Skill Acquisition Improvements

We’ve shared tools that can speed up learning, and concepts that can teach entrepreneurs how to learn faster, but you should know that learning is often separated from skill acquisition in the same way that theory is separated from practice. For the purposes of this blog, learning is a way to improve the efficiency of a skill through facts or testing, whereas skill acquisition is improving the ability to perform the desired action at specific quality consistently. In order for you to get the most out of your attempts at skill acquisition, you may want to plan for specific ways to increase your skill acquisition rate.

Do You Want The Skills You Are Choosing?

Do You Really Want It

Before practicing a skill you may want to ask yourself: Do I want this to be a part of me? Will this skill progress me towards my goals? Will it progress me towards a future I want for myself? Developing a skill to a higher level takes a lot of time, and there’s no avoiding that. If you don’t want the skill to be a part of your life you should consider ignoring it.

Ask yourself whether you care enough to answer these four questions as part of your skill development:

  1. Can I make performing the skill an everyday habit? Every time you learn new information it should show in the performance of an everyday habit.
  2. Am I willing to put in the time and effort to learn from the best? Be willing to connect with high-performing mentors and commit to hard work every day to improve this skill.
  3. Can I focus on new learning opportunities over other opportunities? This can be developed by looking for new experiences to improve your skill and experience over other rewards.
  4. Can I put in the effort to practice? If you decide something interests you and want to make that skill a part of your routine, you should jump into it and assume the passion will come later, as long as the desire to try it is there now.

Acquiring Archery Skills

Faster Ways to Acquire Skills

Now that you are determined to commit long-term to practice something, you should figure out the fastest way to practice that thing. The following methods are similar to those presented by Josh Kaufman in The First 20 hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast as techniques to speed through the skill acquisition stages.

  1. Focus on a project that can keep you interested. The project could be the thing you are most passionate about or something more practical, but this project should be tied to the skill that you are most interested in developing. For example: If you want to develop communication skills, try communicating with your loved ones until the conversations go as well as you hope.
  2. Commit to one skill at a time for a longer period of time. It may be that you want to learn one hundred skills, but this will only slow down overall skill acquisition. A single skill contains fragments that can be developed and should probably be focused on in order to come to a clear understanding of how to use that skill.
  3. Split skills into sub-skills. Every skill is a combination of several concepts, principles, and mechanics called sub-skills. As an example, writing could include grammar, spelling, prosody, meter, rhyme, typing form, writing form, brainstorming, creative thinking, arguing, theme, story structure, and a host of other sub-skills. But what if the practitioner only wants to improve their ability to email their colleagues effectively? Let the desire define what sub-skills should be emphasized. By assigning priority to different sub-skills, it is possible to measure each sub-skill and decide which sub-skill requires focus.
  4. Develop your expectations. Having a future performance goal helps you find the right information to reach that goal. Occasionally failing to meet a goal is expected, as an 80 percent success with a 20 percent failure means that someone may be pushing themselves to improve. A success rate of 100 percent often means you may not be setting difficult enough goals. However, failure could also just mean bad estimations. Treat improving estimations of performance as part of developing the skill. Before practicing, ask, “How is this going to go? In what roles will everyone participate? How do I fit into that role?” After practicing, ask, “Did it go as I expected? What could I have done differently to achieve a better result? Why did other people who participated do what they did?” If you reach a performance goal, make a new one.
  5. Obtain important tools. You cannot play tennis without a racket. You can play with a low-quality racket. Find out what tools are essential for developing your chosen skill and which tools remove the consequences of failure and make acquiring those tools a necessary expense.
  6. Do whatever is necessary to keep the tools ready for use, have everything you need to practice ready, get rid of environmental distractions, and remove as much emotional pain as possible. Focus on doing what you already know and focusing on a single, new, discreet thing.
  7. Schedule a time to practice. Make it a promise to yourself, then keep practicing. Make practicing a sacred routine, and ritualize it if necessary.
  8. Get quick feedback. You don’t want to make something and hope it is okay. Find a way to judge quality as an objective measurement and find out if something is genius, terrible, or something in between as fast as possible.
  9. Practice in 20-minute bursts. Having a 20-minute burst where you are doing all you can to improve your skill can help fit the task within a calendar and allow you to commit as much energy as possible to improving within that burst.
  10. Emphasize quantity over quality. Assume that the feedback you will get from failing may point out mistakes quickly and thoroughly, and you may even have something to show for it. Focus on small ways to correct your form with each new attempt.

