Be Calm and Prepare

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Calm and preparation make life to seem to be under our control. Of course even at best we have illusion of control, because life is way too big to be controlled. We at (best) can control our own impulses and responses to what life throws at us.

The calm and the preparation both help us to choose even better responses. And what makes life wonderful are those best thought out responses to whatever happens!

If we are calm, we have all the time in the world to make the right decisions.

If we are prepared, we are never in a hurry because we already are prepared and ready to go.

The sense of calm comes ability to see the reality as it is, not to take it too personally. In fact, the very nature is change between huger and huger forces at play so it’s just easier to remain calm because that’s the only thing we can control: how do we respond when everything comes crashing down.

We have to ability to remain calm and prepare for tomorrow, until sadly the tomorrow one day doesn’t come. Yet if we are calm and in control of ourselves we should have a lot of fun while at it. While others depress or worry, we remain calm and enjoy the life as it is!

Choose Your Response Carefully!

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A bit of continuation to the mature response -blog from last week.

That topic was in retrospect a big hit for myself, because by writing that I had prepared myself for rejection what followed the next day. Now I was ready to deal with it in mature way, because I had just revisited the notes and what it means to respond maturely. Despite knowing and remembering some of this, I have to say that dealing with rejection in personal relationships is never easy.

Even in professional life: sales and marketing people face rejection several or even dozens of times per day it’s not easy even though there it’s not so personal. Rejection hurts.

Here we come to the part what we are actually able to control: our response to the outside impulse. Separation between an animal and a conscious being is the ability to delay the time in between impulse and response. We have the ability to choose our response. This so called last of human freedoms is what many philosophies including stoicism teaches us.

Today I realized that choosing means that there are usually several different options for us to consider. Several paths, from which we can always choose the best suited path for our purposes.

How long can you take in between impulse and response? Try taking a moment of your time.

Usually the powerful have the time to be quiet and think before reply. Do you recognize the feeling?

Be responsible, choose your response carefully!

Conscious Growth for the Benefit of Others

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Conscious growth means taking responsibility and meeting challenges head on. It means facing the challenges and recognizing that there Is “little that I know already.” With the growth, means that we can tackle greater challenges, which then in turn eventually lead to a position where you do not honestly know.

According to the Peter Principle “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.” I think this applies to our personal growth as well. Eventually we will run into things in which we are incompetent. So we grow and still are incompetent at the same time.

Becoming something more than we were before is rewarding. It’s even more rewarding to see results in our own growth to benefit other people. Perhaps something that I learned will benefit you as well.

Thus the efforts to become incompetent in something, do not go in vain. Instead it is something for others to step on.

Do not hurry to become incompetent. Take your time, nurture your own growth so that in time your turn will be to nurture the growth of others.

Return to the basics every day. Masters worship the basics.

Virtue is the Purpose of Life

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Doing good, doing the right thing in whatever position you are in life is the purpose of life according to the Stoics. Take responsibility of your soul, of what you can do, because that’s all you can do.

Do not judge, writes Marcus Aurelius.

Do not judge, always seek to praise were Abraham Lincolns words according to Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Virtue is doing the right thing when we have the freedom to choose otherwise. Marcus Aurelius is fascinating example of this, because he was the emperor of the known world, ruler with absolute power. Yet he was living in virtue.

Trying to put this to the scope of personal life: should I discard all my desires I ask myself again? Then I remember the difference between a desire, lust and a positive desire.

What causes us to be virtuous? What causes positive desires?

Sigmund Freud suggests that it may be sublimation. Something negative we have done earlier in life may cause to turn into something major positive later in life.

Reflecting on my own past, I certainly feel that the reason I contemplate so much on the virtues, what is right and best for everyone is because I feel that when I was younger I wasn’t very good example. Due to that earlier experience I certainly want to go to the opposite direction as fast as I can, which is a very positive.

We want to progress and above all we want to be something more than we were before. As stoics put it, at least we should try to be better than animals. And the way to do that is through civilizing ourselves and taking responsibility of our souls. By putting our values to work and working from where we are now.

