how to avoid making mistakes

Why Smart is the New Stupid and how to avoid making dumb mistakes

how to avoid making mistakes

If you ever wanted to know how to avoid making mistakes? You’re about to get the answer and you might not like the answer.

Have you ever witnessed ignorant stupidity over dinner from a friend, colleague, or family member? Throughout the meal, they take a stand on a topic. They spout off at length, boldly proclaiming that they are correct and that everyone else is stupid, uninformed, and just plain wrong. While it may be evident that this person has no idea what they are talking about, they prattle on, blithely oblivious to their ignorance.

The effect is named after researchers David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the two social psychologists who first described it. They performed a series of four investigations in their original study on this psychological phenomenon.2

People who scored in the lowest percentiles on grammar, humor, and logic tests also tended to dramatically overestimate how well they had performed (their actual test scores placed them in the 12th percentile, but they estimated that their performance placed them in the 62nd percentile).

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe they are smarter and more capable than they are. Essentially, low-ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognise their own incompetence and how to avoid making mistakes. The combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability leads them to overestimate their capabilities.1

The term lends a scientific name and explanation to a problem that many people immediately recognise—that fools are blind to their own foolishness. As Charles Darwin wrote in his book The Descent of Man, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

The Research

In one experiment, for example, Dunning and Kruger asked their 65 participants to rate how funny different jokes were. Some participants were exceptionally poor at determining what other people would find funny—yet these subjects described themselves as excellent judges of humor.2

Incompetent people, the researchers suggested, were not only poor performers but were also unable to accurately assess and recognize the quality of their work. This is perhaps why students who earn failing scores on exams sometimes feel they deserve a much higher score. They overestimate their knowledge and ability and cannot accurately assess their performance.

Low performers are unable to recognise the skill and competence levels of other people, which is part of the reason why they consistently view themselves as better, more capable, and more knowledgeable than others. If you want to learn how to avoid making mistakes then metacognition is key.

“In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious,” wrote David Dunning in an article for Pacific Standard. “Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

Effects on Behavior and Decisions

This effect can have a profound impact on what people believe, the decisions they make, and the actions they take.

In one study, Dunning and Ehrlinger found that women performed equally to men on a science quiz, and yet women underestimated their performance because they believed they had less scientific reasoning ability than men. The researchers also found that these women were more likely to refuse to enter a science competition due to this belief.3

Dunning and his colleagues have also performed experiments in which they ask respondents if they are familiar with various terms related to subjects including politics, biology, physics, and geography. Along with genuine subject-relevant concepts, they interjected completely made-up terms.4

In one such study, approximately 90% of respondents claimed they had at least some knowledge of the made-up terms. Admit you don’t know is one way to master how to avoid making mistakes. Consistent with other findings related to the Dunning-Kruger effect, the more familiar participants claimed that they were with a topic, the more likely they were to also claim they were familiar with the meaningless terms.

Why It Happens

So what explains this psychological effect? Are some people simply too dense to recognise it? Dunning and Kruger suggest that this phenomenon stems from what they refer to as a “dual burden.” People are not only incompetent; their incompetence robs them of the mental ability to realize just how inept they are.

Incompetent people tend to:

  • Overestimate their skill levels
  • Fail to recognize the genuine skill and expertise of other people
  • Fail to recognize their own mistakes and lack of skill

The very knowledge and skills necessary to be good at a task are the same qualities that a person needs to recognize that they are not good at that task. So if a person lacks those abilities, they remain not only bad at that task but ignorant of their inability.5

This effect has been attributed to several different explanations, including:

An Inability to Recognise Lack of Skill and Mistakes

Dunning suggests that deficits in skill and expertise create a two-pronged problem. First, these deficits cause people to perform poorly in the domain in which they are incompetent. Secondly, their erroneous and deficient knowledge makes them unable to recognize their mistakes.6

A Lack of Metacognition

The Dunning-Kruger effect is also related to difficulties with metacognition. Metacognition refers to the ability to step back and look at one’s behavior and abilities from outside of oneself.

People can often only evaluate themselves from their own limited and highly subjective point of view. From this limited perspective, they seem highly skilled, knowledgeable, and superior to others. Because of this, people sometimes struggle to have a more realistic view of their abilities.1

A Little Knowledge Can Lead to Overconfidence

Another contributing factor is that sometimes a tiny bit of knowledge on a subject can lead people to mistakenly believe that they know all there is to know about it. As the old saying goes, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

A person might have the slimmest bit of awareness about a subject, yet thanks to the Dunning-Kruger effect, believe that they are an expert.

Other factors that can contribute to the effect include:

  • The use of heuristics, or mental shortcuts that allow people to make decisions quickly
  • A tendency to seek out patterns even where none exist

Our minds are primed to try to make sense of the disparate array of information we deal with daily. As we try to cut through the confusion and interpret our abilities and performance within our worlds, it is perhaps not surprising that we sometimes fail so completely to judge how well we do accurately.5

Are You Less Competent Than You Think?

So who is affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect? According to the researchers, everyone is prone to this effect. This is because no matter how informed or experienced we are, everyone has areas in which they are uninformed and incompetent. You might be smart and skilled in many areas, but no one is an expert at everything.

The reality is that everyone is susceptible to this phenomenon, and most of us probably experience it with surprising regularity. People who are genuine experts in one area may mistakenly believe that their intelligence and knowledge carry over into other areas in which they are less familiar.

A brilliant scientist, for example, might be a very poor writer. For the scientist to recognise their lack of skill, they need to possess a good working knowledge of grammar, composition, and other elements of writing. Because those are lacking, the scientist in this example also lacks the ability to recognise their own poor performance. They don’t know how to avoid making mistakes.


The Dunning-Kruger effect is not synonymous with low IQ. As awareness of the term has increased, its misapplication as a synonym for “stupid” has also grown. It is, after all, easy to judge others and believe that such things simply do not apply to you.

Dunning-Kruger Effect vs. Imposter Syndrome

So if the incompetent tend to think they are experts, what do genuine experts think of their own abilities? Dunning and Kruger found that those at the high end of the competence spectrum did hold more realistic views of their own knowledge and capabilities. However, these experts actually tended to underestimate their own abilities relative to how others did.2

Top-scoring individuals know that they are better than the average, but they are not convinced of how superior their performance is to others. The problem, in this case, is not that experts don’t know how well-informed they are; they tend to believe that everyone else is also knowledgeable.

