New Book Encourages Openness to Thrive Through Change and Obstacles

Ann Van Eron’s new book Open Stance: Thriving Amid Differences and Uncertainty convincingly shows us that the best way we can improve our relationships and cope with life’s changes and obstacles is to be open-minded, or adopt an open stance.The book opens with a powerful quote by Jim Collins, which perfectly sums up why this open stance is necessary: “If the first two decades of the twenty-first century have taught us anything, it is that uncertainty is chronic, instability is permanent, disruption is common, and we can neither predict nor govern events. There will be no new normal. There will only be a continuous series of not normal episodes defying prediction and unforeseen by most of us until they happen.” The response many of us might feel to the tumultuous change all around us is to run and hide. Ann Van Eron understands that. She describes a vacation she took to Santorini, Greece, which she thinks of as her oasis because there she learned to relax, quit stressing, and be open to what was around her.Since being on a perpetual vacation is not an option for most of us, Ann encourages us to find our own oases or pleasant memories of times when we felt open and relaxed and apply them to situations in our lives that may be more difficult. When we approach our obstacles with the same openness we approach a vacation or other positive things, we can shift to being more open-minded and finding ways to appreciate even the most difficult situations or come to find common ground with people we previously felt were too different for us to see eye-to-eye with.Of course, being open or closed is all a state of mind. Ann teaches us how to be aware of when we are closed-to be aware of our thoughts and how they might be sabotaging us or preventing us from taking an open stance that will bring us greater fulfillment or peace of mind. She reminds us that we each have an internal spin doctor who tells us stories about situations, other people, and ourselves. We need to be aware of when the spin doctor is operating, twisting perspectives to make us look good and others less so. By paying attention to our thoughts and to other people, we can open a door to possibilities.As a business consultant, Ann has worked with numerous organizations to teach their members how to take such an open stance. She has witnessed firsthand how companies faced with diversity challenges have had employees shift to being open so they could co-create solutions. Now in Open Stance, she shares the tools and processes that have worked for the numerous people she has guided through the process. The book is divided into four sections. Part One argues the case for being open, Part Two offers a process for shifting to being open, Part Three shares practices for embodying an open stance, and Part Four encourages us to take action from an open stance to make the world a better place, whether in simple ways or larger ones within our local or global community.Throughout the book, Ann shares not only her own experiences helping others to be more open, but she backs up her statements with research, showing, for example, how employees are more engaged when they are open and experiencing wellbeing. The result for companies is greater financial success and positive impact on their customers. By creating a workplace that is more open, people feel psychology safe, and then they are more willing to share ideas, are more creative, and work better together.While being open might sound easy, it requires learning to listen to other people to understand them. Ann discusses such topics as empathy and how to be open to and curious about others. She also cautions us not to assume we can easily understand another. Can we really know what it’s like to be in a wheelchair or to be unable to get a cab because of our skin color? However, we can listen to others and come to understand why they hold the beliefs and opinions they do so we can find common ground.We also can expand our emotional vocabulary to better listen to ourselves. For example, rather than use basic descriptions of emotions like happy, sad, or angry, we can expand to pinpoint whether we are frustrated, irritated, afraid, or annoyed. By becoming more aware of our emotions, we can develop greater emotional intelligence. We will also then be better able to notice what emotions others are responding from so we can respond better to them.Some of this may seem like common sense, but it is easy to forget these practices if we are closed. It is also easy to forget what long-lasting ripple effects we can create simply by having “compassionate curiosity” and connecting to each other. Open Stance’s final section is a true tour-de-force vision of how good our world could be if we simply focus on being open, try to be optimistic, and express gratitude.Ann shows how positive change can begin simply by each of us choosing to be open, and how that will affect everyone we come into contact with. Others will pick up on our positive vibe and become positive themselves, and soon the goodwill and openness will spread so that we all can make this a better world. It might seem like pie in the sky, but even a small shift to being more open will make our lives incrementally better. I encourage you to be open to reading Open Stance and giving it a try.

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Buying a Professional Laptop Bag: What to Consider

If you carry a laptop with you to work or to school, it is important for you to take time to find yourself a good bag that you can carry it in. When shopping for one of these, you may find that there is quite a variety that you can pick from. However, before you make the purchase, it is always a good idea to make time to look at the following factors.

Consider the Brand
First off, you may want to do some research concerning the brand of bag you want to buy. This is if you are the type of person that is concerned with brands. There are several companies that create laptops. Doing your research and getting to learn about the different brands that are available in the market will allow you to know what your options are so that you can move on to the next stage where you compare what your different alternatives are.

Consider Buying Online
Next, when you want to purchase a professional laptop bag, it is important for you to do your research and get to know whether you can make the purchase online as well. If you are the type of person that has to see the bag in person before you make the purchase, then this may not before you. But, if you like the pictures and you have read a review, then you may want to go for this alternative. Making an online purchase is a good idea since it will help you save time, and possibly even money. You can make the order from just about anywhere and have the package shipped to you.

Consider the Quality of the Bag
Another thing you need to take seriously when making such a purchase is the bag’s quality. Take time to look into the design of the bag. Get an idea of what material and fabric has been used to create it. When you learn all of these things, you will easily be in a position where you can decide whether the bag’s quality is worth the amount of money that it is going for.

Consider the Price
The cost of the professional laptop bag is another thing that you will need to take into consideration. Take your time to find out how much the bags go for on various websites if you are purchasing it online or even if you are making the purchase offline. Compare the prices and go for what you feel will work best for you having considered the quality of the bag as well.

Read and Watch Reviews
This may be the most important thing that you need to do before you choose the right bag to purchase. A review can help you to learn a variety of things about the bag that will help you establish whether it is the right thing for you or not. Some of the things you can learn about the bag include the cost, the quality, and the features among other things.

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