Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rejection Really Hurts, Brain Scans Show

Brains of the jilted reveal rejection causes physical pain.

Stock photo: A couple feuds.
Romantic rejection can cause physical pain, new brain scans suggest.
Photograph by Sharie Kennedy, LWA/Corbis/Alamy

by Christine Dell'Amore
Published March 28, 2011

Maybe words can hurt you as much as sticks and stones: Romantic rejection, at least, causes physical pain, according to a new study of brain activity.

Past studies have shown that simulated social rejection may be connected to a network of brain regions that processes the meaning of pain but not the sensory experience itself.

Now MRI brain scans of people jilted in real life show "activation in brain areas that are actually tied to the feeling of pain," said study co-author Edward Smith, a psychologist at Columbia University in New York City.

Smith and colleagues recruited 40 participants via flyers posted around Manhattan and through Facebook and Craigslist advertisements.

All the volunteers reported going through an "unwanted romantic relationship breakup" within the past six months.

While in an MRI machine, the subjects were asked to look at photographs of their ex-partners and think about being rejected.

When they did so, the parts of their brains that manage physical pain—the secondary somatosensory cortex and the dorsal posterior insula, to be exact—lighted up, according to the study.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

The study isn't a "true perfect experiment—we couldn't control who had the rejection experience and who didn't," Smith noted.

"This is true of any study that takes advantage of an activity that happened outside of the laboratory," he said.
"There's always the possibility that there's [some unknown element] about these people who were rejected that was causing the special pattern of what we're seeing."

(Read "Beyond the Brain" in National Geographic magazine.)

Yet the results are striking, Smith said, especially because the team analyzed 150 other brain-scan experiments on negative emotions—fear, anxiety, anger, sadness—and found that none of these emotionally painful experiences activate the brain's physical sensory areas in the same way as an undesired breakup.
"There may be something special about rejection."

The painful-rejection study appeared this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kenali Dajjal

Dajjal adalah seorang manusia dari keturunan Yahudi. Dia bukan Jin atau apa jua makhluk lain selain ia sebagai manusia yg ditangguhkan ajalnya "Minal Munzharin" seperti halnya Nabi Isa as yg di angkat oleh Allah swt ke atas langit dan ditangguhkan kematiannya sehingga beliau nantinya turun semula ke atas muka bumi ini lalu beliau akan mati dan di kuburkan di Madinah Al Munawwarah. Sama juga halnya dgn Iblis yg di tangguhkan kematiannya sehingga kiamat nanti.

Dajjal; ayahnya seorang yg tinggi dan gemuk. Hidungnya seperti Paruh burung. Sedangkan Ibunya pula seorang perempuan gemuk dan banyak dagingnya.
Menurut Imam Al Barzanji ada pendapat mengatakan bahawa asal keturunan bapanya ialah seorang Dukun Yahudi yg di kenali dgn "syaqq" manakala ibunya adalah dari bangsa Jin. Ia hidup di zaman Nabi Sulaiman as dan mempunyai hubungan dengan makhluk² halus. Lalu oleh Nabi Sulaiman ia akhirnya ditangkap dan dimasukkan ke dalam penjara. Walau bagaimanapun kelahiran dan kehidupan masa kecil tidak diketahui dgn jelas.

Sifat² Badannya: Hadis Huzaifah r.a katanya: Rasulullah s.a.w. telah
bersabda: Dajjal ialah orang yang buta matanya sebelah kiri, lebat
(panjang) rambutnya serta dia mempunyai Syurga dan Neraka. Nerakanya itu merupakan Syurga dan Syurganya pula ialah Neraka (Hadis Sahih Muslim)

Ada beberapa ciri perawakan Dajjal yg disebutkan dalam Hadis² Rasulullah saw, diantaranya: Seorang yg kelihatannya masih muda; Berbadan Besar dan agak kemerah-merahan; Rambutnya kerinting dan tebal. Kelihatan dari belakang seolah-olah dahan kayu yg rimbun.

Dan tandanya yg paling ketara sekali ada dua: Pertama: Buta mata kirinya dan kelihatan seperti buah kismis yg kecut,manakala mata kanannya tertonjol keluar kehijau-hijauan berkelip-kelip laksana bintang. Jadi kedua-dua matanya adalah cacat. Kedua: Tertulis didahinya tulisan "Kafir (Kaf-Fa-Ra)". Tulisan ini dapat dibaca oleh setiap org Islam, sama ada ia pandai membaca atau tidak.

