Difficult questions as a way to reduce discomfort and improve your communication skills

At that moment, I felt like a fool. Five years studying finance and economics, and several years working in an investment bank. And none of those credentials were useful. Despite that experience, I remained silent and answered wrong to the question they asked. And what made me angry was not my wrong answer, or my stupid face when I did it. What made me angry was that, at that moment, in that restaurant, they asked that uncomfortable question without any previous notice, when I was totally unprepared.

We were talking about potential job candidates and the way we make interviews to recruit people for our companies.

– “How much is seven to the power of three?”

– “Ah?”…I answered…

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The elevator challenge. Generating 200 ideas a month using only 5 minutes of your day

We would be surprised if we think about all the “dead moments” we have during a day. Most of those moments last only for a few seconds or a couple of minutes, and maybe that´s why we don´t have them present. It’s like if our brain is in Standby mode, and during those seconds (or minutes) don´t process any relevant information, or if we couldn’t remember anything about what the brain is processing.

I recently realized that, on a typical weekday, I use an elevator between six and ten times a day. And I can´t remember what was in my head any time I used the elevator in the last week. During those seconds, my brain whitens and enter into another dimension. When the door opens again, my brain returns from that dimension.

From now on, I want to start an experiment: Every time I use an elevator, and before it reaches the destination floor, I must have thought on some idea. Any kind of idea, no matter how nonsense or stupid it might seem…the only thing that matters: having an idea in my head before I get out of the elevator.

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How to deal with negative answers and obtain value from them?

We are the result of our education, our environment and the people around us. Society, the way we were raised and traditional education invite us to think that the goal of everything we do and everything we ask is to always have a “YES” for an answer.

The traditional educational system doesn´t encourage trial and error, demonize failure and doesn’t allow experimentation, doubt or curiosity among students.

We are educated to believe that there are no second chances, and that we must have a binary mentality (to believe that the only options are black or white, and that the only acceptable color is white), to believe that black is a dangerous zone. That is why we grow up with fear of failure, with the fear of people saying “NO” to us.

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Your critics are your real fans – Criticism as a way to improve

Numbers are simple, it’s impossible that 100% of the people agree with us. Many times we overreact when someone doesn’t agree with the way we think or act.

We believe that perfection is a synonym of success, and that’s why we get affected by critics so easy. We constantly forget that everything can be seen, measured and judged from different points of view, and that ours is not necessarily truth or at least is not the absolute truth.

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How to stop dreaming and start doing? The 90-10 rule

“The world belongs to the dreamers,” some people say. I don´t agree. I think that affirmation is incomplete. Something more accurate and realistic would be: “The world belongs to the dreamers who, after dreaming, make the effort and work to make that dream come true”. It’s not a catchy or commercial affirmation, but it´s closer to reality.

The web is full of motivational phrases and pictures with paradisiacal beaches inviting us to believe that “Those who dream are those who achieve”. How many, after reading that kind of motivational content, really do something? How many of those who read that will remember the phrase the next day?

There´s something wrong with that type of situations: People spend more time dreaming than doing.

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Why being under pressure is the best thing that can happen to you

Any moment, under any circumstance, we experience some kind of pressure. A proposal to a client, a concert ticket we need to buy before it runs out, getting good grades in school.

There are different types of pressure, and each type causes different effects. Depending on how we manage that pressure, it can result in a positive or a negative outcome.

There is not such thing as a 100% bad situation. And there is no such thing as “perfection”. Nothing is too bad, and nothing is too good. One of the most important skills that everyone should learn is how to transform negative pressure into positive pressure.

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Forget about “going big” and the mega goals. The key to achieving more are the micro details

In this days, people only talk about the “macro” and the “mega”. There are mega malls, mega movie theaters, and everyone is concerned about the macroeconomic situation.

The motivational images from Instagram says that we need to “Go big”, to aim for mega objectives and mega results.

We live in a very conditioned environment. For the media and big companies, is extremely easy to impose new trends and “fashionable things” among people. If suddenly, the only things that we start seeing on TV commercials and the press are mega projects, mega stadiums and mega constructions, unconsciously, we will start looking for the “mega” and the “macro” in anything we do.

And that´s the problem. Once we are conditioned, we transfer that conditioning to everything we do.

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The right mood doesn’t exist – You are just lazy

Today, I woke up with no “mood” for writing. Instead of writing, I started wondering why people think there’s a requisite and a social norm that dictates that, to do something, you need to be in the right “mood”. In fact, who invented the categories and the labels to know how many types of “moods” there are and when to use them? Is like, from one moment to another, all the activities and the things that we do in our daily life began to depend on one emotion or a specific state of mind. And if we are not synchronized with that emotion, we have the excuse to evade and postpone that activity that we need to do.

So, every time life becomes more complicated. Now, to do something, not only we need to be in the disposition to do it and think how to do it, but we need to consult with our “mood” to see if we get permission to do it.

And this situation presents the perfect context to become popular: A sticky word (mood) and an excuse to not do what we need to do: “I didn’t write today because I wasn´t in the mood”. “I didn’t finish the design that my client asked because I wasn´t in the right ‘mood’ for designing”.

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Being selfish can be good. Selfishness as a way to find the potential value of things

The mind has different types of “containers”. And in one of those “containers” is where we store the need of reciprocity and gratitude that we feel when someone helps us.

People say that the more we help others selflessly, we should feel better and we will get more rewards.

Actually, I don’t think there is something as a disinterested collaboration. In every action, there is always an interest of each of the parties, although in many cases this interest is difficult to identify at a glance.

It seems crazy to believe that selfishness, to some extent, it´s something natural and necessary. A bit of selfishness is present in every interaction that we have. But do not misinterpret this, often the interest we seek is simply to feel better.

So, rather than continue believing that thinking in ourselves first is bad, we should evaluate it from an objective point of view.

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Getting attention Ozzy Osbourne style

Millions of people know Ozzy Osbourne for his music, especially during his time as vocalist of Black Sabbath. Others know Ozzy for MTV reality show “The Osbournes” and others might know him as the degenerate who bit the head of a living bat during a concert.

Undoubtedly, a unique way to attract attention.

Some versions say that Ozzy thought the bat that a fan threw on stage was made of rubber and that’s why he bit it.

I am not interested to know what is the true version of the story, nor is the objective to decide whether this act was right or wrong … the point is this: Ozzy was able to draw attention and knew how to capitalize this for the rest of his life.

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