Holding a Four Leaf Clover

Four Stages of Skill Acquisition

Knowing the stages of skill acquisition may help you understand what to improve at different skill levels. The four-stage model, shown below, based on the model first developed by GTI Employee Noel Burch, is a tool used to quickly help you assess your skill competency. Each stage has a core question, and the ability to answer that question may give you a quick assessment of your level of competence with each skill. Knowing which of the four stages you are heading to next may help you understand how to develop your skills to effectively answer the question.

  1. Unconscious Incompetence – The core question behind unconscious incompetence is: can you execute the skill correctly? Just jumping into a skill and trying it might teach the motions, but it will not teach you how to judge your actions. It may take the focus of a mentor or self-analysis in order to think about what you are doing correctly. By building a technical foundation and learning how to move, measure, and think about each action you can move out of unconscious incompetence.
  2. Conscious Incompetence – The core question that surrounds conscious incompetence is: Can you plan around your skill and estimate it correctly? Learning how to plan is the fundamental lesson to solve conscious incompetence. This stage focuses on finding ways to measure the different processes and make confident estimations and reliable plans. Conscious incompetence is complete when you can confidently measure and can conceive of how to use the skill correctly in different situations.
  3. Conscious Competence – The core question that surrounds conscious competence is: can you conceive of a strategy to unify your skills? Can you unify all the skills together for a common goal? Can you analyze why a strategy was chosen over other strategies? When you feel you can figure out how to use your strategy for every situation, then it is possible to move onto the unconscious competence level of skill development.
  4. Unconscious Competence – The core question that surrounds unconscious competence is: Can you create opportunities possible out of small changes? Most of the effort while performing the skill at this level is spent on awareness and prediction. This level of competency assumes the ability to execute well in a large majority of instances and presumes the ability to take advantage of minutiae in timing as often as possible.

Let’s use an example skill: sword fighting to illustrate how this mental model might be used.

  1. Unconscious Incompetence – The swordfighter focuses on the technical execution of swordsmanship and experiments with the sword to discover new uses. to accomplish this they may focus on things like footwork, angles of attack, and other technical matters.
  2. Conscious Incompetence – The swordfighter begins to have the understanding to judge different situations. The swordsman will be in different situations and begin to make plans to take advantage of those situations, such as developing new ways to take advantage of the moment when two blades collide or figuring out how to exploit the moment when the opponent first comes within range.
  3. Conscious Competence – The swordfighter can figure out what decisions are most important. Often this comes down to deciding a key metric. As an example when they begin a match, they might say “I’m taller than them, I can get the first attack in an engagement, how do I maximize the number of attacks before my opponent can close in?” This can lead to strategic decisions, such as taking longer lunging strikes and quick retreats to force the opponent to constantly be on the defensive.
  4. Unconscious Competence – The swordfighter has experienced a lot of different styles. They will often be as aggressive as possible to force the opponent to react and gather information. Based on the information that they gather their style will shift to take advantage of what they believe will give them their greatest chance in the current situation as they gain new information.

By knowing the stages of advancement, and training at the level you feel comfortable you may be able to assess your development with a greater degree of certainty. If you know of a better way to improve, share it with us in the comments below.

Learning how to Learn

An entrepreneur may feel that they must specialize in learning. In business, it can feel like a necessity to constantly outlearn the competition. In a previous blog post, we gave entrepreneurs tools to help them learn faster in order to help accomplish that goal. However, while new learning tools are one method of improving learning speed, adapting learning concepts and principles may help just as much. Each the mental tricks shown below may be able to improve the quantity or quality of learning done every day.