This can sometimes lead to the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect—imposter syndrome. Since the Dunning-Kruger effect involves overconfidence in one’s abilities, the opposing tendency would involve underconfidence in one’s abilities. In imposter syndrome, competent people doubt their own abilities and fear that others will discover them to be frauds. Do you want to know how to avoid making mistakes …

How to Overcome the Dunning-Kruger Effect

So is there anything that can minimize this phenomenon? Is there a point at which the incompetent actually recognize their own ineptitude?

We all want to know how to avoid making mistakes, yet “We are all engines of misbelief,” Dunning has suggested. While we are all prone to experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect, learning more about how the mind works and the mistakes we are all susceptible to might be one step toward correcting such patterns.

As people learn more about the topic of interest, they begin to recognize their lack of knowledge and ability. Then as people gain more information and become experts on a topic, their confidence levels begin to improve again.

So what can you do to gain a more realistic assessment of your abilities in a particular area if you are not sure you can trust your self-assessment?

  • Keep learning and practicing. Instead of assuming you know all there is to know about a subject, keep digging deeper. Once you gain greater knowledge of a topic, you will likely recognize how much there is still to learn. This can combat the tendency to assume you’re an expert, even if you’re not.
  • Ask other people how you’re doing. Another effective strategy involves asking others for constructive criticism. While it can sometimes be difficult to hear, such feedback can provide valuable insights into how others perceive your abilities.
  • Question what you know. Even as you learn more and get feedback, it can be easy to only pay attention to things that confirm what you think you already know. This is an example of another type of psychological bias known as the confirmation bias. To minimize this tendency, keep challenging your beliefs and expectations. Seek out information that challenges your ideas.8
  • Get a coach or mentor. Working with someone you can trust; someone who you can share your fears, limits and doubts in a confidential environment is the best way to get beyond not only your own cognitive biases, but also you can get help to shift your beliefs and remove your limits. If you would like to speak with a mentor or coach about how they can help, complete this form and book a complimentary chat.


The Dunning-Kruger effect is one of many cognitive biases that can affect your behaviors and decisions, from the mundane to the life-changing. While it may be easier to recognize the phenomenon in others, it is important to remember that it is something that impacts everyone. By understanding the underlying causes that contribute to this psychological bias, you might be better able to spot these tendencies in yourself and find ways to overcome them. If you want to know how to avoid making mistakes, perhaps book a complimentary coaching call.

  1. McIntosh RD, Fowler EA, Lyu T, Della Sala S. Wise up: Clarifying the role of metacognition in the Dunning-Kruger effectJournal of Experimental Psychology: General. 2019;148(11):1882-1897. doi:10.1037/xge0000579
  2. Kruger J, Dunning D. Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessmentsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1999;77(6):1121-1134. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.77.6.1121
  3. Ehrlinger J, Dunning D. How chronic self-views influence (and potentially mislead) estimates of performancePsycEXTRA Dataset.
  4. Atir S. Thinking About Self and Others in the Context of Knowledge and ExpertiseCornell University.
  5. Pennycook G, Ross RM, Koehler DJ, Fugelsang JA. Dunning–Kruger effects in reasoning: Theoretical implications of the failure to recognize incompetence. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 2017;24(6):1774-1784. doi:10.3758/s13423-017-1242-7
  6. Dunning D. Chapter five – The Dunning–Kruger Effect: On being ignorant of one’s own ignoranceAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology. 2011;44:247-296. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-385522-0.00005-6
  7. Nuhfer E, California State University (retired), Fleischer S, et al. How random noise and a graphical convention subverted behavioral scientists’ explanations of self-assessment data: Numeracy underlies better alternativesNumeracy. 2017;10(1). doi:10.5038/1936-4660.10.1.4
  8. Hernandez I, Preston JL. Disfluency disrupts the confirmation biasJournal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2013;49(1):178-182. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.08.010
How to Elevate Your Thinking to Improve Your Physical Well-being

How to Elevate Your Thinking to Improve Your Physical Well-being

Physical well-being and weight management are something many people strive to improve, but it’s hardly as straightforward as it seems. Despite being crucial for daily life, many are falling short of the standards for physical activity. Over three in ten (35%) Australian adults aged 18–64 are insufficiently physically active, and that issue increases with age. Nutrition can also be difficult to achieve, as many may not know how to balance meals or have access to healthy ingredients.

Apart from difficulty eating nutritiously or exercising regularly, a poor mindset can easily bring a person down. Restrictive habits and negative beliefs affect one’s reality without them even knowing, making it harder to stay motivated on the journey to improvement. Apart from the physical things you can do, changing the way you view yourself and wellness can make a huge difference in your progress. Here are some ways you can elevate your thinking to improve your physical well-being:

Focus on you

When people try to lose weight, they often try all sorts of solutions and tricks. Many of them tend to be restrictive and limiting. Cutting things from your lifestyle or comparing your progress and routine to others’ can quickly lead to discouragement. Rather than focus on what you cannot do or what others are doing, prioritising sustainability is essential if you want to improve your physical well-being. Instead of following trends, find a strategy you love and know works for you and incorporate it into your diet, exercise, and other health habits.

Even modern weight loss programs have adopted this mindset to make the process more enjoyable and less like a chore. They help you create a plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle, allowing you to build healthy habits instead of restricting or comparing yourself to others. When you focus on what’s realistic and attainable for you, you’ll have a more positive outlook on your well-being and your journey.

Work on what you can control

Most people think the scale is the best way to measure your progress towards or success in improving your physical well-being, but frequently and obsessively monitoring the numbers won’t do your mindset any good. You can’t control how your body burns fat or when results will show, so focus on the aspects of physical wellness that are in your control. Beyond eating nutritious meals or working out regularly, things like sleep quality and stress management matter for weight loss and physical health. They’re crucial for balancing your body’s hormones like ghrelin, leptin, and cortisol, which play a role in regulating your appetite.

