Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mindfulness: When Focus Means Single-Tasking

#Mindfulness is about learning to re-invent......
#Mindfulness is about learning to re-invent... [@dailyshoot #ds672] (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)
by Daniel Goleman, LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131006135154-117825785-mindfulness-when-focus-means-single-tasking

Alexander Graham Bell, noting how the sun’s rays ignite paper only when focused in one place, advised, “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand." 

Yet ordinarily our attention wanders, a sitting duck for whatever distraction comes our way - especially when our email inbox alone offers constant distractions that seem urgent, but are just not that important.
 

Then there’s multitasking, which really means switching from one narrow focus to another - the mind cannot hold more than one at a time in what’s called “working memory.” So interrupting one task with another can mean taking many minutes to get your original focus back to speed.
 

The opposite of multitasking is single-tasking, the ability to bring our focus to bear fully on just what we are doing

It comes to us naturally in those do-or-die times when a deadline forces us to focus fully. But how can we have that full concentration during the rest of our work life - or our life in general?
 

Mindfulness is one answer. When we are mindful we bring an even, full attention to whatever is at hand. It gives us the power to move our concentration from place to place as we move through our day - finishing a report, relishing a meal, loving a child.
 

Mindfulness gives us the capacity to notice when the sea of distractions we swim though in any given day has pulled us in: here I am again, scanning my inbox, instead of finishing what I want to be doing. Mindfulness strengthens our meta-awareness, the ability to track where our attention goes.
 

When we find ourselves stuck in our inbox instead of that other important task, we can have a second thought - I don’t need to do this now - and move our attention back to what we need to be doing. A mindful awareness offers the antidote to mindless multi-tasking. We can single-task.
 

An increasing number of companies, from Google to General Mills, are offering their employees training in mindfulness

And Jon Kabat-Zinn, an old friend and pioneer in introducing mindfulness in all its pragmatic applications, has just updated his classic book, Full Catastrophe Living, including a review of the new, powerful research on the benefits of mindfulness.
 

For the Google program, now offered by the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, Stanford researchers found increases in self-awareness and empathy, better self-management of upsetting emotions, and better listening.
 

That sounds like an upgrade in emotional intelligence to me.

Daniel Goleman’s upcoming book FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence and CD Cultivating Focus: Techniques for Excellence are now available for pre-order (publication date is October 8).
 

His more recent books are The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights and Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence – Selected Writings (More Than Sound).
 

Leadership: A Master Class is Goleman’s comprehensive video series that examines the best practices of top-performing executives.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Want to Be Fearless? Find Your Inner Super-Kid

A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving
A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving (Wikipedia)
by Janet Wolfe

Think back to your childhood.

Did you hear a lot of "get down off of there"? Did you come home with a lot of skinned knees?

Whatever you did, though, it was probably fun. You probably tried all sorts of new things, and it never occurred to you to be afraid.

What happened to those fearless kids who wandered down scary looking alleys, climbed to the roof, or battled monsters with make-believe swords? We started listening to what people told us to do.

We started believing that brave was really reckless, that our dreams would never happen, and we learned not to try.

Surprise! The spunky side of your "inner child" is still in there. If you want to take charge of your days, and your thinking, you don't need childlike innocence. You need spunk. That adventurous, plucky side of your nature is still inside of you, ready to climb mountains, and conquer your worries. You just have to let it out.

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think" - Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne).

You may have read this to your children, and hoped they took it to heart. But since the quote shows up now on gift shop plaques, it probably means that a lot of us women shoppers could use a reminder.

Consider how you might change each day if you really saw yourself as braver, stronger, and smarter that you have let yourself believe. What worlds could you conquer with the combination of childhood enthusiasm and grown up smarts?

Girls still want to have fun. Need to restart your positive attitude? Go have some fun. Find like minded friends and get out there. Do kid-like things. Roller skate, fall down, get up, and laugh at yourself. Throw a ball, swing in the park. Dance until dawn.

Cherish those things about your childhood self that made you who you are today. J. K. Rowlings has said that her character Hermione Granger is at least partly based on herself as a child. If she had not honored and written about that part of her life, the Harry Potter books might never have come to be.

What did you like about yourself? Were you the smart kid, the class clown? Be thankful for your strengths, your joys, your struggles, and the challenges you overcame.

Slough off negatives that have stuck to you over the years. Growing up isn't easy. As we grow circumstances and people's opinions attach to us, so our inner selves becomes harder to see. Well, you can shake off those negative influences, like a bunch of sticky notes someone stuck to you, and reacquaint yourself with who you are underneath.

At times life really can be dangerous, and part of being human means learning how to overcome whatever life sends us. As children we already knew this, but we weren't afraid. We just made our tin-foil swords and set out to face the world. The good news is, we still can.

Is there a childhood memory, or a character that inspires you? Tell us your story, or share this with a friend.

For more tips and great information on how to relieve anxiety, check out ClearYourStress.com. You'll also find many guided exercises and meditation methods to ClearYourStress.com, connect with your inner wisdom, and enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Visit ClearYourStress.com now to get started.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janet_Wolfe
http://EzineArticles.com/?Want-to-Be-Fearless?-Find-Your-Inner-Super-Kid&id=8048609

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Gain Confidence in Yourself

confidence
Confidence (Photo credit: glsims99)
by Jonathan Bello

Basic tips to help you be confident and move up in your life

Being confident is tricky, but at the same time it is very easy to feel good about yourself.

To lead a better lifestyle, you must learn to be confident and display your positive side to the world.

There are three basic areas to focus on to get your confidence back on track: appearing, thinking and practicing confidently.

Confident Appearance

  • Posture: Your posture communicates a lot about you, so make sure it reflects your confidence. For a confident posture, always keep your spine straight, chin high and shoulders back.
  • Smile: A small smile can resolve many social difficulties, so always have a smile on your face. Bear in mind that a fake smile is easily recognizable, and make yours genuine.
  • Eye contact: Eye contact is the main component that adds confidence to a communication. It makes the other person feel involved and increases his or her respect for you.
  • Looks: In order to look confident, dress in clothes you feel comfortable in, and get used to looking good.
  • Over-apology: Saying sorry is good manners, but doing it excessively can make you seem less confident, so avoid apologizing unnecessarily.
  • Accept compliments gracefully: Whenever you receive a compliment, gracefully thank the person who gave it, instead of shaking your head or rolling your eyes.