Mengikut hadis riwayat At-Thabrani, kedua-dua tanda ini menjelma dalam diri Dajjal setelah ia mengaku sebagai Tuhan. Adapun sebelum itu, kedua-dua tanda yg terakhir ini belum ada pada dirinya.

Tempat Tinggalnya Sekarang:

Menurut riwayat yg sahih yg disebutkan dlm kitab "Shahih Muslim", bahawa Dajjal itu sudah wujud sejak beberapa lama. Ia dirantai di sebuah pulau dan ditunggu oleh seekor binatang yg bernama "Al-Jassasah". Terdapat hadis mengenainya.. (tetapi terlalu panjang utk ditulis.. anda boleh membaca terus dari buku). Daripada Hadis ini jelaslah bagi kita bahawa Dajjal itu telah ada dan ia menunggu masa yg diizinkan oleh Allah swt utk keluar menjelajah permukaan bumi ini dan tempat "transitnya" itu ialah di sebelah Timur bukan di Barat.

Berapa lama ia akan hidup setelah kemunculannya: Dajjal akan hidup setelah ia memulakan cabarannya kepada umat ini, selama empat puluh hari sahaja.
Namun begitu, hari pertamanya adalah sama dgn setahun dan hari kedua sama dengan sebulan dan ketiga sama dengan satu minggu dan hari-hari baki lagi sama seperti hari-hari biasa. Jadi keseluruhan masa Dajjal membuat fitnah dan kerosakan itu ialah 14 bulan dan 14 hari.

Dalam Hadis riwayat Muslim ada disebutkan: Kami bertanya: "Wahai Rasulullah! Berapa lamakah ia akan tinggal di muka bumi ini? Nabi saw,
menjawab: Ia akan tinggal selama empat puluh hari. Hari yg pertama seperti setahun dan hari berikutnya seperti sebulan dan hari ketiga seperti seminggu. Kemudian hari² yg masih tinggal lagi (iaitu 37 hari) adalah sama seperti hari² kamu yg biasa. Lalu kami bertanya lagi: Wahai Rasulullah saw!
Di hari yg panjang seperti setahun itu, apakah cukup bagi kami hanya sembahyang sehari sahaja (iaitu 5 waktu sahaja). Nabi saw menjawab: Tidak cukup. Kamu mesti mengira hari itu dgn menentukan kadar yg bersesuaian bagi setiap sembahyang.."

Maksud Sabdaan Rasulullah saw, ini ialah supaya kita mengira jam yg berlalu pada hari itu. Bukan mengikut perjalanan matahari seperti biasanya kita lakukan. Misalnya sudah berlalu tujuh jam selepas sembahyang Subuh pada hari itu maka masuklah waktu sembahyang Zohor, maka hendaklah kita sembahyang Zohor, dan apabila ia telah berlalu selepas sembahyang Zohor itu tiga jam setengah misalnya, maka masuklah waktu Asar, maka wajib kita sembahyang Asar Begitulah seterusnya waktu Sembahyang Maghrib, Isyak dan Subuh seterusnya hingga habis hari yg panjang itu sama panjangnya dgn masa satu tahun dan bilangan sembahyang pun pada sehari itu sebanyak bilangan sembahyang setahun yg kita lakukan. Begitu juga pada hari Kedua dan ketiga.

Fitnah Dajjal:

Dajjal telah diberi peluang oleh Allah swt utk menguji umat ini. Oleh kerana itu, Allah memberikan kepadanya beberapa kemampuan yg luar biasa. Di antara kemampuan Dajjal ialah:

1. Segala kesenangan hidup akan ada bersama dengannya. Benda-benda beku akan  mematuhinya.Sebelum kedatangan Dajjal, dunia Islam akan diuji dahulu oleh Allah dgn kemarau panjang selama 3 tahun berturut-turut. Pada tahun pertama hujan akan kurang sepertiga dari biasa dan pada tahun kedua akan kurang 2/3 dari biasa dan tahun ketiga hujan tidak akan turun langsung.
Umat akan dilanda kebuluran dan kekeringan. Di saat itu Dajjal akan muncul membawa ujian. Maka daerah mana yg percaya Dajjal itu Tuhan, ia akan berkata pada awan: Hujanlah kamu di daerah ini! Lalu hujan pun turunlah dan bumi menjadi subur. Begitu juga ekonomi, perdagangan akan menjadi makmur dan stabil pada org² yg bersekutu dgn Dajjal. Manakala penduduk yg tidak mahu bersukutu dgn Dajjal..mereka akan tetap berada dlm kebuluran dan kesusahan. Dan ada diriwayatkan penyokong Dajjal akan memiliki segunung roti (makanan) sedangkan org² yg tidak percaya dengannya berada dalam kelaparan dan kebuluran.