One thing you can do is switch up your routine to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. Starting a bedtime routine to unwind can help you adjust how and when you sleep. Pointing out the source of your stress can also help you address it. For instance, your workplace could unknowingly be causing you stress or hindering your physical wellness. One in seven Aussie workers struggle with physical health as many employees spend the majority of the day at work sedentary, so it might not be as unlikely as you think. If you are worried that your physical health is slipping, you should find ways to help you manage it. Activities like exercise, meditation, or enjoying a hobby can help with de-stressing for better health.

Challenge your beliefs

Setbacks are inevitable when you’re on a journey to improve your physical well-being, but it can be easy to fall into the belief that you’re a failure or just not cut out for a fit or active lifestyle. However, constantly holding onto these beliefs about yourself can affect your reality, making it harder to see and celebrate your progress and stay motivated. That’s why challenging your beliefs is so crucial for self-improvement, not just physically.

Turning your pessimistic beliefs into something more hopeful can shift your mindset and your experiences. You can believe that you’re capable of recovering from a setback or that you’re making progress, no matter how small or slow. Once you change your mindset, you’ll find more confidence and compassion for yourself, and you’ll be in a better headspace to make your goals a reality.

The mindset is an essential yet often underrated part of your journey to enhancing your physical well-being. It sets the stage for your habits, perspective, and behaviours, all of which greatly contribute to your drive and outlook. You can celebrate every victory knowing you’re overcoming something you may have seen as an impossible feat before.

How can I heal PTSD?

PTSD Affects More People Than We Realise.

If you recognise that you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have you ever wondered how to heal PTSD? Did you know, that statistically, 7 out of 10 people have suffered severe trauma in their lives?

But more importantly, how does trauma impact our lives? Are there reasons behind sad patterns and stilted growth?

Trauma can make you more vulnerable to developing mental health problems at worst, and at best it will cause you to stop taking risks and seek safety instead. It can also directly cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To overcome PTSD, some people misuse alcohol, drugs, or self-harm to cope with difficult memories and emotions. Some seek professional help. Depending on how you’re affected, trauma may cause difficulties in your daily life and stunt your growth. Often, trauma will have us recede.

After personally being raised in an abuse cycle and experiencing far too many traumatic events, I came to realise how strong the neural pathways become. I felt less in so many ways and hid for most of my life. This caused me to feel alone.

From the age of 7 years old, I invested most of my after-school hours in the library in the psychology section. I wanted to answer a burning question, “how can I be normal?” This question evolved to become “how can I heal PTSD?” This led me on a mission to find out how to reduce and remove trauma altogether in my own life. I know firsthand, how trauma stunts growth, as we the traumatised, move into protective, safe environments to shield our fearful thought patterns. Often forecasting our own worst futures, we attract our fears into our lives.

I discovered a solution.

In 2004, after 33 years of searching, I found the solutions I was looking for and began testing and trialing psychological processes – some of which I designed myself. It wasn’t just one solution or one pill. It was a process.

By 2006 – I was working in a clinic and was able to remove depression, anxiety, and PTSD among other recessive states. My theories turned to practice and success finally arrived. For my clients, it seemed like a miracle was born. However, I believe miracles come from effective strategies that arrive only after considerable research and understanding.

Today, we continue to help individuals with what I call Brain Untraining and since 2006, I’ve been teaching our processes to life coaches, therapists, and psychologists, as well as helping many traumatised clients to resolve the source of their issues.

Our process is a blend of 54 years of research.

Our process is more akin to brain untraining than merely adding to their awareness as most traditional therapies do.

The phases of our work follow our unique formula:

We liken it to a hybrid version, a mix of counseling, psychology, and Brain Untraining process.

If you’re curious, here is our process.

The counseling phase.

1. Learning the client’s full story (so we understand the full scope of trauma and formed identity).

2. Allowing the client to vent and release (we all need to vent every now and again).

The psychology phase.

3. Understand all the participants and their intentions (this turns emotions logical).

4. Greater learning from what happened and how this grows you (this adds to understanding).

5. Forgiveness (without condoning behavior. No one moves on without this step).

The brain untraining phase.

6. Reframing the events to see their most positive intention and how these link to your purpose.

7. Brain Untraining the client’s neural pathways and clearing them of traumatic conditioning (this is the magic).

8. Future Pacing. Designing an evolved and positive future that delivers a level of excitement and meets their values.

What you can do today to make a difference?

Trauma and a stilted life or a life of fear are not permanent. There are proven methods to get beyond anything that holds you back.

If you would like to enjoy a confidential chat with me you can access my diary here.

Alternatively, if you want to learn how to untrain your brain (and help others too), you can do that here.

Four Vital Questions that Every Life Coach Must Ask

Four Vital Questions that Every Life Coach Must Ask

Are you wondering why your coaching hasn’t taken off?

It’s okay, I too was confused. At first.

When I started my coaching biz. I was asking myself over and over the wrong question.

“Why isn’t my coaching business taking off?”

Sure, I had some clients, but not many.

Then I realised, “Hey! I’m a coach! Ask a better question!”

And so, I did. What was my question? That’s a great question!

Well, in truth it wasn’t one question. It was 4 questions actually.

This question is actually, four vital questions that every life coach must ask.

If you’re a coach and you want to grow your business big time, here are the four vital questions that every life coach must ask. If you don’t answer these questions and create a marketing structure based on your answers? Then your coaching business is going to feel like you’re collecting aluminium cans from rubbish bins.

Here are the four vital questions that every Life Coach must ask or flounder or worse, fail.

1: WHAT is the biggest problem you solve?

2: WHO needs that problem solved most or WHO will pay the most to solve that problem?

3: WHY do YOU want to help them? And

4: HOW do you help them?

Here’s what led me to answer those questions.

When I was learning NLP, I realised how many dumb beliefs I had that were limiting my income.

As I was nearing the end of my NLP training, I had a HUGE epiphany that multiplied my annual income over four times! This epiphany led me to earn more than the then Prime Minister John Howard! But you’re not here about my epiphany. That’s for another time. So, let’s get back to my answers to those four vital questions that every life coach must ask.