9 steps to more effective learning

9 Steps To Speed Up Your Learning

In order to gain the most out of learning, it may be wise to have a structured approach for getting the most out of each learning session. As an example here are a few steps based on principles taught by Josh Kaufman in his book The First 20 hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast.

  1. Skim or read the summary of multiple sources and see which concepts come up in multiple sources, and make a judgment call which three or four sources will be the best source.
  2. Commit to trying something beyond your current abilities in a low-stakes environment. This either confirms that you already know enough or reveals any mistakes and shows what needs to be improved. Any confusion you feel can effectively point you to the thing you need to learn next.
  3. Identify mental models and mental hooks present in the text. Mental models are ideas, concepts, and techniques that come up over and over again. Mental hooks are analogies and metaphors useful to you in order to gain an immediate understanding of the current situation.
  4. Imagine the worst case scenarios when performing a skill and plan for them. When experimenting with something new, some failure is likely. Preventing failure or doing damage control may be more useful as a beginner since failure is more likely. Think about ways you can fail and what can be done to prevent that.
  5. Try to find a reliable benchmark to set up realistic expectations for yourself. If possible, contact practitioners to establish a baseline performance, as well as a performance goal, and judge how much effort it will take to meet your learning goals.
  6. Eliminate distractions in the environment and time the study sessions in order to treat being focused as the challenge that it is.
  7. Use spaced repetition (from flash cards or programs like Anki) can keep information in your memory.
  8. Create a pre-learning routine, such as creating a checklist and unplugging your router before you start a learning session to prevent being distracted by the internet, maybe a successful way to get started. Even an arbitrary ritual, such as turning on a lamp before you start, can help to develop a sense of commitment before beginning learning session.
  9. Take breaks after specific timed intervals. A human body may only be able to handle 90 minutes of engagement at a time. Some even believe 25 minutes of engagement followed by a 5-minute break is essential. Don’t push it, and remember to take regular breaks and get plenty of sleep.

Summary of Learning

Start with a Summary

If a book or document contains useful information, it may be wise to read up on a review, summary, or report of the material before reading the text. The information contained within the summary may be enough, making any continued reading of the text un-necessary.

If there are no easy-to-find summaries or reports, skimming the information may suffice.

When skimming new pieces of information, it may be wise to focus on the following things:

  1. The point of each chapter is usually expressed in the first and last part of each chapter. This may be all the information that’s necessary.
  2. Only the names, dates, numbers, formula, and named concepts are important unless there’s something that’s obviously missing.
  3. The table of contents, index, or last page in a chapter may contain all the information that you need. Examine them before reading anything else and see if you can figure out the text from there.

Hypothesis for Learning

Make a Hypothesis

Before you begin reading, watching, or learning in any other way, it may be wise to make a hypothesis about what material will be covered. Part of this hypothesis will be a guess as to why the material is important, and a statement of what you hope to learn from what you are reading. This hypothesis might force you to review your reasoning and decide how much you already know. After you begin reading you may be more acutely aware of the differences between what you assumed and what is presented.

Without making a hypothesis, you might glaze over the text or imitate it without thinking. By making a hypothesis you can skim sections that you already know and pay closer attention to any information that disagrees or improves upon your initial assumptions. In this way, you may be able to save time or improve your own focus by identifying what you do not understand and focus on that.

Improving Memorizing Ability To Improve Learning

Improve Your Memory

None of this learning is going to do much good if you forget what you learned. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to increase memorization rate without using a flash card. The key is imagining vivid, emotional, provoking images and connecting those to the things someone wants to remember. Humans tend to remember images best, and they remember emotional, moving images that evoke all the senses best. Because of this, it may be wise to take a breather after every page or chapter and come up with an imagined image for what transpired in the text.