Thinking Confidently

  • Talent Recognition: Focusing on the things that you excel at will divert you from your flaws and help you to be confident.
  • Manage Obstacles: Take note of all the obstacles preventing you from being confident and tackle them one by one.
  • You are not alone: Remember that no one is born perfect: you are not alone in struggling with your confidence.
  • Take it as a process rather than a singular accomplishment: Confidence isn't like a degree that you have to achieve only once; rather, it is a process of continuous improvement.

Practicing Confidence

  • Improvise on your interests: Focus on what you are interested in and groom your skills in that. This will enhance your confidence level and make you feel better.
  • Converse with strangers: Try communicating with people you don't know to be confident and better able to speak in public.
  • Hold your stare: To practice eye contact, start making it with strangers and see who maintains it longer. You will notice that others are also shy of holding eye contact for a long time.
  • Help others: Helping others will cheer them up, making you feel better and more confident.
  • Expect success: If you begin a task expecting to fail, you will never be able to put in your best. Always expect the best to work confidently.
  • Take risks: Taking risks is the only way to succeed; new experiences will make you learn; and knowledge will help you to be confident.

These are the basic tips to follow to gain confidence in yourself.

Article originally written by Jonathan Bello who runs http://www.amazinglifetools.com where he is dedicated to creating a blog about personal growth and self improvement.

Join Jonathan, as he provides an enormous amount of amazing life tools as the 13 life virtues by Benjamin Franklin. To learn more about Jonathan and his movement go to http://www.amazinglifetools.com/about

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jonathan_Bello
http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Gain-Confidence-in-Yourself&id=8076019

Enhanced by Zemanta

It's Not Even Debatable, Saturated Fat is Bad For You

Four Cheese Pizza at Grand Grill and Pizzeria
Four Cheese Pizza (Aaron Landry)
by David Richmond Sullivan

Earlier this week, the BMJ published an article claiming advice that saturated fat intake should be minimised to reduce heart disease is flawed.

While this may sound tempting, it’s just not the case.

The author of the BMJ article notes that despite four decades of dietary advice against saturated fats, obesity, which he equates with cardiovascular risk, has been increasing.

In fact, the rates of cardiovascular disease have fallen in countries where efforts have been made to reduce saturated fat intake, but have risen in developing countries where consumption has increased.

Dietary guidelines are based on careful interpretation of sound scientific evidence, that has withstood scrutiny and shouldn’t be so easily discarded. And there are other reasons why obesity and diabetes rates keep going up.

You are what you eat

What we eat is important: most major diseases result from interactions between our genes and the environment, and the food we eat is a leading component of that environment.

A healthy diet involves variety because that ensures enough nutrient diversity and dilution of detrimental components.

And foods with abundant nutrients are preferred over those merely rich in energy (think tuna sandwich versus an iced donut because the former can meet requirements without causing weight gain).

During the last half century, scientific evidence has identified a dietary pattern that increases the risk of heart attack (coronary heart disease). This diet includes a high intake of trans and saturated fats.

Saturated fat is composed of straight chains known as fatty acids. If hydrogen atoms are removed from the chain, it becomes unsaturated. If an unsaturated fat remains straight, it is called “trans”, which are fats found in commercial frying compounds.

Straight chain saturated fats, such copha, and trans fats make foods hard at room temperature (think lard). They also increase blood cholesterol and adversely affect your arteries.

Populations that eat less trans and saturated fats have lower rates of heart attack and other vascular problems, such as stroke. This cause and effect is now beyond reasonable doubt; science shows that high levels of cholesterol cause arterial damage and this, in turn, causes coronary heart disease.

The relationship is not so obvious for individuals within a broader population (most of whom consume relatively similar diets) because genetics have a powerful effect on heart health, obscuring the effects of smaller differences in diet.

These findings have been misinterpreted by the author of the BMJ article and others to indicate saturated fat intake is unimportant.

Replacing fat sensibly

Recent media reports of the demise of low saturated fat intake as a central component of a healthy eating pattern fail to recognise the reason for lower rates of coronary heart disease in trials among people eating Mediterranean-style diets.

These diets are low in saturated fat but high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in olive oil and vegetable seed oils.

Mono- and polyunsaturated fats are different to trans and saturated fats because the removal of hydrogen atoms from the fatty acid chains of these foods introduces one or more kinks, which makes the fats more liquid.

The BMJ article’s author prefers to blame carbohydrates for causing heart disease, but he mainly provides information about the link between carbohydrate and obesity.

The kind and amount of carbohydrate consumed may influence coronary heart disease risk factors, such as weight and blood fats.

Fat and carbohydrate are the two main sources of energy in our diet; consuming a low-fat diet without attention to replacing the fat with healthy alternatives can also affect blood lipids (a broad term for materials that do not dissolve in water) adversely and increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

A diet like this may not be harmful for lean, active people, but for those among us who are sedentary and overweight, an increased intake of sugar and refined carbohydrate may stimulate appetite and insulin release.

This is counterproductive because it promotes obesity and diabetes, both of which increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

Just as unsaturated fats such as the fat in avocados offer a favourable replacement for trans and saturated fat, complex carbohydrate foods are preferable replacements to sugar or highly refined carbohydrates.

This is the basis of most guidelines to healthy eating and for the avoidance of coronary heart disease. While there are many factors involved, it’s noteworthy that deaths from coronary heart disease have fallen steeply in the past 50 years in many Western countries. A constant feature of dietary guidelines throughout this period has been saturated-fat restriction.

Other dietary options

Several other patterns of diet are compatible with low risk of coronary heart disease and other chronic illnesses, but few today would regard them as acceptable.

Palaeolithic “hunter-gatherer” diets and early agricultural and agrarian diets, for instance, are not associated with coronary heart disease.

