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1 Strong people stop feeling sorry for themselves

👉🏻 For many life is tough. But tough doesn't mean impossible. To keep coming up with reasons to justify one's own inadequacy is going to be very limiting. Feeling sorry for oneself can lead to resentment and extreme bitterness which friends, family (and students) will invariably pick up. Everyone on the planet has complexes in their closet and coming to terms with those will be like a weight lifted off your shoulders. And be honest, do you like to hang around with people who moan, whinge and feel sorry for themselves allllllll the time? I highly doubt it. When you stop playing the victim, you'll beam with confidence and charisma. You'll be magnetic!


2 Clean out your own garden before you criticize others

👉🏻 We all want to change the world and make it a better place by removing all the worldly evils. Even on a smaller scale we like to point our fingers at others for their drawbacks and even failures. But when you do that, can you say with your hand on your heart that you have "your own garden in order?" When teaching your students the virtues of life and learning, for example, telling your students to be diligent towards their exams and to study damn hard... do you do the same? Honestly?


3 Don't fear taking calculated risks

👉🏻 So you're divorced and don't trust men! You're scared you're not good enough to prepare students for C1! You daydream about your future saying "if only" rather than doing all you can to achieve it and when you think about taking any risk, you immediately think about the worst-case scenario. Quite understandably, if you remain in the confines of your comfort zone, life will be pretty dull; blocking risk is blocking knowledge. After all, we teachers constantly spout: it's OK to make mistakes because we learn from them. Do you allow yourself to make mistakes in your personal and professional life in order to be able to set such an example?


4 Stop trying to please everyone

👉🏻 I myself was guilty of this years ago. I was trying so damn hard to come across as that saint; that person who was so generous to others that I became a pushover which later led to deep resentment. And that's toxic. Do you ever find that you're responsible for how others feel? Does the thought of anyone being annoyed with you make you uncomfortable? Do you go to great lengths to avoid conflicts? Do you agree to do favours for people even though you don't really want to? We all fear rejection and abandonment but at the cost of your own mental health is not good. The solution: Assertiveness! 


5 Don't dwell on the past

👉🏻 Lingering guilt, shame and anger are just some of those feelings that can keep us stuck in the past. You might think subconsciously "If I stay miserable long enough, I'll eventually be able to forgive myself" The complexes might be so severe that you don't believe you deserve happiness. Thinking "could have, should have etc" doesn't do anyone any favours and its' time to flush those regrets from your mind. There isn't a rewind button in life (although that would be awesome). You might have heard of the term: carrying baggage. Yep, guess what? Students and their mommichki can smell "baggage" a mile off!


6 Strong people don't resent the success of others

👉🏻A dear friend of mine, Masha, pointed out a while ago that after I posted a video on assessing the new Outcomes book (which I strongly recommend by the way), there was a discussion on some forum (I had never heard of or even to this day care about). Some rather bitter lonely ladies made the assumption: Oh Paul's students come to him already with a top level of English and he doesn't teach anything bla bla bla. Instead of being offended, I laughed. I had never met these people, never taught them and they weren't in contact with my students. I laughed because they wanted to find fault simply because they didn't like the fact that I am successful and they're not. If you are truly mentally strong, you will applaud the efforts even of your enemies. I don't like how some big online schools pay teachers near to nothing but damn, what a business model!


7 Take some personal responsibility

👉🏻 Having your future read by some mystic old woman might provide you with a momentary sense of happiness (because they're not trained in linguistic skills to tell you what you want to hear, no, never, not at all!). Maybe tarot cards do the same? Sitting on the corner of a table thus never to be married is a funny superstition and for most is out of habit. But.... when we start pointing fingers away from ourselves for our own failures and shortcomings, guess what? Your life is going nowhere. You are the one who makes decisions and acts upon them. If you only got a C in your FCE, did you honestly study as much as you could or are you placing blame on the fact that you never got to rub that dog's nose in the Moscow Metro. If your 10 year old students are misbehaving, generally speaking (there are some exceptions to this), whose fault is it? "Oh they're bored today it seems!" - "I was too watching that lesson, dear teacher!"


8 Surround yourself with those who support you

👉🏻 Negativity is so contagious! If I have such students in my classes, I refer them to point (1) in this list because negativity is like a domino effect - so damaging. In your circle of friends, do you have the odd "friend" who likes to upstage you or find fault in everything you suggest? If yes, show them the door. They're not your friends! True friends are those who will support you no matter what, listen to you and will be generally happy for you. If your rebuttle is: but they're my friends and I am there to help them with their problems then I refer you to point (4). If you have such colleagues at work, keep your distance and let them wallow in their own self-pity whilst you concentrate on becoming a success. Make friends with those who are positive and successful. It'll rub off.


9 Listen to others because they might know something you don't

👉🏻 I often tell some students in the first lesson we are together: If you possess a doggedly stubborn nature, I'm afraid I will not be able to teach you successfully. So I break them down and teach them successfully anyway which is quite a daunting task. When we people are engaged in conversation we listen to our own knowledge we already possess with our ingrained presuppositions, but we listen attentively to those speaking to us; that is this quest for knowledge. That is the highest form of wisdom by the way. Listening in order to gain this wisdom will help you triumph over betrayal, malevolence, hardships, unhappiness and self-deception and lead to a more fruitful existence. How can we apply this to our teaching careers? There's always something to learn, so listen up closely!


10 Stand up straight, chest out, shoulders back, chin up

👉🏻 Students can smell the lack of confidence in a teacher even before they have set foot into a school. And that is usually followed by: Let's put this teacher to the "nerve test!" The confidence you project is not just about the words that leave your lips, but predominantly with your non-verbal communication. When at school, meeting friends, standing on the bus, remember: stand up straight, chest out, shoulders back and chin up. People, including yourself, will start to see you as being competent and able. People will start to take you as an equal or even higher than themselves. Emboldened by these new positive responses, you'll begin to feel less anxious and then you'll learn to pick up on social cues a lot more effectively: you'll interact better, speak more fluently, be seen as a decent competent person. That's when good things happen to you! Some people say you have to be born charismatic or confident.

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