In conversations, imagining a series of static 3D shapes instead of animated or elaborate symbols may be necessary since the imagining needs to be done quickly to avoid becoming distracted. however, after finishing the conversation a person can always develop the imagined image further. They can do this by mentally animating the various images together to show a connection, or by adding different senses (such as deciding how it smells, how it sounds, etc.) to may make it easier to recall the concepts later. As an example: a person could imagine the moon refusing a stinky piece of cheese in order to remember “The moon is not made of cheese.”

In order to memorize numbers, it may be better to convert them into symbols using the Major system or some other mnemonic system. This system converts certain letters into numbers. With the Major system, characters or actions can be translated into an image. MooNwaLKiNG, for example, could be the number 321727.

For longer stretches of information, many memory champions use a method known as the mind palace or the method of loci to memorize more information. To use the technique a person must imagine themselves traveling through a place they regularly visit and fill the location with conceptual images that they hope to recall. As the person travels around the space, the things that they are trying to imagine begin interacting in a way which elaborates and embellishes the memory.

As an example:

Someone said to me:

“Nearly half of all rainforests are being cut in order to build highways. To prevent the destruction of rainforests, we will need to get all government agencies involved.”

In order to memorize this sentence, I imagined myself waking up surrounded by trees. As I got up all of the trees were suddenly cut in half around me. As I walked towards my restroom to brush my teeth I saw the cut trees were forming a highway. When I got to the restroom, I turned to see that agents from the FBI, CIA, and city hall had appeared and tried to spear the highway with flags that showed the symbols of their various organizations. They found the highway unstoppable until the president appeared with every agency in the government and all the agencies combined to form a giant robot which wrestled and pinned the highway to the ground.

This imagined scene created a memorable series of images to refer back to. If I wished I could have used different parts of the house as part of my morning routine in order to remember a more complex statement.

 

We hope that these learning tricks help a business owner learn whatever they need as quickly as they need to. Let us know in the comments if you have any other tools for learning quickly and memorizing new information in the com

Accepting, being ready for the bolt out of the blue is the path to a better life, according to Dan Millman in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

“There are no ordinary moments,” says Dan Millman in “Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”

According to Millman, when moments are layered with meaning, infused with life, they cannot be ordinary. They are only tired and mundane if you see them that way. If you live them that way. Every day, you have challenges. You have stuff thrown at you. You are working diligently toward one thing but, hey, here comes something completely out of the blue.

Here Comes That Bolt

The phrase “out of the blue” comes from an old English poem, in which a bolt of lightning strikes from out of a clear blue sky.

In an ordinary life, in an ordinary moment, you don’t accept things out of the blue. You resist, and get angry and frustrated. You have your plans and this out of the blue thing, whatever it is, doesn’t fit in. But if you treat every moment as extraordinary, then you know things are coming out of the blue. Acceptance. Not lamenting, not inviting. Lightening just is. You just are.

And, since you are no longer resisting, you are aware as the bolt is coming toward you. You better understand its power and presence. And the more you do this, the more you can see other things coming at you, too, no matter what color the sky is. It can come out of the yellow, red, purple, or chartreuse. It doesn’t matter!

“Better to Make a Mistake with Your Full Force…”

In “Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” Millman also says: “It’s better to make a mistake with the full force of your being than to timidly avoid mistakes with a trembling spirit. Responsibility means recognizing both pleasure and price, action and consequence, then making a choice.”

Millman has been around a long time. In fact, he is still doing handstands when he feels like it. Just because it feels good. He is over 70.

This is the spirit to bring to your life. Whether you are at work, exercising, recreating, or just being with your family. You should be all in. All the time.

And this is the spirit to foster in all your efforts. Ask everyone to join you on this journey. You are here to help people, to spiritually enrich the lives of those you serve and those around you. To substantively make lives better. And don’t be misled, this is no walk in the park. The reason people shy away from lightning strikes is that they can be scary, demanding, and uncomfortable. But you can’t do anything hidden away, as Millman says, “trembling” and “timid.”