Here are my answers to the four vital questions that every Life Coach must ask…

Then I got a coach, and after our first session together. I got clear. That’s when I answered those four questions, and this is what it looked like:

  1. WHAT is the biggest problem you solve?
  2. ANS: Money worry.
  1. WHO needs that problem solved most or WHO will pay the most to solve that problem?
  2. ANS: People who want to make more money. Why? Because they’re unsatisfied about what they’re earning now. At some level, they know they could do better.
  1. WHY do YOU want to help them?
  2. ANS: Because I once knew that that felt like. How much it hurt me, almost physically when I worried that I wasn’t even going to survive. Somehow in my brain, I thought I was going to die – or at best, become homeless, destitute.
  1. HOW do YOU help them?
  2. ANS: With our Life Coach + NLP Practitioner program.

Candidly, I didn’t answer these questions all too quickly. It took me one coaching session with my amazing coach and one whole day to answer those four vital questions that every life coach must ask.

I got coached that Friday and I had the weekend off. So I decided that that Saturday, I would sit down and commit to answering those four questions.

Hell! I was committed.

After all, I had invested so much time and money to be a coach only to fail. No way!

I’d already quit my job and had no other income. It was boom or bust for me.

What happened next?

The upshot? I didn’t waste my entire weekend going around in circles.

I realised that all that was needed from me to STAMP! my foot on the ground and make a full-hearted decision. A declaration to the Universe that I was IN! I was committed to helping evolve my peeps.

I was committed to helping me, help the Universe.

So, I said to the Universe, out loud and in my head…

“I’m doing this, and I need your full, financial support. I’ll build the program and do the marketing, and you find the people that need me most. Speak to their souls, not their human (because I know how scared the human can be. And how courageous the spirit is).

Speak to their souls so that they get that I will look after them. I’ve got their back. I will help them to evolve and help them to make more money. How?

I will teach them how to remove their fear of money. I’ll educate them. I’ll coach them. Hec! I’ll even do some of the work for them if I have to!

Send them to me and I’ll do rest.”

Things can change just like magic when you make a full-hearted decision

Like magic, my coaching world changed overnight. I got my first positive sign that something had shifted as people enrolled in my coaching.

Then large numbers of people came to my premium program, my “Life Coach + NLP Practitioner” training.

Fast forward to today…I’ve now made millions of dollars and I don’t know if I have helped millions of people – but I’ve certainly trained thousands of people who have helped thousands more.

All of this happened after asking four of the most powerful questions that you can ask yourself as a coach, trainer or change agent.

The question is – when will you ask and answer those questions?

And if you already have – welcome to the world’s leaders.

I welcome you as a change agent, whose job it is to wake people up.

Because my friends – the majority of the world’s population are in one huge, big, out-of-control (through control) trance. They’re adults, still running off programs that came from their parents and their childhood.

Finally, if you know you’re here for a bigger reason and need some guidance or help?

Let me reward you for reading this far…

Let me reward you for reading right until the end.

I have now been a successful commercial coach for 20 years with over 38,000 hours of transformational work under my belt. No-one stays in business for 20 years without knowing a trick or two.

So here is my offer to you…

I give you one hour to help get you clearer and get you on track. You can get more information and access me and my diary here.

To your success!

Rik SchnabelThe Brain Untrainer

The Intent of Mediation is an Agreeable Resolution

The Intent of Mediation is an Agreeable Resolution

8 Rules For A Successful Mediation

There is nothing more certain in life than at some stages of our journey will see conflict arise. Conflict however, is similar to our nervous system and a signal of pain. Conflict simply tells us that there is a problem that requires attention. Though how do we navigate our way through that pain when there are others involved. The answer is mediation. Though effective mediation requires some rules that all parties must agree to in order to come to a point of acceptance and ideally, agreement.

Why ‘Pride’ Has No Place in Mediation

Though, before we provide those rules, let us first give you some understanding of human psychology. Human beings like to appear as intelligent and logical. Why? Because it keeps us within a social hierarchy; a pecking order; our place in the tribe. We don’t like to fall down that social hierarchy, so we engage pride. Pride is an ever-vigilant protector of our social standing and intelligence; a kitten, appearing like a tiger. Though pride is cancer to agreement and it is one trait that must be left outside of the door in mediation. Keeping an open mind; an open heart and a desire for resolution is more desirable to pride. Though this takes conscious effort on your part. After-all, you do want to resolve this issue don’t you?

We Are Emotional Beings Pretending To Be Intelligent People

We humans like to think of ourselves as intelligent, though the first time we fall in love highlights how foolish we can be when our emotions take hold. Don’t get us wrong, love isn’t bad. It’s just not logical because it’s an emotion. Now think to a phobia you might have. A fear of spiders, snakes, deep water or even phobophobia; a fear of fear itself. Phobias don’t make intelligent sense, because they’re not logical. They are emotional or correctly, an irrational feeling or a tightly wound neurological connection that is difficult to unravel – without therapy. So please understand that prior to mediation, your feelings may have been hurt. You may have become upset or emotionally triggered by something that someone said or did.

Finally, Be At Cause Not At Effect

A key understanding that helps us to progress and move on with our lives is being ‘at cause.’ While being at cause in ones’ life means that the world does things for you. Versus being ‘at effect’ suggests that the world is against you. Another way to look at this is do you get results (at cause) or do you have reasons for not getting results (at effect).

While we can’t be responsible for other people or other people’s decisions, we can be totally ‘at cause’ for ourselves. In mediation, it is best to be at cause. Manage your emotions and be patient with yourself and let others speak fully. Though when you speak, remember, mediation isn’t a therapy session, nor is it about venting and having your say – you are not a victim (at effect). The intention is to get to a resolution. So be ‘at cause’ and do not allow yourself to go into a victim mentality and don’t make anyone else out to be the victim either. This takes courage, patience and some wisdom too.

Mediation: 8 Rules for Success

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that can be used in most non-criminal cases, including disputes involving contracts, leases, small businesses, employment, child custody, and divorce. In a successful mediation, all interested parties work cooperatively toward a settlement or fair resolution of their dispute, with the help of a neutral mediator who facilitates the process. So what are the keys to keeping your mediation on the path toward a fair and agreeable resolution? Here are ten rules to follow. 

Rule 1: The Decision Makers Must Participate.

