Archives for category: confidence

As we ready ourselves for the upcoming fall semester, I thought I’d share some writing hacks for English Composition courses that use the MLA format of documentation styles.

These six hacks were put together mostly because a former student thought it was cool when I mentioned one of the techniques for lengthening a paper was a writing hack.

Students like the word, hack. So here goes:

6 Writing Hacks for Freshman Composition

1. Setting your Default Font and Size to Times New Roman, 12 pt takes up more room than the current default Calibri 11 pt. Times New Roman, size 12 simply takes up more space.

2. Using an MLA format takes up space on the very first page. Type: Student name ENTER; Professor name ENTER; Course Number ENG 101-1019 ENTER; Due Date written in Military Style 22 October 2017 ENTER; Set up the Title of the paper (Centered) ENTER. That’s five (5) lines already if you’ve Double-spaced your page.

3. Take up more real estate by introducing the quoted material you want to use by first 1) Summarize it, 2) add the quote, and 3) Discuss what the quote means for your paper in a couple of sentences. Be sure to use the correct in-text citation or parenthetical reference to avoid plagiarism.

4. Use a blocked quote of 40+ words for a longer quote to analyze in your paper. Be sure to use Hack #3. Don’t go over 50 words. Your analysis of the quote should be twice as long as the quoted material. Since these are limited in a paper, be sure to find something that needs a longer explanation for your paper.

5. Use the Ellipse to take out text in a quote you don’t want to use to keep your blocked quote to a minimum. Use the Hard Bracket when you do […]. The hard brackets indicate that this is Super Imposed Content and was not originally in the text you are quoting. When you see this sic in a text, understand this word means Super Imposed Content, not something that’s trying to psych you out. You can also use the hard brackets to make a sentence make sense. Ex: [S]he aspires to find the truth.

6. Add a bit of background information in your introduction paragraph to include information your reader might need to understand where your stance is coming from. It’s not a History or Biography, ever – unless, of course, you are writing a biography or history overview.

I hope these help add length to your college papers. Perhaps you can share these with a student you know.

Joy,

Cheryl

Bravery

Today’s gratitude challenge is about Bravery. I began to think of all the common definitions of this term such as valor, courage, and fearlessness. I briefly recalled images of 15th Century Knights in battle. Why? I’m guessing this is the sort of thing we are taught as children. We read epic stories of the hero who must face some sort of danger, or we’ve watched too much television to make a clear determination for the definition. And then I asked myself if the average person can express bravery. I am certain of it; although I’m not exactly sure that some type of fear is not involved; for instance, when I was about to enter the hospital to allow a surgeon to deliver my daughter through cesarean section. I’m sure I wasn’t expressing the courage I hoped to have. Going under the knife was and is a scary prospect for any woman about to birth her first child. Anything can happen. Fortunately, for me, my doctor delivered her without any problems.

If I think back to that day, I was met with all sorts of procedures that would have left anyone frightened. At one point, I had to hold as still as possible, so that the spinal injection was completed accurately. Okay, but I couldn’t control the one performing the action. I’m sure my mind was conjecturing all sorts of woes had I moved or the needle suddenly slipped.

Later, as a mother, I faced many possible dangers. Raising a child is terrifying. Does that make me a brave person? I’m not so sure. What is brave is stepping up and fulfilling the role of a mother – working tirelessly to keep the child comfortable and secure. These are strategies that we are not taught. I fumbled my way through it all. Bravery is like that. We expand ourselves to do what is needed.

I’m not necessarily only speaking of motherhood. Many people face different types of demons every day – usually internal ones. We surmise what others might think of us. This fear can be paralyzing. Some of us would rather expire than to plunge into the fear that our thoughts create and keep us weak. Talk to people in sales who will explain the hours wasted because they could not pick up a telephone to call a prospective client. That fear of rejection runs deep.

Most don’t even think about the dangers around us. Starting a motor vehicle and driving in rush hour traffic takes bravery. What about beginning a new job? It takes a certain type of bravery to overcome new tasks and learn new names. Natural disasters seem commonplace these days. The news broadcasts are quick to show the devastating live footage.

How does one go about mustering up courage in times like these? Adrenaline might be one answer. Try these ideas instead:

* Aim to build up confidence by doing things that make you uncomfortable without any immediate danger
* Hone your skills in certain areas to help you do something you like, and do it well
* Believe in yourself – an area where we tend to demonstrate a deep, cavernous lack

And mostly, believe in yourself. Chances are, others believe in you and your abilities. It’s not hype.
Negative self-talk is detrimental to your well-being in all cases. Thank goodness we are not our thoughts.

Have faith; bravery is not elusive. You might surprise yourself someday. When you do, write it down. Tell some friends, and pat yourself on the back while you get ready to do more. Reward yourself if you need to.

