I first met Dandapani at an Entrepreneurs Organisation event in Istanbul in 2012, I have since met him in Boston and then helped bring him to Barcelona to spend a day with our Entrepreneurs’ Organisation chapter.

Dandapani teaches some simple but highly important lessons about awareness and our mind, and how to be intentional about your life… and in particular your energy.

Video summary from Eugene Wong on LinkedIn

Wisdom from Dandapani

  1. Winning and social approval is not the motivation of the gold medal athlete. They do it to learn more about themselves. Winning or losing is not so important, it is about knowing who you are. Failure is like an enhanced moment to learn who you truly are.
  2. Your life now is a manifestation of where you direct your energy or a sum total of where you have been investing your energy.
  3. There’s people in your life that boost your energy. There are those who are energy neutral. Be kind and detached from your energy vampires. Give the work back to them.

How to Improve your Concentration

Dandapani tells us that there are 3 steps to practice that improve our concentration:

  1. Finish that which you begin
  2. Finish it well, beyond your expectations
  3. Do a little more than you think that you are able to do

Use these 3 steps in every area of your life: from making the bed in the morning, to tidying the kitchen, to reading to your child, to writing emails, to writing blog posts…

Further Resources on Dandapani’s lessons

Check out my previous videos and blog posts that were inspired by Dandapani:

How to be Resourceful

It is more valuable to be resourceful, than full of resources. It is more powerful to think in terms of possibilities, rather than what you could do with what you have now. Our imagination is an incredible gift, if we use it to imagine… not to find excuses.

“Poverty is not about a lack of resources, it is about a lack of dreams”

When times are difficult, it is easy for our mind to shrink back to our limitations. It takes a deliberate effort to shift our patterns of thought back towards possibilities. It is important for our spirits to remember our dreams. As a friend of mine says “If you have a dream and you know exactly how to achieve it, you don’t have a dream… you have a project” (Alden Mills).

In the video below, I share a pattern I have seen repeated in the language used by resourceful people.

Victor Frankl and the Source of Purpose

I often recommend people to read Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Frankl tells us that purpose is not something to be found outside. Purpose is not something written on a tablet for us to find in the environment. Purpose is something we decide to have. 

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognise that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” Viktor Frankl

If you liked this post, you will also like How to find Purpose and Self Belief: The Hero’s Journey and There are no They.

Charlie Munger on uncommon sense…

Competence – you can only be trusted as competent if you clearly understand the limits of your competence. The great danger of experts is they forget the limits of their expertise – “it is better to trust a man of 130 IQ who thinks he is 125 IQ, than to trust a man of 180 IQ who thinks he is 200 IQ” Warren Buffett

Inverting – if you want to make life better, think of what you would do to make life worse. Charlie was an aviation meteorologist during WWII. His task was to give weather briefings to pilots. His role was unclear until he thought of the inverted perspective “if I wanted to kill pilots as a meteorologist, what could I do? Flying with iced wings, flying in conditions they will be unable to land.” This really clarified for him the important aspects of his role in keeping pilots alive. In our own lives, asking “how would I really make my life worse?” can be a valuable perspective on what really matters.

Collector – be a collector. How many collectors do you know who are unhappy? Identify things or experiences that you enjoy collecting and become a curator of your collections.

Integrate ideas between domains – most people focus on details within the idea (especially academics), few people look at the interaction between big ideas. That’s where there’s not much incentive in academics, but it’s very interesting for investing money.

Occam’s razor- go for simple… with a proviso that was initially shared by Einstein “Everything should be made as simple as possible but not more so” Einstein. Anywhere there is a “lollapalooza result” (Charlie’s term for a hugely positive and rapid outcome)… look for a confluence of causes. Academic experts find one cause. To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. There are rarely just single causes for high impact outcomes.

The problems of Social science– all chemists can answer “where do the rules of chemistry not apply?” In the high temperature plasma state. how many social scientists can answer “if you want to sell more should you raise or lower the price?” Where does this rule not apply? 1 in 50 will say “luxury goods!” Many social scientists forget to think of the exceptional cases.

More on Charlie Munger’s thinking process

Charlie Munger’s Inverse Thinking Process

Short term Happy vs Long term Fulfilled

Addition

More, more, more… more projects, more goals, more connections… is the path to overwhelm.

Subtraction

Less, less, less… less projects, less goals, less connections… is the path to focus and renewal and energy.

I heard Mathew McConnachy in an interview yesterday. He said that back 10 years ago he was a movie actor, he had a production company, he had a music label and was promoting two artists… and he realized he was spread very thin… he was getting a C in everything. He shared a moment where he received a phone call from his team in the production company… and when he saw the caller id… he went “ugh” and he didn’t want to answer.