Who is a decision maker? This seems like an easy question. When a party in a lawsuit is an individual person, then that person is the decision maker. But when a party is a business or other entity, the answer is less clear. When it comes to businesses and other entities involved in a mediation, the person who needs to participate is someone who has the power to accept any offer of resolution made by the other party.

In a family dispute, it is important that all people who enable the dispute to end, all participate.

Participating in a mediation means being personally involved in all of the events that occur during any mediation session, getting the opportunity to gain a realistic understanding of the dispute, and having the chance to voice opinions and concerns. The best form of participation is physical presence, but participating in a mediation by videoconference (Zoom) or speakerphone may be appropriate when physical presence isn’t possible. Who should also be invited to the mediation – but be mindful, this is not stacking the numbers against the other party or parties?

Rule 2: The Important Documents Must Be Physically Present.

Mediation involves working through the differences of opinion about a dispute, and documents can be invaluable in achieving that goal. For example, in a dispute between a homeowners association and a condominium owner, it is important to have the covenants, conditions, and restrictions physically present at a mediation session. And in a dispute between an insurance company and a policy holder, it’s important to have the policies present. In a family dispute, you may require any Wills or Agreements to be present. Are there any documents that should be present?

Rule 3: Be Right, but Only to a Point. This is not about winning, but resolving.

In every dispute, every party typically believes their position is the right one. In a mediation, the question “Who is right?”— that is, who is likely to ultimately prevail if a resolution isn’t reached and mediation is followed by a lawsuit—is important because realistically predicting the chances for ultimate success defines which of the options for resolution are realistic. However, parties in a mediation should not focus exclusively on demonstrating that they are right (or more right than the other side) because this tactic rarely does much to bring about resolution. Remember, the intention is for a resolution, not to win a battle.

Rule 4: Build a Deal Before You Come or Create One.

In a fight, the goal is to win. But fighting involves pursuing your own demands without regard for the effect on your opponent. And fighting requires a significant expenditure of effort in resisting your opponent’s moves.

In mediation, the goal is resolution. Achieving resolution requires a significant expenditure of effort toward finding options that will satisfy both parties. Finding options that satisfy both parties is much like building a deal in a commercial context. It must work for both parties or else there is no deal. So in mediation you should be concerned not just with your own interests, but also with the interests of your opponent. Think about a solution that would resolve the issue for all parties – before you attend mediation.

Rule 5: Treat the Other Party with Respect.

Consent (agreement) is essential to any deal that is made in mediation. A party who has been insulted is not usually inclined to give consent. And a party who is feeling disrespected tends to be distracted by this to the exclusion of all else, which is counterproductive to the mediation process. This is not a matter of “making nice.” It is a matter of avoiding mindless or gratuitous disrespect. Think sometimes with your heart and not your head.

Rule 6: Be a Problem Solver for Interests.

In achieving resolution, the task is to reconcile interests. Options must be identified or created, and those options must allow both parties to achieve enough of their interests that the options are better than no deal at all.

Reconciling interests requires problem solving, and problem solving requires creativity and an open mind. A good technique for generating this type of open thought is brainstorming, which is a process in which parties identify every idea they can think of to reconcile the interests. No idea is rejected or criticised, and ideas can build on one another. The better ideas usually come late in the process, after people believe they have run out of ideas. Once a number of options are identified, then the parties can evaluate them and select those that result in the maximum benefits for each party.

Rule 7: Work Past Anger – 12 Second Cooling Off.

At some point in the mediation process, the parties begin to understand that perhaps they are not “most right” about the substance of the dispute, or that they will need to take less (or give more) in order to make a mutually acceptable deal. When this happens, the parties often start to get frustrated, and then angry. Many parties believe that their own anger is a sign that things are not going well and that they should stop the mediation. This is incorrect. A deal can still be achieved if the parties can consent to a resolution that satisfies their interests better than having no deal. Developing such an option is work that can continue even if—and in part because—the parties understand that they will not get everything they initially demanded. Should tempers flare up, the mediator will ask you to take a 12 second break and instruct you to breath two six-second breaths – one in and one out. There is actual science behind this. This breathing pattern balances out your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.

Rule 8: Be Patient with One Another.

Mediation involves change. Parties in a dispute typically believe they are right (and most right) about the dispute. Each side may or may not understand their own interests and those of the other party, and each may have unrealistic expectations. Each party may be unwilling to treat the other with any degree of respect. It takes time to address these issues, and it takes time for people to change their minds. It is important for parties in mediation to allow time for these changes to occur. Of these eight rules for a successful mediation, this one is the most important.

R!k Schnabel is not only Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer and teaches company executives how to be confident communicators. He is a Master NLP and Life Coach trainer, Coach and an international, multi-best-selling author with Life Beyond Limits. – he will help you to resolve your issues and mediate a successful resolution.

Be an Influential Confident Communicator in 7 Simple Steps

Be an Influential Confident Communicator in 7 Simple Steps

Brown haired woman talking to her interviewers in bright office – Confident Communicator

Are you a confident communicator? Did you know that the moment a stranger notices you, they decide who you are? Their brain makes 11 major decisions and a multitude of computations. Are you safe? Can you be someone to trust or avoid? Do you have status or authority? Could you be a potential intimate partner? Are you competent? Will you be friend or foe? Do you come across as selling, compelling or repelling? As a confident communicator, these are things you must know or be relegated down the social order.

Your listeners’ unconscious computations decide who you are at lightening speed. Researchers from New York University Graduate School of Business found a startling fact. They discovered that we make eleven major conclusions in seven seconds.

We make 11 major decisions about a person in 7 seconds

First impressions can attract or repel. Get it wrong and you’ll soon discover the cost. You cannot stop people from making instant decisions about you. Though you can help them to see you in a favourable way. A confident communicator knows that one of the greater influencers are our non-verbal cues. Studies have found that non-verbal cues are over four times more powerful. More influential than anything you say.

7 Keys to be an Influential Confident Communicator

1. Adjust your attitude. We seek out attitude in milliseconds. Before you go anywhere or do anything, adjust your attitude. Before you enter a meeting or do a presentation or catch up with a friend or client. Make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to completely embody. Say to yourself, “Right now, I’m deciding to be problem solver.” Then completely embody who you think a great problem solver is. We often think in archetypes and identities, so shift yours to be the best you can be and be that confident communicator.

