Monday, January 9, 2017

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan

Enlightenment lies on the 
other side of boredom.
---Anthony Silard

Have you ever heard someone say something along these lines: “I can’t believe they left me all alone,” or “Last weekend wasn’t a lot of fun. No one was around.” Many of us associate solitude with boredom. We don’t realize that within our boredom lies our freedom.

To reach a breakthrough in our lives, we have to break through boredom. I have taken many trips alone that have initially been characterized by boredom and loneliness and what-am-I-doing-here-in-the-middle-of-nowhere questions.

These anxiety-producing, uneasy experiences in the first hours and sometimes days have been followed by chance encounters, long walks that have enabled me to process the events transpiring in my life, self-understanding, the gradual emergence of inner peace, and finally resolve about what I value and how to proceed with my life once back in the mix.

The restoration of my relationship with myself has not been the only benefit of working through these challenging moments. The most important ideas I have come up with that have shaped my life and career have emerged in this way: by having the patience and inner determination to break through (boredom) to breakthrough.

Think about it: How will you find the creativity to better develop your relationships with others and enhance the impact you make in the world if you do not understand who you are and what you value?

This week, make a pact with yourself to break through your boredom. With some patience and a bit of luck, you will reach a breakthrough.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

Language... has created the word ‘loneliness’ 
to express the pain of being alone. 
And it has created the word ‘solitude’ 
to express the glory of being alone.
---Paul Tillich

How do you feel when you are alone? In research I conducted on loneliness with Sarah Wright at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, we distinguish between loneliness and solitude.

Loneliness is subjective—a negative, distressing emotional experience associated with being alone. Solitude, on the other hand, is merely the objective state of being alone without the negative emotional experience associated with it.

To illustrate, suppose you are physically alone, for instance walking in nature or sitting by yourself in a room. You have the choice to be either in a state of solitude or a state of loneliness. If you do not feel any negative emotions associated with being alone, you are experiencing solitude; if you do feel the negative emotions, you are experiencing loneliness.

This week, make a commitment to develop your relationship with yourself. Each day, spend a little more time with yourself until you find the good friend that awaits you within.

Once you encounter this part of yourself, you will cease to experience negative emotions such as insecurity, fear, anxiety, and distress when you are alone. Accordingly, you will cease to experience loneliness.

In addition, make an effort to get out there more and meet people. New friends are unlikely to just show up and knock on your door. The connections you develop with the people around you will also fill you with joyful feelings when alone that will help you to replace loneliness with aloneness.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, December 12, 2016

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan

Boredom is the feeling that everything 
is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.
---Psychologist Thomas Szasz

I’m convinced there are two kinds of people in the world: those who see time as abundant and don’t quite know what to do with all the time they have, and those who see time as scarce and never have enough time for all of their projects.

Most of us endure a hand-to-mouth existence in relation to time where we struggle to fill our days with the excess of time we don’t know what to do with. Others don’t exist, but live, experiencing each moment with a wondrous curiosity not unlike what we had (and most of us have since lost) as children.

What many consider to be vices—drugs, alcoholism, casual sex, over-consumption, shopping as a second vocation—are merely attempts to avoid the self. Boredom is what we feel when we have not dedicated time to develop this relationship with ourselves.

Like most things you fear, boredom is similar to a barking dog. Fear it, and it will chase you for the rest of your days. Confront it, and it will run away.

When you confront your boredom, you work through the stored emotions you’ve been avoiding. You face the deeper issues that have been festering within and leaving you feeling disconcerted and irritable, not unlike the feeling of having put off a term paper for months and becoming aware that it must be turned in soon.

This week, do something that enables you to clear your mind and begin experiencing the feelings deep within that have been awaiting your attention.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, November 28, 2016

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan

To a hammer, 
everything looks like a nail.
---Old proverb

It all started way back. As children, we take cues from our parents and other adults who wield power in our lives. We internalize what we think they think into our self-view.

When people who don’t love themselves or possess low levels of self-esteem become parents, they don’t know how to convey love to their children since they never received much of it themselves.

Instead, they are critical. Why? Because we always criticize others when we are critical of ourselves, and vice-versa. Their criticism, whether open or indirect, roughly translates as I don’t love you the way you are and You cannot be your true Self if you want my love—you must change.

