Building The Foundation of Success

By: Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

My greatest joy, as a teacher is to help my students discover their abilities and work towards their goals.

Many years ago, I received a call from a mother of a high school student. She said, “My husband’s employer recommended you as a violin teacher for my son. I would prefer a man to teach him, but will give you a try. My son is lazy and stupid.”

I replied, “Please do not talk that way about your son in front of him or to others.”

I agreed to teach this young man, provided that she would be encouraging to her son.

A young man with multi colored hair, an earring, and strange looking clothes walked in to his first violin lesson. His head was down, and he looked depressed.

We began working on scales, an etude, a solo piece, and the orchestra audition materials for the state orchestra auditions. He was a very talented young man and I told him so during our first lesson and all the lessons that followed. The honest sincere words that I spoke to him inspired and motivated him to do his best.

When it was time for the next lesson, a completely different young man walked eagerly up my walkway. He was neatly dressed, had his head up and wore a big smile. He took pride in his work and in himself. Each week I saw a transformation in him.

It was our fifth week of lessons, our final lesson before the state orchestra auditions. I told him how beautiful his playing was and what a good job he would do on the audition. Preparation makes all the difference! The honest sincere words that I spoke to him made him blossom like a flower.

He called me a few days after the audition and said with great pride, “I am the Concertmaster of the orchestra. There were over 40 people trying out and I won first place.” He said this with a smile on his face over the phone.

I told him how proud of him I was and that I knew he would win because of his hard work and determination. His Mother called and said, “Even though you are a woman, you did a good job with him!”

I bit my tongue, but thanked her for the compliment.

This young man changed his attitude and worked hard because of the “honest sincere praise” I gave him at every lesson. He went on to college after he graduated at the top of his high school class.

Do you remember a teacher, coach, friend or family member who complimented you? That compliment inspired and motivated you to work harder to do your best!

Have you ever mentored or coached someone and watched him or her succeed? How did you feel when they were successful?

I bet you felt proud and happy for their success and you walked a little taller that day!

Zig Ziglar, motivational expert and mentor in his book, ” See You at the Top” read the following story as a young salesman. It “made a lasting impression” on him. A young woman had sung since she was a young girl. She “made her musical debt in a church cantata. She had a beautiful voice and a great career was predicted for her. As she grew older,” she sang more concerts at local functions. Her family recognized her need for “professional voice training”.

Her family found a well-known singing teacher who told her every little thing she did wrong. As time passed the young women grew to admire her teacher and married him. Fewer and fewer concerts came her way as she had lost confidence in her gift of singing. Her teacher and husband had broken her confidence. When he passed away she was no longer singing at all.

Several years later she began to date a salesman and she would sometimes hum a tune while she was with him. He said, “Sing some more, Honey. You have the most beautiful voice in all the world”.

The salesman was not an expert, but he knew what he liked and gave her “honest sincere compliments.” She gained confidence from the salesman’s “honest appreciative words” and felt her joy of singing return to her. She was asked to sing in a few concerts. Once again with her confidence in hand, she resumed her career and married her salesman.

Zig Ziglar said, “She married the “good finder” and went on to a successful career. The salesman’s praise for her was totally honest, sincere, and much needed. In fact a sincere compliment is one of the most effective teaching and motivating methods in existence.”

Do you remember a teacher, coach, friend or family member who complimented you? Do you remember the compliment?

Coach John Wooden in his book, “Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success Playbook” tells the following story: “When I was a young boy, I was at a gravel pit with my father and a young man. They had a team of horses and were attempting to pull a load up a steep road. The young man driving the horses was loud and abusive. In response, the animals were agitated, worked against each other and couldn’t pull the load. With a gentle voice and gentler touch, my Dad calmed the horses and walked them forward with a load.”

Coach Wooden “learned two important lessons that day.”

1) “Gentleness is a better method of getting cooperation than harshness.”

2) “A team can accomplish much more when it works together than individuals can when they work alone.”

Like all living creatures, the horses needed kindness and gentleness and honest sincere appreciation to move the heavy load. Remember this when you are developing others and when you are working on your own self-development!

Zig Ziglar shared the following story about a “beggar selling pencils” in New York. A “businessman dropped a dollar into the cup” of the beggar and rushed to board “the subway train”. The businessman suddenly turned back, before entering the train, and went back to the beggar selling the pencils. He “took several pencils from the cup”. The businessman apologized and “explained that in his haste he had neglected to pick up his pencils and hoped the man wouldn’t be upset with him”. He said, “You are a businessman just like me. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” The businessman then went to catch “the next train”.