So ask yourself, and everyone gathered around you, to be in each moment with the “full force of their being.” To be a peaceful warrior. To be aware and alive.

Even when lightning strikes.

Because, in life and business, that tremendous eruption of electricity is where all the good stuff is: the best ideas, the greatest strategies, all of the raw, unharnessed energy.

It’s exactly where you need to be.

Introvert entrepreneur sitting on a floor in his office dreaming of business education success promotion company growth isolated gray wall texture background.

Are you an introvert who would love to start a business, but feel you’re held back by your quiet, reserved nature? Extrovert tendencies, such as being outgoing networkers, action-oriented, and risk-takers, are often named as desirable qualities for an entrepreneur to have, but that may be due in part to what author Susan Cain calls a cultural bias rather than a template for business success. According to Cain, we live in a “society that favors action over contemplation.” She says this bias stems from our Greco-Roman roots and was solidified as we moved from an agricultural to industrial society. Does this mean that introverts can’t be successful entrepreneurs? Not at all.

You Aren’t Limited By Your Personality Type

Extroverts and introverts both have their strengths and weaknesses. Having a clear understanding that you aren’t limited by your personality is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Introverts have many excellent qualities that bring a lot of value to a business, such as the ability to focus for long periods of time, critical thinking, and high observation skills. Since they process things internally, they tend to have ideas well fleshed out before acting on them and lead from a focused place.

Focus on Your Strengths 

You may not be gregarious or a networker, but maybe you have a keen mind for analytics and marketing. Most introverts tend to be good listeners, which can help you learn exactly what a client is looking for and allow you to offer products or solutions that are a perfect fit. Instead of focusing on the things you don’t feel good at, find a way to market the skills you do have. These will bring you, and your customers, far more value than trying to be a square peg in a round hole.

Budget Your Energy and Set Boundaries

One of the trickiest things about being an introvert is how draining the day can feel. While extroverts thrive on activity, many introverts have limited energy reserves and can quickly become exhausted or overwhelmed. Determine what you can handle. Can’t do two or three meetings in a day? Stretch them out throughout the week. Balance low energy activities with ones that you find more draining.

Outsource Tasks

Introvert or extrovert, you’re only one person, and chances are there will be some tasks that are not your forte. Learning to recognize that and allow yourself to be comfortable with assigning the task to someone better suited to it will be good for your business and your energy levels. A successful business owner will have both introverts and extroverts on the team and understand how to assign them to tasks according to their strengths.

Utilize Technology

Tech is a lifesaver for many introverts as it allows them to take a bit more time to collect their thoughts and put them into words. Many companies now rely on social media as a primary form of customer service, and it can be a beneficial tool for introverts to thoughtfully perform customer interaction, outreach, and complaint resolution. Email and instant messaging can reduce your face-to-face time, and allow you a little longer to reply. E-commerce can be a useful way to sell products without resorting to high-energy sales. Utilizing tech can keep your energy reserves up while also handling day-to-day business.

Some of the most successful people today, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg, describe themselves as introverts, proving that it’s your drive, not your personality type, that dictates success. While starting up a business may not feel 100 percent comfortable for the introverted, there’s no reason to tell yourself that it can’t be done!

 

Businessman with many hands- productivity concept

Whether you’re the CEO of a company or an entry-level worker, we can all agree that inspiration to be more productive is never a bad thing. Let’s face it; we all have bad days where our focus is shot, and we feel like we can’t accomplish anything. While there are many reasons for a productivity slump, these books are sure to give you inspiration and help you get more done in your day with less headache.

1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Studies conducted on workplace productivity have shown that stress can have a huge impact on your ability to focus and be productive. Allen makes a strong case that the more you can relax, the greater your ability to get things done. Offering tips on overcoming anxiety, goal assessment, task delegation, project planning, and confidence building, this book is sure to help you get the most out of your time at the office.

