Poise

Keeping a dignified composed manner even under stress.

— Poise, 31

Poise
a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing; composure; self-possession; especially under duress.
steadiness; stability: intellectual poise.

Nothing baffles the schemes of evil people so much as the calm composure of great souls.Comte de Mirabea
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.Aristotle
The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.Proverbs 19:11
Don’t let people steal your joy.Author Unknown
Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.Proverbs 21:23

Things to do that will help you grow poise……

  • Display tolerance, compassion, understanding, and acceptance toward those who are slower than you in developing maturity, emotional freedom, and coping abilities.
  • Accept your human frailty in the pursuit of personal, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. Accept the set- backs and reversals which are inevitable.
  • Be calm and considerate as you handle the growth issues in your committed relationships in marriage, family, career, community, or church.
  • Have faith when trouble arises that may take some time to resolve.
  • See that overnight reformations are rarely long lasting; gradual change and growth have a greater durability.
  • Feel relaxed and calm as you face your daily schedule and the challenges it presents.
  • Believe that your day to day efforts, sacrifices, and changes will serve you a future day.
Most of us think ourselves as standing wearily and helplessly at the center of a circle bristling with tasks, burdens, problems, annoyance, and responsibilities which are rushing in upon us. At every moment we have a dozen different things to do, a dozen problems to solve, a dozen strains to endure. We see ourselves as overdriven, overburdened, overtired. This is a common mental picture and it is totally false. No one of us, however crowded his life, has such an existence. What is the true picture of your life? Imagine that there is an hour glass on your desk. Connecting the bowl at the top with the bowl at the bottom is a tube so thin that only one grain of sand can pass through it at a time. That is the true picture of your life, even on a super busy day, the crowded hours come to you always one moment at a time. That is the only way they can come. The day may bring many tasks, many problems, strains, but invariably they come in single file. You want to gain emotional poise? Remember the hourglass, the grains of sand dropping one by one.James Gordon Gilkey

On Keeping Your Poise

Have you ever wondered how some people manage to stay cool and calm in almost any situation? While you are blowing your top, they just sit back and let the world slide by without sweating, steaming, screaming, or even batting an eyelash. Do you ever wish you had the ability to keep your composure?

In truth, cool is just a state of mind. With a bit of practice anyone can stay cool in most situations.

First, realize that your actions are the result of feelings, and those feelings are created as the result of thoughts that are running through your head at a given point in time. To maintain a calm exterior, you need to gain some insight into your habitual thoughts.

When a crisis arises, what thoughts run through your head?

Imagine that you are sitting in a fast food restaurant with friends and someone at the next table starts giving you a hard time. Perhaps you think about how foolish the other person is making you look in front of your friends. Maybe you think it would be cowardly to avoid a confrontation. Such thoughts are likely to result in actions you will regret.

To keep your cool, you need to learn to stop such negative thoughts and replace them with constructive thoughts that will lead to a more positive outcome. Cognitive psychologists call this technique “reframing.” You take a negative situation and reframe it in a more positive perspective. People who have a cool and calm demeanor do this habitually.

In the situation presented above, a cool and composed individual would likely have very different thoughts about the situation. Instead of thinking about how foolish he looked because of the jerk at the next table, he’d likely think about how the other person was just trying to bolster his own self-esteem by showing off in front of everyone. Additionally, the cool person would know that playing into the situation by getting upset and acting insecure would only make the situation worse.

Most situations can be handled with poise if you pay attention to the significance you attribute to them. Is it really the end of the world if someone gives you a hard time? Will your whole life fall apart if you don’t get a promotion, or if your car breaks down in the rain? As long as you attribute a great deal of meaning to such situations, you will have a difficult time keeping your cool.

Instead, try to remain indifferent. So what if your car breaks down? A week from now it will be fixed and you will forget all about it. Don’t worry about the promotion. If don’t get it, chances are something better will come along anyway, especially if you work hard enough to deserve promotion.

To keep your cool, you have to remain indifferent and understand that life isn’t going to end when things don’t go your way. You need to re-interpret situations so they don’t seem so negative. If you practice doing so, you will find yourself able to handle any situation with greater composure, and others will wonder how you are able to stay so cool in a crisis.

