Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Perceptions and Motivations

One of the things I have realized in my MBA program is that regardless of your motives, how people perceive your actions and interactions are more important than what you are trying to do or convey. Other people's perceptions may not always be the truth of the situation but they are a reality. It is the soft skills that will make or break your career and what can help you escalate quickly. So when I have found that I was hitting obstacles consistently in my internship search, I decided that it would be a good idea to take a long hard look in the mirror and start asking for criticisms.

For starters, I struggle in listening. That's not entirely true. I struggle in giving or providing people that I listen to with feeling a sense of value. I don't value other people's opinions or thoughts as I should. Instead, I think about what was said and at times depending on the comment, may disregard it entirely when I make a decision.

I need to improve my body language and my body. The number of times I was asked during this first of my MBA program not if but how much weight I have gained has been too many. On top of that, I am known as someone who can fall asleep pretty much anywhere. But seriously, when it comes to body language, I need to be aware of my posture when I am sitting, listening to a presentation, and when I am asking questions.

Another issue that I struggle with is that when I ask questions, I will preface my question in an unnecessary and sometimes arrogant way. Examples include but are not limited to mentioning my background in engineering or business or any other way of establishing credibility. I am intelligent but I need to let other people come to that conclusion on their own and I shouldn't try to prove it to them or tell them. Instead of focusing on myself, I need to be more direct in my questions as well as my answers. Sometimes I am very political and I ramble and I don't always tell my whole story instead of being direct.

Another issue I have is acknowledging when I'm wrong. I was in conversation with another professional that was giving me one of these critiques and I ended up correcting her when I misspoke saying that we were basically saying the same thing. I was wrong and regardless of what I thought, I needed to accept that I was in the wrong. I needed help. I think it goes back to again needing to be a better listener. Sometimes I also give suggestions or my opinion when it isn't asked for. If I have ideas or thoughts, instead of offering them up I need to listen and if people want to know what I am thinking then they need to ask me or I need to ask if it would be okay if I share them.

The ironic thing is that I knew I was far from perfect and honestly, I thought my greatest weakness was my lack of direct work experience in my target industries. I didn't see half of these comments coming. After being caught seriously off guard, I had to accept that these perceptions are true. These are the honest perceptions and the perspective of my peers on who I am and how I present myself. If that is what people see, then I need to learn how to adjust my image. I challenge you to ask people to do the same for you because it is eye-opening to realize exactly what and how much people see.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The "15 Second Kiss" Experiment

A few weeks back, I met a gentleman at church named Tim. Tim and his wife had been married many years (I can't remember exactly, but it was at least 30) and weathered many trials through their marriage (cancer included).

Naturally I asked him what the secret was - as I usually do when I meet someone with an epic marriage. "How have they stuck together through everything?" - I asked him this knowing that we shared our faith and reliance on Jesus Christ.

He simply replied, "The 15 second kiss."

Intrigued, I asked, "What do you mean?" though I suppose I could have figured it out.

He responded, "Every day, my wife and I always give each other a 15 second kiss. It's long enough that you can't fake it - it forces us to connect."

I had never heard of purposefully timing a kiss. It was a novel idea I was anxious to try!

Our "15 Second Kiss" Trial

Selena and I kiss plenty, but we realized that we don't often kiss for more than a few seconds. I'm not exactly sure why, but I do know it wasn't like that when we were dating. We made out way too much and for too long when we were dating...

After my "sales pitch," Selena and I agreed to try a few days with the "15 second kiss" rule. Here's what we learned (or were reminded of)...

1) 15 seconds isn't that long... except when you're kissing

We burn 15 seconds all the time without thinking about it. We sit on our phones, daydream, work around the house, you name it - 15 seconds is a short amount of time for most tasks. However, when you're kissing and consciously timing it, 15 seconds seems to be longer. And that's a good thing!

At first we were both aware of the time because of the novelty of the exercise. It didn't take long for us to simply get lost in the kiss. If other couples are like us, we get too busy to "get lost" doing anything. The 15 second kiss was a refreshing reminder that we can truly get lost in our affection for one another.

