Sunday, March 4, 2018

An apple a day is healthy if it does not stay until the next day… – Reason 32

Imagine you buy a green apple.  Can you see it in your mind screen?  Fresh, looks tasty and wonderful…  Don’t eat it!  Let’s suppose you just forgot it in a bag you seldom use.  After many weeks, you get out the bag again and you find the same apple still there…  What do you see now?

It is probably gone brown and rotten, and you can’t imagine how you even wanted to eat it!

When something happens, there is a tendency to hold on to it somewhere in our mind and heart.  In fact, if that is good, just like the example of a green apple, after a time it becomes bad too and for some reason, people keep going over the same bad situations again and again, more than with good things. 

As time passes by, it poisons the personality and the mind creates a habit of thinking negatively.  A leader however doesn’t store the ‘apples’ of situations in this way.  How?  Although it is not possible, or at least very difficult, to prevent bad circumstances to take place, leaders approach it differently.

First of all a leader wouldn’t let an apple like that remain uneaten.  Eat the apple is a metaphor to accept all situations in life and to deal with them instead of postponing decisions.  Sometimes apples are sweet and you eat them raw, other times you have to cook them, so they taste better; no matter what, the sooner you deal with it, the easier it will be, and a leader knows it.

Second, a leader will be able to do something with the situation, so that acceptance does not turn into a synonym for suffering.  To learn lessons, to develop other aspects of personality and to enjoy positive company are some of the possibilities related on how to eat the bitter apples life gives us.

Third, a leader will keep his or her heart clean and open to new experiences, so that no rotten apples are left in the bag.  Many more things will come in the future and this attitude will help the leader to be light and to face circumstances in a better way, open to new ‘apples’ yet to come.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Even small things that happen to you contribute to your personal development – Reason 31

My first job was such that I don’t ever include it in my curriculum.  However, I learned so much from it; small lessons that help me to keep organised in a very fast-paced world.

There is always something that will help you to be a better person, if you just take the time to look for that, no matter what it is.

Leaders do take their time to look at everything that happens to them and by doing that, they are able to transform a seemingly useless situation into opportunities for personal growth.

Take for instance a person like Steve Jobs[1], arguably one of the most important leaders in the field of technology.  In his speech at Stanford, he summarised his experiences in life; casting light on at least one thing that wouldn’t look as important, but had a huge impact in computing as we know today.

When he could not afford college, he took classes which would not be considered so relevant to his profession: calligraphy.  That changed a world where computers were not supposed to offer aesthetics and Jobs thought differently, and he was right about it.  Not only does his computer offer a good image for writing or for graphics in general, but all personal computers in the world have now that aim, following Jobs’ example.

If you are a leader, remember how in a few years these things you are doing that may seem boring or irrelevant may turn part of your life and your gift to the world.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)

[1] Steve Jobs is arguably one of the most influential people for the 20th and 21st centuries.  He is the founder of Apple Computer and an inspiration for many of the inventions that are part of people’s day-to-day lives.  For his well-known speech at Stanford University:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A leader may teach others, but also learn from them – Reason 30

We have a world filled with natural teachers, people who easily explain to others how to do something, what the meaning of life is and how to be a better person.  As world teachers, we enrich each other with new perspectives and we correct each other’s behaviour, with the aim to help them to be better and to promote harmony in our society.

At the same time, we are a world of eager students learning from others at every step.  Due to this, we change because we observe others, we understand what they are doing, we discern and then we replicate it in our own actions.

However, an obstacle in our development process is the fact we pose as teachers when we should be quiet and learn, or we try to be students when others are waiting for us to give an example.  Being a leader means to know what to be at what time.

A leader is the one who is silent when it is time to learn from others and to change his or her behaviour.  In that sense, a leader will be like a child with eagerness to learn and improve and also like a wise person who knows she or he does not know it all.