2. Eat That Frog!: 21 Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

Procrastination is damaging to productivity; often times, we put off our most difficult tasks because they’re overwhelming or discouraging. Tracy argues that these are the tasks we should be starting our day with when our productivity levels are higher. Once you complete that dreaded task, the rest of the day should be a piece of cake. He also includes some excellent time-management tips for those of us who can’t seem to find enough hours in the day.

3. The Productive Person: A How-To Guide Book Filled with Productivity Hacks & Daily Schedules for Entrepreneurs, Students, or anyone Struggling with Work-Life Balance by James Roper & Chandler Bolt

Having a poor work-life balance can have a huge impact on your performance at work. Without time to recharge, you’re left returning to work the next day with your mental resources tapped. This book stresses not only time management and scheduling ideas, but also how to let go of guilt and allow yourself to take some time off from work now and then.

4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Life for many of us these days consists of endless distraction; from emails and notifications coming in on our smartphones to the never-ending options you find at the grocery store, our attention is constantly pulled in multiple directions, making focusing on anything for very long difficult. Newport’s book discusses the valuable skill of being able to tune out distractions and how to master your mind’s ability to focus in our fast-paced, overstimulating world.

5. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Covey’s book isn’t focused on work; it’s a self-help book devoted to changing the way you view life. As many of us know, perspective can have a major influence in your life, both on a personal and professional level, and several studies have suggested that the power of positive thinking can increase productivity. Sometimes a simple re-framing of a problem or looking at a situation from a different perspective is all we need to get over a hurdle. Covey focuses on a holistic approach to being positive, using personal stories and anecdotes to drive home the message that you are in control of your perspective and attitude.

 

Sleep is good for everyone, CEO and baby too

Brandon Frere famously made himself a promise that when he ran his own business he would never set an alarm clock. How did he know that getting enough sleep was a wholly rational decision that was both good for him, and—because he is responsible for hundreds of employees and thousands of clients—good for those around him?

Feeling Lonely and Isolated? Take a Nap

Recent research from UC Berkeley shows that sleep deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to social engagement. Unrested people live with the same sort of isolation as those with social anxiety. Even worse, well-rested people feel lonely after a brief encounter with a sleep deprived person. This creates a sort of social isolating virus that infects wider and wider circles.

Another study by the Rand Corporation quantified the loss to the American economy due to sleep deprivation at $411 billion per year. This is counted in terms of 1.23 million lost working days. Only Japan has worse per capita numbers. Even more serious, those who slept less than six hours per night were 10 percent more likely to die than those who slept between seven and nine hours.

There are many reasons why some people sleep less than others:

  • Age: Brain function responsible for regulating sleep begins to decline as early as 35 years of age
  • Genetics: A gene called “CRY1” regulates circadian rhythms. One variation of it causes longer circadian cycles, leading to less sleep
  • Career: Night and swing shifts are extremely harmful to healthy rest
  • Weekends: Sleeping late on the weekend can cause disrupted sleeping the rest of the week.
  • Relationships: Those in committed relationships are 20 percent more likely than single people to sleep seven hours or more per night.
  • Education: The higher level of educational attainment, the more you sleep. Over 70 percent of those with a college degree or higher sleep at least seven hours per night.

Why We Sleep

In Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, neuroscientist Matt Walker argues that lack of sleep takes a toll on everyone, from military fighters and first responders to airline pilots and truckers. It is also associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, obesity, stroke, chronic pain, diabetes, heart attacks and more.

As a sleep consultant to the NFL, NBA, and numerous Fortune 500 enterprises, Walker is certain of the links between a good night’s sleep and optimal performance, on the playing field and in the conference room.

All of these studies seem to point to something that Frere knows intuitively: that allowing the body to get the sleep it needs is essential to how we operate and interact in the world, that a good night of sleep is one of the healthiest therapies we can give ourselves.

Sleeping until your body says it’s time to wake up is good for the body and good for business. It also saves you all that time hitting the snooze button.

