Trust is the key ingredient in any successful relationship. Without trust, there is no intimacy and without intimacy, we cannot really love anyone. That is why trust is so important to lead a happy and productive life.

The more we trust others, the better our relationships will be. Conversely, the less we trust others, the weaker our relationships will be. Obviously, there will be people who will betray our trust. Everyone gets betrayed in his or her life at one time or another. The important thing is not to lose confidence in our self once someone betrays our trust.

It should be noted that there are varying degrees of trust depending upon the type of relationship.

Trust is something that is earned over a period of time. It doesn’t happen immediately.

Trust is very significant in terms of our personal development for it impacts all facets of our life.

Definition Of Trust

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

How Is Trust Created?

Trust is created in our childhood and is fostered with loving and nurturing parents.

Generally when this type of child enters adulthood they can lead a very productive life because they have a high level of self-esteem. Thus, they are upbeat and optimistic about life.

When we have parents who are abusive either emotionally or physically, this leads to self-doubt, anxiety and anger in an individual.

This can result in a person who is mistrustful in their relationships with people in their adulthood and they have a cynical outlook toward life.

This type of  person can  have difficult professional and  personal relationships in their life. They may benefit from a therapist to overcome these deficiencies.

Also when people are teased, bullied or ostracized by their peer group in their teens, they can be adversely affected for their entire life. They can become mistrustful of people. And they can develop defense mechanisms because they were hurt. This is because teens are at their most vulnerable at this time.

One form of sadism is known at cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “the electronic posting of mean spirited messages about a person (such as a student) often done anonymously.”

Cyber bullying has been responsible for many suicides by teens because it goes to the heart of betrayal of trust. In essence these ostracized teens feel a total sense of loss and betrayal by their peer group.

How Do You Build Trust?

The following list contains some of the ways in which to build trust:

  1. Open Communication is essential in building trust between partners. Instead of sulking about your  problems, communicate more frequently with each other face to face.
  2. You must share your thoughts and feelings with each other. In order to maintain a relationship of trust you must be open with each other.
  3. Empathy is extremely important to building trust in a relationship. Empathy differs from sympathy and is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “the capacity for participation in another’s feelings or ideas.” Try to understand your partner’s needs and put yourself in their place. Empathy can improve trust in your relationship.
  4. Doing something new and different in your relationship can foster growth which can increase trust between the partners.
  5.  Handling the stress when your relationship goes through difficult times will lead to a greater understanding. Every relationship will have its ups and downs at some point in time.


Trust is critical to our personal development.

Without trust, we cannot form healthy relationships which impacts all areas of our life.




How in the world did we get into this mess?

Why are people so polarized in terms of their beliefs and values?

Why does there appear to be so much palpable anger and hatred in our world?

Why did we have one of the dirtiest presidential elections in our history?

I can think of one major reason for the above and that is a lack of communication. When you get a lack of communication, it is largely due to a lack of listening.

In today’s world people talk over each other instead of talk to each other. This is because most people are poor at listening to the other person. They would rather respond to someone than to listen to someone.

Consequently, true communication between people is not that great.People are much too preoccupied with themselves than with other people.

People are also much too defensive when other people speak to them. They lack patience.

In order to have people respect and trust you, they must feel that you are listening to them and not just going through the motions.

Communication forms the bedrock of all of our relationships. It it how we understand others and the way in which we get others to understand us. Listening plays an integral role in our communication with others.

Listening is also directly related to personal development. The better listener we become, the closer our relationship becomes with other people.

Good communication can occur only when listening is part of the process.

When you look at Social Media, you soon recognize that most people aren’t listening to the other person. Moreover, the communication oftentimes becomes ugly between the parties involved.

When people don’t communicate, anger and bitterness can be the result.

When you look at the presidential debates, the focus of the two opponents seemed to be in saying nasty things about each other.  Instead of addressing the major campaign issues of the day including health care, our spiraling federal deficit and climate change to name just a few, more time was spent denigrating each other.

Instead of expressing healthy differences of opinion on the Internet, it has been used in many cases to cyber bully others and embarrass them.

We need a world where more individuals can communicate more effectively with each other and agree to disagree without showing a lack of respect for each other. And in all cases, real communication comes from being better at listening to the other person.

Definition of Terms

To understand this material, we must define two words more closely. They are “Communication” and “Listen”.

Communication is defined as “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”

Listen is defined as ” to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc.”