Dalam hal ini, para sahabat Rasullullah s.a.w. bertanya: "Jadi apa yg dimakan oleh org Islam yg beriman pada hari itu wahai Rasulullah?"

Nabi menjawab: "Mereka akan merasa kenyang dengan bertahlil,bertakbir, bertasbih dan bertaubat. Jadi zikir-zikir itu yang akan menggantikan makanan."  H.R Ibnu Majah

2. Ada bersamanya seumpamanya Syurga dan Neraka: Di antara ujian Dajjal ialah kelihatan bersama dengannya seumpama syurga dan neraka dan juga sungai air dan sungai api. Dajjal akan menggunakan kedua-duanya ini untuk menguji iman org Islam kerana hakikat yg benar adalah sebalik dari apa yg kelihatan. Apa yg dikatakan Syurga itu sebenarnya Neraka dan apa yg dikatakannya Neraka itu adalah Syurga.

3. Kepantasan perjalanan dan Negeri-Negeri yang tidak dapat dimasukinya:
Kepantasan yg dimaksudkan ini tidak ada pada kenderaan org² dahulu. Kalau hari ini maka bolehlah kita mengatakan kepantasan itu seperti kepantasan jet-jet tempur yg digunakan oleh tentera udara atau lebih pantas lagi daripada kenderaan tersebut sehinggakan beribu-ribu kilometer dapat ditempuh dalam satu jam "... Kami bertanya: Wahai Rasulullah! Bagaimana kepantasan perjalanannya di atas muka bumi ini?

Nabi menjawab: "Kepantasan perjalanannya adalah seperti kepantasan "Al Ghaist" (hujan atau awan) yang dipukul oleh angin yang kencang." H.R Muslim

Namun demikian, Dajjal tetap tidak dapat memasuki dua Bandar suci umat Islam iaitu Makkah Al Mukarramah dan Madinah Al Munawwarah.

4. Bantuan Syaitan-Syaitan untuk memperkukuhkan kedudukannya: Syaitan² juga akan bertungkus-lumus membantu Dajjal. Bagi syaitan, inilah masa yg terbaik utk menyesatkan lebih ramai lagi anak cucu Adam a.s.

CARA UTK SELAMAT DARI FITNAHNYA:

Rasulullah s.a.w. juga telah meninggalkan kepada kita beberapa cara yg perlu diikuti supaya kita dapat selamat dari fitnah Dajjal ini. Cara-cara itu ialah:

Pertama: Memahami bahawa Dajjal itu adalah pendusta dan pembohong serta mempunyai beberapa kelemahan yg ketara sekali. Diantaranya ialah buta mata sebelah kiri. Seandainya ia sebagai tuhan, sudah tentu ia dapat menghindarkan cacat cela yg jelas dapat dilihat di mukanya itu. Dajjal takut kalau ada orang yg sempat memperhatikan kekurangannya ini. Oleh kerana itu apabila ia selesai memfitnah org di suatu tempat, ia akan segera beredar dari situ. Ia takut ada orang yang meneliti keaiban dan kekurangannya ini.

Kedua: Tertulis didahinya perkataan "Kafir" yang bererti ia adalah seorang kafir, di mana tulisan ini akan dapat dibaca oleh setiap Muslim, sama ada dia pandai membaca atau tidak. Jadi orang Islam tidak perlu terpedaya dgn godaannya. Apakah lagi nak mengatakan dia sebagai tuhan.

Ketiga: Menghindarkan diri daripadanya, sama ada pergi ke Makkah atau Madinah atau duduk di rumah dan jgn bergaul langsung dgn masyarakat yg telah tergoda oleh fitnah Dajjal dan hendaklah ia menghalang golongan perempuan dari keluar rumah kerana kebanyakan pengikut Dajjal ini dari kalangan orang yang jahil tentang Islam dan golongan perempuan.

Keempat: Membaca sepuluh ayat pertama (atau yg terakhir) dari surah Al-Kahfi seperti yg disebutkan dalam hadis Rasulullah saw: "... . Sesiapa yg hafal sepuluh ayat dari ayat awal surah Al-Kahfi, ia akan terpelihara dari godaan Dajjal dan dalam riwayat lain, siapa yg hafal sepuluh ayat yg terakhir daripadanya.." (Hadis Sahih Muslim).