2. Smile. This one decision sends a cacophony of signals to whoever you approach. While it’s a no-brainer, so often we forget to do this one simple thing. A smile is an invitation that says, “I’m friendly, helpful and come in peace.”

Can Eye-Contact Make All The Difference?

3. Make eye contact. If we look into the eyes of the person we’re about to meet sends a signal that says, “I’ve got nothing to hide”. Looking at someone’s eyes indicates interest and openness.

4. Raise your eyebrows. This is a universal sign of recognition and acknowledgement. You’ll see this as a typical behaviour among friends when they first spot each other from afar. You can do this by opening your eyes a little more than normal and you’ll create an “eyebrow wave.”

5. Straighten your posture. Nothing says confident communicator more than posture. It’s the non-verbal boost to trust. Lift your sternum (breast bone) a few centimeters. Not only will you look more confident, you will also feel more confident. Standing tall, pulling your shoulders back a little and holding your head straight is key. It sends a raft of signals including confidence and competence.

6. Shake hands. Did you know that in the context of rapport, a single handshake is equal to three hours of interaction?

7. Lean in. Uniquely and powerfully, leaning forward shows that you’re engaged and interested. Most people like us to be about one to two feet away. Yet those who are more kinesthetic prefer us to be little closer and in business, I would suggest a two foot rule. Regardless, leaning forward shows that you’re engaged and interested.

Finally, the quality of our relationships are the difference that makes the difference. Being a confident communicator helps others to feel more comfortable in your presence, creates long lasting relationships. Ignoring these skills means you risk eliciting fear or a lack of trust in others. Worse, it can send a signal that says something’s not right here.

The 11 Major Decisions Keys

Not surprisingly, 7 Seconds is all it takes to decide to buy from someone or run for the hills. Our human need for safety will have us judge at every opportunity. Here are the 11 decisions we make in 7 seconds.

1. Education level
2. Economic level
3. Perceived credibility and believability
4. Trustworthiness
5. Level of sophistication
6. Sexual identification
7. Level of success
8. Political background
9. Religious background
10. Ethnic background
11. Social and professional desirability

R!k Schnabel is Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer and teaches company executives how to be a confident communicator. He is a Master NLP and Life Coach trainer, Coach and an international, multi-best-selling author with Life Beyond Limits.

Why few dreams come true and how you can beat the odds

Why few dreams come true and how you can beat the odds


Dreams come true by R!k Schnabel – July 7, 2022

Dreams come true


Make your dreams come true.

How do we realise our dreams and make our dreams come true? As children growing up, we all got ideas in our heads about who we wished to become or what we desired to achieve.

While some of us dreamt of owning fast cars, yachts or other aspirational status symbols. The rest had simpler dreams. A happy marriage or to pay off our mortgage before retirement.

Though recent statistics tell us that many of us fall well short to make dreams come true.

Regardless of how grand or simple our dreams were, our life is the net sum total of our self-esteem. Better said, “Our lives are the sum total of our unconsious programming.” A fact you are soon to discover.

As we get older we, most of us experience our first heart break. As our dreams go up in flames on receiving our first reality check. The job we didn’t get. The income we never achieved. The house we will never buy all become the aged photos that peal off our vision boards.

I once thought that the majority of people achieve their dreams. Afterall, as a Brain Untrainer, the large majority of my clients get what they want – but I was wrong.

I had to do more research. I found a disturbing study by Wealth Research Group. The reason why most people don’t make dreams come true. The study found that 98 percent of people die without fulfilling their dreams.

After my horror. I decided to do more research to find some answers only to discover I was wrong again.

I knew the reason that most people don’t make dreams come true comes down to mindset. It is due to their unconscious programs that govern 90% of their behaviours. But according to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, that figure is now 95%!

While this is a horrifying fact, it makes simple your solution.

If you want make dreams come true, stop focusing only on strategies and heavy grunt work. Instead, get busy on changing your unconscious programming.

If you want to make your dreams come true, you need to get busy on changing your unconscious programming. Stop working hard and work smart. While strategies and work are always a key part to make your dreams come true, they’re not the full picture. A 98% failure rate is quite a reality check.

People often ask me, “Why is everyone getting a coach these days?” These in your face facts reveal the answer. 98 percent of people don’t achieve their dreams. 95 percent of our behaviours are unconscious. In other words, we do not make dreams come true consciously.

Dreams come true through altering our beliefs that stand in their way. Limiting fears and negative emotions are cancer to our dreams. These staggering statistics tell us why football teams need coaches. Why smart high level executives demand coaches as part of their packages. They know that they are going to need a coach to get beyond their conscious mind to achieve their goals.

Afterall, if you haven’t yet achieved a goal, the numbers suggest you won’t. But more importantly, your mindset says you won’t. Unless you get out of your mind and into some unconscious coaching or brain untraining.

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R!k Schnabel, is Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer with Life Beyond Limits is a transformational training and coaching company. Located on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales Australia.

We believe that everyone deserves a life beyond limits.”

Be Crazy to a be Success in Business

Be Crazy to a be Success in Business

By R!k Schnabel

To be a success in business is to do the abnormal or trying to be found is akin to a needle in haystack. When people think you are a weirdo or plain crazy – celebrate! Because crazy is what you need to be to be a success in business – let me prove it to you.

Back in 2000 I had this crazy idea. Build an online university! Most of my peers said I was crazy, yet their jaws dropped in disbelief when they saw our US$998 million EBIT! That’s success in business in my book.

Crazy is good. Crazy is the kind of thinking that launched companies like Apple, Amazon and Uber.

Aiming to be a success in business, in our careers, in our relationships is natural. We all want success. I do. You do. Your desire to grow is natural. It is normal. But climbing that metaphorical ladder to God knows where is far from normal. Think about it. Normal thought patterns give you normal behaviour. Businesses that succeed are anything but normal. Besides, normal thinking gets you the business or career that you currently have. That’s normal. But it is not growth and it is likely not what you want – right?

Can you remember the last time you started a new business or jumped into a new job? Now cast your mind back and begin to recall the contorted faces of your friends and family. Did they think you were crazy? Nuts? They even thought there was something wrong with you. That is how crazy success is to normal folk. They don’t get it.