How To Be A Good Listener

There are many ways in which to be a good listener. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Make Eye Contact – Look the person who is speaking to you directly in the eye. This is a sign that you are listening to the person talking to you. It is a sign that your attention is focused on him or her.
  2. Have An Open Mind – When the person is talking to you, listen with an open mind and try and put yourself in their shoes. Try to look at things from their perspective. By doing this you are showing the person empathy which makes your communication with the speaker that much more effective.
  3. Don’t Interrupt – Never interrupt the speaker who is talking to you until they have finished speaking or there is a lull in the conversation. If you interrupt the speaker who is talking to you, they will feel a lack of interest on your part. And it may be more difficult to regain their trust.
  4. Remember What You’ve Been Told – Concentrate on what the speaker is saying to you involving details and events of the conversation. If you don’t remember much of what the speaker said to you, it demonstrates a lack of interest on your part and can adversely affect your relationship with that person.
  5. Be Patient – Let the speaker get out their ideas and emotions in their own time.
  6. Ask Empowering Questions – By  asking empowering questions to the speaker, you are showing that you care about what they are saying to you. In addition, it will add to the communication you are having with the speaker.
  7. Avoid Comparing The Person’s Experiences To Your Own – Believe it or not, comparing the person’s experiences to your own does not make the speaker feel you are interested in what they have to say.
  8. Stop Saying I Or Me A Lot – This shows you are focused more on yourself than on the other person.
  9. Don’t Try To Change The Subject – Even if it’s a little uncomfortable, don’t try to change the subject.This again could show a lack of interest.
  10. Don’t Try To Interrogate The Person You Are Speaking With – This will make the speaker feel uncomfortable.
  11. Confidentiality – let the speaker know that your communication will be held in the strictest of confidence. Also let them know if they want to speak to you further about it you are available.
  12. Follow Up – Call or write to the person who spoke to you and follow up with them. See if you can be of any further help but don’t nag them.

Benefits Of Being A Good Listener

  1. It forms the foundation upon which we build our lives.
  2. You can develop meaningful relationships with people.
  3. It makes you more observant and thoughtful.
  4. You gain more understanding of an individual
  5. Listening builds goodwill as well as shows interest and respect. By doing this, you gain the trust of the other person.

Stephen Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said ” being listened to is the psychological equivalent of air. It is the deepest hunger of the human heart. It communicates to another “you matter to me, I find you of value, I care for and respect you” it warms and nourishes the spirit. It stimulates affection. It solidifies bonds, it adds to human happiness.”


Communication is key to all our relationships.

It is probably one of the most important skills for us to learn.

Nevertheless without listening real communication between people cannot be achieved.

The purpose of this material is to show the reader what it takes to be a good listener and its benefits.






“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future” Robert H. Schuller


Technology is changing at a rapid pace and having a direct impact on the way in which people and companies conduct business. Digital is taking over many of our brick and mortar companies of the  past. As a result, people are losing their jobs because they lack the necessary technological skills required in the new workplace culture.

Climate change is upon us. The entire eco system is being impacted. The weather has changed in certain areas of our globe.While some areas are now getting more storms and rainfall than ever before, others are becoming more dry and arid. The change in climate will ultimately affect all of the plants and animals that are a part of our planet.

Crime is increasing in some major cities. Homicides are also up in certain parts of our country as is criminal activity overall.

Greed prevails at the expense of others. Countless scandals have occurred where money was used illegally, or to the detriment of society as a whole.

Terrorism represents a new major global phenomenon. Random acts of violence and killings are resulting in great tragedy and adversely changing the way we live our lives.

Significant Disequilibrium between the  Rich and the Poor is becoming more pronounced, creating the  loss of a middle class, which is so vital for our economic prosperity. A very small percentage of the population has the vast majority of the total assets leaving a meager portion for the rest of society.

Social Media is exerting its influence on society. News stories reach us in seconds instead of days. This has fostered improper use and major repercussions on people’s reputations. Cyber Bullying has become a tool in intimidating people.

These are some of the most current trends facing our society today and as a consequence, many people are feeling more insecure about their future. They are feeling more alienated because they are losing one of the most important qualities for mankind to progress and that is a feeling of hope.

Hope allows us to circumvent and overcome obstacles in our life.

This post is about  the essential need for hope.

Hope is definitely related to personal development; without hope we don’t see any viable options for making our life better.

To start out, let’s define hope,faith and optimism. Although these terms have some similarities there does exist some subtle distinctions as well.

Definition of Hope, Faith and Optimism

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines hope as “desire accompanied by expectation or belief in fulfillment.”

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines optimism as “an inclination to  put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate  the best possible outcome.”

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines faith as “allegiance to duty or a person.”

A well known psychologist believes that the major difference between optimism and hope is that optimism ignores reality whereas hope includes reality as it attempts to avoid obstacles.

