8 Great Habits for Both Work and Life

Not too long ago, I spent a summer working in business to business marketing. I basically worked for a consulting company that did direct marketing for an international telecommunications company. I went door to door talking to various businesses to obtain new clients or keep current ones satisfied. During that time, I learned a lot in the business world. 

In order to do my job, I needed to learn logistics quickly, have mental toughness, and pay attention to details. Every day I had to be flexible. Since I met new people daily, every day was an unpredictable adventure. Luckily, the person who mentored me, Carl, was really good at all this. 

One of the things he taught me during my training was the "8 Great Work Habits." They're habits that helped him achieve his massive success (he's currently the president of a successful organization) and that he has instilled in those who work under him. Take a look:


Attitude affects everything. Your attitude affected your actions and how the world reacts to you. It helps you connect with people. People gravitate towards people who have a positive attitude. They want to be around people who emit a positive aura. 

Having a great attitude keeps you optimistic during the day and gives you a better chance at overcoming challenges. Whatever lies ahead during the day, having a great attitude helps a lot more than not having one.


It's not enough to just start with a great attitude, keeping it is just as important.  It's just like if you're in a race; it's important to be in first place, but more important to maintain that position until the end of the race.  

I'm not saying that you should always be positive or happy 24/7.  There are times when you receive bad news or may be wronged.  When that happens, having a great attitude means reacting appropriately.


My parents always made sure they were punctual people.  Whenever we went somewhere new, we left extra early just in case there was traffic or we got lost.  We were almost always early, but always on time.  It's a habit that I can't help but have now (thanks Mom and Dad). 

Being on time shows that you have time management and can use your time wisely.  It also shows that you value not just your time, but other people's time too.  If others can see that you value their time, they're more likely to value yours.


It's the Boy Scout motto.  Being prepared for any task optimizes your chances of not just getting it done, but more effectively and more efficiently.  

I had a professor in college (hi Dr. Reese!) who often said during class that "battles are won even before the battle begins."  He argued that the better prepared army would be the winner.  It was a metaphor to provoke us to prepare ourselves before our exams. 

In kitchens, chefs setup their stations and arrange their ingredients before they start cutting and cooking.  That way, when an order is placed, all they have to do is cook.  Their preparation saves them time and effort.  The same is true in sports, business, and everything else in life.


This habit is sometimes referred to as "work a full day" or "work a full 8 hours." While that may not apply to everyone's situation, the concept behind it does: maximize your time.  

Everyone has 24 hours in a day, no more or no less.  What we do in that time makes all the difference.  

Maximizing your time takes place in many forms. It could be effectively planning your day beforehand.  It could be spending more time taking action and less time procrastinating.  It looks like more procrastinating and less scrambling.  It's about working smarter and harder (but not to the point of physical exhaustion). 


Growing up, I was always taught to be aware of my surroundings.  My surrounding environment could be an advantage or disadvantage based on what I was able to recognize and what I was able to do with it.

In consulting and in sales, I was assigned a certain area. Within that, I had to connect with every business and discuss their telecommunications services.  I was taught "keep it tight to the right," meaning that I would contact a business, and the next one I'd contact was the one to the right of it, and so on.  That was how I maximized the potential of my surroundings.  It ensured that every business in that area was included and no one was excluded.

Now working in education, the same concept applies.  It's all about using my surroundings to my advantage.  I use the resources and technology available to me to effectively prepare my lessons, execute them, grade, contact parents, and finish others tasks throughout the day.

If I'm shopping for stuff at home, I use my knowledge of sales, coupons, and other discounts to find the best deal.  Often I use my smartphone to look up prices among different retailers.  I know what retail stores are in my area.  I can figure out if something is cheaper online.  I use all of my available resources to help me provide for my family.


Opportunity is often misunderstood.  It's everywhere, but the same opportunity isn't always available everywhere.  It's like dating relationships; sometimes timing makes all the difference.  An opportunity that is here now may not be there tomorrow (or even tonight). 

There are three skills that I believe everyone should have: recognizing opportunity, seizing opportunity, and creating opportunity. Being able to see opportunity that is available, especially to you, opens doors.  Actually taking action and seizing an opportunity puts you ahead of people who also see an opportunity, but either don't take action, or do, but don't execute as well as you do. And most importantly, being able to create opportunity gives you a door of possibility wherever you are.  Whatever economic climate or geographic location, being able to find a job (especially in competitive markets) or start your own business is yourself giving yourself opportunity.


Up until recently, this was the habit that I struggled with the most.  Every day I had to practice taking control of a situation and make it work for me.  If I was in a conversation with someone who was sucking up most of my time, my inclination was to politely let her/him talk.  Now I'm better at politely ending the conversation and offering to continue it at another time. 

Taking control isn't about being aggressive, it's about proactively leading your situation. 

Even though I had this job years ago, these habits still stick in me. Granted, these habits weren't  all-new to me, but the practice of consciously applying them to my daily work routine benefited me. I grew more as a professional. These habits aren't just great to have at work, but they also are great at helping me have a successful and fulfilled life. 

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5 Reasons Why Laughter is Good for You

Laughter. It's something free and intangible. It's passed around among friends. It's something inherently beautiful.  There's something innocent about laughter.  When people see other people laugh, it's usually a good sign.

In laughter, there are smiles, giggles, and chuckles. Laughter expresses happiness. It shows people that things are alright, even if it's just for the moment.

Laughter helps make the pain go away for a little bit. Some say it's the best kind of medicine. Here's why:
  • According to HelpGuide.org, "laughter triggers the release of endorphins..." which helps our bodies feel good physically and emotionally.
  • Laughter also boosts the immune system. WebMD states that "the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well." 
  • A study from the University of Maryland Medical Center indicated that laughter may prevent heart disease.  In their study, they found that "people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease."
  • According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can increase your personal satisfaction by making it easier to cope in difficult situations and helps you connect with others.
  • Melandie Winderlich, from Discovery, states that laughter can also decrease stress, provides a burst of exercise, positively impacts blood sugar levels, and energizes organs.  
There is always a time and place for grief and mourning, but without a doubt, there is always room for a little more laughter in the world. 

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"Laughter Is the Best Medicine." : The Health Benefits of Humor. HelpGuide.org. Web. 17 Aug. 2014. <http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm>.

"Stress Management." Stress Relief from Laughter? It's No Joke. Mayo Clinic, 23 July 2013. Web. 17 Aug. 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456>.

Griffin, R. Morgan. "Laughter: Good For Your Health - WebMD." WebMD. WebMD. Web. 17 Aug. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter>.

Murray, Michelle. "Laughter Is the Best Medicine for Your Heart." University of Maryland Medical Center. 14 July 2009. Web. 17 Aug. 2014. <http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-for-your-heart>.

Winderlich, Melanie. "10 Reasons Why Laughing Is Good for You : Discovery Channel."Discovery Channel. Web. 17 Aug. 2014. <http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-reasons-why-laughing-good-for-you.htm>.

6 Insightful, Inspirational, and Motivational Quotes for the Week

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Distractions are Everywhere. Here's Why Being Present in the Moment is Important.

The other morning, my 4 month old son woke up in his crib in a pretty good mood. He didn't wake up screaming, crying, or needing to be changed, so I was thankful for that.  Even more, I was thankful that he was in a pretty good mood.

He was smiling at me.  He was laughing with his little baby chuckles.  He was waving his arms and legs in excitement as if he was dancing. He was having fun. It was awesome.

Part of me wanted to take a picture and post it on Facebook and Instagram. I wanted to share the moment with my friends and family.  But in doing that, I would've distracted myself and disrupted this beautiful moment.  To take the picture, I'd have to go to the other room to get my phone, which could've ruined the moment.  I could see my little happy kid watch me walk away and wonder, "Where the hell did Daddy go?" and freak out.  Then I'd have to actually take the picture by sticking my phone right in front of his face (which he hates). Imagine being a happy kid, with a big smile on his face, spending time with his dad and then a big electronic thingy hovers right above your face and you can't see anything else.  Would you still be smiling? I probably wouldn't either.

Even if I got him to smile, the pictures probably wouldn't have been pretty.  It's dark in the room, so the pictures would look tinted. Since he was moving so much, most of the pictures would have been somewhat blurry.  I might've wasted a few minutes trying to take the perfect shot.  Good thing I didn't.

So I just decided to sit there, smile, and enjoy it.  I knew I wouldn't have a digital souvenir to look at later, but eh, it's alright.  I was fully present. Both physically and mentally, I was giving my infant son my full attention.

It showed him that this moment was important, and so was he.

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