"Sejak Allah s.w.t. menciptakan Nabi Adam a.s. sampai ke hari kiamat nanti tidak ada satu ujian pun yg lebih dahsyat daripada Dajjal"  H.R Muslim.

Fitnah Dajjal atau ujian Dajjal ini akan mudah meragut keimanan seseorang.
Oleh itu maka janganlah ada di kalangan ummat Islam ini yg berkata: "Saya tak apa, saya dapat melawan Dajjal" Jangan sekali-kali berkata demikian kerana sgt sedikit org yg dapat mempertahankan keimanan ketika berhadapan dgn Dajjal. Oleh itu Rasulullah  s.a.w. telah mengajar kita supaya berlindung dengan Allah s.w.t. dari godaan Dajjal, seperti yg di ajarkan oleh Baginda dlm doa tahiyyat akhir yg sunat doa itu kita baca setiap kali kita sembahyang. Ini menunjukkan betapa besarnya fitnah Dajjal tersebut "Ya Allah aku berlindung dgn engkau daripada siksa api neraka Jahanam dan dari siksa kubur dan dari ujian dlm kehidupan dan ujian setelah mati dan juga aku berlindung dgn Engkau daripada kejahatan Al Masih Dajjal.."  H.R Muslim


Those born in the 50's and 60's,good old days


TO ALL THE THOSE   WHO WERE BORN IN THE 50's and  60's / early '70s............

 

First, we survived with mothers who had no maids. They cooked /cleaned while taking care of us at the same time.

They took aspirin, candies floss,fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrups  and diabetes were rare. Salt added to Pepsi or Coke was remedy for fever.  
 
 
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention
 
 

As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3. Richer ones in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
 
 
  Riding in the back of a private taxi was a special treat.
 


We drank water from the tap and NOT from a bottle.
 
  We would spend hours on the fields under bright sunlight flying our kites, without worrying about the UV ray which never seem to affect us.


We go to jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.
 
 
With mere 5 pebbles (stones) would be a endless game. With a ball (tennis ball best) we boys would ran like crazy for hours.
 

We catch guppy in drains / canals and when it rain we swim there.
 
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually worry about being unhygenic.
 
 
We ate salty, very sweet & oily food, candies,bread and real butter and drank very sweet soft sweet coffee/ tea, ice kacang, but we weren't overweight because......
 
WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!
 
 
We
would leave home in the morning and play all day, till streetlights came on.

 
 
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
 
 
We would spend hours repairing our old bicycles and wooden scooters out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .
 
 
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, multiple channels on cable TV, DVD movies, no surround sound, no  phones, no personal computers, no Internet.WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
 
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and we still continued the stunts.
 
 
We were never birthday partying till we were 21,
 
 
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and just yelled for them!
 
 
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
 
 
Yet this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
 
 
The past 40years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
 
 

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned
 
 
HOW TO
 
 
DEAL WITH IT
ALL!

 
 
And YOU are one of them!
 
 
CONGRATULATIONS!
 
 
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives for our own good.
 
 
and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

PS: -The big font size is because of Long-sightedness or hyperopia at your age .

Be yourself, be happy

Sunday March 20, 2011
By MARY-JO RAPINI

Source: here.

Insecurity is created whenever the focus in on how one looks, rather than who they are.

YOU have curly hair, but you want it straight; you spend hundreds at the salon to get that look. You are curvy, but you want to be stick thin; you spend thousands to achieve and maintain the look you want.

You have brown eyes, but you want blue; you spend money for coloured contacts to achieve that look. You are getting older, and you want to be young; thousands are spent to achieve the look you are going for.

Yet, at the end of the day, you are “you” and you cannot change that. We all want to be something we are not, and this feeling that we are less because we aren’t what we picture is making us depressed, anxious, moody, and insecure.

Men struggle with this thinking, but not nearly as much as women. Women are trapped by it. We can become obsessed with it. Not only are grown women trapped by it, but six-year-old girls are reporting that they want to be thinner, have different eye colour, different skin colour or prettier overall.

When you ask someone what they notice about another person, most of the time you will hear things such as their energy, their interests, or their unique quirks or personality. Rarely will it be about how someone looks.

When looks do come up, they are usually in the context of extremes. When you get close to someone, how they look becomes less and less important.