Taking your business or career to the next level needs you to act as though you’re mad! And if you don’t believe me, congratulations you’re normal. But success is anything but fitting in.

To be a success in business, you need to learn to become comfortable with discomfort.

Walt Disney used to say that if everyone liked his idea, it wasn’t dangerous enough to succeed. He would change it. Acceptance and normal are not your friends in business. I learned that what we did yesterday, no longer works today. Old ideas are not your friends either. Crazy ideas are what most people will criticise you for, but they get attention. You must learn to become comfortable with discomfort and change.

Steve Jobs said, “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” It was this level of change that made him fiercely unpopular with his Apple board. But it was Jobs’ desire for constant change, his madness is what made Apple who they are today.

The real success in business will at first sound crazy.

Success is crazy and illogical. In 2004, my mentor showed me how to create in a weekend, what most call ‘an annual income!’ The whole idea seemed crazy to me. He gave me a crazy golden formula. I remember, I used to go numb after hearing an idea that was bigger than me. It’s normal to feel fear.

My mentor had proven his system time and time again. His crazy idea worked! To be frank, it scared me senseless. Because I could not see myself in my mentor’s shoes. Though a bolt of lightning that ran through me when I realised my problem wasn’t trying to be normal. My problem was my inability to be crazy.

What I needed was coaching. But not your ordinary run of the mill coaching. I needed a neurological and behaviour specialist. Someone who could gain access to my neural pathways and clean out those thoughts to conform. I needed to change my software. Because who I had to become to get those same results that my mentor shared, wasn’t me. I knew, that until I became that person who followed my mentor’s advice… The success I wanted would elude me. The proof was in the pudding, the pudding was my brain. Success had eluded me for most of life already.

I got that coach. I changed how I thought and the price I paid came back to me a thousand-fold. Today, I value anyone who can untrain a brain to think like a winner – and win.

Do you want success, real success? Then stop aiming to be your normal self. Stop showing up as you and start showing up as the successful future you. But don’t think that you can get there on your own – because you won’t.

You’ll need a coach that challenges your current, normal thinking. I promise you, success starts when you start to realise where it begins – in your thinking.

—————– END ——————-

R!k Schnabel, is Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer with Life Beyond Limits is a transformational training company. Located on the Sapphire Coast of New South Wales Australia, the company enjoys a global audience.

Is Overconfidence Good or Bad?

Is Overconfidence Good or Bad?

By Akiko Kawakami – December 11, 2019

Overconfidence is the tendency for people holding incorrect, overly optimistic views and failing to comprehend the limits of their own actual knowledge and abilities.  Research suggests distinguishing three different types of overconfidence: Overprecision, overestimation and overplacement.

3 categories of overconfidence and negative consequences

Overprecision is a type of behaviour where believing that one’s own judgments, predictions and decisions are more accurate than the reality without question or justification. One of the underlying causes of overprecision is human nature trying to resolve internal dissonance in a stressful situation. We could make low quality decisions or serious mistakes in getting things done because overprecision discourages us from listening to others, taking advice, or accepting different ideas and suggestions. Because of overprecision, you could implement the wrong strategies and never get things done.

Overestimation refers to a tendency to believe that one can be better/more capable/perform faster than true performance or ability, which is based on an absolute personal evaluation of one’s own performance, not anyone else’s. It is a common tendency as it is a good feeling to believe in yourself! Because of overestimation, we may enhance ourselves too positively instead of accurately, misunderstand the level of control we have therefore estimate the time and cost incorrectly for getting things done. One simple project, such as decluttering your wardrobe may be completed after costing more time and money than the original plan. Sounds familiar? Overestimation could throw us into the deep end if we believe we are capable of handling a risky situation or believe everything is under control when in reality it is not.

Overplacement is called better-than-average effect. As the name suggests, it is the term used when people believe they are better than others, which is an incorrect perception. Recent studies find evidence of underplacement, meaning people view themselves worse-than-average, particularly when you have so many things to do and you are overwhelmed. Both overplacement and underplacement occur due to a disregard of the accurate point of reference or standard to compare with. People who overplace themselves are highly unlikely to take advice from others, more eager to engage with competition and new ventures without consideration of the risks. People who underplace themselves would often miss a significant opportunity while they could have succeeded if only they had the courage to make decisions and take actions. It seems that both overplacement and underplacement are so extreme that we could be emotionally and/or financially damaged either by getting involved with unnecessary competition or missing opportunities to grow.

In sum, the analysis presented so far has made it clear that any type of overconfidence is harmful for optimal decisions to get things done and becomes a hurdle for us to be successful.

Benefits of overconfidence

In contrast, other studies provide evidence that overconfidence can be beneficial for our success. Johnson and Fowler state that “overconfidence can actually be advantageous on average, even if costly at times.” Research suggests that overconfidence is not only useful but essential to succeed in a competitive environment. Robinson and Marino confirm that overconfidence is connected with fast decision making in a dynamic environment thus new initiatives would never start without some level of overconfidence. In this case, overconfidence works as a motivator to achieve chosen outcomes regardless of the individual and the situation. Overplacement provides individuals with higher status and higher grades by colleagues even if the reason for confidence is unjustified. Those who believe they are better than others give an impression to other people that they are competent, capable of engaging with others and possess efficient interaction skills, all of which display leadership ability of an overconfident individual. Kennedy et al. conclude that benefits from overplacement are more significant than any possible costs. The analysis by Galasso and Simco indicates that CEOs with overprecision judge the failure probability lower than the actual. They are more innovative, particularly in competitive industries, and they are keen to bring new technology into organisations, that results in organisational success. Therefore positive impacts of overconfident CEOs may balance out the negative effects.

Is being overconfident the way to make fast decisions and get things done? Given both positive and negative outcomes, we now know that any type of overconfidence can be a two-edged sword.