A salesman “neatly dressed” came to a social function and introduced himself to “the businessman”. The salesman said, “You probably don’t remember me and I don’t know your name, but I will never forget you. You are the man who gave me back my self-respect. I was a ‘beggar’ selling pencils until you came along and told me I was a businessman.”

Zig Ziglar said, “The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them. It’s astonishing how much talent and ability rests inside a human being.” Help others to discover their abilities.

When you mentor or coach others and they become successful how do you feel?

Doesn’t it make you happy and proud that you helped them become successful?

What are 3 ways you can empower others and yourself to be successful?

1) Each morning begin with a positive attitude, smile, and start your day by saying positive motivational things to yourself.

2) Give an “honest sincere compliment” to inspire, motivate, and encourage someone else each day!

Be like the businessman who told the “beggar selling pencils”, “You are a businessman just like me. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” Encouraging words changed the way the beggar saw himself.

Zig Ziglar said, “A sincere compliment is one of the most effective teaching and motivating methods in existence.”

3) John Maxwell says, ” Make people development your priority.” Help others to discover their abilities and you will discover yours too! Building confidence in the student and the singer’s abilities made all the difference in the world to them. Their futures changed for the better.

Start your New Year off right by doing two things: 1) begin your day with a positive attitude, smile, and say positive motivational things to yourself. 2) Then give an “honest sincere compliment” to inspire, motivate, and encourage someone else each day!

Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, Best Selling Author, John Maxwell Team Member, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, sought after speaker, business owner, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. Her book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available on Amazon or Kindle. Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at  

Note: Article Source: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. 

White Knight Syndrome: The Need to Fix Your Partner

By: Adam Sinicki, BSc (Psychology) 

Have you ever felt the need to wade in and rescue your partner?

Do you see their faults? Do you see their failings and their fears and feel that you can be the strong white knight who comes to their rescue?

While this might sound like a nice sentiment and while it might come from the right place, it can actually be very unhealthy and lead to a destructive relationship for you both.

Don’t feel bad, this is a common approach to relationships – especially in men – and so much so that psychologists have coined the term ‘White Knight Syndrome’ to describe it. In this post, we’ll take a look at what exactly White Knight Syndrome really is, whether or not you might be guilty of it and how to overcome it if you are.

What Is White Knight Syndrome?

Often someone who experiences white knight syndrome will find themselves drawn to relationships where they feel there is something they can ‘fix’. Thus, they might gravitate toward women who they see as being in need of rescuing – whether financially, emotionally, physically or all three.

This immediately creates problems.

For starters, it creates the perception that women – as a whole – are typically the weaker species in need of rescuing. This is a notion that the vast majority of women today would vehemently disagree with and be rightfully rather offended by.

It also places pressure and expectation on the man himself. It paints a picture of men as being either wholly good or evil – literally ‘black and white’ – whereas in reality we are all much more complex than that. A man with full-blown ‘white knight syndrome’ might be playing a role rather than truly being themselves, which will prevent them from being to express themselves or to show other sides of their personality. Men need rescuing too and we need to understand this if we’re going to develop healthily.

Regardless of the implied sexism (and women can also be guilty of the complex), this approach to relationships will instantly introduce an imbalance. IT assumes that the ‘white knight’ (as they see themselves) is not in need of rescuing or fixing and therefore is the stronger or superior partner. Their way must be best and their partner must be indebted to them. That’s not a great start for an equal relationship.

Yes, of course some people will relish being taken care of and will enjoy getting to be the helpless damsel. But this doesn’t necessarily make it healthy – as they can then become far too dependent on that person to the point of losing some of their own identity or independence.

Worse is when the woman is all too aware that she does not need a white knight. In this scenario she is likely to embrace the man’s arrogance and presumption, while he will be left wondering what he has done wrong.

White knight syndrome can also be seen outside of romantic relationships. Many men and some women will be equally inclined to try and rescue their friends, their family members and others.

Where Does White Knight Syndrome Come From?

So where does this syndrome come from?

One obvious culprit is the media – not just television but stories and myths dating back millennia. We have been portraying the archetypal white knight and damsel in distress in countless stories and tales and this is a mainstay as seen in Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces (1).

It’s no surprise then that some men will have taken this message to heart and to imagine that this is how women want to be treated – that they have to be the stoic, fearless white knight and that they should prevent their ‘princess’ from lifting a single finger.