These tactics will help build some resilient muscles.

My wish is that you become the best version of you.

Joy,

Cheryl

Boldly get on with your life.

Assertiveness is the virtue I am grateful for today. Do you know people who display a bold confidence in their behaviors or when they speak? They exude a confidence that is strikingly different than some of us. This virtue has a sister; it’s called ambition. When we are assertive, we possess a strong desire to accomplish our goals. No self-defeating actions exist for an assertive person.

Sometimes we need assertiveness in sales. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about product sales; we often need to sell ourselves first, especially if we are looking for work, being careful not to sound pushy. When I applied as a transfer student to D’Youville college, I showed my ambitious and assertive self. I knew what I wanted and had the audacity to tell the department chair my plans to withdraw my application if the college did not accept all my credits without condition. I was not unpleasant toward the person behind the desk; I just knew that my GPA was high enough to qualify, and felt much confidence in my accomplishments. Instead of complying to their conditions, I indicated my own. Needless to say, other professors heard about my interview and knew who I was before I attended any classes. One of these fine professionals was Bob Nielsen, whom I dedicated this blog.

Confidence is what makes the difference. If I had not asserted myself and my intentions, I might not have met all the wonderful people who later became my mentors. Confidence changes circumstances. Confidence changes us. Quite often, I look back and think that exuberance is needed in every aspect of life. It helps us to push boundaries and to step out of our comfort zones.
We cannot allow the negative stories in our minds, or our fears, to keep us from doing what we want – whether it be applying for a new job, talking to someone attractive, or asking for what we need or want out of life. So many times, we think things won’t work for us. How would we know until we try? Of course, my interview might not have gone the way I’d hoped it would, but I had to be less concerned about the outcome. I had to be myself. Sometimes I miss being a young girl when I had less fears. Perhaps, back then, I thought less of what people might think of me than I do now. When did my attitude change? When did I let this virtue escape me?

I think it’s time to recapture some of that confidence and assertiveness.

• Define the fear that holds you back
• Determine your desires
• Demonstrate your willingness to forget what others might think of you

I am grateful that assertiveness is never lost; they act quite like muscles. You’d need to work on them to build them up; but they never disappear, even after years of neglect.
Find and build your confidence today.

Joy,
Cheryl

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Waiting Wastes Time

In Speaking of Change, we discussed fears and contemplated reasons we may make to stay stagnant in our lives rather than move forward.

I hope that this note may help confront one of the many, but powerful reasons not to embrace our inner changes – feeling as if we need permission to do the task, take the job, move out of state, lose the weight, start a new business, earn another degree, or live the life we desire.

Ask yourself these questions.
Am I my own entity? Do I depend on another’s lungs to help me breathe? Am I capable of thinking for myself?

Surely, as a living, breathing person, you desire to do things that not everyone else around you wants to do. Say this to yourself: “I am unique.” Embrace your autonomy. You’re the master of you.

To require another’s permission to eat, breathe, sleep, laugh, relax, or play is silly. How you do things is strictly up to you. Take this notion into other areas of your life. As simply as it is to be yourself, it is just as simple to make changes in your habits, or create changes in your life. Of course, if you desire any major change, such as breaking poor habits, consult a step by step program that is well designed and has a proven success rate. My aim is to inspire you to muster up your inner spirit to move forward with positive changes without feeling like you need approval from anyone. You don’t. Those fires that wake you up at night are your own inspirations. Listen to them. Do you ache for a better quality of life? You have what it takes within you.

Let me note a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs in the psyche. After we grow up, into adulthood, we forget that we are adults, equipped to decide what is best for ourselves. That’s left for those major decision makers, we say. Nonsense. We are no longer children. Who else but you knows the best path? As long as we remain aware of our true selves and our surroundings, we can make the best decisions. What do I mean by our true selves? Remember, my suggestion is that our true self is the one that wakes us up in the middle of the night. It’s the voice that you attempt to muffle because you know it speaks the truth about your circumstances. It’s the voice that would have you do something you’d rather not listen to because it would invoke change. It’s clear. We’re lazy. But we can do what are deepest desires require. Change.

Resist the urge to wait for anyone’s permission for us to live the lives we ought to be living.

Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ 1953 is a classic, absurdist, two-scene play, now on Broadway depicting two men under the impression to wait in one place for a man named Godot who never arrives. Does your life feel like this? Do you wait in one place, one circumstance, for something to happen? Read the script:

waiting for Godot part i

waiting for Godot – part ii

Dear one, you’re the one who is to make your life happen.

Ah, so you think you have all kinds of time, do you? You haven’t read the play.

Read the last in this series:
No, You Don’t Have Time

Joy,
Cheryl