Nor is the “Eskimo” diet, which was studied because it seemed paradoxical that a diet with one of the highest fat contents in the world could be free of adverse effects on coronary heart disease.

The diet’s benefit was subsequently attributed to its high content of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids and relatively low content of saturated fat.

Widespread reduction in the intake of saturated fats would require the food industry to make considerable adaptations. Some companies have made an effort to do so; but others appear to regard dietary guidelines recommending low saturated fat intake as a threat.

It’s curious that there seems to be a sudden campaign to exonerate saturated fat.

Skyrocketing rates of coronary heart disease in developing countries and the epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes globally has prompted consideration of taxation measures to influence patterns of food consumption.

The BMJ published another article on the same day showing that a 20% tax on palm oil, which is rich in saturated fat, would prevent a quarter to half a million heart attack deaths in the next ten years.

Nevertheless, a junk food tax would probably not provide a nutritional panacea. We need to keep reinforcing the message that saturated and trans fats should be minimised, along with nutrient-poor, energy dense foods such as sugar, refined carbohydrate and alcohol.

David Richmond Sullivan does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Grow

Image representing Jeff Bezos as depicted in C...
Jeff Bezos: Image via CrunchBase
by Tim Kastelle, Innovation Excellence: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/10/26/how-to-grow/

Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

No Risk, No Return
“It’s important that we start experimenting. We’ll do any experiment that can guarantee a 20% return on investment.”
That’s what a senior manager said to my Phd student Paul Newbury. We laughed about it when he told me, but … I actually hear this far too often. Any idiot can say yes to a project with a guaranteed 20% return. That’s not an experiment.

Experiments are things where we don’t know the answer in advance. Jeff Bezos said this about experiments:
“If you only do things where you know the answer in advance, your company goes away.”
And then there’s this from Alan Kay:
How to Grow
“If you don’t fail at least 90% of the time, you’re not aiming high enough”
It’s a topic that for some reason has been following me around for the past week. It illustrates a core innovation problem: if we don’t take a risk, we can’t innovate. If don’t innovate, we don’t grow. But we hate risk, so we avoid them.

Avoiding Small Problems Creates Big Ones

Last week I was talking to Cassandra Kelly and Nigel Lake. They are co-CEOs of Pottinger, and they’re doing absolutely fascinating and important work there.

Cassandra was talking about how consultants often operate - they identify a problem and then they use further engagements to try to eliminate all possible risk for their clients. When she said this, I blurted out “But that’s like trying to raise germ-free kids.”

The problem with raising kids in a germ-free environment is that decreasing their exposure to germs and illness early in life greatly increases their chances of contracting much more serious illnesses as an adult.

Similarly, if you live in a region prone to drought, you need to have regular small fires. If you don’t have lots of small fires, then the fuel load builds up so much that you eventually have a devastating big fire.

When we try to avoid the risk of small problems, perversely, we increase the risk of having bigger ones.

With genuine experiments, we don’t know the answer in advance. That means we risk small losses if the experiment doesn’t work. But if we avoid those small losses, we increase the risk of having the company go away.

We Grow by Messing Up, and Learning

We learn to ride a bike by crashing a lot. We minimise the damage by going slowly, and using training wheels. But you can’t learn to ride a bike without trial and error. We build this new skill by failing, but then learning from it.

Seth Godin says that if we try to avoid risk, we’re putting ourselves in a prison:
“… we’re losing our ability to engage with situations that might not have outcomes shiny enough or risk-free enough to belong in the palace. By insulating ourselves from perceived risk, from people and places that might not like us, appreciate us or guarantee us a smooth ride, we spend our day in a prison we’ve built for ourself. Growth is messy and dangerous. Life is messy and dangerous. When we insist on a guarantee, an ever-increasing standard in everything we measure and a Hollywood ending, we get none of those.”
And Julien Smith says that scars are a sign that you’ve lived and learned:
“A life that has been wasted leaves a body intact and pristine - but a life that has been properly used leaves scars. Scars tell stories. They are what’s left by mistakes we’ve made. They’re what remind us of the places we’ve been and the people we’ve known.”
If we want to grow as people, we have to mess up. That only works if we learn, but that is how we build new skills and attitudes.

If we want our organisations to grow, it’s the same deal. We have to try stuff, do more of the things that work, and learn from the things that don’t work. These are at the core of building your innovation capability.

If the world ran like clockwork, then we could only do those experiments that guaranteed a 20% ROI. But the world isn’t a machine - it’s a complex system.

In a complex system, the way to think about the future is this:
  • We can’t predict the future.
  • But we can learn about the patterns from which the future will emerge.
  • In fact, while we can’t control the future, we can influence it.
  • The best way to influence the future is by innovating through experiments.
That’s how to grow. Innovate through experiments. Take some risks, get some scars, learn.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, October 28, 2013

Health Check: Does Brain Training Make You Smarter?

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day!
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Jonathan Foster, Curtin University

No one who has kept their head out of the sand over the past several years needs to be told “brain training” is a hot topic.

And it’s big business too, with advocates using claims such as “personal training design by scientists” to market their wares.

Decades of studies in both laboratory animals and humans have demonstrated the capacity of the brain for some degree of plasticity.

This can be extremely beneficial; after someone suffers a stroke, for instance, and has to relearn some basic abilities.

But is there any evidence that specific “brain training” can improve overall performance? Or is it all hype and hyperbole?

For many, not one

The cornerstone of scientific progress is the demonstration of evidence-based effects rather than a media vortex of gee-wizz findings in individuals, no matter how compelling these may be for the television viewer.

Sceptics argue that brain-training studies claiming to demonstrate significant effects lack more general applicability and have shown only very specific kinds of improvement.

Meanwhile, proponents of brain training argue studies failing to demonstrate effects employ flawed approaches, including unsatisfactory application of recommended methods.

The key question is generalisability of benefits - the holy grail of brain training.

No one really disputes that extensive training on a specific task will improve performance on that task. But the acid test for brain training is whether it can be reliably demonstrated that training on some tasks transfers more widely to a range of other tasks and thought processes.

In the largest study undertaken in this area to date, researchers were patently unable to demonstrate a generalisation of training across tasks.

