This is the true joy of life

This is the true joy of life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” – George Bernard Shaw

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I love this quote from George Bernard Shaw. It is powerful. What stands out to me is “recognized by yourself”.

In a world full of agendas. Those of government, your boss, marketing companies, friends, salespeople, to be able to recognize your own agenda is crucial.

When we don’t know what is important to us, everybody else’s “important” takes us along.

On a personal level this is true, but more so in business. Decisions made in the shadow of a definite purpose leads to business growth and it gives employees a sense of security.

It must be “mighty”

Said purpose must be “a mighty one”. Just making money is not mighty. When greed and fear born out of a scarcity mindset are allowed to be the motivators, it will lead to the illusion that making money is a good purpose. This is similar to fixating on the odometer when you want to travel a great distance. It is not smart to get all wrapped up in the measuring instrument and forget about what you want to measure. Money is the measurement of value added.

Adding value can be “a mighty” purpose.

A Business that is constantly measuring how to add more value to its customer will grow. An employee working with a mindset of “am what I doing adding value to the company,” is the one that employers are looking for.

Leaders in business need to remember this and constantly remind the people they are leading of the “big why” they are doing what they are doing. The higher purpose of a business should be like the air we breathe. Ever present.

Beware of the Hurdles

Why, one can ask, are there so few businesses with a higher purpose?

I think, mostly because it takes effort. It takes dedication and biggest of all, it takes the courage to acknowledge that the world is bigger than me.

Our immature egos are the biggest hurdle to greatness. We most often stand in our own way. The world does not revolve around us. Businesses and business owners who think this way do not last long. A man that is wrapped up in himself, makes a pretty small package.

In contrast. By recognizing that that we can play a role in the bigger world, that our business has a controbution to make outside our doors, our purpose grows in might.

The second hurdle is the lie we belief that things should be easy. Trust me, if everything was easy, you would be more unhappy than you are now. For us, to function optimally, we need a challenge. So stop complaining and embrace it when things go wrong. It is your opportunity to shine. To show off your strength.

It is up to you to “recognize” a  mighty purpose which will compliment your strengths. Something that will stretch you outside your comfort zone and facilitate the development of these strengths.

It is like the muscles in your body. The more you use it, the more it develops the bigger things you can pick up. Same is true in business. A business’ strengths are those unique solution you offer the marketplace. The problems you solve. The value you add.

So how would your life (and your business) be different if you recognise (because it is bigger than you) your “mighty” purpose and spend yourself on it?

Spending

H

 

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Creating the future.

Creating the future sounds like a good idea. We are in good company if we think in this direction. Abraham Lincoln said it succinctly when he said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” 

All the good business experts agree. You have to have a vision,  a why you do what you do, a defined outcome.

Even though this sage advice is available freely, I am often surprised by the absence of it in the lives of my clients.

As I reflect on this observation, I realize that distinguishing between the plethora of nuances around creating the future, vision, mission, purpose, outcomes, goals, destiny, etc. It all boils down to imagining a different future.

We could even add a specific accent. It believes in a different future.

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Be aware of pitfalls while creating the future

This future-mindedness is not without pitfalls. Just dreaming about what can be, without taking responsibility to do something about it, either result in resentment or cynicism. It can also be escapism.  All of which results in no change.

Another pitfall I find people have to deal with is FOMO. Fear of missing out. Too many options lead to not doing anything. I am well aware of this in my own life. Seeing opportunities and not knowing which one is the best, often lets me tread water.

The biggest challenge I find is the ability to take people with you. If the new future you see stays inside your head, it is of no value but to yourself. And although this is good when it has a personal focus, the drawback of this approach is that it limits the future only to yourself.

An actual game-changing vision goes beyond ourselves.  Those who see a future that improves not only their own lives but those around them as well makes history.

This seeing beyond yourself includes big visions like the one Dr Martin Luther King had as well as a sales team understand that they are closing sales, not only for their commision but also to put the Personal Assistant’s child through college.