It could also be seen as an ego defence mechanism. If we were to go the Freudian, psychodynamic route, then we might say that the man is projecting his own weaknesses onto the women he seeks to protect. He feels insecure and powerless and his way of proving to himself that that is not the case, is to divert all of his energy to looking after someone else. You can’t possibly be vulnerable if you’re looking after someone else… right?

This might be a sign of narcissism or just a very fragile ego. And in that case, any information presented that could harm that fragile self-image might be violently rejected. This could lead to a controlling and possibly even violent relationship in extreme examples.

How to ‘Cure’ White Knight Syndrome

So with all that in mind, what can you do to address this issue and to stop acting like the white knight in your own relationships?

The start, as ever, is to recognize the traits and to acknowledge them as negative. This is a good start, as it will help you to be aware when you are slipping into bad habits.

It can also help to surround yourself with some strong women – ideally in a non-romantic context. If you spend time with female friends and relatives, then you will see that they very often do not need rescuing at all and would in fact react quietly badly to a man who presumes that they do!

But most important is to spend some time building up your self-esteem and finding who you really are in a relationship. That will likely mean spending some time single and reflecting on the way you are with friends and relatives. It’s corny and old-fashioned sure, but it’s usually best just to be yourself. And I can assure you, that’s no white knight!

Note: The copyrights on the article, first published by HealthGuidance, belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. He currently lives in London, England with his girlfriend. Circle Adam on Google+! 

What is the Doorway Effect?

By: Adam Sinicki, BSc Psychology

open-door-web-solutions-1Have you ever walked into another room to get something, only to immediately realize you’ve forgotten why you went in? Or perhaps you don’t even realize – you just walk around for a bit, speak to the person in that room, then leave only to realize you don’t have what you went in for!

It’s not just rooms either. Many of us will do this when we go shopping – we’ll enter a particular shop, only to realize that we’re not sure why we’re there or what we want to buy.

You might be worried that this is a sign of age catching up with but actually, it’s a perfectly normal occurrence and even has a name in psychology. It’s called ‘the doorway effect’ and there’s a perfectly good explanation for why it occurs.

What Causes the Doorway Effect?

The doorway effect doesn’t only affect doorways but rather any kind of threshold or change of scenario. And this phenomenon is based on another psychological concept known as ‘context-dependent memory’.

This in turn describes the fact that we actually encode many of our memories in a way that is context dependent. That is to say, that when we memorize something, we then require the context in order to retrieve that memory.

This can be sued to our advantage when learning as well. For instance, it means that the best place to revise for an exam is actually the room that you will be taking the exam in. That way, many of the context-dependent memories will be triggered when you enter the exam hall, thereby helping to improve your score!

This is also closely related to other concepts such as ‘state-dependent learning’ and ‘mood-congruent learning’. In other words, the more closely you can recreate the scenario that you learned in, the easier it will be to retrieve those relevant memories – right down to your mood and any other seemingly inconsequential factors! Context-dependent memory has been demonstrated in numerous studies (1) and there is a very clear potential neurological explanation.

After all, memories are formed by linking neurons to other neurons in our connectome. In order to retrieve those memories, we then need to follow the network of neurons along to find related topics. This is why remembering a person might bring to mind all kinds of other relevant memories – such as activities enjoyed together, facts about that person etc.

A Fly in the Ointment

This theory, while likely accurate, does not go the whole way to explaining the doorway effect however. One study conducted in VR calls this theory into question.

Here, participants would walk through a doorway, only to enter a room that looked the exact same as the previous room. However, they would still demonstrate signs of the doorway effect (2). That means that the context remained the exact same but they still forgot. And this in turn suggests that the doorway itself must be having some kind of effect. The consensus is that walking through a doorway signals to the brain some kind of ‘context shift’. Even though the next room is the same, the brain appears to go through some kind of small ‘reset’ to remove information that is likely to no longer be relevant. Radvansky and colleagues who conducted the experiment suggested that this mode of memory be referred to as the ‘event model’.

One More Factor

And before we close, there is one more consideration to keep in mind – which is that walking into a different room can simply create a distraction. If you walk into another room, then chances are that there will be new things to see, people to talk to and things to consider. This might directly distract you from whatever is on your mind and thereby provide just one more reason for you to forget what you came in for.

Anyway. What was it you were supposed to be doing before you found this article again?

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics. He lives in London, England with his girlfriend and in his spare time he enjoys climbing, travelling, playing games, reading comics and eating sandwiches. Circle Adam on Google+! 

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.