Monday, December 28, 2015

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


To forget one’s purpose
 is the commonest form of stupidity.
--- Nietzsche

Recall a moment in the last month when you felt an intense emotion pulling you away from your vision and core values that guide how you want to live your life—such as anxiety about a parent’s visit, or insecurity about how someone you just started dating feels about you, or fear of an imminent conversation, or a craving for unhealthy food or alcohol or sex.

Freeze yourself in this moment. What if you could access the awareness you have now while the moment was actually happening?

Now think back to a moment that you probably don’t have to search back a month—or even a day for that matter—to find.

You may not have to look back more than a few hours to remember a moment when you devoted your precious time to staring at the screen of your laptop, smartphone or tablet instead of doing something vitally important to you, such as having a meaningful conversation with someone you care about or refining a skill critical to your career or going for a walk and thinking about your life.

This week, ask yourself the question, “What guides my actions?” Follow it with another: “How do I keep myself moving toward these guiding values rather than becoming carried away with whatever I feel like doing in the moment?”

Reflect on these questions and design a few strategies to let your life vision—rather than your emotion du jour—direct how you approach 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, December 21, 2015

Smile, It's Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Make a Difference in the World


You’re either alive and proud or you’re dead, 
and if you’re dead you can’t care anyway.
--- Stephen Biko

During South Africa’s apartheid years, many Africans were ashamed of their skin color—the basis for their discrimination by the minority white population—and skin lightening creams were flying off the shelves.

In response, Steve Biko launched the Black Consciousness Movement, symbolized by the mantra “Black is beautiful.”

On September 11, 1977, he was arrested. While in police custody, the anti-apartheid leader sustained severe injuries from repeated clubbings to the head, which the police declared were “self-inflicted.”

After chaining him to a window grill for a day, the police loaded him into the back of a Land Rover, naked, and drove him almost seven-hundred miles to a prison in Pretoria. He died the next day from a brain hemorrhage.

After the end of apartheid twenty years later, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that five police officers confessed to torturing and killing Stephen Biko, and were applying for amnesty. They were never prosecuted.

When you read and hear about the persecution, subjugation, or mistreatment of others, or actions that trespass against the fundamental dignity of a human being, do you say, “This world is getting worse,” and then continue about your life?

Alternatively, like Biko, do you transform your feelings of anger at these transgressions into concrete actions to bring about change and help create the better world in which we all deserve to live?

This week, make a pact with yourself to continue the selfless journey begun by Biko, and to be alive and proud.

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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, December 14, 2015

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


Imagination needs moodling –
 long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.
--- Brenda Ueland

Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School conducted a study for over a decade on the work habits of 238 people, collecting over 12,000 diary entries. She found that people are more creative if they focus on something for some time without interruptions. Those constantly interrupted or forced to attend meetings, on the other hand, are less creative.

Are you able to truly concentrate on non-urgent tasks consistent with your most important life goals?

Alternatively, do you fool yourself into believing you are being creative despite spending untold hours on social media checking what people you don’t have the time to see in person did over the weekend?

If so, consider another study by David Meyer of the University of Michigan, who found that people who complete certain tasks in parallel take much longer and make many more errors than people who complete the same tasks in sequence.

Yes, I know that allocating a lengthy chunk of time to a single task seems like a vestige of a world gone by in which we no longer live. Yet our new distraction-prone habits, as Amabile and Meyer have discovered, are eroding our creativity and efficiency.

This week, stop for a moment and reflect on what’s most important to you: enjoying the adrenaline-inducing jolts of feeling stimulated and needed by those who want to play with you in a virtual universe, or working on creative, transformative projects that have the potential to truly make a difference in the world.

The choice, as always, is yours.

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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, December 7, 2015

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


Your self-time is a refueling for your everyday life, 
not a departure from it.
--- Anthony Silard

Taking time for deeper reflection does not mean neglecting your career, family or other responsibilities.

Many of my clients make complete life transformations by implementing such simple changes to their daily schedules as stopping work an hour earlier to go to the gym, or taking a thirty-minute walk during their lunch break, or leaving their laptop behind on family trips, or deciding not to check their emails on weekends.

As is also true in your other relationships, the only way to build your self-relationship is to make it a priority to spend time with yourself.

Does this rub you the wrong way, or make you feel self-indulgent?

I know it’s challenging to schedule time for yourself. Yet this is precisely why making even a moderate change to your daily routine holds such tremendous leverage and will immediately transform your life: it yields a ‘spillover effect’.

Once you step over this self-imposed hurdle and make it a priority to nurture your own well-being—even in a small way—you begin to feel loved by yourself. This love makes you feel worthy of happiness in even greater forms. This worthwhile journey really does begin with a single step!

This week, take this step. Schedule some solo time for deeper reflection: a walk in a park, a hike in the great outdoors, a meditation—anything that helps you reconnect and develop the relationship with the person you will spend more time with than any other in this lifetime: yourself.

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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).