The latter, I find are the most relevant. Make the changed future relevant and personal to the people you want to take with you. Share it with them and invite them to join you in creating a better future.

How what we know holds us back

It might just be that what we know is holding us back. This doesn’t sound right, does it? The conventional wisdom is that the more you know the better off you are.

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This is mostly true. What I am referring to is the part that falls outside of the mostly. Something that is an actual scientific confirmed human error called: “Confirmation bias”.

Confirmation bias is simply the name for us seeing what we believe to be true. More specifically, this bias drives us to seek information that is compatible with beliefs we currently hold. We will read a post on Facebook that confirms what we believe is true. We either never see or ignore those that tell us something different. This results in our knowledge about a certain subject to grow stronger.

This not a bad thing if you want to specialize in your field of choice. In fact, when I need a hip replacement, I want my friend, who is the leader in orthopedic hip replacements, to do the operation. There is nothing wrong with specialization. As long as we also acknowledge the danger of over-focusing on one subject alone.

Our brain is wired to pay attention to detail as well as be aware of the bigger picture. Specialization is the process of zooming in on only the detail part. The detail then becomes our world and we are mesmerized by the wonders and beauty of a single subject. Please enjoy this awe-inspiring experience. Just remember that there is a whole world outside that experience. Come to the surface and see the bigger picture as well.

The danger of only focusing on what you know is that the richness of life, the innovation, the solution of a persistent problem, waits for you in the field of what you do not know. Not keeping this door open while you focus on the detail, strengthens the confirmation bias and it is the bias that that holds us back. The problem with this bias is that it tends to infuse the person suffering from this bias with self-righteousness.

As we all know, self-righteous people are not very productive members of society. They usually are stuck in one place and struggle to change and adapt to an ever dynamic environment.

My invitation then for all of us to check and see if we are keeping ourselves back by suffering from what we know. Let us explore that what we do not know. Speak to those we disagree with in such a way that we have a better understanding of them and their point of view (Without necessary changing ours. Sometimes other peoples’ point of view is not that great).

Happy exploring

H

 

Move your boundaries

“I move boundaries” was the answer I had to give a stranger when he asked me what is a unique attribute I had.

Boundaries are important. Especially personal boundaries. They keep us safe. The keep relationships healthy. They help define us. But they also limit us and hold us back.

The challenge is to know when to keep your boundary in place and when to allow yourself or someone to step over it. Or you could move your boundary. Moving your boundary is something different than crossing it or not keeping it in place. To move your boundary is to expose yourself to an experience you have not have previously.

Stepping over a boundary implies that you can step back. That is to be assertive and keep the status quo. Not having a boundary or not keeping it in place is unhealthy. Moving your boundary is an internal stretch. It asks that you test your assumptions and replace ineffective assumptions with ones that are more in touch with  a new reality. One that includes the experience that you explored.

Kio Stark gives an inspiring talk on talking to strangers. It is good to be friendly, and it’s good to learn when not to be, but none of that means we have to be afraid.

She highlights the difference between perceptions and categories. Categories lead to bias. Perception is the use of  our senses to connect with the individual. When you connect with a stranger in this way, you move your boundary. “So, here it is. When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life and theirs.” Now you have an experience and a story to tell. You have moved your boundary.

How about it? Are you willing to explore? Tell  me how it played out for you.

Still exploring

H

 

 

Economics is for Everyone

In this powerful illustration economist Ha-Joon Chang explains why economics is for everyone.

It does ask that we start thinking about our current reality. I love the it that Chang asks us to look at the world through more than one of the 9 economic lenses available.

Just accepting the viewpoint given to us by the mainstream media keeps us where we are. But for our owns sake, we really need to start looking at our world differently, try to envision a new and better alternative and then take the first step towards this better alternative.

What this alternative could be, is still open in my mind and any contribution is welcome. Let me know what you think.

Thinking

H