Monday, October 26, 2015

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


Your definition of happiness 
creates your unhappiness.
--- Anthony Silard

If you are like most people, you have probably subscribed to the happiness myth. You create an ideal state in your mind, attach the word “happiness” to its attainment, and then refuse to allow yourself to feel happy until your current reality corresponds with this mental image—which rarely happens.

When you seek happiness or comfort, you may obtain it for a fleeting moment. Yet it will soon fade and leave you feeling vacant and unfulfilled.

“So how do I become happy?” you may be thinking. First, by recognizing this truth: Happiness is what you experience when you remove the mental constructs that make you unhappy.

These mental constructs, or your concept of happiness—status, a vacation home, a promotion, an orgasm, perfect health, recognition, affection, a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse or children or grandchildren (the cycle of purportedly happiness-inducing life events never ends)—glitter like gold, but you become shackled by them because most of the time when you steer in their direction, you steer away from your life Vision.

This week, take some time out of the mix to reflect on the underlying beliefs that guide your daily actions. Ask yourself, “What do I equate with happiness?” Then ask yourself one simple question: Why?

Meditate on the beliefs you inherited from your parents or others that suggest you are only “good enough” if you achieve certain milestones. Create new, unconditionally self-nurturing beliefs that permit happiness to once again enter into your life.

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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).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader


Listen to the whispers 
and you won’t have to hear the screams.
--- Cherokee saying

Many managers come to me perplexed about why their employees don’t work harder. Most of these managers rely principally on financial incentives to motivate their employees.

Organizational research indicates that financial incentives are overrated. In fact, they often undermine motivation.

Two innovative studies by Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School support this notion. The first demonstrates that on tasks ranging from making collages to inventing stories, the simple promise of reward reduces creativity. In the second, asking creative writers to think about receiving a reward even for five minutes causes them to write less creatively.

These studies demonstrate that once people believe they are performing a task to receive an external reward, they pay less attention to their intrinsic motivation that led them to perform the task in the first place.

I am not suggesting you stop offering your employees bonuses or pay raises. A better approach may be to combine external rewards with other rewards that foster a variety of internal motivations.

A more influential position in the organization, increased responsibility, a flexible schedule, an opportunity to teach others what they’ve learned, or more interesting tasks to perform daily could become coveted rewards in your organization.

Ask your employees two simple questions this week: First, what they most desire to gain from their work; and second, how they would approach their job if they could do anything they wanted. Help them to dream. Then make your best effort to transform some of their dreams into reality.

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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).

Monday, October 12, 2015

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


In the absence of clearly defined goals, 
we become strangely loyal 
to performing daily trivia until 
ultimately we become enslaved by it.
--- Robert Heinlein

In the oil mills of ancient India, bulls called kolhu ka bail used to tread around and around in circles to grind mustard seeds. The mill owners would put a collar around the bull, tie a piece of wood to the collar, and dangle a wisp of straw from the wood in front of the bull’s head.

The bull would keep trying to eat the straw. Each time it bit at the straw, it would go slightly forward and continue grinding the oil seeds. While the kolhu ka bail would never actually reach the straw, bulls are persistent animals and this proved an effective way of keeping them perpetually moving in circles and grinding the seeds.

We are like these ancient bulls.

For us, the wisp of straw is an empty Inbox. With each email, or Facebook message, or IM, or SMS or WhatsApp message we send, we think we will finally reach the straw, achieve completion and be successful.

Yet we send fifty brief electronic chunks of text and within hours—even minutes sometimes—a score of new replies have arrived from our friends and colleagues who are also trying to make a meal out of the ever-elusive straw.

This week, come up with one simple strategy to stop chasing straw: one means of stepping away from your screen and embracing the beauty of the physical world around you and the people who inhabit it—in real time.

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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).

Monday, October 5, 2015

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


The artist who aims at perfection
in everything achieves it in nothing.
--- Eugene Delacroix

A very human tendency is to become agitated and unhappy when we are not generating the results we feel we need in an area of our life, and then to consequently lose sight of our vision for how to enhance our effort and bring about change in this area.

When this happens, we tend to lose our capacity to make good decisions. Ironically, we end up losing our effectiveness in the same area of our life on which we’re over-focused.

A good test for whether you are over-focused in any specific area of your life is if you have an inability to function well or feel content in the present moment except when you are focusing on it.

The reality is we tend to become over-focused on one dimension of our lives when there is something we want that we don’t yet have in this dimension, or we feel uneasy with its incomplete state, or we feel a lack of confidence with respect to it.

Deep down, we want more proclamations of love, or a marriage proposal, or a promotion, or to have reached a sales target at work, and we’re not sure if we’ll ever receive it.

This week, make an effort to replace your uneasiness about something not going the way you desire in your life with confidence in your ability to influence its trajectory and, in a broader sense, to handle whatever comes your way.

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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).