Connect with a young person and improve our tomorrow

Just a thought.  If you are feeling too old and stuck in your habits to change the world (hehe) but have lots of ideas and “wishes” – get connected with a young person.  We need to nurture their belief that they can change the world for the better – for all of our sakes.

Read here for local inspiration.

If you are in Sydney and up for being a mentor: contact the Raise Foundation,

If you are a facilitator try the Learning Clubs with the Smith Family.

More to come!  Contact me on sharon at apassion.com.au if you’d like to bounce ideas around.

Appreciating the Good

For most of us it’s natural to presume the worst.  As Rick Hanson explains, we are hard wired to focus on the negative – our ancestors who survived learned to do that best. And while we may think its still a dangerous world out there, many of the dangers are now ego-threatening rather than life-threatening.

Even if it’s natural to presume the worst, we can still to learn how to appreciate the good in our lives and in order to do that we need a compelling “why”, a useful “how” and a provocative “who” – “anyone can learn it – even pessimists like you or me”.

I like Rick’s Hanson’s explanation of three parts of our brain that need support, even if Dr Sarah McKay says it’s not strictly true:
• Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm.  Rick suggests we practice “petting the lizard” – we can learn to tell ourselves “it’s OK, you’re scared and it’s normal to focus on what might go wrong – but it probably won’t”.
• Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards.  Rick suggests we can learn to “feed the mouse” – “eg. let’s break this big goal down into little sub-goals and reward ourselves for achieving each of the little goals”.
• Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “people like us”.  My favourite – Rick promotes daily  “hugging the monkey” – this means having people or pets we can hug daily and who will hug us back. A good hug releases oxytocin and looking into a dog’s eyes does too.

But “why” we may ask?  Well for the answer to that question we need to talk with Barbara Fredrickson and find out about her Broaden and Build research and the positivity ratio.  More next post.

 

Go the Girls

So pleased to see Michelle Payne’s winning ride today in the Melbourne Cup and her stirring words:
“its such a chauvinistic sport…I just can’t say how grateful I am to them and I just wanted to say to everyone else you can get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but WE just beat the world”.

Super Star or Super Team

I love Margaret Heffernan’s TED talk about superchickens! It reinforces the Belbin research from many years ago showing that a super team of people who are working for the good of the team result will outperform a team of super stars who are working for their own good.

As someone who – I confess – has wanted to be the superchicken in the team on occasions (my idea is the best idea), this is a timely reminder that we look great when we help each other do great work together.  Celebrating together is much more satisfying than celebrating alone!

Conversation – for converging not converting

What if we had conversations with the purpose of converging our ideas, rather than trying to convert others?  Then instead of two ideas we could have an new and interesting third idea.

With just one change of letter we can have a whole new experience of conversations in business and at home.

Thanks to Desmond Sherlock for a great idea and a great interplay of words. I look forward to learning more in Rethink Perfect.

My Happy Box – keeping me organised

Happy Box  I love the phrase “a place for everything and everything in its place” and wanted something that could sit near the back door to hold keys, sunglasses, phone etc.

This box which I call my “Happy Box” fits the bill perfectly and makes me smile every time I walk in the door, so it’s becoming easier to remember to feed Mr Happy with all those things I need for my next outing.

Trouble is I thought of so many things that could go in my Happy Box, that I upsized and bought a Mr Big Happy Box. Now it’s not so useful, because there’s too much in there.

Back to the original – he’s just right!

Career path stories – planned or intuitive?

A 2014 article by Dennis Nishi in the Wall Street Journal, tells an anecdote about a school teacher, Eric Adler, who becomes a consultant, but doesn’t like consulting and then sets up the SEED Foundation to provide boarding schools for ‘at risk’ youth in urban areas in America.  The message of the article is on making the time to define success for ouselves, rather than accepting society’s definitions of success, as illustrated by Mr Adler’s discovery that he didn’t like being a consultant.

What also interests me about this story is that even though Adler didn’t like being a consultant, the MBA and the year’s experience he gained at a consultancy firm were probably extremely valuable to him in setting up the SEED Foundation successfully and in giving him the credibility to raise funding.

This story could also be told in a very different way as a planned career path for Mr Adler – from teacher, to recognising a social issue, to getting the requisite qualifications and experience that enabled him to successfully do something about that social issue.

As with many life and career paths, they are obvious in retrospect yet we can feel like we are blindly following urges that we don’t necessarily understand at the time.

What urges are you facing that are persistent but don’t make sense today?

On not writing – perfectly

This describes it perfectly doesn’t it:

Perfectionism is really dangerous because if your fidelity to perfection is too high you never do anything because doing anything results in a … tragedy …because you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is”.
David Foster Wallace

Lots of really interesting short videos at PBS Digital, especially if you are looking to distract yourself from writing anything that is less than perfect ha ha!

Watch the rest of the PBS Digital video here and then check out Philip Seymour Hoffman on happiness vs pleasure if you are a serious procrastinator.