Sara Kiani
Belated writer, M.Sc engineer, long-time wife, mother of one, communication enthusiast. Writes about mindset-shifting lightbulb moments in life.

And why I’ll never be able to become a “Top Writer”

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Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash. This is not a real image of myself, but my natural hair is exactly like this (texture and colour) on a windy day, the ocean is my happy (physical) place and white is my favourite top colour. It could easily be me.

Don’t be fooled by my subtitle — I’m not being pessimistic. I probably could become a top writer, if I’d put my mind to it. It’s just that this is the only way I could summarize myself in one single sentence, without compromising my versatility.

To me, writing is like organizing and connecting the pieces of a huge pile of knowledge, reflections, and ideas. It helps me think and make sense of the world around me, which is exactly where the magic of writing lies. It’s in your ability…

You need a hidden agenda

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Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Even a mundane conversation about trivial office politics could turn into an amusing and enlightened discussion, with the help of a hidden agenda. Not the evil kind, just a goal for talking to anyone, in general. Like sales reps do. In the end, they always want to find out if you will buy or not. Similarly, you could benefit from interacting with someone, anyone, if you have an end goal. For me, it’s about getting under the skin.

I used to be really bad at making small talk before I came to this conclusion. I hated it because it was…

Psychologists share why letting people know that they’re good enough boosts their resiliency

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Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

There it was. A picture of me on the whiteboard with the title Smells like team spirit hovering above my head. I was looking at the “employee of the week” section of the board.

What did I do to deserve it? I wasn’t sure, but it had nothing to do with my work performance. That I knew for sure, which probably tells you more about my work situation there than I’d like to admit.

The importance of feedback

Perhaps you too know the feeling when your worth in the workplace is just a function of your actions and results. Unless you know exactly what…

Personal growth through the principles of chess

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Photo by ᴊᴀᴄʜʏᴍ ᴍɪᴄʜᴀʟ on Unsplash

As a child, I stayed away from chess and other strategic games. I was never particularly competitive and hated the idea of relying on my intelligence in competitions. I still struggle with that, but I’ve put a lot of inner work into stop basing my self-worth on intelligence.

Unsurprisingly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — my kid is exactly the same, but I refuse to let her follow the same path. That’s why I’ve recently learned to play chess myself, along with her. …

Kick the habit, but keep the kick of self-improvement through some of the best brain-improving activities

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Photo by Clayton Robbins on Unsplash

I consider myself a recovering self-help junkie.

I‘m in it for the kick, always was. The kick you get when you learn or realize something new that changes and improves an aspect of you. Yup, that particular kind of kick that opens mental doors to new possibilities in life while closing old ones that previously had held you back.

Full disclosure though, addiction is no joke and I haven't experienced any physically or mentally destructive addiction long-term. …

A closer look at the alluring performance that established her as a rock singer

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Photo by Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
File: Miley Cyrus Primavera19 -225 (48986108796).jpg. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Miley_Cyrus_Primavera19_-225_(48986108796).jpg

It felt like I had to convert everyone, and it was a little intimidating. — Miley Cyrus

I wasn’t there to see it live, but I saw footage of what she did to get a tough crowd — that “welcomed” her to the stage with chuckles — end up in awe and standing ovations. How did she manage to convert hardcore skeptics in a matter of minutes, and in spite of her twerking Hanna Montana background?

To be honest, I was just as offended as any…

Get authentic answers to common job interview questions without asking them out loud

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Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

I hate job interviews, I really do. Even the thought of preparing a live performance of my CV and making sure I have good answers prepared for every cliché interview question that can be thrown my way — while looking sharp, speaking eloquently, and being magnetic— is exhausting.

You know I’m not exaggerating. You probably google “job interview questions” too before a job interview, so you know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of search results. Even though the questions and answers are only suggestive, they tend to create certain thought patterns that, quite frankly, take…

My science-based method requires no action other than imagining that person

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Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash

Palms are sweaty. The heart is racing. You don’t understand why it sometimes is so difficult to do the thing you instinctively did as a newborn — breathe calmly and effortlessly. You’re not being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, but your mind and body seem to think so. People say you worry too much, and you know that you tend to overreact.

These days the tiger that’s chasing you could be the paper that’s due tomorrow, the report that’s not going to make stakeholders happy, or a social event that just has to be perfect. Perhaps it’s a bad breakup…

The desire to fit in starts earlier than I thought

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Photo by Yousef Espanioly on Unsplash

My daughter started school this fall. On her first day, she could not care less about what other kids thought of her. Fast forward two weeks and some mean remarks about her appearance, she’s no longer as comfortable as she used to be in her own skin.

From my recollection, mean girls didn’t emerge until at least the third grade. This new rough environment of hers got me thinking. How would I have dealt with bullying — experienced or witnessed- if it were me? …

They don’t make good first impressions, but still manage to build trust and momentum in a matter of minutes

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

According to the research of Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, people primarily judge other people based on their trustworthiness and likeability. Competence and skills are not as definitive when meeting a potential customer or establishing a business relationship.

Well, we were met with a horrible first impression by a sales rep at a bed store, which we stumbled across and decided to enter. He acted like he wasn’t in the mood to serve customers.

I obviously didn’t like him one bit, so how the hell did this arrogant bastard sell us a brand new king-size bed when we were only considering…

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