How to overcome negative effects

Although overconfidence can be advantageous, sometimes we’d better assess our own beliefs and reality. When is the time for the reality check? Prior studies show that overconfidence can amplify results for the situation where one can influence outcomes. In that case, assessing our own beliefs and reality is recommended when it is impossible to control events. Helzer and Dunning suggest taking the third-person perspective and questioning the expected outcomes to be achieved by others will solve the negative effects of all types of overconfidence. It fills the gap between predicted and actual behaviour. Considering a possibility that we might be wrong and the reason why we could be wrong can help in adjusting our own judgment about confidence. Since over/underplacement occurs due to the lack of comparison or point of reference, having full information of the situation is helpful to avoid the negative effects of this bias. People with overprecision and overplacement are highly unlikely to take advice or suggestions from others. Establishing the systems to force us to consider perspectives of others or hypotheses can make us aware of the differences between our own beliefs and reality and assist us in avoiding the negative effects of overprecision and overplacement. For example, provide an explanation of our decision processes to the family and friends. We can establish our own systems which give us no option but to consider alternatives to defeat negative effects in making decisions to get things done.

Any challenge to get things done? Get coached by Akiko or attend Life Beyond Limits live/online training programs!

Beach or Bust – How To Create The Life Of Your Dreams

If you are not living the life of your dreams, then let me share how you can do that…

Today I’m sitting on another beach in Tugan, Queensland. I am literally living the life of my dreams right now. It’s a delightful 21 degrees. The sun is shining and the day is filled with the promise. I can do whatever I want.

How did I get here? How did I get off that endlessly spinning hamster wheel to create a life of freedom?

18 years ago, I was working in a busy office and had no idea how to create the life of my choosing. I’d been working for too long with the same old belief, that this is what people did. With crusty eyes, thinning hair and a look of bewilderment, I would wake-up at 6:30 am, stumble into the shower. Then after breakfast I brushed my teeth and hurriedly jumped into my car and into the bumper to bumper city traffic. Leaving home, just 5 minutes meant another 10 to 15 minutes stuck in traffic. This was not living the life of your dreams.

I was told it’s a part of the human race, but I was coming last.

Arriving in the office an hour and a half before I needed to was the norm. It was expected. Leaving work at 7 pm or sometimes 9pm was typical. Finally, at home around 10 pm in the evenings, I was too tired to do anything but have dinner and go to bed. On weekends, the highlight was a breakfast out somewhere and perhaps a zombie stroll through the Botanical Gardens. I was tired all the time yet, I had to appear like I was at least partially interested in what I was doing – but really, I just wasn’t. Life at the time, felt like I was dragging myself across a cheese grater. I used to think, “Is this what living is supposed to look like? Surely, there must be more to life?” I was a part of the human race and sadly, I was coming last. This was not living the life of your dreams.

The thoughts in my head weren’t pretty, but thankfully, no-one but me knew it. I had to start asking myself better questions, but I just wasn’t. It was actually my wife Rebecca who did.

It was a Saturday and I was laying on the couch waiting for my family to get themselves ready to go out for breakfast, thinking, “Another weekend and all I want to do is nothing but rest.” When my wife said, “You know how we love going to warm places near beaches on our holidays?” At which I agreed in a drone. She continued, “What if we started living that resort lifestyle now, instead of just on holidays?” To which I dejectedly replied, “How?”

Sometimes, when your energy is low, the last thing you want to do, is work out some complex or near impossible solution to an unfathomable outcome. I think you get where I was at. On reading my response, Rebecca began reciting some of our friends and even two of my mentors who had created freedom in their lives. She then set the challenge. She said, “You’re just as smart as they are, why don’t you just ask them how they did it?” Not a bad strategy, I thought. So I did and here is their advice, which I followed. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I decided that I’d had enough and from now on, it was going to be “Beach or Bust!” Let me share how I did that in 7 simple steps. Not easy steps, but simple to do. I did want to create the life of my dreams.

Here is how I created the life of my dreams.

STEP #1: Work out how much money you need to survive, not thrive.

Tony Frederick wasn’t just my best friend, he was also a clever man and mentor with a ‘can do’ attitude. I shared our idea with Tony and he said, “The first thing that you need to do is do the numbers. Work out how much money you need each month to survive, not thrive. Get rid of all of those needless expenses that are not needs, but wants. You know, the extravagances that are nice to have, but not necessary. Reduce your overheads so that financially, the transition is simple.” It was great advice and in the first month, I was shocked at how much more money we had in the bank. Tony said, “Build a financial buffer that might equate to about half a year of your normal income.”

STEP #2: Start researching a mobile business and study that business or get the skills you need.

These days, there are so many ways to make money, without having to go into an office or be located in the one spot. These days, you can search Google for “mobile business ideas” and you’ll get 800 million results. Now, I had completed my life coach training and I could coach anyone from anywhere to improve their life, all on Skype! That was truly a mobile business. (In fact, today from the beach, I’ll be coaching a client in China.) This is living the life of your dreams.

STEP #3: Start your mobile business now and keep your full-time job.

This was sensible advice. Tony suggested that I continue my job AND build my mobile business in the evenings and on the weekends. Sure, I was going to be one busy guy, but the mission after all, was “Beach or Bust.” Tony insisted that if it was a true mobile business, I would be able to create it from anywhere at any time. Life Coaching was perfect, because most of my clients wanted to work with me out of working hours.

STEP #4: Prove your product and master the marketing.

Starting a business is one thing and building your skill is another, and mastering getting clients or customers is something altogether unique as a set of skills. Now I was already a good marketer, however most of my skill was offline, not online. So I started some extra study to master the online game. (As a trainer of Life Coaches, I also built an online program to show coaches how to get clients and build a business with my Business of Life Coaching program). In just four steps, I was almost ready to launch my laptop lifestyle. But Tony suggested one more step.

STEP #5: Make a third of your current income in your new business and bank it as a business buffer.

In just 3 months, I had money coming from everywhere! I had my regular income and my business income coming in. I did what Tony suggested and I banked the money and built a buffer. After 6 months of starting my new venture, I was ready to quit my job. I remember it was March 2004. It was the first day of my life where I felt truly free. No bosses. No bureaucracy. No reports and I could design my business and my life, however I wanted.

It’s now October 2019 and I’m heading into my seventeenth year of freedom and you can too – if you want it? You just have to follow these five steps.

R!k Schnabel is Australia’s #1 Brain Untrainer – if you want to achieve anything in your life that you haven’t been able to on your own – have a complimentary chat with R!k to see how he can help you.