hold of some cheap novel about Adolf Hitler (of all people…). Somehow, in this novel, they deep-froze his head and surgically put in on another, younger body back in the eighties – total crap, obviously, but can you imagine how I felt when I finished the book? Absolutely on top of the world, because it was my FIRST English book, and I understood the story.

Remember, at that time I didn’t understand half the words – BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER, I got the story, I understood the plot, and I had fun.

And, something very important, I didn’t TRY to understand every word. I didn’t read the book with a dictionary at my side, looking up a word every 5 minutes – that would have taken the fun out of it, and it is important that you have fun. Again, I understood the story line.

But here is what happens if you do the same. You might come across a word you don’t understand at this point, in a specific context. You continue reading, and a couple of pages later you find the same word BUT IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT. You are beginning to get the idea, and, after a couple of pages, you find it again, yet again in a different context. See what I’m getting at?

Applying this technique you will learn new vocabulary without being aware of it. It’s kind of contextual learning, very akin to total immersion. And, as in total immersion, do not translate into your mother language unless it’s absolutely necessary. More than anything, it would slow down your efforts.

So, go and grab yourself some cheap paperback and have some fun.

Technique To Improve Spanish Listening Comprehension


Let’s assume you are toying with the idea of spending your retirement in Mexico, or you are planning to spend a summer semester at a Madrid university.

It is down the road. However, you are getting ready and have enrolled in a Spanish language course.

Look up a radio station, either on your computer or your old fashioned radio, that’s suited to your needs, i.e. a station from the country you are going to spend time in.

It obviously shouldn’t be an all music radio station, that would defeat the purpose. If you are interested in current events, find one that broadcasts local and international news regularly. Or find a culture channel if you are into books, theater, etc.

Have the station running, in the background, whenever you are cooking, browsing the web, having a hot bath, you name it.

There’s no need for you to constantly pay attention. Here quantity goes over quality. Let Spanish phrases and vocabulary shower into your brain, pick up the dĂșctus (melody) of the language. If  there is a song, try to sing along.

Important Aspect of Learning a Foreign Language


First of all, if you are studying a foreign language in order to pass an exam at university, or you are studying English in order to pass the TOEFL exam, this post might not be of much interest to you. For you to pass the exam, you have to get it right, period.

However, if you are learning a foreign language in order to communicate in that language, please continue reading. You are enrolled in a night course to learn Spanish because you want to relocate to Mexico? This is for you. You are learning German because your spouse got a promotion and the whole family will move to Austria? You gonna love this post!

Let’s have a general look at communication first. There are basically three aspects to it: verbal communication, body language and facial expression/tone of voice.

Body language makes up a whooping 55% of our communication, facial expression/tone of voice 38% and our verbal expression, the things we say (and it doesn’t matter in this context in which language we say them) are a tiny 7%.

Yes, you read that right, what you SAY is only seven percent of your total communication.

Just imagine, somebody tells you that he is really glad that you got that job. However, he spits the words into your face and bangs his fist on the table while he is uttering those nice words. A little exagerated, maybe, but you get the picture – you run! And he said he is happy for you…….

So even when you are talking in your native language, people don’t listen so much to what you say, but how you say it. And the same applies when communicating in a foreign language.

In this context there are basically two types of students. The first one wants to get it all right. He/she is terrified of making a mistake, he has to get the grammar right, and don’t even mention the tenses, they have to be spot on! So what happens in a real conversation, when that student is trying his French on a tourist that asks him for directions – he freezes, and while he is groping for the right adverb the tourist has moved on.

The other one doesn’t care, he wants to help, she wants to communicate. I´ve witnessed, while living in Greece, people having conversations with their Greek friends for hours on end – funny thing was, they hardly spoke Greek. But, and I have to admit, helped by a couple of ouzos, they had a heck of a time.

So the first things I tell my students is that they have to relax. I invite them to do some math. Even if they only speak 10% of German, meaning that they don’t have a clue about the other 90%, through that ‘big failure’ they lose only 0.63% of their total communication! Remember, the words we say make only 7% of what we say. More than anything we speak through our gestures, the way we say things, the tone of voice.

So let me make that same recommendation to you – relax, have some fun! Remember, you don’t want to write a grammar book or a dictionary, you want to COMMUNICATE.

Teacher Jobs Abroad

The way I see it, being a teacher is not only a profession, but a vocation. All professions I consider a vocation, like that of a musician to name just another example, involve activities that are based on an inherent talent of the person. Sure, there are thousands of teachers who took up that profession simply because it was convenient to do so, or it was the closest the person could think of as a profession, or maybe dad was a teacher, you name it. They are the reasons why most people choose any job, any profession.