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.Shinichi Suzuki
Genuine good taste consists in saying much in few words, in choosing among our thoughts, in having order and arrangement in what we say, and in speaking with composureFrancois Fenelon quotes
Every great player has learned the two Cs: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure.Byron Nelson
Always keep your composure. You can’t score from the penalty box; and to win, you have to score.Bobby Hull

How to Keep Your Composure at Work

Have you been mad at your boss or a colleague? Most likely you have. Here are some good tips on how to keep your composure and avoid anger at work:

Be aware. Anger is relatively easy to recognize in others, but many people can’t sense their own heated emotions. If that sounds all too familiar, the first step is to “notice and admit that you are angry.” Then figure out what made you upset and try to “choose a different approach” than rage.

Delay your reaction. Stave off anger as long as possible by shutting out “the internal chatter of blame on yourself or the other person” in the conflict. Take time out for a brisk walk outside the office. You are likely to act more rationally when you return.

Find strength in composure. It’s a myth that only a weak person doesn’t fight back. In fact, “letting anger hook and jerk you around” is not only a true sign of weakness, but also shows a real lack of self-control. Colleagues will respect someone who can stay cool when it counts.

The goal is to live with godlike composure on the full rush of energy, like Dionysus riding the leopard, without being torn to pieces.Joseph Campbell
Myers was very good. He had a tremendous curveball. He got in a rhythm in the fourth inning and cruised. He kept his composure. He was totally relaxed.Charlie Manul

Emotional Control Tips to Keep Your Poise in Any Situation

Controlling your emotion begins with a deliberate decision to keep composure and emotional retrain at all times. You should be very mindful of your feelings in every situation whether it is exuberant or sorrowful. You should avoid the belief that people are entitled to lose control in special occasions or that people have the right to let out their emotions in specific circumstances. You should stop adhering to the belief that “people are just humans” because what makes people humans is their ability to tame their desires and emotions.

You should understand that emotion is actually dependent on your behavior and not the other way around. To put it simply, you feel sad because you realize that you are frowning, contrary to the popular notion that you frown because you realize that you are sad. In social psychology, it has been discovered behavior influences emotions, and not the other way around. With this key information at hand, you are empowered with the ability to influence feelings by modifying behavior.

A common cause of emotional outbursts is having problems. Oftentimes, when people are faced with difficulties, they react by panicking or by being angry. However, these are not solutions to the initial problem; they are sources of problems themselves. When you are in a state of panic or in a rage of anger, your mind is clouded with emotions that the situation is not seen clearly. This does make it harder to think of concrete solutions to the problem being dealt with. Whenever a problem comes, instead of immediately throwing tantrums or pacing restlessly, you should stop, breath, and evaluate the entirety of the circumstance. This way, the problem can be viewed in a clearer perspective, and solutions may be thought out more logically.

One very valuable tool in emotional control is the ability to pause. While there are no pause and play buttons in real life, people have the capability to stop themselves, and take a break in certain situations that usually cause emotional outbursts. Before shouting and screaming out of a disappointing occurrence, you should first take a break to think and reflect. Pausing in itself is a form of emotional control. At this point, you can think if letting go of the emotions is indeed necessary. You should also think of the consequences that the emotional explosion would entail. If the emotions involved in the situation are too strong to withhold, you can think of reasonable emotional expressions such as crying instead of screaming when you are depressed, or smiling instead of jumping around when you are elated.

The problem with most people who are unable to control their emotions is that they dwell too much on the present situation. It is undeniable that the height of emotions experienced in certain circumstances could be overwhelming. However, these are also the times when you are vulnerable to do things that you might regret later on. To avoid this, it is important to examine how things would go in the future.

Emotional control is indeed difficult to master. But with will power and determination, it can be possibly achieved. You just have to be aware that emotions do not really have the power to overcome people. On the contrary, people have the ability to watch over their emotions and control them to what they think is necessary.

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.P. G. Wodehouse

THE SECRET TO POISE AND COMMAND PRESENCE.

Can you be a true leader without possessing a command presence? In my experience, very rarely…I’m not referencing the wannabe leaders oozing bravado, false confidence, arrogance, or self-delusion spun as confidence. Nor am I referring to the weak, innocuous or timid, who while viewing themselves as leaders, are perhaps the farthest thing from a leader. Rather I’m addressing those true leaders who inspire and motivate those around them to achieve things well beyond that which they thought themselves capable of.

What is the value of developing a command presence?

Command presence is a military term which describes someone who presents an authoritative personna…someone who is to be respected and followed. How much will your peers and subordinates sacrifice to follow you? Command presence while certainly having very tangible ties to leadership style or approach, is equally tied to how you are perceived by those around you.