That is to say, the optimist always looks at the world regardless of the conditions that prevail and irrespective of reality and believes the future is positive whereas the person with hope is restricted to their desires within the limits of reality.

The difference between faith and hope is the word “faith” is used in the sense of trust whereas the word “hope” is used in the sense of anticipation. Also, the word faith is often used in the context of religion and belief and faith in God.

Why Hope Is So Essential

Hope provides us with the drive to reach our goals.

Hopeful people are better able to find viable alternatives and strategies to solve their  problems.

Hope is an enormously strong motivator.

Hope believes that something good will ultimately happen in the future. Hopelessness like regret focuses on the past.

Thus, it is vital that people bring more hope into their lives in light of all the major trends mentioned above.

Some Shining Examples of Hope

An example of hope would be Liz Murray.  Liz was born in the Bronx on September 23, 1980. Both of her  parents were extremely poor and were addicted to drugs.  Liz became homeless just after she turned 15 when her mother died of AIDS and her father moved in to  a homeless shelter. Somehow with all these bad things happening to her, Liz eventually graduated high school in two years and was awarded the New York Times Scholarship for needy students. Ultimately, she was accepted and graduated Harvard University. One of the reasons she was able to graduate from Harvard was her hope and belief that she could overcome the obstacles she faced in her life and become someone special in this world.

Another example of hope was in a book I read called Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. She tells the story of  Louis Zamperini. He was an airman in World War 11. In May of 1943, his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean leaving him alone in a raft faced with thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks and enemy aircraft. If this wasn’t enough to test him, he ultimately ended up being captured  and sent to a brutal Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. Throughout  all these challenges, Zamperini survived. He was only able to survive because of his indomitable will filled with hope and resolve.

Ways to Instill Hope

There are many ways to instill hope. Some of the ways are as follows:

  1. Build upon personal experiences where hope has resulted in a positive outcome. These experiences help support your journey and show you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  2. Read inspiring books, audios and videos of people who have overcome adversity. The paths others have tread demonstrate that there is hope in overcoming many obstacles.
  3. Volunteer and get involved with others. This is a win-win situation; you both help others and get the focus off yourself.
  4. Improve your food regimen along with regular cardiovascular exercise. Endorphins fight depression and can change your mindset.
  5. Yoga and meditation allows you to take control and actively restructure your life. It gives you a finite time to re-evaluate and come to useful strategies for the future and thus empowers you.
  6. Visualization is a technique that allows you to actually see pictures of what your mind is focused on. This technique helps one to accomplish their goals in life, which is of vital importance. It gives you more self-confidence as well.
  7. Bereavement counseling provides help to those who have lost a loved one. When done in a group setting you can share your grief with others in the group. This can often help those grieving to know that they are not alone.


Our society is going through major changes.

Many people have lost hope during these changes.

It is essential that people regain a sense of hope in their lives.

There are at least 7 ways in which people can instill more hope in their lives. (Read above)

Hope is the key to personal fulfillment and contentment in your life.






” Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves. As a result, very few professionals see through them.” anonymous



During my life, I have met many kinds of people. What I have learned is that it is very important to understand the people you interact with on a regular basis.

If you interact with and form relationships with the wrong types of people you can live a difficult life, chained to a very toxic personality type(s). This type of person can negatively impact your entire life if you are not careful.

The purpose of this post is to provide the reader with insight into one particular type of personality. This person is commonly called a Narcissist.

Narcissists fall on a continuum. At one end of the continuum is a healthy narcissist.For example, this person may have received an award for best actor in a play. They tell all their friends about it in social media. This person simply shared their accomplishment with their friends. They didn’t hurt anyone in the process. This type of narcissism is called healthy narcissism. On the other end of the continuum is the person that exhibits unhealthy narcissism, or put another way pathological narcissism. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is included as a part of pathological narcissism. This is the type of person that hurts other people either physically and/or mentally in their professional and personal life.

For purposes of this blog, we will focus on the pathological narcissist. This is the type of person who has  a grandiose sense of themselves and who puts his or her own needs in front of anyone else. This person has little empathy for others.

It is often stated that one needs to love oneself before they can love anyone else. This is not the focus of this post.

Learning and understanding various personality types is directly related to and  impacts personal development.

Definition Of A Narcissist

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines someone who is a Narcissist as “a person who is overly concerned with his or her own desires, needs, or interests.”

How Does Someone Become A Narcissist?

  • They have parents that were either too critical or too indulging.