2) It's nearly impossible to kiss for an extended period of time and not feel closer

Kissing is intimate. We found that as we "got lost" in the kiss, we were getting lost together. And when we were lost together we truly found each other. (Oh that sounds poetic...)

Kissing makes us feel closer; and since we always want to feel closer it makes sense to make purposed kissing a daily part of our lives.

3) It refocused us on "who" we are to each other

When you're "kissably-close" to your spouse, smelling their breath, feeling their skin, you remember who they are as a person. It's easy to begin seeing your spouse as a roommate or casual partner, but kissing reminds us of the distinctly human qualities (good and bad) that we feel in love with in the first place.

Kissing forces us to drown out distractions around us. We had to consciously tune everything else out and focus solely on each other - something we can all agree we need more of.

4) Kissing is a gateway drug

Kissing contributes to overall friskiness. We are both... ahem... more "intimacy minded" after the 15 second kisses than we are before.

5) Kissing refreshes and energizes us

Perhaps it's just friskiness, or maybe something else, but kissing is like an adrenaline shot. We both feel excited and energized after a 15 second kiss.

Try for yourselves!

Whether you and your spouse are constant kissers or even if you've forgotten what a French kiss is, I highly recommend giving this exercise a shot. Feel free to go longer than 15 seconds, but certainly don't go shorter - at least not after you try it a few times.

I'm confident it will have a positive impact on your relationship with your spouse. Give it a try and report back with your findings.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Public Speaking Presentations

I have posted my first presentation in this class to my blog weeks earlier but now that the semester is coming to a close I figured I would post my other two presentations. They aren't the best presentations sadly but still it shows the kinds of presentations we are asked to perform in our program. In an effort to consolidate those videos so they are all in one place, I will again post that first presentation directly below.

The first presentation was focused on an open topic about our passions. My passion was the value of people. The second and third presentations were again open topics. My second presentation was a business proposal that could be for a fictional company, a previous employer, or even a future situation. I decided to take a particular spin on the idea and I created a business proposal that would be in the present. I was going to pitch to my classmates a brand new study trip destination to add to the University of Utah's current portfolio. Since the Career Management Center failed to attend my presentation when invited, I doubt that any of my ideas or parts of my proposal will be implemented.

Part of this process was taking data from the college itself, analyzing them, and then creating graphics that would tell the story of how the current process worked and how it could be improved. I had a variety of different ideas and procedures that the college could employ to increase the engagement of the students. Whether it was having students source companies to visit at the various locations to selecting specific companies and industries that they would want to visit rather than only applying to the location in general.

The last presentation had to be a ceremonial speech in some regard. I choose to use this as a venue to give tribute rather than an eulogy for my grandfather who passed away about 10 years ago. The hardest part of this particular project was attempting to fit aspects or lessons that could be gleaned from his life and relate them in a meaningful way to my classmates. Even harder than that was attempting to accomplish that in a mere 3 to 3.5 minutes. This was the time frame for all of my presentations. However, the emotional connection I had with this particular topic made this last presentation extremely hard because I wanted to go off point when I was unable to.

For those of you who do not know my grandfather or the kind of man he was, I hope that I am a good representative of what he might have been like. I aspire to live in his footsteps in the way that I treat the people around me and how I communicate with them. I have a long way to go but I feel like I am at least generally headed in the right direction.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Typically I have been able to continue to write and work and live but lately I have found that I have been distracted. Writing isn't a hobby or an outlet but it is a part of who you are and who you become as a person. It is an expression of one's self. It is a silent cry in the darkness for the things that make us who we are and that bring color to a monotone canvas. It is the cut on the skin of the soul that let's your life and your dreams and your thoughts seep out for the world to see with every beating of your innermost desires. Although it may not make sense for me to attempt poetry without limerick, rhyme, structure or pose, I form my thoughts rather through pure emotion and feeling.

Memories or shades of past hearts glimpse the mirror's edge. They come close enough to cast a silhouette before quickly being covered with drapes and sheets of security. The cracks don't allow enough time to see if the stranger is someone new because in the end the eyes of the beholder have never changed. The distance and appearances vary. My shadow changes as well because I have been spinning in the sunlight not knowing which way to go. To the East or Southern Coasts? The only direction or sense of guidance which truly matters is what I feel.

