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    May 2014

    When Common Sense Fails You, Tap Into Your Uncommon Sense!

    May 20, 2014 9098 Views

    At one time or another, we've all heard someone say, "Just use common sense!" But you probably haven't heard of using uncommon sense. Using uncommon sense can take you from average to incredible in all areas of your life.

    Here's a comparison of common sense and uncommon sense.

    What is common sense?

    Common sense is loosely defined as a general set of principles that society has agreed is the "right" or conventional way to do something. These sayings and thoughts have become so ingrained in society over the years that we mostly don't even have to think about it. Using your common sense becomes a routine. Basically, common sense teaches us to think like this: This is the right way to do something because we've always done it that way, and it's just how things are.

    And while using common sense is important, it's not always the right way to look at the world. Sometimes you need to use uncommon sense.

    So what's uncommon sense?

    While common sense is considered conventional wisdom, uncommon sense is a re-examination of that conventional wisdom.

    In our business life and personal life, following common sense is usually the safe way to go. But, the people who are really making a difference in the world are usually the people who try something new. People that may go against something that may go against what conventional wisdom says is the "right" way to do something.

    Unconventional thinking is the reason we have the ability to fly thousands of feet above the ground. Can you imagine a world without airplanes? The Wright brothers are a real-world example of people who went against conventional wisdom and completely changed the world. Common sense says that humans can't possibly fly, but the Wright brothers challenged that. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have modern air travel.

    Uncommon sense is not about throwing common sense totally out the window. Tapping into our uncommon sense allows us to take a deeper look at things we often take for granted. It fights against the thought or perspective: Well, it's just the way things are.

    Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University and author of Uncommon Sense: The 10 Principles to Transform Your Work and Life, explains that uncommon sense is all about taking a critical approach to life.

    Here are some of the Dr. Qubein's examples of uncommon sense:

    • Productive failure is better than unproductive success
    • Avoid the urgent; focus on the important
    • Manage your life, not just your time
    • Don't seek improvement; seek excellence


    So yes, sometimes you might get reminded to use your common sense, but even more importantly, you should remind yourself to use your uncommon sense. It just might change your life.

    Want to learn more about uncommon sense? Check out Check out Uncommon Sense to learn the 10 principles to transform your work and life.

    Books by Dr. Nido Qubein

    Qualities of Great Leaders

    May 12, 2014 9758 Views

    Quick! Think of a leader. Who comes to mind? A boss at work, a president, a coach you had in high school, a parent or sibling; leadership emerges in all areas of our lives.

    The leadership you experience throughout your life often shapes you. The leadership qualities we admire in others are the same qualities we try to portray and build on in our own lives. No one is born a leader; it takes work. And good leaders are always working to improve themselves.

    But what qualities make someone a great leader? We thought about some of the great leaders we know, and here are some qualities that they all have in common:

    Great Leaders Show Passion

    "To love what you do and feel that it matters…how could anything be more fun?" –Katherine Graham

    Passion is a very important part of leadership, and passion isn't something we can fake. When you love what you do, it shows through your actions, which helps inspire those around you. Plus it's always more rewarding (and more fun!) to do something that matters to you. If you're having fun and feel like you're making a difference, other people in your life will be inspired to follow in your footsteps. Great leaders know this—whether it's volunteering once a week at a soup kitchen or leading a country through the Great Depression, passion always inspires others to act.

    Great Leaders Stay Focused on Priorities

    Great leaders help others stay focused on their goals in part by staying focused themselves. In all areas of life, it's easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out by all the little things and lose sight of the big picture. Great leaders know how to keep everyone focused by keeping priorities top of mind and adjusting as new things pop up. If we always focused on every small issue, we wouldn't have enough time to spend on the important things. Great leaders know when to let the little things go to focus on the bigger issues.

    Great Leaders Stay Optimistic and Always Persevere

    Life isn't perfect. There's always going to be something that gets in the way or throws you off course. But great leaders know how to stay positive and keep everyone on track, even when problems arise. Great leaders don't give up, and they don't let others give up either.

    Great Leaders Build Trust and Trust Others

    Trust is one of the most important qualities in life and leadership. Without trust, leaders can't inspire others to follow them or to learn from them. Trust doesn't happen overnight, and great leaders know how to prove their trustworthiness.

    Another important part of trust is being able to trust others. Great leaders surround themselves with people they can count on. We can't do everything ourselves, so we need to trust others to take care of things. At work, that might be trusting a coworker to meet their deadlines on a project. At home, it might be trusting your family to have your back when you try something new.

    Building trust and learning to trust others shows that you're on the same team and are all working for the same goal. Without trust, there are no followers, and without followers, there are no leaders.

    A lot of different things make up great leaders, and these are just some qualities that we've noticed in leaders we know. Think about the great leaders you know. Do they have these traits? What other leadership qualities do they have? Share your ideas on what makes a great leader in the comments!

    Want to learn more about leadership skills? Check out all of our leadership books!

    4 Ways to Practice Gratitude in Your Life

    May 5, 2014 4772 Views

    It's easy to be grateful for the big moments in your life, but in the day-to-day craziness, sometimes we forget to be grateful for all of the people and the little things in life that make us happy. Plus expressing your gratitude can help you feel less stress and more happiness.

    It's always great to remember all the good things in your life, so here are 4 tips for finding more gratitude:

    1. Be thankful for what DIDN'T happen.

    No matter how bad things are, they could almost always be worse. Start finding gratitude for what could have happened but didn't. You may not be thankful for everything in your life, but you can always be thankful for something.

    Find more tips like this in Learning to Dance in the Rain by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher.

    2. Don't hold on to your anger or hurt.

    Though you may not realize it, you are always choosing between two ways of perceiving: Looking to the world for reasons to be upset, or looking in your heart for reasons to be happy. You can't be upset and grateful at the same time, and life is too short to look for reasons to be upset. Try to remember that patience and tolerance bring you happiness, while anger and hatred bring you suffering.

    Find more tips like this in Smile for No Good Reason by Dr. Lee Jampolsky.

    3. Savor life's little moments.

    Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese once said, "We do not remember days; we remember moments." At today's hectic pace, however, we often forget to live in the moment, to just be. And by just being, by just soaking up a beautiful moment, we can find some of life's greatest pleasures.

    Find more tips like this in The Road to Happiness by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher.

    4. Express your gratitude by living it.

    Expressing gratitude brings even more things to be grateful for. No matter what's going on around you, look for things to appreciate, and then express your appreciation. You don't spread gratitude by preaching or scolding—you spread it by living it. Every moment. Every hour. Every day. John F. Kennedy said it best, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

    Find more tips like this in Learning to Dance in the Rain by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher.

    Finding something to be grateful for and expressing your gratitude helps you find more happiness in your life (and you can spread that happiness and attitude of gratitude on to others). So show your friends and family how much you appreciate them, and show your appreciation for life's perfect little moments.

    For even more tips for and reminders about having an attitude of gratitude, check out our gratitude books.


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