Too Critical

The too critical parent is the type of parent that will always be disparaging of their child. This will    make the child feel unworthy and unloved. The child will often think they need to be perfect to obtain their parents’ approval and love. To overcompensate for these feelings of inferiority, the child will compensate  and adopt a personality of superiority and dominance, two traits of a Narcissist.

Too Indulgent

There is also the self-indulging parent who tries to do everything to satisfy their child by putting them on a pedestal. As the child grows up, they become someone that has a false sense of entitlement because their parents’ spoiled them.

  • They were abused, neglected or deprived especially in their early childhood.

Other Factors

It is especially difficult for a child to grow up in this type of background. This child was not given unconditional love. To overcome these terrible feelings about oneself, this person will overcompensate and adopt various traits of a Narcissist including the need for an extreme amount of admiration and exploiting others.

  • Sometimes it relates to genetics although they haven’t identified the genes that cause narcissism.

Many authorities use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality  disorder include these characteristics.

  • Grandiosity
  • Arrogance and Dominance
  • Preoccupation with Success and Power
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Belief in Being Unique
  • Sense of Entitlement
  • Require Excessive Admiration
  • Exploiting Others
  • Envious of Others

Although a narcissist may have some or most of these traits, it is important to realize that these traits were developed as a result of the hurt and humiliation that the child experienced when growing up. Consequently, the narcissist compartmentalized the horrible memories he/she suffered as a child. Equally significant, he/she created a false facade of himself/herself with some or many of the above listed traits.

The fundamental problem with a Narcissist is even though on the outside they appear to be “okay,” they are people with really low self-esteem and have been damaged in their early childhood. The Narcissist is really full of shame and self-doubt due to their upbringing.

The Narcissist can experience trouble in their personal and professional relationships. This is the result of their having no interest in the  needs of others, only in their own needs.

In their working relationships, they will have a difficult time being told what to do by a superior since they must be in control at all times. It is not uncommon for a Narcissist to be changing jobs frequently.

In their personal relationships, when they think someone challenges them, they oftentimes will lash out at that other person for the slightest provocation. The Narcissist can act so mean and angry when he/she is challenged as they don’t want to face the painful repressed memories of their childhood. Therefore when challenged, the Narcissist can lie and be manipulative to gain an advantage over others. Since they lack empathy for others, their relationships remain superficial, rather than the more positive relationship where a level of intimacy develops.

How a Narcissist Can Negatively Impact Your Personal Development

  • By putting you down  you may begin to doubt your self-worth, which stifles your own growth
  • Your needs will not be met
  • You may feel very sad when you realize your Narcissist has no love for you
  • You may be unable to voice how you really feel
  • You may be uncomfortable with your Narcissist knowing that if you disagree with he/she that you may experience his/her rage
  • You may lose precious time in your life if you don’t realize you are with a Narcissist, as they are excellent actors and can hide their duplicity from you

How To Protect Yourself

  • Know what you are dealing with
  • Determine if the relationship benefits outweigh the liabilities and act accordingly
  • To the extent you are aware that the Narcissist is negatively impacting your sense of well being, evaluate the relationship and proceed accordingly


It is important to recognize detrimental personality types before and/or during you become involved with them.

This personality type can negatively impact your personal development.































Credit to Alex Proimos, licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic


“Retire from work, but not from life”–M.K.



Over the past several years, the baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) are starting to retire. Those people who have reached age 65 can expect to live, on average, another 20 years or more. Many of them are in good health.

More and more services will need to be created to cater to this retirement segment of our population.

Retirement is an important phase in one’s life yet many are unprepared for its challenges.   

Personal development is directly related to making a successful retirement transition.                                                                                              

The purpose of this post is to provide basic guidelines on how to make an effective retirement transition.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Retirement as “the act of ending your working or professional career; the act of retiring”

Retirement Transition Guidelines

A Financial Plan

One of the most important things you can do well before retiring is to set up a Financial Plan. This  plan can be set up in conjunction with a retirement expert – that  is up to you. The most important thing to consider with such a  plan is the total net income you will have at retirement, and what this translates into in terms of annual income, adjusted for growth and inflation. This can include savings, annuities and retirement plans, the equity you own in your home/condo/co-op and investments.

You may want to consider speaking to someone at Social Security in regard to the amount of money you will receive. Since the amount of money you receive from Social Security varies, depending on how soon you want to draw on your Social Security, it is important to know what your options are.

Also, it would be important to know how to minimize paying taxes on your assets.

Since your biggest expense may be your living quarters, you may want to consider downsizing from where you presently live, especially if you want to consider moving to a different location. Where your children live may factor into this equation.

Since many retirees have another 20 years to live, they may have to lower their present standard of living to make this retirement transition successful.