This feeling of knowing someone well and no longer caring how they look does not generalise to ourselves. In fact, the longer women are in their bodies, the more critical they become.

I work with men and women, and I have yet to hear two guys sitting together ripping their bodies apart. I don’t have to go further than the first coffee shop to listen in on two women doing that. The conversation may look like this:

“My eyelashes are even falling out. I hate this.”

“My butt is falling into the legs of my jeans.”

All day, every day, we have these kinds of conversations. Imagine what we could give others if we quit obsessing about our imperfections.

The next generation of girls would be so much healthier if their mums were not as obsessed with their imperfections. Marriages would be so much healthier if women loved and felt confident in the bodies where their souls reside.

Insecurity is created whenever the focus in on how one looks, rather than who they are.

How this happened or how we obtained this ideal standard of beauty is complicated. Yes, the media plays a part, however, most of the editors of popular magazines are women; it is women, not men, promoting this ideal of the perfect body or look.

In the United States, the majority of men are married to a woman who is 5’4’’ and weighs 135 pounds. Who are we as women if we give men the power to decide what is “sexy” or “desirable” anyway?

When I talk to men regarding this topic, they say they aren’t looking for the perfect woman; they are looking for the woman who feels confident in her own skin. A man is attracted to a woman who likes herself, and what he is looking for is hard to find.

Most women are too busy beating themselves up for their flaws to entertain the thought that they are sexy and desirable in their own right. It doesn’t stop there; women who aren’t happy with themselves put pressure on their daughters to look the part they weren’t able to achieve. Rather than promoting their daughters interests, they focus on her looks. Insecure mums create insecure daughters.

The way out of this madness requires small steps in changing how you think about yourself, as well as others. Below are a few tips to help getting started:

1. Notice the first thoughts you have when you meet someone new. If you begin thinking of how they look, stop yourself. Ask them what they do or what makes them happy.

2. When your friends meet and begin talking about their face lifts, sagging eyes, or yellow teeth, interrupt them and tell them something you admire about them.

3. If your parents told you in any way that you wouldn’t be worthwhile if you didn’t look good, remember that you most likely had insecure parents (no matter how they masked it).

4. Most of the time, when women feel bad about themselves, it involves their body. There is nothing better for your body or mind than movement. It makes you feel more confident, too.

5. Purchase magazines that promote healthy living, not perfect faces or bodies. I work in the media, and I can promise you that when you see models or celebrities, they don’t look like they do in the magazines. The magazines have perfect lighting, perfect clothing, perfect hair, perfect make-up and an ability to photo shop beyond your wildest dreams. They are NOT real.

In a book called Journey of the Heart, the author encourages us to “stop worrying people will find out the real you and begin hoping they will”.

Open yourself so others can see the real you. When you are comfortable with yourself, you have more energy to give and love others.

Giving your power to a magazine, TV show, movie, or a person to depict whether you are good enough is not only heat breaking, it’s demeaning and abusive.

Mary Jo Rapini is a relationship counsellor in the US.

All copyrights reserved.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spelling chequer

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Japan’s earthquake shifted balance of the planet

Mon Mar 14, 9:56 am ET
From Yahoo! News

Japan’s earthquake shifted balance of the planet
By Liz Goodwin

Last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has actually moved the island closer to the United States and shifted the planet's axis.


The quake caused a rift 15 miles below the sea floor that stretched 186 miles long and 93 miles wide, according to the AP. The areas closest to the epicenter of the quake jumped a full 13 feet closer to the United States, geophysicist Ross Stein at the United States Geological Survey told The New York Times.

The 9.0 magnitude quake (the fourth-largest recorded since 1900) was caused when the Pacific tectonic plate dove under the North American plate, which shifted Eastern Japan towards North America by about 13 feet (see NASA's before and after photos at right). The quake also shifted the earth's axis by 6.5 inches, shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds, and sank Japan downward by about two feet. As Japan's eastern coastline sunk, the tsunami's waves rolled in.

Why did the quake shorten the day? The earth's mass shifted towards the center, spurring the planet to spin a bit faster. Last year's massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile also shortened the day, but by an even smaller fraction of a second. The 2004 Sumatra quake knocked a whopping 6.8 micro-seconds off the day.

After the country's 1995 earthquake, Japan placed high-tech sensors around the country to observe even the slightest movements, which is why scientists are able to calculate the quake's impact down to the inch. "This is overwhelmingly the best-recorded great earthquake ever," Lucy Jones, chief scientist for the Multi-Hazards project at the U.S. Geological Survey, told The Los Angeles Times.