They conducted a six-week online study in which 11,430 participants trained several times each week on cognitive tasks designed to improve reasoning, memory, planning, visuospatial skills and attention. Improvement effects were task specific and failed to transfer to other untrained tasks.

But in another, more recent high-profile study undertaken in older individuals, another group of researchers used a video game in which players were required to drive and identify specific road signs.

After training, older individuals, aged 60 to 85 years, became more proficient than untrained individuals in their 20s. Their performance levels were sustained for six months, even without additional training.

Perhaps most critically, these researchers reported that older adults performed better at other attention and working memory tests as well, demonstrating the transferability of benefits from the training game to different cognitive functions.

But there’s been much criticism of the study’s findings; for example, with respect to the relatively small number of participants involved.

The bigger picture

And so it goes. Volleys are fired back and forth between the two camps against the backdrop of more general and far-reaching considerations that currently appear to stack up on the side of the sceptics.

It’s widely accepted among working scientists that it’s much more challenging to publish findings that demonstrate non-significant outcomes compared with findings that demonstrate statistically significant differences.

So, there’s a potential publication bias against studies of brain training that fail to demonstrate an effect. But where does this all leave us?

It may be that brain training will show generalizability only from some specific tasks onto others.
There have been claims, for instance, that brain training may improve intelligence (which remains an inchoate concept), or that brain training can rewire the prefrontal cortex or its connections - or both.

The latter (alluded to by researchers who did the video game study above) may be beneficial, given that prefrontal brain regions are known to be engaged in the coordination of many different processes.

It’s also been claimed from neuroimaging investigations that brain training can produce changes in the “hardwiring” of the brain. But whether these changes endure and what they truly signify remains open to question.

The jury is still out on brain training for otherwise healthy individuals. But if you’re considering taking it up, it’s important to consider that some of the principal proponents of brain training methods have a financial or other commercial stake in the packages they’re endorsing.

The key question you should ask yourself is the opportunity cost associated with brain training - what is it you are not doing in order to spend time ‘training your brain’?

In addition to financial expense, many brain-training packages involve considerable investment of your time over an extended period.

You might spend your time and money more effectively doing other things to improve your abilities, such as exercising, improving your diet, learning to play an instrument, or acquiring a new language.

These alternative pursuits confer the additional benefit of social interaction, which has clearly been demonstrated to benefit our brain health.

Jonathan Foster receives funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council..
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, October 27, 2013

To Innovate We Must be Willing to Learn a Lot!

learning
Learning (Photo credit: Anne Davis 773)
by Linda Bernardi, Innovation Excellence: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/10/08/to-innovate-we-must-be-willing-to-learn-a-lot/

In ProVoke, I talk about the necessity to be uncomfortable before we are ready to disrupt and innovate.

We need to be uncomfortable because pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is hard work and is unsettling.

Learning new things means admitting that we are not experts in all areas and that we are willing to improve our learning agility. Yes, we all have great excuses why we don’t learn new things (if we are willing to be honest)!

But, here is the reality: the rate and intensity of innovation is directly related to our agility and willingness to learn. Innovation does not happen in a vacuum, and it does not happen because we mandate innovation to others.

So, to my top executive friends, colleagues and clients, this is what we need to do:

1) Lead by example! Improve the depth and diversity of your own learning agility.
2) Make time and replace excuses with new learnings. Challenge your company, your staff and colleagues to up the bar!
3) Find the true link between learning agility and the rate of innovation in your company. See the magic!

The Magic

People want to follow those who are constantly learning and challenging themselves and creating the “what-if” magic (Culture) around them. This is the spark we need for creating the Culture of Innovation. This is what creates true innovation leadership.

So, I needed to find supporting thoughts around the link between learning agility, innovation and leadership.

Learning Agility

Critical for Innovative Leadership! I recently came across a fascinating area of research from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), a division of the American Psychological Association.

According to the SIOP, learning agility is an individual’s ability and willingness to learn from experience. Our ability and desire to learn from experiences determines how much we adapt our behavior and our ways of thinking in response to these experiences.

In other words, adaptation from critical experiences requires learning from such events, which in turn requires being able and willing to learn (learning agility).

The importance of learning agility cannot be overstated. In fields that are rapidly changing and require a high degree of adaptation, such as technology and business, learning agility has a major impact on performance.

Individuals (and companies) high in learning agility, who can and want to learn and adapt from experiences, whether positive or negative, often outmaneuver less agile competitors.

The concept of learning agility is most often applied to leadership, because the vision, attitudes and ability of leaders often guide the direction of their companies.

What does an agile learner (and agile leader) look like? 

While institutions vary in their definitions of learning agility, the SIOP offers a useful calculus of learning agility.

First, agile learners are willing to explore new challenges; imagine what could be or what could have been; and examine mistakes and admit responsibility.

Second, they are able to observe situational cues; connect situational patterns; and evaluate performance using feedback.

Together, this willingness and ability lead to learning practices which make agile learners so successful: they experiment purposefully and observe outcome; assess the situation vigilantly and reflect; and continually synthesize and refine models of why things happen.

How can companies grow the amount of learning agility in their leadership? 

By selecting and/or developing agile learners, according to the SIOP. Research has found that a small percentage of the population is naturally high in learning agility.

So, companies can screen for agile learners based on stable traits related to learning agility, and increase their flow into the leadership pipeline (screening methods include self-assessment inventories or measures of relevant personality or cognitive factors, such as openness to experience, mental flexibility, and learning orientation).

In addition, companies must rigorously develop the key skills and habits of learning agility among all of their current or potential leaders (development methods range from 360-based or simulation-based tools and learning agility ratings, to planned exposure pathways to key experiences and structured reflection processes on lessons learned).

A combination of these “select” and “develop” strategies is critical, because while the number of existing agile learners is limited, the potential to develop agility in existing and future leaders is boundless.

The implications for learning agility on innovation are profound, because learning and adapting are the lifeblood of innovation.