As a result, we begin at a very early age to believe that receiving love depends on meeting certain conditions. We adopt the belief that we are unworthy of love and must mold ourselves into someone else in order to obtain it.

And why don’t we stand up and object against this tyranny? Because when we were children, our parents were so large in our minds that they were our world.

If they acted in an unhealthy way toward us, we couldn’t disagree with them, because to believe they were unhealthy and misguided would be to entertain the thought that our world was unhealthy and misguided. That would be too painful and would sweep the rug from under our feet.

Rather than blindly plodding along in the life you’ve inherited, take a bold step toward living the life you create.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Balance Work and Life

If you chase two rabbits, 
both will escape.
---Old proverb

I have found this proverb particularly instructive in my own life. If I don’t write as the first activity of my day, it usually doesn’t happen that day. (I am now writing this Smile, It’s Monday, for example, as my day’s first activity.)

Think about it: If you want to see a movie, where do you park? Do you park somewhere else and hope to make it to the movie? Alternatively, do you drive to the theater, park, and walk in to see the movie?

Whatever is most important to you, do it first.

Yet the problem may be that you are not sure which movie to see. As Marcel Proust sagely wrote, while there are many pleasures in life, the real question is which one is so important to you that you would be willing to forego all the others.

There are some areas of your life that do not require a value judgment on which is higher priority because they are mutually compatible—for example, loving your spouse doesn’t mean that going to work is a repudiation of him or her.

(The same, however, may not be true for staying at work over a reasonable number of hours, or refusing to miss a work meeting when your spouse wants you to accompany them to an important medical appointment.)

Take a moment to reflect upon what is most important to you in your career. Then meditate on what you most value in your personal life. Whatever they are, do them first.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined

Either write something worth reading
or do something worth writing.
---Benjamin Franklin

Staring death in the eyes can wake you up to life.

A colleague of mine is the CEO of a high-tech company in Palo Alto, California. Tom has a black belt and teaches kids karate on weekends. He lived for two years in China and speaks fluent Mandarin. He loves going to museums and learning about just about anything.

I was inspired for many years by how Tom was able to do so much with his life. I always wondered where he drew his energy from. A few years ago, I decided to ask him.

“I used to sit at home and do nothing all the time. I failed most of my classes in high school and was very involved with drugs,” Tom replied.

“One day when I was seventeen, I was driving drunk and crashed straight into a tree at forty miles per hour. I was in a coma for three months. The doctor told my family he didn’t think I would survive. I spent two years in a hospital bed wearing a body cast, not knowing if I would ever walk again.”

“That gave me a lot of time to think,” Tom continued. “I vowed that if I ever got out of that hospital, I would make the most of my life.”

Make a pact with yourself to make the most of the limited time you have left on this planet. Embark on activities that will enable you not merely to exist, but to live.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, October 17, 2016

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Balance Work and Life

My best ideas—those that deviate more from the norm and 
are more likely to break common assumptions, or in other 
words, be more groundbreaking, come to me on vacation: 
I have a theory that the truth is never told 
during the nine-to-five hours.
---Hunter S. Thompson

One of the best strategies I know of to take more time away from work is to commit yourself to taking vacations by booking them in advance.

If you can schedule blocks of time to work on an important work project, why can’t you schedule blocks of time to just play and have fun with the people you love or on your own?

What are you living for anyway? If you can’t enjoy yourself along the way, what’s the point of working in the first place?

Taking time to become a well-rounded person rather than an office drone means scheduling trips in advance and spending some time planning them just as you so easily schedule time to plan your work goals.

As with work goals, planning vacations dramatically increases your chances of making them happen.

Committing yourself to a vacation (and, hence, your inner well-being) is important because otherwise it’s too easy to keep putting it off in the name of productivity, more money, and all of your other worldly concerns.

I’ve taken more vacations than I can count that I wouldn’t have taken if I hadn’t planned them ahead of time because of the work pressures in the weeks leading up to lift-off. Do you think I regret even one of those vacations?

Every single time I have returned to work rejuvenated, more productive, and with much more innovative ideas for completing the projects I’m working on.

This week, dedicate some time to researching and scheduling your next vacation.
_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).