He immediately called his lawyer and said “I need to close these businesses down”.

I loved his metaphor that you can’t get As on everything in life. If you have no strategy for focus, for subtraction, you will spread yourself so thin that you guarantee that your best grade is a C+…. and there may be areas in your life where that is painful to you.

Learning to Subtract

There is so much out there on how to focus, how to have discipline, how to make progress…  

There is a lot less help on how to Subtract:

  • Letting go of things.
  • Closing chapters.
  • Saying No.

Subtraction and the Mid Life Crisis

Here’s a recent video of mine where I speak to this challenge – and how the need to subtract becomes most acute in “mid life” from 35 to 55 years old.  Before 35 you tend not to have enough skill, reputation, competence…  you need to be open to almost all the opportunities that come your way.  At 35 if you have developed competence and a positive reputation, you will start to be overwhelmed by opportunities.  If you don’t learn a new skill – Subtraction – you will grow to become a bitter and frustrated old person.

If you liked this post, you will also like Meaningful Contribution or The ABCs of a Fulfilling Life: Action, Belief, Curiosity, Discipline, Energy and Friends.

Happy Saint Patrick’s day.

There is an old Irish toast that I find poetic and moving. I’m sharing it here today on the occasion of Saint Patrick’s day. 

It is all the more touching given that we have travelled few roads and met few distant friends in the last 12 months due to the Covid pandemic.

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

The Origins and Meaning of the Poem

Celtic literature contains a strong connection between spirit and nature. The wind, the sun and the rain are important images in celtic story. I like the idea that spirituality is not abstract but deeply connected with the earth and nature and our surroundings. In my life, looking at high mountains and looking at sunrise or sunset over the sea are some of the most spiritually uplifting experiences.

In Irish, the first line is “Go n-éirí an bóthar leat”. It is more literally correct to translate as “May you succeed on the road”, the French equivalent of which is “bon voyage.”

I’ve been reviewing my purpose statement. I rewrote it earlier this year. The year of Covid shook up my routines and threw me out of balance. It took some discipline with mentors, coaches and my journal to get re-connected to why I get up in the morning.

My purpose is “to inspire and challenge others to do the most important work of their lives”.

This video is a reflection on the context necessary for someone to do the most important work of their lives.

The 4 Ingredients necessary to do the most important work of your life:

  1. Work on Important Problems
  2. Surround yourself with Great People
  3. Learn to Communicate effectively
  4. Play the Infinite game

If you enjoyed this post, you will also enjoy 22 Excuses that I use to not Do Important Work and Plant Acorns. Grow Oaks.

Our mindset creates our experience of life. With a poor mindset, my experience of life will suffer. With a better mindset, my experience of life will be of greater joy and resourcefulness.

What is Mindset?

Your mindset is your collection of beliefs that shape your thought habits.  Thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, what you perceive and what you do.  Mindset impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of your own place in the world.

We don’t notice everything that our senses detect. Our subconscious filters most of our sensory input and only passes a small amount on to our conscious awareness. If I am looking for danger, my subconscious filters will pass on more anxiety creating inputs.  If I am looking for things to be grateful for, my awareness will receive more inputs that reflect that search.

Test it for yourself: If you have never seen it, check out the gorilla experiment. It blew me away when I first experienced it.

To change your habits, change your mind…

When reading the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, the most profound insight that I took from the book was that to really change our habits, we have to change our self identity.  If I think of myself as unfit, no matter how hard I work to build a fitness habit, I will always be on an uphill struggle.  If I can change how I think about myself first, the habit formation becomes less of a challenge… and it will stay with me.

The way we see the world shapes our experience of life. How to shift your mindset?

Social Media Strategies

I’ve started sharing my videos on Linkedin and Instagram as well as YouTube. I used to try to centralise all my video activity on youtube, but I don’t know if there is any benefit to that these days. Linkedin is a much more powerful business network… so I’ll let you know how this experiment goes.  I’ve embedded from Linkedin this time… does that work for your viewer?

Have a great week.

 

My sister shared this poem with me many years ago as a powerful reflection on life.  What is important about a person’s life? The numbers, the material possessions… or something more…  A reflection for a Friday afternoon.

The Dash

By Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning…to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash…
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?

Other Poems on this Blog

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there was data… and it didn’t change the world.

…and then there were stories…

Karen Eber has spent her career helping leaders develop the culture of their organisations. She has learn that stories are the foundation blocks of building culture.

 

Further Story Resources