Innovating demands that leaders envision the impossible, seek challenges as opportunities, and learn from their mistakes. It requires being willing to take risks and being open to experimenting (and failing) as opportunities for reflection and growth. And it cannot happen without agile awareness of what is happening in the innovative ecosystems all around.

I suggest that all leaders take a moment to stop and consider how agile a learner they really are. The tools for increasing our ability to learn and adapt are out there - just check out Korn/Ferry, the Hay Group, and the Center for Creative Leadership.

I wish us all a future of unlimited learning! Would love to hear your thoughts!

References

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 2012. “Learning Agility” [online webcast]. In SIOP Mini-Webinar Series. Retrieved from http://client.blueskybroadcast.com/SIOP/siop_ 110812/.
Enhanced by Zemanta

You Are What You Read: 14 Thought Leaders Share Their Bookshelves

by , The Blog of Tim Ferriss: Experiments in Lifestyle Design: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2013/10/21/you-are-what-you-read-14-thought-leaders-share-their-bookshelves/

The following is a guest post by Shane Snow, a frequent contributor to Wired and Fast Company. It includes photographs of some fun bookshelves, including yours truly (Tim Ferriss).

Enter Shane

They say a person’s eyes are “the window to the soul.” I am not very good at pupil-based soul-reading, but I’ve found that I can learn a lot about a person by the books on his or her shelf. When I go to someone’s house or office for the first time, my favorite thing to do is check out the bookshelf. Here’s what’s on mine:


Storytelling is a powerful force, as I’m a fan of reminding people. Stories - fiction and non - make ideas stick; they change minds and shape us in often subconscious ways. I believe the mind of a well-read person is heavily influenced by the books of her past.

A few weeks ago, I decided to conduct a little experiment.

I emailed a few friends and people I admired and asked them if I could see photographs of their bookshelves (or book stacks or Kindle screens). Just about everybody said, “yes.”

The experiment soon metastasized, and I started pestering thought leaders in spaces I followed - tech, advertising, philanthropy - to see what books the innovators cared enough about to allot real estate. Soon, I had more photos than I knew what to do with. Here are some of my favorites:

Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at bit.ly and one of the smartest women in American tech



Fred Wilson, Partner at Union Square Ventures and the man responsible for investments in Tumblr, Etsy, CodeAcademy, KickStarter, Meetup, Soundcloud, Twitter, Behance, and StackExchange … He sent me this one:



But I actually found this closeup in his Flickr photostream, too:



Guy Kawasaki, Bestselling Author of Enchantment, A.P.E., and a dozen other terrific books



Mike Lazerow, Founder of Buddy Media (sold to Salesforce last year for $700 million)



Mitch Kanner, Owner of 2Degrees and one of Ad Age’s “hottest rolodexes” in advertising (this guy hooks people like Jay-Z up with deals like Samsung’s million-album download)



Jonah Berger, Bestselling Author of Contagious and “virality” guru



Claire Ortiz-Diaz, head of Social Innovation at Twitter and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People In Business



Dharmesh Shah, CTO of Hubspot and founder of OnStartups, and one of the most humble leaders you’ll ever meet



Dave Kerpen, Bestselling Author of Likeable Business and founder of Likeable Media (also the highest-trafficked LinkedIn Influencer in the world)



Cindy Gallop, renowned advertising executive and founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn



Adam Grant, Bestselling Author of Give And Take and purveyor of revolutionary ideas about work and success



Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social and board member of Starbucks (elected at age 29)



Jeffrey Walker, philanthropist and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase Foundation and author of the forthcoming book The Generosity Network



And I certainly couldn’t leave out Tim Ferriss, whose penchant for anime happens to be his secret weapon for language-mastery:



Interestingly enough, the book I referenced in the beginning about stories making ideas stick (Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath) shows up several times in this gallery. There are a few other repeats if you look carefully!

Of course, there were a number of well-read people whose bookshelves I’d love to get a peek at (but unfortunately couldn’t get a hold of). In particular, I wish I could check out the shelves belonging to the following five:

Arianna Huffington
Elon Musk
Martha Stewart
Joss Whedon
Cory Booker (and not just because of the name!)

We’re all a product to some degree of the books we read, the programs we watch, and the people we meet. In the comments, I’d love to discuss: What books from this gallery jumped out at you? Whose bookshelves above do you identify with in particular?

And, perhaps most importantly, what are the most important 2-3 books on your bookshelf?

What Is Talent?

@anselm in his natural environment
Anselm in his natural environment (caseorganic)
by Matthew E May, Innovation Excellence: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/10/25/what-is-talent/

Matthew E. May is founder of EDIT Innovation and author most recently of The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything. 

If it’s true, as we often hear, that the artist is not a special kind of person, but rather that every person is a special kind of artist, then the journey to creative excellence must begin with finding the key to unlocking that special artistry. 

We may never understand it fully - and I don’t think we really need to - but we can certainly find it and follow it to see where it leads us. 

Now, this approach breaks with the traditional wisdom that would have us first decide on some dramatic destination. But a destination has little relevance if we don’t have the means to reach it in the first place. 

Our natural gifts are the means to any significant end, so we must start there. Only then can a dramatic destination be reached.

The artist’s true colors are not found in paints and brushes, but in one’s palette of talent. The first order of business, then, is recognizing our talent, because it represents the greatest source of power and personal energy in performing any kind of work. 

That energy must then be released, developed and directed, because that’s how we achieve something significant. I can’t think of any original masterpiece that didn’t involve a well-developed talent.
 

Clues to your creative calling in life, the general nature of the work you are best suited for - your real potential - reside in knowing and understanding your natural gifts and talents. Work that engages your gifts will be intrinsically meaningful for you.
 

But the concept of talent is a difficult and often misunderstood one. 

WHAT IS TALENT?

Talent provides an endless source of fascination with human behavior, dating back at least twenty-five hundred years to the time of Hippocrates (5th century B.C.), the “Father of Medicine,” who was the first to propose that people are highly formed at birth, with fundamentally different gifts in life. 

Modern research on brain activity has added new scientific insight into the origins and sources of different intelligences, but the concept of talent itself remains one that is open to at least some interpretation.
 

