Monday, January 28, 2019

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

Experience is a comb which a man 
gets when he becomes bald. 
---  Emerson

Life is an intriguing paradox: you are the spectator during the most fragile, vulnerable periods of your life, and the player when you are the most able.

As an infant and small child, you are the spectator. You connect with everything around you and observe it all with wondrous curiosity.

Then you become the player for decades. You spin through life and act the days away.

Over time, as you become older and (physically) weaker, the spectator takes over again, looks back on your life, and considers the player’s moves.

Many people ignore the spectator’s values and allow the player to do whatever she or he feels like in the moment.

There’s tremendous irony in the human tendency to wait until the game is almost over to become the spectator and understand the player’s motivations.

You can short-circuit this natural human inclination: If you want to live a happy, successful, and meaningful life, you can make the decision to get off the field and talk to the spectator now, not after it’s too late to do anything about what she or he has to tell you.

This week, come up with a novel way to connect with the spectator. Design a unique strategy that will enable you to integrate some time alone into your busy schedule so you can renew this connection.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

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

We live in a society bloated with data yet starved for wisdom. 
We’re connected 24/7, yet anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness are at an all-time high. We must course-correct. 
---  Elizabeth Kapu'uwailani Lindsey

Do you remember the expression, “Hang up and drive.” Here’s another that’s more appropriate for the digital era we live in, when very few people make phone calls anymore: “Stop texting and call.”

Make the decision to pick up the phone instead of engaging yet again in a textual exchange that does not make you feel very connected with the other person.

Why? Because 93 percent of communication has nothing to do with the words you write and send to someone, and everything to do with your and the other person’s nonverbal cues—smiling (or not), posture, gestures, tone of voice, and so on.

Without the social cue of our body language to either back up or contradict the words we share, you and the other person are biologically wired to distrust what is said.

Loneliness has a motivating aspect in that most people become more attentive to social opportunities in order to avoid it, a phenomenon called the “reaffiliation motive.”

In other words, we need people. Developing meaningful relationships is not “nice to do,” but “need to do.”

This week, pick up the phone and call someone who has that increasingly rare quality of being willing to answer or return your call promptly. Give them the social importance they merit in our increasingly disconnected society.

Let your phone call be but one step toward the renewal of your connections with others.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.