I guess I get distracted by all the unanswered questions in my life. Whether those answers can be found in the arms of another person, traveling to an unknown place, an alternative direction professionally, or maybe refocusing more on my faith, I am still lost in my pursuit for what I do not know. I feel directionless but still I press forward in the hope that it will all become clear if I trust in myself. Distractions or not, I will know soon enough if this is the path for me.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top 37 Things Dying People Say They Regret

Everyone goes through life experiencing enough mistakes and resulting damage that, by the time they are old enough, they have regrets. They say hindsight is 20/20 and when you look back at your life you will know what moments you should have changed. However, we want to help you out. Forget hindsight. We've compiled a list of things you must not do or else you will definitely regret them at the end of your life.

1. Not traveling when you had the chance. Traveling gets harder as you get older, as more people depend on your presence, day-to-day and it ends up becoming more expensive to bring more people with you. 
2. Not learning another language. You probably took years of another language in high school. You should put it to good use. 
3. Staying in a bad relationship. It may feel hard to get out of a bad relationship, but it's not worse than staying in it and wasting everyone's time. 
4. Forgoing sunscreen. It may not seem like much, but sun damage adds up over the years, causing wrinkles and discoloration. 
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians. You never truly know when your favorite band might break up, so seize the day. 
6. Being afraid to do things. Fear can paralyze us, but we can't let it. 
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority. As you get older you'll realize how important it is to take care of your body. 
8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles. Define yourself, don't let society do it. 
9. Not quitting a terrible job. You may need to pay rent or provide for a family, but you can't force yourself to be miserable every day. 
10. Not trying harder in school. Grades are important, but what's more important is learning how to apply yourself and be dedicated. 
11. Not realizing how beautiful you are. There are many definitions of beauty and you shouldn't think you're unworthy of someone's attention. 
12. Being afraid to say "I love you." Loving another person is a precious gift, even if that same love isn't returned. 
13. Not listening to your parents' advice. They have a lot more experience than you'll want to give them credit for. 
14. Spending your youth being self-absorbed. There is more to the world than just you and eventually you'll realize that. 
15. Caring too much about what other people think. When you're older, you'll realize that the opinions of others don't factor into your true happiness. 
16. Supporting the dreams of others over your own. Being nice is one thing, but sacrificing your happiness isn't worth it. 
17. Not moving fast enough. Don't hesitate to make decisions, you'll end up regretting wasting time. 
18. Holding grudges, especially against those you love. Choose to let go of your pain, instead of dwelling on it. 
19. Not standing up for yourself. Just because others may disagree with you, it doesn't mean you have to abandon your principals. 
20. Not volunteering enough. There are countless reasons to help other people, especially when they are needy. 
21. Neglecting your teeth. Flossing and brushing may seem annoying, but it's much better to take care of your teeth while you're young instead of losing them later. 
22. Missing the chance to talk to your grandparents before they die. They hold a lot of knowledge and they will only be around for a little while. 
23. Working too much. You're going to miss the good parts of life, or be too stressed to enjoy them, if you do. 
24. Not learning how to cook one good meal. It'll add to your family and friend get togethers more than you can ever imagine. 
25. Not stopping to appreciate the moment. Quit texting or taking pictures and realize what you are doing when you are doing it. 
26. Failing to finish what you start. Every day is an opportunity that shouldn't be squandered. 
27. Never mastering one awesome party trick. This seems silly, but just think of how many amazing memories you can create. 
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations. If you family or country thinks you should do something for a career, you're not forced to. Never. 
29. Refusing to let friendships run their course. Sometimes people drift apart. Forcing that connection could do more damage than good. 
30. Not playing with your children enough. Kids are joyful and innocent. You should be choosing to fill your life with this joy, not avoiding it. 
31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love). Taking a bigger risk can pay off more than taking a smaller one. 
32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network. It may seem like schmoozing, but it'll help your career in the long run. 
33. Worrying too much. Worrying, especially about things that haven't happened yet, is useless. 
34. Getting caught up in needless drama. Drama can be addictive, but there is no point. Don't get off on how bad your day is. 
35. Not spending enough time with loved ones. We are all on this earth for a limited amount of time, don't take that for granted. 
36. Never performing in front of others. This may not be your true calling, but trying it at least once is an important life experience. 
37. Not being grateful sooner. Learn to say thanks and learn to mean it. So many parts of your life will improve if you do.