For purposes of speaking about artistry in performing our work, it makes sense to say that talent is best thought of asendowed potential, a mystic constellation of qualities given to us by nature - raw at birth, noticeable at a young age, and developed over time through continued exposure to exercise and environment.
 

The key here is the notion of a natural gift: A talent is not something we can acquire, and we cannot learn to be talented.
 

I believe everyone has talent. Still, most people don’t really know what their talents are, or at least have difficulty describing them. Why? Perhaps because talents are innate and reflexive, and we don’t need to think hard about them - they’re like the air we breathe - we tend to take them for granted.
 

Perhaps we falsely presume talent is supposed to involve a rare skill, or some activity deemed to be tremendously difficult to execute, like performing arts and professional athletics. 

And perhaps we just don’t appreciate our own abilities enough - mistaken in our thinking that talent is reserved for others who can do things we can’t, especially those notable individuals who have accomplished extraordinary things.
 

Ask someone what they think their real talent in life is and my bet is that they will adopt a look of utter bewilderment and shrug, “nothing really.”
 

What’s interesting is if you ask someone they work with to describe the talent of that person, they can easily rattle off a handful of abilities they admire and even envy in the other, and consider gifts. 

Explanation? No two people share the same gifts, so others often have a good view of our talents because they’re in a better position to observe something they don’t possess.
 

The challenge remains for us to find our talents.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, October 26, 2013

William S. Burroughs Explains What Artists and Creative Thinkers Do for Humanity: From Galileo to Cézanne and James Joyce

by , Open Culture: http://www.openculture.com/2013/09/william-s-burroughs-explains-what-artists-creative-thinkers-do-for-humanity.html

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los AngelesA Los Angeles PrimerFollow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.



The interview clip above, from the 1991 documentary Commissioner of Sewers, puts a two-part question to Naked Lunch author, “cut-up writing” master, and counterculture eminence William S. Burroughs: “What is the original feel of the writer? What mechanisms should he consider, work on?”

That may sound like a slightly odd line of inquiry - the interviewer, bear in mind, doesn’t speak English natively - but Burroughs responds with an important point, clearly made.

“The word should should never arise,” he first insists, though perhaps self-contradictorily. “There is no such concept as should in regard to art - or anything - unless you specify. If you’re trying to build a bridge, then you can say we should do this and we should do that, with respect to getting a bridge built, but it doesn’t float in a vacuum.”

All well and good for engineering. But what can art do, if not build a bridge?

“One very important aspect of art is that it makes people aware of what they know and what they don’t know that they know,” Burroughs says.

“This applies to all creative thinking. For example, people on the sea coast in the middle ages knew the Earth was round. They believed the Earth was flat because the church said so. Galileo tells them the Earth was round, and nearly was burned at the stake for saying so.”

Burroughs summons as examples Cézanne, whose studies of what “objects look like seen from a certain angle and in a certain light” at first made viewers think “he’d thrown paint on canvas,” and Joyce, who “made people aware of their stream of consciousness, at least on a verbal level,” but “was first accused of being unintelligible.”

Yet Burroughs found he lived in a world where, this art already having expanded humanity’s consciousness, “no child would have any difficulty in seeing a Cézanne” and few “would have any difficulty with Ulysses. The artist, then, expands awareness. Once the breakthrough is made, this becomes part of the general awareness.”

Such insight makes Burroughs, as one Youtube commenter puts it, “so down-to-earth that he’s far-out.”

Want to be Extremely, Wildly, Radically Successful?

by Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue Airways. Stanford Business School, LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131024065721-11846967-want-to-be-wildly-radically-extremely-successful

Whichever adjective you select for the success you’re seeking - extreme, wild, radical - is it really possible that a few tweaks could be all you need to reach these new heights?

Last week I read a popular LinkedIn post in which the author, Alex Banayan, promised to disclose “The 5 Traits of Wildly Successful People”. This sounded like a bargain: just 5 steps to wild success.

With such straightforward tips - be persistent, ignore convention, be a problem-solver, cut back on sleep, build good relationships - taking life to the next level sounded downright easy.

Indeed, countless blog posts list success-ensuring traits, the kinds of virtues or habits everyone should cultivate. Some recipes for success include as few as five ingredients, as did Mr. Banayan’s, or as many as 50 (see the list at the end of this post if you need a “quick success” reading list).

But here’s the thing: Fun as it may be to peruse these lists, simply reading through grab bags of traits and attitudes won’t ensure success in work and life.

The very reason success is elusive is that it still requires a lot of hard and often tedious work. Not just daily work at the office, but the constant work of making ourselves into more effective, more adaptable, more thoughtful people. That’s what it means to build character.

No secrets here. Just hours, days, months, and years of persistence in doing what matters most, honoring commitments, and working well with others.

For over twenty years, I worked closely with Stephen R. Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” - one of the best-selling business books of all time, with 15 million copies sold in 38 languages.

Many of today’s list-like blog headlines are derivative of his famous title and insightful suggestions for building a principle-centered life.

Stephen - who passed away last year - might have been distressed at how his approach to building habits for successful living has morphed into a cottage industry of those peddling lists of secrets to wild financial windfalls and potent influence.

Stephen was not about these ‘ends.’ Instead, he was about being mindful of the person you become on the way there.

He celebrated the idea of finding one’s “true north,” the guiding set of ethics and habits through which people develop character. He liked to quote Aristotle on the subject: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act - but a habit.”

Covey wasn’t talking low-level habits like brushing your teeth, washing the dishes or showing up early for meetings. His “habits” were ones of character - the kind that take time and repetition to build.

Some were about thinking, some were about doing, some were about treating others with respect - but they were all about building character, about doing the right things over and over until they become ingrained - what Aristotle called the “stable equilibrium of the soul.”

Aristotle's notion - the one Covey also espoused - is a profound one. Success in life is rooted in aligning our actions with our values, until our choices flow naturally, and without calculation, from our character.

Like everything else worth doing, this is a matter of consistent, determined practice - as unromantic, familiar, and headline-unfriendly a secret as that may be.

So, nothing against lists, and nothing against anything that can inspire or help you become more successful. But, in my experience, there are no shortcuts to success.