When you walk into a room does anyone notice? When you speak does anyone listen? When you give direction is it respected and followed? Do you inspire confidence and engender credibility with those whom you come into contact with? Are people not only willing to be led by you, but proud to be led by you? Command presence is far more than just the attitude you bring to the game it’s about the combination of charisma, character, integrity, knowledge and experience that separates true leaders from the masses.

I have either been in leadership positions and/or advising leaders for as long as I can remember. During the course of my career I’ve observed all kinds of leaders good and bad…however I’ve never been around a great leader who doesn’t possess strong command presence. Great leaders display an air of calm about them regardless of the situation at hand. Great leaders show co-workers that they will always maintain control, even when they don’t have an immediate solution. Great leaders don’t lose focus, they don’t cower, and they never waffle.

Today’s business leaders have literally hundreds of interpersonal interactions each and every day. Any leader who fails to instill confidence amongst peers and subordinates will lose their loyalty, harm their morale, and cripple their ability to execute. The impact of command presence is not only limited to your co-workers, but to everyone with whom you come in contact with. Your command presence or lack thereof will also impact the success of your relationships with investors, lenders, partners, suppliers, vendors and other constituencies.

Some leaders come by command presence naturally, while others have to work very hard to develop it. Focus on developing the following traits in order to enhance your command presence:

  1. Develop Authoritative Body Language: Note that the word authoritative does not mean intimidating, threatening or aggressive. It does however mean in charge, in control, confident, at ease and unflappable. It all starts when you enter the room…what you wear, how you wear it, as well as how you carry yourself makes a statement. Slouching, fidgeting, standing with your hands in your pockets, darting-eyes, playing with your pen, tapping your fingers on the table, hand-wringing, or any other action that serves no purpose is ill advised. While possessing command presence is not about a beauty contest, looking the part does in fact matter.
  2. Develop Excellent Verbal Skills: As odd as it may sound, this begins with developing excellent listening skills. You must seek to understand before you’ll be understood. When it is time to speak, say what you mean and mean what you say. What you say, when you say it, and how you say it will either instill confidence and serve to motivate and inspire, or it will take the wind right out of your sails. You don’t have to be an overly verbose person, but you must be measured and articulate. Don’t speak just to hear yourself talk and don’t ramble. If your verbal communication skills are not up to par get help and correct the problem. You cannot lead if you cannot communicate.
  3. Make Excellent Decisions: Nothing is more difficult to overcome for a leader than a poor track record. Solid decision layered upon solid decision is the key to creating loyalty. When I was serving in the military I once had a soldier under my command tell me that if I told him to attack a tank with a butter knife he would do it, because he would just assume based upon my track record that I knew something he didn’t (Luckily we never had to test that theory).

Bottom line…If you develop strong command presence, leadership while never easy, will in fact become easier.

We’ve got to keep our composure. At the end, we could have made better decisions.Ashley Berggre
We came out kind of slow. We kept our composure, and we stayed in the game with them.Marques Alston

How to Keep Your Cool: 10 Tips for Staying Calm Under Pressure

Here are ten tips for keeping your cool and staying calm amid life’s situations – both big and small.