The tsunami's waves necessitated life-saving evacuations as far away as Chile. Fisherman off the coast of Mexico reported a banner fishing day Friday, and speculated that the tsunami knocked sealife in their direction.

(An energy map provided by NOAA shows the intensity of the tsunami caused by Japan's earthquake: Reuters/NOAA. Below, Satellite image of Japan's coast moving: NASA.)

CORRECTION: This article originally attributed Lucy Jones' interview to the The Boston Herald.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Aligning Your Job With Your Values: Some soul-searching can help job-seekers find what they really need

By Wendy Cornett

You spent months combing the classifieds and surfing the Web for that "perfect" job. You nailed the interview. The potential earnings and advancement sealed the deal. You accepted the offer with earnest enthusiasm.

That was six months ago. Now the pairing you thought was kismet has turned out to be catastrophic. Meanwhile, a colleague in the next cubicle thrives. What did you do differently? Chances are, it's what you didn't do that cost you your job satisfaction.

Before opening the paper, logging on to the Internet or running off 200 copies of a resume, job seekers should strike a lotus position and do some serious soul-searching--literally.

"People spend too much time evaluating potential opportunities, and not enough time evaluating themselves and what's important to them," says Celia Crossley, career strategist and owner of Celia D. Crossley & Associates in Columbus, Ohio. "A little reflective time speeds up the job search because you know what's important to you." Self-discovery not only saves time, it also helps to reduce a job seeker's chances of making the wrong decision.

To help clients determine what brings them professional satisfaction, Crossley uses an exercise in values. Supplying clients with a list of 15 common values, Crossley asks them to pinpoint their top five. The list includes friendship, location, enjoyment, loyalty, family, independence, leadership, achievement, self-realization, wealth, expertness, service, prestige, security and power. The client must determine which of their top five, if any, are supported by or shared by the employer. Where Crossley witnesses alignment, she sees a potential for career satisfaction and success.

People dissatisfied with a recent job move or those adversely affected by a merger or change in management can use this exercise to help determine whether or not their situation is salvageable.

Crossley recommends that, at the very least, an employee needs to find an alignment among two of their top five values.

One recent values assessment that Crossley conducted with executives from a small, growing Columbus company revealed that each manager aligned five out of five values. The company, Crossley says, is growing by 17 percent.

"I keep seeing this pattern," she says. "When you see four, or five out of five values in alignment, you see successes."

Conversely, Crossley recently assisted someone whose values were in alignment with those of the company, but who still considered moving on because of a recent management change. A decision of this kind, she noted, should not be taken lightly.

"If you're two or three years from being fully vested and there's a management change, just recognizing and acknowledging the facts can help you find ways to work it out," Crossley says.

Crossley refers to her process of values assessment and self-discovery as "doing your due diligence."

"This means doing your own personal homework to make sure the facts and figures align with what's important to you," she explains.

As in personal relationships, occasional periods of discontent do not constitute a mismatch. This is when it's time to refer to the values assessment for reassurance.

"Never change jobs on emotion," Crossley adds. "Do your due diligence before deciding upon any transition."

Consider time spent on introspection as a valuable investment toward building a satisfying professional future.

"A job paying $50,000 annually turns into a $1 million investment in 20 years," Crossley says. "No venture capitalist would give you $1 million without a plan."

Once you've done your due diligence, it's time to make sure the potential employer has done the same. Crossley recommends that all candidates ask about expectations.

"Once the job has been offered," she says, "but prior to accepting it, ask the hiring manager the following question: 'Let's say I've been on the job for six months. You're telling me I'm doing a wonderful job. What would I have accomplished?'"

If the question isn't answered to your satisfaction, it might be best to pass this one up. "You can't deliver unless someone has well-defined expectations," she says. And likewise, "Unless you
have your own criteria, you're likely to make another mistake."

Whether you achieve self-discovery privately through meditation or by seeking help from a professional career adviser, what's important is that you define your values, refer to your list from time to time and update it when circumstances change.

The secret to any successful relationship is determining exactly what you want, and then finding it.

"We spend a lot of our week in that (work) relationship," Crossley says. "If it doesn't make us happy, we're not productive."

Wendy Cornett is a freelance writer based in Columbus, OH. She worked for the Columbus Dispatch for six years after a four-year stint in corporate communications. She is a member of YourWriters.com.

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