It's never too late to change your life, so start by avoiding these things. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough

We've all gone through hard times. And we all get through them. However, some get through them better than others. So what is their secret? Most of it has to do with attitude. Here are 13 things to remember when life gets rough:

1. What is, is.

Buddha's famous saying tells us: "It is your resistance to 'what is' that causes your suffering." Think about that for a minute. It means that our suffering only occurs when we resist how things are. If you can change something, then take action! Change it! But if you can't change it, then you have two choices: (1) either accept it and let go of the negativity, or (2)  make yourself miserable by obsessing over it.

2. It's only a problem if you think it's a problem.

Many times, we are our own worst enemy. Happiness is really dependent on perspective. If you think something is a problem, then your thoughts and emotions will be negative. But if you think it's something you can learn from, then suddenly, it's not a problem anymore.

3. If you want things to change, you need to start with changing yourself.

Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. Don't you know people whose lives are chaotic and stressful? And isn't that largely because they feel chaotic inside? Yes, it is. We like to think that changing our circumstances will change us. But we have it backwards - we need to change ourselves first before our circumstances will change.

4. There is no such thing as failure - only learning opportunities.

You should just wipe the world "failure" right out of your vocabulary. All great people who have ever achieved anything have "failed" over and over. In fact, I think it was Thomas Edison who said something like, "I did not fail at inventing the light bulb, I just first found 99 ways that it didn't work." Take your so-called "failures" and learn something from them. Learn how to do it better next time.

5. If you don't get something you want, it just means something better is coming.

That's hard to believe sometimes, I know. But it's true. Usually, when you look back at your life, you will be able to see why it was actually a good thing that something didn't work out. Maybe the job you didn't get would have made you spend more time away from your family, but the job you did get was more flexible. Just have faith that everything happens exactly the way it's supposed to.

6. Appreciate the present moment.

This moment will never come again. And there is always something previous about every moment. So don't let it pass you by! Soon it will just be a memory. Even moments that don't seem happy can be looked upon as something that you might miss someday. As the country song by Trace Adkins says, "You're gonna miss this... you're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast... you may not know this now, but you're gonna miss this..."

7. Let go of desire.

Most people live with "attached mind." What this means is that they attach themselves to a desire, and when they don't get it, their emotions plummet into negativity. Instead, try to practice "detached mind." That means that when you want something, you will still be happy whether you get it or not. Your emotions remain happy or neutral.

8. Understand and be grateful for your fears.

Fear can be a great teacher. And overcoming fears can also make you feel victorious. For example, when I was in college, I feared public speaking (one of the top 3 fears of all humans). So I find it humorous now that not only do I speak in front of a group every day by being a college professor, I also teach public speaking! Overcoming fears just takes practice. Fear is really just an illusion. It's optional.

9. Allow yourself to experience joy.

Believe it or not, I know way too many people who don't allow themselves to have fun. And they don't even know how to be happy. Some people are actually addicted to their problems and the chaos in them so much that they wouldn't even know who they are without them. So try to allow yourself to be happy! Even if it's just for a small moment, it's important to focus on joy, not your hardships.

10. Don't compare yourself to other people.

But if you do compare yourself, compare yourself with people who have it worse than you. Unemployed? Be grateful that you live in a country that gives unemployment compensation, because most people in the world live on less that $750 a year. So you don't look like Angelina Jolie? Well, I bet there are more people who don't than do. And you are probably way better looking than most people. Focus on that.

11. You are not a victim.

You need to get out of your own way. You are only a "victim" of your own thoughts, words and actions. No one "does" something to you. You are the creator of your own experience. Take personal responsibility and realize that you can get out of your hard times. You just need to start with changing your thoughts and actions. Abandon your victim mentality and become victorious. From victim to VICTOR!