  1. Strive to not catastrophize: It’s easy to dramatize and make something a bigger deal than it is. When you are relating the problem to yourself, avoid the urge to magnify the negative. Strike the words always and whenever. It helps to re-frame the problem in your mind by saying things like “I can cope,” “It’s not that big a deal,” and “I’m bigger than this.”
  2. Think before you Share: Don’t describe or blog or tweet about the problem. Don’t talk it over with your friends right away; let it stew a little in your mind so you can settle down a little. Sometimes, well-meaning friends will sympathize too much, which may only add fuel to your fire and get you even more upset.
  3. Discover metaphors and visualizations that help you stay calm: Here’s one that helps me: I try to imagine my problem as a knot. The more I panic and pull on the ends, the tighter the knot cinches. But, when I adopt a singular focus, a calm takes over and I can loosen one strand at a time. It might also help if you can visualize yourself acting with patience and focus. Lower your voice and try to move as slowly as possible. Speak slowly and softly. Become the calm, unflappable person you see in your mind. Here’s another technique: Do you know anyone whom you would describe as unflappable? Try to think of what this person would do in your situation.
  4. Note your patterns of exasperation: Are there any specific situations that cause you to lose your cool? Look at specific patterns — from time of day, to level of stress (or level of boredom), to blood sugar levels. Do you tend to lose it when it’s too noisy – or too quiet? Knowing about your own patterns can go a long way in helping you keep your cool throughout the day.
  5. Realize that you can control your emotions: Reflect on times when you were able to successfully stay calm in a frustrating situation. Maybe it was a time when you wanted to yell at your spouse or your kids, but then the doorbell rang and you were able to instantly shift gears. Consider that you might be able to do this repeatedly, as long as you know your triggers – and some tips for keeping a calm mindset.
  6. Create a calm environment with peaceful rituals: If calm music soothes you, use it. If silence soothes you, use it. Maybe you’ll play some soothing instrumental music or maybe you’ll dim the lights and light some scented candles.When you are coming home from work, give yourself a few moments to calm your mind before you go charging into an evening at home with your kids. Sit in the car for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. Kick off your shoes and sip a glass of water. Rituals can also be tremendously soothing during the transition periods of your day.
  7. Take care of the essentials: Make sure you are getting enough sleep and getting enough protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. I tend to lose my temper way more often if I’m low on blood sugar. But, get a little protein in me, and it’s (relatively) smooth sailing. Also make sure you are getting physical exercise. A daily workout can give you the physical release that can help you control your anxiety. If I’m feeling particularly stressed, I trade my half-hour run for a half hour of kickboxing. This helps.Stay away from too much sugar and caffeine and stay hydrated. Drink a tall glass of water and see if you feel better, more calm and alert.
  8. Distract yourself: Instead of ruminating, find something fun, engaging, and constructive to do. Try to laugh (or laugh at yourself.) Watch a funny movie or read a blog that always make you laugh. When you lighten up, it’s a lot easier to keep your cool.
  9. Take a day off: I always know I really need a day off when I fight like crazy to not take one. If I can force myself to take an entire day away from my work, I always come back more calm, assured, and filled with fresh ideas.
  10. Don’t forget to breathe: Diaphragmatic breathing helps you alleviate your stress in the moment and it gives you a minute or two to calm down, often just long enough for you to assess the situation and help you regain your sense of control. In a good belly breath, your belly will actually rise and fall. To practice, put your hand on your belly. Inhale through your nose and see if your hand rises as you breathe in. Hold the breath for a few counts and slowly breathe out.
You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.Pema Chodron
A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.Wayne Dyer

KEEPING COOL WHEN THINGS GET HOT!

By Sue Shellenberger

Grace under pressure—what an important attribute for anyone aspiring to be in a leadership role. Here is a simple six-question test developed by psychologist Donald A. Laird to measure a person’s leadership potential:

Can you take a reprimand without blowing up?

Can you take a turn down without becoming discouraged?

Can you laugh with others when the joke is on you?

Can you keep your spirits up when things go wrong?

Can you keep cool in emergencies?

Can you “tune out” gossip and negative comments from others?

If your answer is yes to all six questions, you’re on your way to being a leader. Dr. Laird, however, singled out one great quality of a leader—poise. “Poise is what makes you a master of situations,” Dr. Laird said. “Although we call some persons natural-born leaders, usually the poise of leadership is a trait that has to be developed, and anyone can develop poise a little bit at a time.”

The way to develop poise, he says, is to destroy its enemies—nervousness, anger and the habit of speaking before thinking. It’s easy to show poise when everything is going well. It’s a lot tougher to maintain your poise when things are not going well. But the minute you lose your composure, the chances of defeat increase. You are giving the mental edge to your opponent. If you maintain your composure, good things can happen. Focus on what you can do or control. Forget the past.

Look at pro football quarterbacks. The great ones, like Peyton Manning, don’t ever lose their cool, even when they’re behind with two minutes to go. They just keep their poise and often lead their team to victory. Terry Bradshaw, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and now at TV analyst, said: “Quite often, the mark of an experienced quarterback—one who has poise—is the amount of time he holds on to the ball before releasing it. The quarterback who can be patient enough for lanes to open and receivers to clear will be more successful. I played a long time before I had poise, and I suffered for it, and so did my team.”

It’s similar for other professions. President Ronald Reagan said: “I have learned that one of the most important rules in politics is poise—which means looking like an owl after you have behaved like a jackass.”

Many of us live and work in hectic and pressure-ridden environments, so it’s wise to remember the words of the psychiatrist who said to his assistant who was trying to answer two telephones at once.

“Miss Smith,” he said, “just say we’re terribly busy—not ‘It’s a madhouse here.'”

There’s a story that circulates in the sales profession about a sales rep who was ready to demonstrate his company’s state-of-the-art computer software to a group of important customers, when the screen went blurry and finally crashed. His efforts to re-establish a link to the office systems failed. He called tech support and every number he had available, but without luck. Unfazed, he turned to his customers and said, “This has been a demonstration of our competitor’s product. Next week, I’ll show you what ours can do.”

