I’ve been using LinkedIn a lot lately, and one of the features I particularly like using is the ‘Recommendations’. You basically get to say nice things about someone you’ve worked with – a professional compliment on their awesomeness and expertise. You can give them to anyone in your network, or ask anyone in your network to give you one.
The thing I’ve noticed about recommendations though, is that not many people seem to have them. And even if they have some, it’s usually only one or two from their network of hundreds!
Does that mean they aren’t awesome people? No, not at all – they are fantastic people who do great work.
I watched a fascinating Ted Talk recently from teacher and psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth. There she outlined what separates a successful student who is able to achieve, from another who can’t quite hit their potential. It turned out that studies have proven it isn’t IQ level, family income/home situation, race, gender … it all comes down to one little, not often-mentioned quality – grit.
Gritty students are determined to achieve, and so they do. Same with people in corporate jobs, pilots-in-training … no matter what we set out to do, if we have a decent dash of grit in the mix, then we are much more likely to reach our goals.
So what is grit?
My partner introduced me to the concept of a ‘Control-Complete’ function. It’s what he uses to make sure that everyday tasks are completed mindfully. You ‘control’ the process of doing whatever it is that you’re doing – checking that the quality is good, the correct steps are being followed, you’re engaged and focused, and once it’s done, you make sure it is properly completed – perhaps you made dinner, but did dishes end up rinsed and in the dishwasher? You had that meeting, but did you send a follow-up email? With Control-Complete, it’s only when a task has been executed properly and closed off with all the boxes ticked that you can move on.
To me, this is being conscientious. Continue reading
Our roots are wild.
We’re descended from explorers, trail-blazers, hunters and foragers, pioneers, people who worked the land, faced down challenges, and had never heard of insurance.
It’s easy to forget that though when you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office on a padded chair, with only mental stimulus and your ready-made supermarket dinner waiting in the fridge at home.
Society wants to keep us tame, manageable, and easy to predict.
A friend who does a lot of work with charities tells me how businesses need to recognise the importance of being accessible – ‘We live in a diverse world … there’s people with disabilities, people from different cultures, speaking different languages – if businesses aren’t consciously making themselves accessible, they shut themselves off from thousands of potential customers.’
Apparently savvy organisations are setting budgets aside specifically for becoming more accessible.
I see the business sense in this. As I sit listening to her, I start to wonder how accessible I am.
Do people feel like they can approach me? Does my communication style cater for all different types of people from different walks of life? Am I the kind of person that others want to connect with, work with, do life with?
Sometimes I wonder how we all ended up so serious.
Working ‘real’ jobs, always aware of how we look and presenting the ‘right image’, making polite conversation over cheese and wine at networking events, going to committee meetings, following the rules, trying to impress others with our intelligence and social skills … when do we ever allow ourselves to be silly?!
Think about a person you like a lot.
Someone who is easy to introduce to others, seems to get on well with everybody, is always positive and upbeat …
Chances are that person is usually wearing a smile!
Happiness and positive energy seemed to be directly linked with this facial expression – it’s pretty hard to be grumpy when you’re smiling. Smiling releases endorphins, makes you look more attractive to others, and just generally lifts the mood wherever you are.
It would be nice if everyone out there was ready to give you a pat on the back when you need it. But sometimes even the best friends are too busy with their own problems to realise when a word of encouragement would really help.
That’s ok though – because you know who is always around? YOU! And it’s surprisingly easy and effective to become your own encourager.
The secret is to move beyond just thinking positive things (which is great!) to verbalising those things throughout the day (which is even better!).
Yes, that means talking out loud. To yourself. Like a crazy person. But hey, who first decided that was crazy anyway?
(Guest post from Sebastian Walter)
I once thought that in order to live a life in happiness I need to do what feels good and avoid what doesn’t. Chasing the sensual pleasure of riding perfect waves and avoiding anything that didn’t feel like fun, I came to think otherwise.
When we are merely chasing pleasant emotions and sensations we quickly find ourselves torn between things or conditions we either want or hope to avoid. We want to become successful, but avoid failing; we want pleasure, but no pain; we want inner peace and harmony, but become annoyed when our inner peace is interrupted. Shifting between grasping and avoidance develops in us an inherent, craving desire towards the one and negativity towards the other; an unstable foundation for building lasting happiness. Continue reading
I recently had the chance to meet Kim DotCom. I was told he’d be at the event from 2-4pm, and showed up at 2:45, excited to have a chat and ask him a couple of questions. Sure enough, there he was – trademark black cap on and surrounded by people. The event included free icecream, so my friend and I decided we’d grab some first before going over to the main attraction.
However, 2 minutes and 2 scoops of raspberry gelato later, Mr. DotCom was gone! No explanation either … perhaps something had come up back home at the mansion.
We stood there, gelato melting in hand and both feeling a little cheated – we were meant to have a whole hour left!