At a time of teaching, a leader will look for ways to encourage others to do things differently without it seeming like correction.  Best of all, a leader will follow up and make sure others have understood the lesson they gave through their example.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The power of cooperation gives context to the world – Reason 29

If someone would describe the world today in about 50 years’ time, they could use a spider web as an analogy.  On one hand, the web we are living is strong and interconnected; on the other hand, just as a child could break it, our huge human network is as fragile.

For everyday people, to know how to manage life in this web is part of the big challenge and many times the person can feel like a fly that is caught up in it.  For a leader, the fact we are a network is an advantage, since she or he constantly has a task to perform, or an activity that is probably bigger than her or his capacity.

Leaders replace old paradigm of bosses who use their authority as a means to impose order and to get people to contribute with cooperation as a natural skill to get the same results but with different consequences.

Leaders easily learn to navigate in this big human web and how to capitalise this huge potential.  An example of that comes from former USA President Bill Clinton who touched that topic in a notable paper for the International Monetary Fund, with the indicative title The Power of Cooperation[1]He describes the possibilities of cooperation and results, silently showing their advantages in relation to former paradigms like conquer and win.

That goes beyond politics and global scenarios: for a leader, cooperation starts from within, from his or her own conviction and the natural sense of giving help to others.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)

[1]The Power of Cooperation.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A leader embraces those who create obstacles just like a student to a teacher - Reason 28

One of the beautiful things about being a leader is that criticism is welcome as it helps the person to improve.  Instead of getting upset by what others may say, a leader will embrace feedback and use it constructively.

For a leader, life is more than just living: it is an adventure, a book to be written and the most important university.  When he or she focuses on the university aspect, as good as the teachers are, the better the lessons will be.

The person who insults you is in fact a friend in disguise or a teacher who is interested in helping you to improve and to be an even better leader.

Maybe their method or manner of speaking is questionable, but since it is often unavoidable to have people opposing you, being a leader converts a normally annoying situation into a chance to grow.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Silence is precious - Reason 27

Silence solicits varied responses.  For some people it represents the ideal moment to go within, to relax and to have new ideas.  Others think of it as a punishment, a signal of isolation and something to avoid.

For a leader, silence is a beautiful experience he or she is eager to have.  It is a creative laboratory that enables the connection with the world outside to be broken so that she or he is able to tap into their inner creative energy without any external distractions.  It does not represent an escape from others or situations, on the contrary it is a chance to understand them and to pave the way for better relationships and a better handling of circumstances.

A leader may do that using meditation, reflection, a yoga practice or contemplation.  Whatever method it is, it will give the leader much more than relaxation – silence is an unforgettable experience that transforms old habits of perception.

For a leader, the conscious practice of silence can emerge all the abilities and qualities she or he keeps inside, stimulating creativity and giving the leader a powerful edge at the time of solving problems.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Your main wealth is your wisdom - Reason 26

Information comes every day.  It flows from the pores of our civilisation, from gadgets we create and maintain with the hope of improving our lives.  Go and talk to an illiterate person whose children or grand-children were able to go to university, the temple of information, and you will listen to the changes in their lives that go beyond physical: attitude is affected, perspective becomes different and lifestyle turns into a new direction.

Information that is relevant may be called knowledge and you cannot deny its impact at present.  However, if you talk to someone who graduated from college and has been hired by a company, you may find that not everything they studied has proved useful.

Some people are able to discern all the bits and bytes of information that are unnecessary or excessive, avoiding them, and turn what is necessary into a transformational knowledge.  A leader is able to take one step further and convert it into wisdom.

Wisdom comes from knowledge that is well applied, modified by lessons, experiences and experiments, by becoming part of the way the person reflects, thinks, talks and acts.  If information is like molecules, we could say knowledge is like coal and wisdom is a diamond.

Wisdom will guide the leader, by helping him or her to guide others, sharing that diamond.

(Excerpt from the book 82 Reasons to be a Leader)