Now that’s poise under pressure.

Travis Graham, the class valedictorian of the University of Tennessee Law School, promised to take only two minutes of the audience’s time and he got to the heart of his thinking right away. He began his remarks by acknowledging that he had had difficulty deciding what “wisdom” to impart to his fellow graduates. He said he had reviewed all the cases of law the class had studied and had found nothing that he felt was appropriate to such an important occasion. At a loss for any inspiring thoughts, Travis sat at his kitchen table eating a student’s breakfast of biscuits made from packaged dough. And there, right in front of him on the opened roll of refrigerated biscuit dough, he spotted the belief that he knew he and his fellow graduates had in common and that he felt was worthy of the occasion. The package, he said, had this message,

“Keep cool. But do not freeze.” And with that he thanked all assembled and returned to his seat, amid rousing applause.

The Moral of the story: The hotter things get, the more important it is to keep your cool.

It is useless to force the rhythms of life. If I live with the anxiety to go fast, I will not live well. My addiction to speed will make me sick. The art of living is about learning how to give time to each and every thing. If I have sacrificed my life to speed, then that is impossible. Ultimately, slow means to take the time to reflect. It means to take the time to think. With calm, you arrive everywhere.Carlos Petrini
Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.Paramahansa Yogananda
For to be poised against fatality, to meet adverse conditions gracefully, is more than simple endurance; it is an act of aggression, a positive triumph.Thomas Mann

HOW TO KEEP YOUR POISE WITH ANGRY CUSTOMERS.

By Sue Shellenbarger

These are angry times, from irate political protests to slapfests on reality shows, not to mention Burger King’s Angry Whopper. The millions of people who work in customer-service and public-service jobs face this rising tide of rage every day. That puts them on the front lines of Americans’ anger—and makes them a rich resource. Many of them have developed a variety of skills for staying calm and keeping on-the-job frustrations from spilling over into their home lives. Their tips can be useful for anyone trying to defuse tension on the job or at home.

‘Emotional Leadership’

A key task, when dealing with another person’s anger, is to show “emotional leadership” in responding—that is, to keep from getting mad too, says Donna Earl, San Francisco, owner of an eponymous customer-service training and management company.

First, workers should acknowledge the customer’s emotions, listen with warmth and empathy, and apologize, even though they didn’t create the problem, saying things like, “We’re sorry this happened,” she says. When the caller calms down, they focus on problem-solving and promise confidently to try to help, she says.

When you’re the target of rage or criticism, controlling your own emotions is one of the hardest tasks. Techniques Ms. Earl recommends include looking at the ceiling to relax your breathing and tracing figure-eights in the air with your eyes, which relaxes and refocuses the eye muscles, with a calming effect.

To stay calm, one San Jose, Calif., help-desk worker posts a vacation photo of his family at his desk, directly in front of him at eye level, Ms. Earl says. One technique she doesn’t recommend: Some agents hit the “mute” button and scream back.

Customer-service work is increasingly trying. Research shows 70% of customers who have problems with a product or service are in a rage by the time they talk with customer-service workers; 24% yell, 8% threaten to sue, and 5% start cursing, says a 2007 survey of 1,004 consumers by Customer Care Measurement & Consulting, Alexandria, Va. Customer rage has likely risen since then, as financial strain makes people “more on edge, critical and less tolerant,” says Mary Jo Bitner, a marketing professor at Arizona State University’s Center for Services Leadership and a researcher on the survey.

In three separate incidents this year, customers have assaulted fast-food restaurant employees, pounding them with their fists or heaving a bucket of mop water over the counter. One Ohio woman climbed through a restaurant’s drive-through window, then smashed it, after an employee refused to serve her lunch during the breakfast hour.

Call-center workers say people these days are far quicker to get upset over small purchases than they were a few years ago. “People feel so out of control on a macro level” that they fly into a rage when a smaller thing goes wrong, says Liz Ahearn of Radclyffe Partners, Bloomingdale, N.J., a call-center consulting and training company. Some insiders call such customers “hot reactors.”

Building a Relationship

Some customer-service workers take satisfaction in the problem-solving aspect of the job. Zane Bond, team leader at a software company’s Tampa, Fla., help desk, loves identifying potential causes and analyzing them step-by-step. “I am the go-to guy for angry” callers, he says. He never takes it personally when callers vent but listens intently and tries to start building a relationship. Then he tells them confidently: “We are going to fix this.”