CEO sitting in yoga pose is using stress reduction tips to help with his busy work schedule

Being a CEO can be stressful. As the head decision-maker, overall operations manager, and chief strategist, the task-list is never-ending. So, it’s understandable that people with so much on their plate may have a difficult time de-stressing, especially people whose mind is always on their work. Stress can wear on a person physically and mentally. So for a CEO to be at their best, it’s necessary to keep stress in check. Some CEOs may feel too busy to work on stress-relieving techniques, but there are several things they can do that require very little effort or time.

Visualize Your Power Animal. Or Happy Place. Or Both!

Remember the scene in Fight Club where Ed Norton’s character visited his visualized cave to find his power animal? Visualization is a very effective way to mentally remove yourself from your surroundings, and that short mental vacation can do wonders for stress. Whether you’re visualizing your power animal or your favorite place to relax, simply closing your eyes and creating a mental image of that thing for a couple minutes can make your body and mind more at ease.

Take Deep, Purposeful Breaths

We don’t often think of our breathing since it’s automatic, but paying attention to our breaths can naturally make us feel more relaxed. Deep breathing supplies your brain with more oxygen, which also produces a feeling of overall calmness. Taking a moment to take a few mindful, deep breaths can bring about a quick reduction in stress. For added benefit, add in some visualization. The use of deep breathing in stress relief is so significant that the American Institute of stress has said it’s the most effective stress reduction technique.

Laugh That Stress Off

Laughter really can be the best medicine, especially for stress. Laughter can relax the whole body, and it’s tension and stress relief can affect your muscles for up to 45 minutes afterward. Laughter also releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormone. When feeling stressed, take a couple minutes to laugh. Bookmark a couple funny (work appropriate) sites, or keep funny photos in a folder on your desktop so you can quickly refer to these when you’re starting to feel that tension weigh on you.

Forced Worrying Chases Those Involuntary Worries Away

This might sound counter-intuitive, but it can be very effective: Stress can cause us to worry — worry about deadlines, or revenue… or a million other things. If stress is making you worry and you find it hard to focus, set a timer for 60 seconds and force yourself to worry. Often, trying to make yourself worry is difficult! Worries often affect us most when we’re trying to push them under the rug. After your time is up, you may find it’s easier to focus, and that worry isn’t trying to steal your attention as much.

Put a Smile on That Face

It may sound corny, but smiling can have a physiological impact on stress. While the link between facial expressions and mental states hasn’t been researched much, one study showed people who smiled during a stressful situation had lower heart rates and lower self-reported levels of stress. Some researchers have suggested smiling may reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in the body. Not only can smiling have an impact on your stress levels, but it can make people around you feel more at ease as well.

 

 

Entrepreneur at home office

Starting up a business takes money, a plan, and a fair amount of courage. Many of the people who start up a business would call themselves entrepreneurs, and some of them would be right. However, Brandon Frere, CEO and President of Frere Enterprises, would argue that not all people who start a business are entrepreneurs.

“Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Some of those people are what I call ‘technicians suffering from entrepreneurial seizures,” said Frere. Please be aware that’s not meant to be disparaging or say that people who may not specifically be entrepreneurs can’t be successful. Being an entrepreneur requires much more than people often realize: (1) customer service; (2) networking; (3) management on most levels; and (4) a solid understanding of how the business functions. The list of things a true entrepreneur needs to not just handle, but handle well can go on forever. A technician of a specific occupation might be the most amazing in a specific field, but if they can’t handle the rest of the requirements that it takes to successfully run a business, such as marketing tactics, they may not entirely be an entrepreneur according to Frere.

Being successful in a business may depend on many more factors than the ones that are plainly obvious. Being a successful entrepreneur is similar. Perhaps a professional in a field is looking to start their own business so that they can be in control of themselves. “(Someone) may find it much more difficult than they were thinking or just not what they really wanted. For some people, though, it may be just the kick they need to really become an entrepreneur,” said Frere.