A Sampling of The Seven Habits’ Unplanned Offspring
Photo: alphaspirit / shutterstock.com

You Need More Downtime Than You Think

You need more downtime than you thinkby , Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/

This article was originally published by Scientific American.

Every now and then during the workweek - usually around three in the afternoon - a familiar ache begins to saturate my forehead and pool in my temples.

The glare of my computer screen appears to suddenly intensify.

My eyes trace the contour of the same sentence two or three times, yet I fail to extract its meaning.

Even if I began the day undaunted, getting through my ever growing list of stories to write and edit, e-mails to send and respond to, and documents to read now seems as futile as scaling a mountain that continuously thrusts new stone skyward.

There is so much more to do - so much work I genuinely enjoy - but my brain is telling me to stop. It’s full. It needs some downtime.

Freelance writer and meditation teacher Michael Taft has experienced his own version of cerebral congestion. “In a normal working day in modern America, there’s a sense of so much coming at you at once, so much to process that you just can’t deal with it all,” Taft says.

In 2011, while finalizing plans to move from Los Angeles to San Francisco, he decided to take an especially long recess from work and the usual frenzy of life.

After selling his home and packing all his belongings in storage, he traveled to the small rural community of Barre, Mass., about 100 kilometers west of Boston, where every year people congregate for a three-month-long “meditation marathon.”

Taft had been on similar retreats before, but never one this long. For 92 days he lived at Insight Meditation Society’s Forest Refuge facility, never speaking a word to anyone else.

He spent most of his time meditating, practicing yoga and walking through fields and along trails in surrounding farmland and woods, where he encountered rafters of turkeys leaping from branches, and once spotted an otter gamboling in a swamp.

Gradually, his mind seemed to sort through a backlog of unprocessed data and to empty itself of accumulated concerns. “When you go on a long retreat like that there’s a kind of base level of mental tension and busyness that totally evaporates,” Taft says.

“I call that my ‘mind being not full.’ Currently, the speed of life doesn’t allow enough interstitial time for things to just kind of settle down.”

To read further, go to: http://www.salon.com/2013/10/16/your_brain_needs_more_downtime_than_it_thinks_partner/

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jack Kerouac Lists 9 Essentials for Writing Spontaneous Prose

Kerouac_spontaneousby , Open Culture: http://www.openculture.com/2013/10/jack-kerouac-explains-the-nine-essentials-of-writing-spontaneous-prose.html

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Jack Kerouac wants you to turn writing into “free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought, swimming in sea of English with no discipline, other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement …”.

Think you can do that?

Find out by following Kerouac’s “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose.” He published this document in Black Mountain Review in 1957 and wrote it in response to a request from Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs that he explain his method for writing The Subterraneans in three days time.

And for a theory of Kerouac’s not quite theory, visit the site of Marissa M. Juarez, professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona.

Juarez raises some salient points about why Kerouac’s “Essentials” bemuse the English teacher: His method “discourages revision … chastises grammatical correctness, and encourages writerly flexibility.”

Read Kerouac’s full “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose” here or below [note: If you see what looks like typos, they are not errors. They are part of Kerouac's original, spontaneous text].

SET-UP

The object is set before the mind, either in reality. as in sketching (before a landscape or teacup or old face) or is set in the memory wherein it becomes the sketching from memory of a definite image-object.

PROCEDURE

Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.

METHOD

No periods separating sentence-structures already arbitrarily riddled by false colons and timid usually needless commas - but the vigorous space dash separating rhetorical breathing (as jazz musician drawing breath between outblown phrases) - “measured pauses which are the essentials of
our speech” - “divisions of the sounds we hear” - “time and how to note it down” (William Carlos Williams). 

SCOPING

Not “selectivity” of expression but following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought, swimming in sea of English with no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement, like a fist coming down on a table with each complete utterance, bang! (the space dash) - blow as deep as you want - write as deeply, fish as far down as you want, satisfy yourself first, then reader cannot fail to receive telepathic shock and meaning - excitement by same laws operating in his own human mind.

LAG IN PROCEDURE

No pause to think of proper word but the infantile pileup of scatological buildup words till satisfaction is gained, which will turn out to be a great appending rhythm to a thought and be in accordance with Great Law of timing. 

TIMING

Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time - Shakespearian stress of dramatic need to speak now in own unalterable way or forever hold tongue - no revisions (except obvious rational mistakes, such as names or calculated insertions in act of not writing but inserting). 

CENTER OF INTEREST

Begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at moment of writing, and write outwards swimming in sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion - do not afterthink except for poetic or P. S. reasons. Never afterthink to “improve” or defray impressions, as, the best writing is always the most painful personal wrung-out tossed from cradle warm protective mind - tap from yourself the song of yourself, blow! - now! - your way is your only way - “good” - or “bad” - always honest (“ludi- crous”), spontaneous, “confessionals’ interesting, because not “crafted.” Craft is craft. 

STRUCTURE OF WORK

Modern bizarre structures (science fiction, etc.) arise from language being dead, “different” themes give illusion of “new” life. Follow roughly outlines in outfanning movement over subject, as river rock, so mindflow over jewel-center need (run your mind over it, once) arriving at pivot, where what was dim - formed “beginning” becomes sharp - necessitating “ending” and language shortens in race to wire of time - race of work, following laws of Deep Form, to conclusion, last words, last trickle - Night is The End. 

MENTAL STATE

If possible write “without consciousness” in semi-trance (as Yeats’ later “trance writing”) allowing subconscious to admit in own uninhibited interesting necessary and so “modern” language what conscious art would censor, and write excitedly, swiftly, with writing-or-typing cramps, in accordance (as from center to periphery) with laws of orgasm, Reich’s “beclouding of consciousness.” Come from within, out-to relaxed and said.

Oh, and for authenticity’s sake, you should try Kerouac’s “Essentials” on a typewriter. It’s all he had when he wrote The Subterraneans. No grammar robots to distract him.

via Al Filries

Meet The Thoughtstarters

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...
The School of Athens - Plato & Aristotle (Wikipedia)
by Matthew E May, Innovation Excellence: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2013/10/15/meet-the-thoughtstarters/

Matthew E. May is founder of EDIT Innovation and author most recently of The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything.

Thoughtstarters have the strategic talents of thinking and conceiving that keep us all more inquisitive and progressive. 

Visionary and analytical, they’re all about theory, big ideas and direction. 

They seem to be driven by a natural need for knowledge and reason, and they’re at their best when they’re up against a philosophical challenge.
 

To the Thoughtstarter, ideas are more important than action, logic more important than emotion. Expertise is what Thoughtstarters strive for most, as they have a core need to perfect their abilities, which center on strategy, vision, and ingenuity.
 

A Thoughtstarter’s thinking is purely rational, highlighted by philosophy, theories, and concepts; these are their lifeblood and the tools they use to influence others.
 

At the team level, look to the Thoughtstarters to stimulate new ways of thinking and approaching problems. Constant forward progress toward a grand vision drives them, and any talk of details and practicality only work to deflate their day.

Thoughtstarters have hungry minds, forever seeking knowledge at all levels, and for them, the day is not complete unless they’ve learned something new.
 

The Thoughtstarters’ broad themes of natural excellence derive from the logical, spatial and linguistic aptitudes, and run along the lines of:
 

Optimizing: Creating excellence and maximizing competence; achieving the highest levels of performance
 

Directing: Strategically establishing chains of command; structuring plans to provide direction 

Strategizing: Comprehensively considering all contingencies and alternatives to chart the best course of action
 

Analyzing: Critical thinking; relying on cold logic and sound reasoning; identifying causes and influences
 

Envisioning: Painting compelling pictures of the future to inspire and guide action; long range planning
 

Inventing: Engineering and prototyping; devising working models of new solutions and methodologies
 

Theorizing: Hypothesizing, conceiving and testing new frameworks of thought; experimenting with ideas
 

Investigating: Perpetually increasing scholarly knowledge; continually questioning; researching; studying
 

Designing: Architecting and blueprinting ideas and concepts into structural models and working systems
 

Synthesizing: Combining and composing seemingly unrelated components in a clear, cohesive system
 

Keeping in mind that we all have some Thoughtstarter in us, are you a natural born Peacekeeper?
 

Try this: print the list above. Put a checkmark on each talent area that comes easily to you. Then put a checkmark on each one that you truly enjoy. Put a third checkmark on each one at which you demonstrate excellence.
 

If the majority of themes have all three checkmarks, consider yourself a Thoughtstarter.
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Secret Power Of Discipline

alarm clock, bought from IKEA
Almost time to get up! (Wikipedia)
by Wyn Nathan Davis

Every morning my alarm beeps to wake me at 5:00am. On most days I wake up 2 or 3 minutes before my alarm sounds.

I instantly get out of bed and start my day - a strong cup of coffee, then head out into the early morning for my daily run.

Running every morning is a positive way to start the day and provides energy and focus for my goals.

Is it easy?

Sometimes not! Some mornings when tired and when it is cold and raining a run doesn't 'feel' like a good idea. I know from experience, however, that after the first few hundred yards the familiar positive feeling will kick in and I will feel good.

I have been running for about fifteen years now and it has had a huge effect on my health, focus and energy. Running is one of the great, positive habits that I have brought into my life.

I do fall off the wagon from time to time but after a few weeks of not running I feel the difference in my body and my mind and head back out! Running, like writing and reading are the good habits in my life but they require effort and to maintain requires discipline!

What is discipline?

I think for many of us discipline is a horrible thing. We ask ourselves, 'why would I deny myself what I really want, and what I want is to roll over and sleep.'

Discipline is not a horrible thing is it is simply a tool to get what we want. Perhaps, we want a fit and strong body - running is a means to that end and discipline is the awareness to focus more on the end than the means.

With a big enough 'why' and 'how' is possible!When I think about the major goals that I have achieved through my life the most meaningful and important have, almost always, been the easiest.

Random goals without major drivers behind them never last very long but when the motivation is huge and fixed in my mind the obstacles seems to just fall aside.

The trick to using discipline to achieve goals is to start with a huge 'why'! Use your imagination to build clarity of vision. Use your desire to create a huge want, a 'must have' for the goal and then use discipline to get you through the tough times.

What makes an athlete push through the pain, the writer struggle past rejection, the business owner fight past isolation to achieve the great dream? It is the discipline to focus on the 'why' and forget about the 'how'.

Where does discipline come from?

I believe that discipline is, itself, a habit. I also believe that anyone can develop ironclad discipline by following a simple step-by-step process. I have found that by slowing adding structure in easy areas of my life that my discipline builds.

For example, I used to struggle with getting up in the morning. I would push the snooze button or turn off the alarm all together and roll over. I solved this by putting my alarm in the kitchen. This forced me to get out of bed and by the time I made it to the kitchen I was awake.

I find that having a very clean home and office space encourages more focus and makes the more challenging goals a bit easier. The key, for me, to build discipline with big goals is be very disciplined with dozens of smaller goals that were relatively easy.

Running everyday, might be a struggle but picking up wet towels I could do. Combine a dozen or more minor disciplines and the larger disciplines tend to fall into place. If I find myself struggling with the big disciplines I don't give up I go back to the minor disciplines to re-establish focus.

This is a version of 'count the pennies and the pounds take care of themselves' - it is true!

Small disciplines, introduced over time, change our thinking and we become highly goal-oriented. Once our mind becomes goal-oriented we become more disciplined and stronger and stronger.

As the goals become bigger and more meaningful we will find that the little disciplines we practiced support the larger disciplines needed to reach our bigger goals.

It is an upward spiral!

Most of us think of spirals being downward, little things fall apart, building until our world seems out of control.

Well, the opposite can happen too! Seemingly trivial positive actions, deliberately added together create bigger and bigger success all fueled by the introduction of some very minor disciplines into our lives.

Well, the sun just broke through the clouds and it is time for my Sunday run! Enjoy!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wyn_Nathan_Davis_
http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Secret-Power-Of-Discipline&id=8072729

Enhanced by Zemanta