 

Further info

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius on Wikipedia

Marcus Aurelius Lecture on Stoicism

Freud on: Sublimation

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Freedom From and Responsibility To

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With increased power, comes increased responsibility. The moment we forget this, our good deeds start to decay and growth halts.

Victor Frankl said it well that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Responsibility is a topic that is too little talked and pondered about.

Once we understand our responsibility and are willing to exert ourselves for it, we gain actual freedom. Freedom to organize the necessary resources to attain a particular goal in life.

There is no freedom, when there is no responsibility.

Leader is willing to accept responsibility of things that they are not directly responsible.

We are all leaders. If we want to be great leaders we need to strive for more responsibilities. Then at times, when everything is alright going as it should we may enjoy our freedom. Usually this does not last very long thought or if it does, then you’ve masterfully trained more leaders.

Two Superpowers: Accepting the Circumstances and Focusing to What is in Your Control

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I was writing my life story today morning and I realized a pattern emerge: Whenever I’ve accepted present, taken responsibility and focused to do my best in the given circumstances I’ve ended up well.

Sometimes grass is greener other times. Other times it isn’t. You yourself have a hunch, are you just escaping the responsibilities of the present, or is the present influence negative to you. You have to search inside your heart for these answers. Once you know, you probably know if the present actually could be improved significantly just by assuming massive responsibility of the situation.

I’ve been in such situations often and I still end up being. As example, last spring there was a project I felt completely miserable with. When I noticed that something is wrong, I am focusing my effort to things that are not under my control. Then I decided to refocus my attention to what I can do. With this my thoughts clicked, and I began to do my best in what is under my control. The sense of control was restored and I began to feel better.

Sometimes our attention wanders off to wrong things, or we get caught off guard with something which we need to process: accept what is and find our circle of control where to focus to.

I have been in so lucky in life, that I’ve learned to recognize the negative influences to my life and find good influences. In environment of good influences, it is merely I that needs to grow into acceptance, responsibility and focus.

Only once we accept our circumstances we can begin to improve those. We should only focus to what is in our control, otherwise we gonna burn out or get depressed.

Summary of Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family

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About the company and the author Bob Chapman:

Chapman is Chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, a capital equipment and engineering consulting firm with more than 8,000 team members worldwide. After seeing the positive impact of Barry-Wehmiller’s people-centric culture on the lives of his employees, Chapman felt compelled to raise awareness about business enterprise’s opportunity to become the most powerful positive influence on our society.1

Chapman took over the reins of the privately-owned Barry-Wehmiller upon his father’s death in 1975, when it was a struggling bottle washer business. Since then, the single-market company has grown into a corrugating, packaging, and paper converting equipment and consulting conglomerate through strategic acquisition, operational expertise and commitment to, as Chapman likes to say, “the lives within my care.” Today, $2 billion Barry-Wehmiller is a combination of more than 75 acquired companies spread across 100 locations around the globe. Since 1987, it has continued a pattern of 15 percent compound growth in revenue and share value. 1

 

Everybody Matters Summary

Like the book title suggests Everybody Matters is a book about human centric leadership culture, and the beginning describes the uneasy situation where Bob Chapman was put when his father suddenly had a heart attack and he had to take over the company. Also it describes the many challenges that came after that.

In midst of the survival he and his colleagues also had several insights, for example “why can’t business be fun” or “there is no such thing as an underperforming team, only underperforming leaders.”

First they had to find a successful way to stay alive, not to go bankrupt in the near future. Barry-Wehmiller company was still back then in (around 1970’s) in distillery equipment business, which wasn’t so profitable. In short they judged that they need to grow both organically and through acquisitions. Or as Bob put it “We need to start making acquisitions so we can access markets and technology that can give us a better future.”

Once the immediate risk of bankruptcy was dealt with, still getting financing for acquisitions wasn’t an easy task. They recognized that could only afford business that no-one else wanted to buy.  Instead of giving up, they decided to work with this risk position and be creative. With work and creativity they had turned Barry-Wehmiller profitable. Why they couldn’t do this elsewhere too?