The more stressed or frustrated callers are at the outset, the happier they are when he finds a solution, he says. One help-desk manager who had been under attack by her bosses for weeks over a hardware problem was “over the moon” when he fixed it, he says.

It helps that Mr. Bond has fun with his work team members, who often collaborate on solutions. To ease stress, they play ferocious games of racquetball. They also stash toy rifles in their office and launch foam-dart battles on breaks, with the soundtrack from “Top Gun” playing in the background.

The key to winning is poise under stress.Paul Brown
Baseball gives a growing boy self-poise and self-reliance.Al Spalding

Dealing with Difficult People

The issue is not: “What does one DO?” The issue is: “What does one SEE! ”

If you can keep your poise and see clearly, then you’ll KNOW what needs to be done at the time, whether it be to match his yelling with yelling of your own, or whether it be to tell him a joke and laugh along with him.

If one can see clearly and remain poised then they can keep the flexibility to RESPOND appropriately while keeping emotionally detached from the results of their efforts, instead of reacting out of one’s attachment to see a particular result manifest (such as them acknowledging their error).

So how does one learn to see clearly and maintain their poise when dealing with impossible people?

  1. We gotta keep our courage to squarely face our adversary and LOOK deeply. This must be motivated by a real desire to understand. It’s amazing how much one can see inside a person if they are able to stop projecting and be quiet just for a moment to really look and listen. It is in discerning what is REALLY going on, that we get our intuitive knowledge of what needs to be done next. The seed of all anger is a “fear of loss” by the angry person. Try to figure out what they are afraid of losing. This is admittedly difficult if the outer appearance of the object of our attention is threatening, or ugly. Our only weapon in this endeavor is our “harmlessness”. If we harbor fear or malice, then, in the face of our adversary, these things will be reflected back at us, and whoa what a fearful appearance it will be! Harmlessness, kindness, good cheer, and humor are most formidable weapons! (all of these being forms of “love in action” which is the ultimate weapon- capable of melting the heart of stone, and even of overcoming death itself – a subject for another discussion perhaps)
  2. We have to maintain our poise and flexibility by releasing our attachment to see any particular result! Certainly we work towards a particular goal, but we must release our attachment to that result. This is admittedly very difficult – how to engage in life fully, putting all our effort and concentration towards achieving some goal, and yet at the same time release all attachment to the result. A great place to develop this skill is in the sporting arena. How can one become a champion if they fret miserably over each loss, or exult over their comrades upon each victory? NO one likes poor losers, or poor winners. Win or lose, you have learned to face both outcomes with a certain degree of detachment. How can we apply this wisdom to other more important areas of life? If we have any physical or personality THING that we are “attached” to, then we have an Achilles heel. This is our weakness where we are vulnerable, and where we can get our chains jerked. Sure it is nice to have money, smarts, prestige, status, authority, etc…., but the minute we become “attached” to them we create a great error.
  3. How can we learn detachment? By recognizing that everything we have comes NOT from our own separate personality self, but from our Creator. This is very hard when one is engaged in a competitive sport where Victory and Status are paramount. This is the SUPREME challenge of every champion. Be it Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholas, Michael Jordan, China Camp, or Pike Bishop, etc. The Ultimate Victory is “Mastery over one’s self.” (or perhaps more accurately, the ultimate victory is mastery of the One Self over it’s vehicle, the personality)
  4. Realize that you are being tested. Be able to say “I will look upon every circumstance of my life as a particular shaping of my soul.” The only one you are competing against is yourself. The challenge is to live up to your TRUE Self (whatever that means to you at the time)
  5. Realize that the most effective solvent for dissolving the mask of an “apparent” adversary is mirth. Be it friendly humor, tweaking barbs, stinging satire, or harsh ridicule. If you can see clearly and maintain your poise, you’ll know which one (s) to use. And you’ll be able to use your wit without the crippling emotional attachment which robs us of our ability to RESPOND with flexibility and good cheer.

That’s about it. The greatest thing to watch out for, is in becoming “attached” to having other people see us and treat us in a certain favorable/admiring/respectful way. This attachment to a false concept of self (pride), is the paralyzing poison that freezes us, blinds us, enrages us, and ultimately brings down upon us the correcting pain of humility, which shows us the folly of our prideful, egotistic, and self-loving thinking.

So the bottom line goal is to achieve the discernment and poise which allows us to RESPOND to life as instruments for good. The difficult people that we encounter along the way are put there for our benefit as “exercises” designed to strengthen our insight, discernment, reason, intuition, poise, and humility, and to bring us to realization of a greater plan behind it all.

Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.Maxwell Maltz
Lone eagles, soaring in the clouds, fly with silent, peaceful poise, while turkeys, in their earth-bound crowds, fill the atmosphere with noise.William Arthur Ward
To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility — these are marks of maturity and graciousness.William Arthur Ward

Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens

Adolescence is a difficult time for young people. During those years, they face physical changes; peer pressure; exposure to drugs, alcohol and sexual relationships; and increased expectations and scrutiny from parents and teachers. But, as difficult as it is being a teenager, being a parent of one may be even harder.

After years of being the primary influence on their children, parents of teens suddenly find their kids are more interested in what their friends think and do. And, depending on the child, outright rebellion against family rules and values can take a painful toll.

The following strategies from the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth can help you keep your cool and your love intact during your children’s teen years.

Learn about adolescent development. Knowing what behaviors to expect can help you prepare for parenting challenges.

Look back at your own teen years. Remembering your own moods, risk-taking activities and attitudes toward your parents and adults can help you understand teen behavior.

Consider taking a teen-parenting course. Look for one taught by someone with experience in child development or who has spent time counseling teens. Expect to learn from the instructor and other parents facing similar challenges.

Use positive reinforcement. Criticism and excessive punishment, including words that belittle, can hurt a teen’s self-esteem, thereby increasing rebellious behavior. When parent-child communication is characterized by warmth, kindness, consistency, and love, the relationship will flourish, as will self-esteem, cooperation, and respect.

Teach your teen that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Give your child increasing responsibility for his or her well-being and that of the family.

Include your child in discussions involving setting rules and establishing consequences for breaking them. This will increase the chance your teen will respect his or her boundaries most of the time.

Finding a balance

The most difficult thing about monitoring a teen is maintaining the balance between too much and too little control. Just as it requires setting firm limits when it would be easier to let things slide, it also requires parents to be continually vigilant to ensure they know where their children are and what they’re doing.

Help your child move toward independence. Parents who encourage independent thought and expression in their children often find they’re raising children who have a healthy sense of self and an enhanced ability to resist peer pressure.

Spend quality and quantity time with your child. Teens begin to pull away from their families and spend more time with friends. But time spent with their parents is important to their emotional development. Stay involved in your child’s outside interests; attend his or her school and extracurricular activities.

Encourage other adults, including friends and relatives, to spend time with your child. Aunts and uncles or adult neighbors can offer your child support and guidance.

When teens need help

All teens need daily support and guidance, but some need extra help from outside the family.

Early intervention is crucial in reducing the damage serious problems might cause. Signs your child might need help include:

  • · Spending a lot of time alone
  • · Sudden drop in school performance
  • · Drastic mood swings or changes in behavior
  • · Separation from longtime friends
  • · Lack of interest in hobbies or social and recreational activities
  • · Drug or alcohol abuse

If talking with your child doesn’t improve the situation, seek support and guidance from school resources or mental health professionals.

I’m yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you’re old and weak.Bill Watterson
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk aloneLnapoli Sam Levenson

How to Keep Your Cool with Overly Competitive People

By Melanie A. Greenberg

Life isn’t only about winning

We have all had to deal with a competitive person at some time. Whether it’s the neighbor whose holiday decorations always have to be more extravagant or the coworker who grabs the credit for every project, competitive people can provoke feelings of irritation, anxiety, or inadequacy. You may end up questioning yourself or feeling that you didn’t measure up to their level of wealth, talent or accomplishment. Or you may feel like you have to compete with them and end up spending extra time or money unnecessarily Why are some people competitive and what’s the best way to handle them?

Fragile Self-Esteem

Research studies suggest that there are different kids of self-esteem. Some people may have a secure sense of self, regardless of the situation, whereas others may have unstable or fragile self-esteem that varies depending on their last accomplishment or whom they are able to impress. When they are doing well, they feel great and even superior to others, whereas when they encounter setbacks, they tend to feel shame and self-doubt. This results in anxiety and vigilance around social status and performance. They have to keep comparing themselves to others to make sure they are measuring up and haven’t fallen behind.

Scarce Resources Model

Some people have a model of relationships that is based on scarce resources. In other words, if you get something, there is less left for me. They have a survival mentality and may be jealous and controlling. The basis for this is often a deep insecurity about having their emotional needs met. They may have had parents who were critical, played favorites, or were unavailable or inattentive to their emotional needs. This model does not take into account the fact that humans are inherently social beings and that connection and cooperation with larger social groups can increase our personal and environmental resources. A scarce resources model reflects a kind of “black and white” thinking in that it divides people into separate categories and ignore common goals and experiences.

