Monday, August 19, 2013

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

Just because they say “Action” doesn’t mean you have to do anything.
--- Advice given by Al Pacino to Jesse Eisenberg, star of the 2010 film The Social Network

In a recent interview, Eisenberg shared that the veteran actor’s advice on a film set in 2005 “helped me think of acting as something that I was in control of.” What are some of the ways others say “Action” to you? You most likely deal with situations where others shout at you, push your emotional triggers, look at you expectantly, or try to guilt you into doing what they want. Pacino’s advice is extremely powerful: you don’t have to do anything. Your response can be no response. About fifteen years ago, I naively asked an elderly Vietnamese villager what the war was like. I have never forgotten his chillingly wise response: “I choose silence.” You, not others, are in control of your actions. No one else can climb a ladder into your brain and force your lips to move. Pick a situation that’s currently taking place in your life and ask yourself if your actions are originating from your inner wisdom or if they are re-actions, or ‘second actions’ determined by the ‘first actions’ of others. If you’re having the same old relationship argument for the 56th time this year, ask yourself how you will reconnect with your values and use compassion, empathy and assertiveness to move the relationship in a better direction. If you’re constantly defending yourself at work, consider how you will choose silence at times and let your performance do the talking. Whatever the situation, the next time your buttons are pushed, practice taking a pause, slowing down, and reconnecting with your deepest values before determining how you will or won’t respond.

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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 each 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).

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