At Barry-Wehmiller, they believed that the business growth and people growth are not separate ideas, but complementing each other in a virtuous cycle.

“People were showing us that they were capable of things we hadn’t imagined. All it took was a different way of leading in which people knew their goals and the score at all times and were inspired as individuals and teams to achieve them.”

Take away for any company is to make truly fun and rewarding. Not so that just somebody wins, but the whole team wins. As an example: “Let’s create a game. Whoever sells the most parts each week wins. If the team makes the team goal, the team also wins.”

One red flag, is not truly celebrating peoples’ achievements by this I mean for example exaggerating people’s accomplishments when the whole recognition becomes meaningless. I’ve witnessed and felt what exaggeration can create, it destroys the positive and sends a signal that your accomplishment wasn’t good enough after all.

Bob Chapman also recognized the way bigger picture and responsibilities that the companies have. It is that of the responsibility and how does the leadership affect the emotional lives of the employees. And the families of those employees. Good or bad leadership does affect, how people who go home treat each other after the work day.

One line to get applied to everyday leadership is this:  “Look for the goodness in people and recognize and celebrate it daily.”

This conscious capitalism and responsibility of the world at large, is what I found very inspiring the book. I certainly recommend you to read the whole book as this was, but a rather small dip in the lake.

 

Everything We Need is in the Moment

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All words, sentences seem to be in way only partial truths. Therefore if we want to speak only the truth we would be quiet most of the time.

Despite their imperfections phrases are useful.

Everything we need is in the moment. More precisely everything we have is in the moment, therefore we should accept and embrace it. If we can do that, we feel happiness. Happiness is a skillset to accept the present, love yourself love the conditions that life has set upon you.

Happiness attracts happiness. To that which we focus, we get more of.

Acceptance leads to taking responsibility, responsibility leads to mastery. Mastery is unique human trait that makes life feel fulfilling, especially if combined with autonomy and purpose. Together these three unleash intrinsic motivation that allow us to become the masters of the moments. We rise beyond of expectations, time and mundane needs. We are able to satisfy needs at the highest of levels.


For further reading try the Drive by Daniel Pink, Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor or Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha.

Virtues and Power

 

buddha-1742650_640.jpgToday we discussed the topic of power over lunch.

Power is intriguing, without it much doesn’t get done at all. Power can be felt threatening, or viewed as negative. Although the power in itself is very neutral, it’s all about the user after all.

From there we get to the virtues. Whatever power, has the two sides. Like the superhero comics: there are good guys and bad guys. Then rarely there are those random side characters that are rather chaotic neutral doing whatever happens to suit them.

In fact with any power, there is a choice. Often more than one.

Not all intentions lead to desired results: good intentions can be disastrous and even with ill intentions, one can fail to cause any harm. Power in itself is not good or bad, it’s all about how to use it responsibly.

Power is ability and freedom. With freedom comes the responsibility. We are prepared to wield power through our experiences. So therefore the experience is crucial. I.e. it’s past experiences that build the basis for Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.

Virtues are action, and striving. Combine the power, responsibility and virtues, there is nothing wrong with the power, instead it is harnessed for the good.

Reflections of Identity and Responsibility

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“When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu

There are layers of being.  Our personal world views shape our experience of life drastically. We act upon beliefs that are distilled perceptions of reality and we rely and act upon them.

In collision or quiet contemplation we might notice not our beliefs are completely correct. Often times they are correct enough operate in this complex world.

Beliefs help us easily bypass some of our own faults. I noticed yesterday a so called habit I was running that was not so productive or responsible at all, and in the root cause was a belief.

Recently I’ve seen many themes of my thoughts to revolve around responsibility. There is chance to both observe and reflect this theme. There is much work to be done internally and externally.

Responsibility is a challenging theme, because it deals on with our limited resources: time and energy. True leaders are able to optimize these resources and get the important things done. At the core responsible behavior is DOING THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS.