Creation – A Sioux Tribal Story

Just the other day a great friend of mine asked me "What do you have within you that is the best of you?" and it reminded me of a Sioux tribal story I’ve read a while back.
 
The Creator gathered all of Creation and said, "I want to hide a precious gift from Mankind until they are ready for it. It is the realization that they can create their own reality."
 
The Eagle said, "Give it to me, I will take it to the highest peak of the highest mountain."
The Creator said, "No. One day they will go there and find it."
 
The Salmon said, "Give it to me, I will bury it on the bottom of the ocean."
"No. They are explorers by nature and one day will conquer the deepest oceans too."
 
The Buffalo said, "I will bury it on the Great Plains."
The Creator said, "They will cut into the skin of the Earth and find it even there."
 
Grandmother Mole, who lives in the breast of Mother Earth, and who has no physical eyes but sees with spiritual eyes, said, "Put it inside of them. It is the last place they’ll look."
 
And the Creator said, "It is done."
 
We have more resources within us than we usually give ourselves credit for. Some of these resources only manifest themselves in times of need. And when that time passes, those capabilities remain dormant until they are needed again. Life is a journey. Where you are today is not where you are going to end up tomorrow. And where that is is within your grasp to determine.
 
How can you shape your own reality?
What resources do you have within you that can help you reshape your current reality?

New Article: A New Outlook On Failure

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“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

– J. K. Rowling

Failure is a vital part of our own growth as individuals and as a society. However, as a society, we collectively shun the fundamental part that it plays in our development and consequently, as individuals, we often look at failure as something to be penalized.

It is common for us – part of our nature – to confuse the things we do with who we are as a person. This is particularly dangerous when it comes to failure, as there’s the risk of starting to consider ourselves as Failures when we’re not successful – and of course, no one is successful all the time. Failure, just as success, is fleeting. Just as you’re not in a permanent state of bliss, you’re not in a permanent state of success nor failure.

Considering ourselves Failures, or considering others Failures causes us to become blind to opportunities for change. We become defensive, focusing on proven methods and on what is known to work and we leave no room for creativity, ingenuity and innovation. We often self-sabotage through procrastination, excessive anxiety or an inability to follow through with our goals, which might lead to low self-esteem or self-confidence, thinking we’ll “never be good enough to take on that job”.

In a downturn market, as the rate of failing businesses and unemployment soar, it is fundamental to be able to overcome failures and capitalize on them to build your success. The thing about failure is that you can decide how you look at it. You can choose to look at failure as the “end of the world” or as the learning experience that it often is. These lessons are very important; they’re how we grow, and how we keep from making that same mistake again.

Continue to the full article.

The Science of Motivation

An animation by RSA Animate, illustrating Dan Pink’s talk about his book “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”.

Did you know?

A very interesting, insightful and inspirational video on preparing students (and everyone of us) for the challenges of the XXI century.

The presentation is filled with interesting insights on the value of information and it’s rate of adoption, which is fundamental for all of us, who are fundamentally knowledge workers, to understand.

Decision Process

Before making a decision, first decide on how to decide.

We often tend to forget many of the tools or frameworks available to us when we have to make decisions. We end up procrastinating decisions just because we haven’t defined what the decision making process is.

I was recently reminded of this point as I sat in a meeting where no one could reach a decision because it had to be consensual, so everyone ended up discussing small and irrelevant details that added absolutely nothing to the topic at hand and consensus was reached only after a lengthy and mostly unproductive discussion. Have you ever been on a meeting like this?

After the meeting I had to ask myself why was it necessary for the decision to be consensual? Was it that relevant for everyone involved? I don’t think so. Was there any other way to make a decision and move on? I believe there was.

Situations like this often happen because there is no clear understanding about how decisions are to be made. So, before you have to make a decision first decide on how you’re going to decide. There are basically four ways to make a decision:

Commanding – Having all the information you need you make the decision yourself and communicate what it is. You find this decision making process in law enforcement and in the military, for instance.

Consulting – You need additional information so you consult whomever you need to get it. After having all the information the responsibility of making the decision is still yours and yours alone.

Consensus – The topic is relevant to everyone involved so everyone has to agree before moving forward. This model is usually the most time consuming of the four.

Voting – The quintessential democratic method. Everyone votes on the topic and a decision is reached based on the ballot (there are many ways to tally the votes).

Experience

In a previous post I mentioned the speech J.K. Rowling gave at the Harvard annual Alumni meeting. In her address, Rowling talks about the virtues of failure. It reminded me of a quote I heard once (I keep a little black book of quotes I find particularly insightful):

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Here’s my interpretation. A goal is a destination. Experience is the path that leads you to your goals. By following this path you gain experience and even if you end up not reaching your goal, there are still lessons to be learned from simply trying.

Insights In Unsuspecting Places

Isn’t it strange how sometimes you find answers and insights in the most unsuspecting places?

A while ago I was in Jamaica on holiday and I took a bus to go sightseeing. In the bus was a poster of the Jamaican bobsleigh team (a rare story in itself) and just below it was a sticker with the following words:

Together
Everyone
Achieves
More

I made a mental note of it, not only because of the content, but mainly because it was so unexpected to find it where and when I did.

The lesson I learned here was to be receptive and open-minded. Life sometimes provides us with the answers we need in the most unsuspecting places.

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