Adequate health care coverage is critical.

Remember it is always better to live within your means especially during your retirement years.

It should be noted that some people will opt not to retire. Thus we have some people working well into their 60’s,70’s and 80’s.

A Purpose In Your Life

Well before someone retires, they must create a strategy or blueprint. This strategy should include some interests and/or activities that they are or could be passionate about. The key to a fulfilling retirement transition is to have some interests or activities that give you pleasure and bring meaning to your life.

A Continued Learning Program

When anyone retires, it is important that they find activities to stimulate their mind. Life should always be about continued learning. Some examples of this would include reading a good book, learning the computer, developing a hobby and taking an online course.

A Physical Exercise Program

The Greek adage “a strong mind in a healthy body” is so important for retirees. Having  a daily physical exercise program is essential to continued good health. This daily regimen should include at least 20 minutes of a good cardio workout.Such activities could include running, swimming, bicycling or brisk walking.

Be A Giver And Do Not Isolate Yourself

For some people, volunteering in their community can be highly satisfying. Getting involved in something that is emotionally gratifying and making new friendships at the same time can be extremely beneficial.

Be Open-Minded

You must be willing to pursue new interests that you might never have done before. Depending on your personality, your ability to get out of your comfort zone is key to having a successful retirement.


Retirement is an important stage in one’s life. It is always better to plan for your retirement. Proper financial planning is paramount in the retirement process. But,  of equal  importance is having a daily physical exercise regimen and also pursuing activities that provide mental stimulation. Depending on one’s personality, it is time to cultivate new interests that broaden your horizons. Personal development plays a key  role in  making a successful retirement.


Your internet presence or persona can dramatically affect your job search and the ultimate goal of obtaining employment. Many employers (often before meeting you) will enter a candidate’s name into the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and/or MSN. The impression they derive from your internet persona can be a deal breaker before you even have a chance to meet your prospective employer.

If the search result comes up with some negative comments, the employer might take a pass on your candidacy. Examples include putting inappropriate comments and/or pictures of yourself on the web.

The purpose of this post will be to share with the reader important guidelines regarding how to handle your online reputation. Remember, maintaining and promoting a good online reputation is directly  related to your personal development.

But before we go any further, let us define the meaning of reputation management.


Wikipedia defines reputation management as follows: “Reputation Management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation.It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results.”

Online Reputation Guidelines For An Individual

When an individual goes online for the first time, they must be very careful what information they post and/or share with friends and family because once it goes online, it is very difficult to have the information removed.

In order to maintain and promote your online reputation, I would suggest you do the following:

  • Monitor your online reputation on a continuous basis. Put your name into Google and check what the results are. If your last name is a common name such as Smith, put in other distinguishing factors along with your name. This could include a hobby you are presently engaged in, the name of your business or your birthplace.The most important page to monitor on Google is page one as most people will read this page and not go further.


  • Use Google Alerts that brings back anything on the web with your name in it. Any mention of your name on the internet will be sent back to you. These notifications can be sent to you on a daily basis, so as not to inundate your inbox.


  • Purchase a domain name and create a blog. A blog will allow you to publish positive information about yourself and can address a specific niche that you know a lot about. One of the key reasons to have a blog is to become the authoritative source in a specific subject matter. If you receive any negative comments about yourself, you can continue to publish material from your blog that will bury this critical information.


  • Connect with the major social networks. Some networks such as LinkedIn are important to join from a job perspective. Writing a good professional profile of yourself is especially important when joining sites such as LinkedIn. Employers often search on people’s LinkedIn profiles to see if they want to pursue a candidate. Other major sites include Facebook, Twitter, Google+,Tumblr, Pinterest and YouTube. When joining these sites, add new content at least once a month. Joining multiple major social media networks and posting valuable content on them on a regular basis can help offset and protect you from negative comments.


  • Link to all your social media sites. This will make your online presence stronger.


  • Be sure that your grammar, punctuation and spelling are excellent when writing your profile on social media sites. Employers have been known to pass over candidates whose writing is rife with grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors.


  • Place privacy settings on all content you want to share only with a specific group of friends and family. This is very important to protect yourself when sending out confidential information.


  • Employ the services of an online reputation management firm. These companies help to present you in the most positive light and preserve your reputation. Be sure to find out what these companies charge and what they tell you they can do in resolving your problem before signing up with them.


Some individuals are not careful with the information they put up on the internet.

Such things include inappropriate comments and/ or inappropriate pictures. This negative information may result in employers passing you over for a job.

This post provides guidelines on how you as an individual can sustain a good online reputation thus maximizing employment opportunities.