12. Things can - and do - change.

"And this too shall pass" is one of my favorite sayings. When we are stuck in a bad situation, we think that there is no way out. We think nothing will ever change. But guess what? It will! Nothing is permanent except death. So get out of the habit of thinking that things will always be this way. They won't. But you do need to take some sort of action for things to change. It won't magically happen all on its own.

13. Anything is possible.

Miracles happen every day. Really - they do. I wish I had enough space to write about all the miraculous things that have happened to people I know - from healing stage 4 cancer naturally to having their soul mate appear out of nowhere. Trust me: it happens all the time. You just need to believe it does. Once you do, you have won the battle.

18 Ugly Truths About Modern Dating That You Have To Deal With

1. The person who cares less has all the power. Nobody wants to be the one who's more interested.

2. Because we want to show how cavalier and blasé we can be to the other person, little psychological games like 'Intentionally Take Hours Or Days To Text Back' will happen. They aren't fun.

3. A person being carefree because they have zero interest in you looks exactly like a person being carefree because they think you're amazing and are making a conscious effort to play it cool. Good luck deciphering between the two.

4. Making phone calls is a dying art. Chances are, most of your relationship's communication will happen via text, which is the most detached, impersonal form of interaction. Get familiar with those emoticon options.

5. Set plans are dead. People have options and up-to-the-minute updates on their friends (or other potential romantic interests) whereabouts thanks to texts and social media. If you aren't the top priority, your invitation to spend time will be given a "Maybe" or "I'll let you know" and the deciding factor(s) will be if that person has offers more fun/interesting than you on the table.

6. Someone who hurt you isn't automatically going to have bad karma. At least not in the immediate future. I know it only seems fair, but sometimes people cheat and betray and move on happily while the person they left is in shambles.

7. The only difference between your actions being romantic and creepy is how attractive the other person finds you. That's it, that's all.

8. "Let's chill" and "Wanna hang out?" are vague phrases that likely mean "let's hookup" - and while you probably hate receiving them, they're the common way to invite someone to spend time these days, and appear to be here to stay.

9. Some people just want to hookup and if you're seeking more than sex, they won't tell you that they're the wrong person for you. At least, not until after they score your prize. While human decency is ideal, honesty isn't mandatory.

10. The text message you sent went through. If they didn't respond, it wasn't because of malfunctioning phone carrier services.

11. So many people are scared of commitment and being official that they'll remain in a label-free relationship, which blurs lines and only works until it doesn't. I've said it many times before, I'll say it again - "we're just talking" is opening the door for cheating that technically wasn't cheating because, hey, you weren't together together.

12. Social media creates new temptations and opportunities to cheat. The private messaging and options for subtle flirtation (e.g. liking of pictures) aren't an excuse or validation for cheating, but they certainly increase the chances of it happening.

13. Social media can also create the illusion of having options, which leads to people looking at Facebook as an attractive people menu instead of a means of keeping contact with friends and family.

14. You aren't likely to see much of someone's genuine, unfiltered self until you're in an actual relationship with him or her. Generally people are scared that sincerely putting themselves out there will result in finding out that they're too available, too anxious, too nerdy, too nice, too safe, too boring, not funny enough, not pretty enough, not some other person enough to be embraced.

15. Any person you get romantically involved with you'll either wind up staying with forever or breaking up with them at some point. These are equally terrifying concepts.

16. When dating, instead of expressing how they feel directly to you, a person is more likely to post a Facebook status or Instagram a Tumblr-esque photo of a sunset with a quote or song lyric of someone else's words on it, and while it may not mention your name, it's blatantly directed at you.

17. There are plenty of people who'll have zero respect for your relationship and if they want the person you're with, they'll have no qualms with trying to overstep boundaries to get to 'em. Girl code and guy code are wishful thinking and human code isn't embedded in everyone.

18. If you get dumped, it's probably going to be pretty brutal. People can cut ties over the phone and avoid seeing the tears stream down your face or end things via text and avoid hearing the pain in your cracking voice and sniffling nose. Send a lengthy text and voila, relationship over. The easy way out is far from the most considerate.