Narcissism & Sociopathy

Some competitive people may be pathologically narcissistic and self-centered, not seeing you as a separate human being, but more as a reflection or extension of themselves, a source of admiration for their accomplishments, a potential threat to their own success, or as an object to use or manipulate in order to meet their own needs or increase their resources. If they are also sociopathic, they may resort to manipulation, deception, intimidation and abuse to neutralize or eliminate threats and competition. These saboteurs are the most difficult to deal with, particularly if they have power over you in a work or social group setting. These individuals tend to seek out positions in which they have power and control over others.

Effects of Competitive Environments

All work environments involve some degree of competition. Healthy competition that is balanced with a sense of mutual respect and commitment to common goals can spur people to do their best work. However, if the competition involves nasty, sneaky, or otherwise ruthless behavior on an ongoing basis, this can undermine the health and performance of employees or group members. Research with animals suggests that those at the top of the hierarchy have better health if their leadership position is stable, but worse health if it unstable. Constantly having to protect your position and territory against competitors can take a toll on the body and mind of humans as well. The current recession has resulted in fewer jobs and employment uncertainty that increase competitive pressures. Nationwide, we are seeing an increase in anxiety disorders and mental health problems.

What You Can Do:

Below are some tips to help you cope with a competitive colleague, friend or family member. The best strategy to use depends on what the situation is (e.g., friends vs work), the cost of not winning, and what you think are the person’s motives. There is no cookie cutter approach that always works. You need to keep monitoring if your strategy is working and try a different one if it isn’t.

At Work:

A competitive person at work who takes on extra work and responsibilities can be an asset to the whole team. Make sure that you have sufficient responsibilities to do your fair share and showcase your talents. If a team member goes beyond that, remember you have shared as well as individual goals, and praise their efforts. This may be what they’re looking for to feel more comfortable and secure.

A sneaky competitor who tries to sabotage you or take credit for your work requires a different approach. Watch your back and use passwords to protect your information. Keep detailed records of your contributions and make sure to let your bosses know what you have done. You may want to confront the person directly to let them know you are on to them. If this isn’t your style, let your boss know what is going on and steps you have already taken to address the problem. This type of person may act friendly to get information out of you, so keep your guard up and minimize contact with them. Don’t let them get you to react, always be one step ahead. You may want to let other colleagues know about the situation and ask for their support.

Friends and Family:

Generally, people who are competitive about their houses, kids, dinner parties and so on are either insecure or arrogant and want to prove superiority. If they are the insecure type, praising their accomplishments and staying calm and friendly may make them see you as an ally or as less of a threat. If they are arrogant, you may want to speak up and toot your own horn as well or change the subject when they start boasting. Arrogant people tend to be narcissistic and status-conscious, so if you exude confidence and appear to have high status and accomplishments, they are more likely to respect you. If this isn’t your style, walk away and find a less self-centered person to talk to.

In General:

Try to figure out why this person is being competitive and what their needs and goals are. Also, see if there are any common goals that you can use to get them to work with you, rather than against you. Highlight the specific values and goals that you have in common, such as “We both want the best for our kids…” etc. Also, be a team player yourself to help them see the benefit of cooperation. It may help to suggest specific ways you can work together such as: “e.g., “Let’s divvy up this job to avoid duplicating effort. What part would you like to do?” This strategy works better if the person can be trusted to do their share and not grab all the credit.

Whatever strategy you choose, be mindful of how this person may be triggering your own negative scripts and insecurities. Try to see the whole person and relationship, of which competitiveness may be only one aspect. Don’t personalize the person’s behavior or get too attached to making them change. This may be about their inner insecurities, not about you. Keep in mind the humanity that you share with this person and try to summon up compassion for both you and them. When you are centered and clear about who you are, difficult people become easier to deal with.

Love is all around you like the air and is the very breath of your being. But you cannot know it, feel its unfeeling touch, until you pause in your busy-ness, are still and poised and empty of your wanting and desiring. When at rest the air is easily offended and will flee even from the fanning of a leaf, as love flees from the first thought. But when the air or love moves of its own accord it is a hurricane that drives all before it.Barry Long
The qualities of man comes Thus, not only he is able to survive in any kind of situation but he also maintains his poise in such trying times.Sam Veda