I’m sure that when you think back to your childhood and school years you will remember ONE teacher who had a tremendous influence over you. And I’m equally sure that that particular teacher was born with the specific talent to instruct and form other people, be they children, adolescents or adults.

As a teacher you might acquire new experiences by working abroad. You might be interested in working for a couple of years in Asia, for example. Imagine the wealth of experience and knowledge you would come back with to your home country! You would yourself grow as a person, immerse yourself in another culture, and get to know new religions, customs, develop new paradigms. You would literally broaden your mind, learn yourself. And as a good teacher you know that the learning process never ends, that even as an adult we have to continuously work on ourselves, expand our horizon.

There are a lot of perks involved when working for a serious school or institution abroad. In many cases you get paid less than you would earn at home, particularly if you are from the US or Europe. However, you have to take into consideration the cost of living in that particular country. In dollar/Euro terms you might be earning less, but when you do the math and see how much less it costs you to live there, you might actually be earning a lot more. And many times you earn a comfortable tax-free salary. Very often the school you work for provides you with spacious housing where your employer pays the bills. And there are those schools that provide you with a company car.

As far as the actual work is concerned, more often than not you work with small class sizes, which make your job obviously far more pleasant. You’re able to connect or bond with your students, get them to know in more detail and therefore are able to focus on his or her particular strength or weaknesses. That obviously has a great impact on your job and makes it far more rewarding.

There are for example a lot of primary teacher jobs available in India. All throughout India teaching is considered a respected profession, and, depending on where you live and teach, you know that that is not the case in all countries. New Delhi has numerous renowned educational institutions, but not only that. As in most capitals of the world there are a lot of multinational companies that are actively hiring foreign teachers to either teach their staff English or work with the families of said staff. Particularly India with its booming economy should be a place to check out carefully when looking and applying for teaching jobs abroad – the potential is just tremendous.

Or imagine working in London! You could land a job in a private primary school, working with pupils from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Would that make you a better teacher over time? You bet. And apart from you fine-tuning your skills as a teacher, you’d work from Monday to Friday and on the weekends you could go and explore Europe. The possibilities are endless.

There are a lot of teacher agencies online and off-line that can assist you when looking for a teacher position abroad. They usually help you pick the right country, and they have a list of available vacancies. Good Luck!

Beware of Translation Software

In order to judge the quality of translations made through a translation software, we have to take a couple of steps back into the foggy realm of linguistics. Don’t worry, I’m not going to write some theoretical, scientific piece here, everything will be based on my practical experience as a language teacher and translator over the past 20 years or so.

First of all, let’s forget about foreign language and concentrate on how we learn to speak in our mother tongue.

Imagine a toddler touching inadvertently the glass front of a hot stove – the experience is one of immediate pain, accompanied by his mother’s shout (albeit too late) of “ Be careful, it’s HOT!”

That word ‘hot’ for the toddler is nothing else but a sound that comes out of his mother’s mouth. The toddler doesn’t recognize it as a ‘word’, he doesn’t have a corresponding paradigm or concept of it in his brain. But that sound will always be linked to the pain he experienced, the sound (word) will have acquired MEANING.

The process of talking is basically nothing else but going back to our memory files, extracting a paradigm, concept, memory, what have you, and attaching to it the corresponding sound (word) and uttering it. That’s why we are (obviously) incapable to talk about things we don’t understand.

A common mistake made when translating, either a written word or somebody’s spoken words, as in consecutive or simultaneous translation, is to translate the words – it doesn’t work. It would work if all cultures would posses the same paradigms, collective memory, archetypes, etc. But they don’t, that’s what makes us different.

So it doesn’t make sense as a translator to mechanically look into our memory file, the place where we have stored our ‘dictionary’, and simply substitute one sound (word) for another. What a professional translator does is that he/she translates meaning.

And that’s precisely what a translation software cannot do. Yes, it can mechanically, through a series of algorithms, substitute one word for another – but it can’t discern meaning, it can't think!

That’s why automatic translations look so weird – that is, if you speak both languages. But if you speak both languages, you wouldn’t use a translation software, would you?

Translation software are basically a hyped-up marketing gimmick, and I recommend against their use.

16.3.15

Top 15 Smart Psychology Hacks

by Life Hacks

When it comes to life hacks, the most well known are the one around the kitchen, clothing and home. There are not so much deep psychology hacks that can improve social status and relationships between people. Because of this we collected list of top 15 psychology hacks that will pick up the brain of the people around you and raise your social status. Check them out one by one and as always please write us bellow in comments if you are familiar with more of them…
















12.3.15

15 Smart Psychology Hacks

source: Hack The Life

When it comes to life hacks, the most well known are the one around the kitchen, clothing and home. There are not so much deep psychology hacks that can improve social status and relationships between people. Because of this we collected list of top 15 psychology hacks that will pick up the brain of the people around you and raise your social status.