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.
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.
Your life now is a manifestation of where you direct your energy or a sum total of where you have been investing your energy.
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:
Finish that which you begin
Finish it well, beyond your expectations
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:
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:
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?
Life is too short to figure everything out on your own.
Humans spend the years from birth to 12 learning how to survive. Our parents have a vested interest in helping us develop the Stop there: we merely survive.
We live in a highly complex society. There is intense competition for status in whatever hierarchy you compete in. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to compete or not, society and humanity are designed to compete for resources. It is not those born strong that rise to the top of status hierarchies in today’s human society. It is those who learn to use their capacities most effectively and adapt quickly to changes in the environment.
There are two ways we learn to make positive progress in this society – 1) our own experience, or 2) through the experiences of others. Our own experience is a slow and expensive way of learning.
If I am to choose to learn most effectively, through the experiences of others, I must learn the art of meaningful conversation. Through my work with Entrepreneurs’ Organisation forum and Vistage groups I have worked extensively over the last 15 years on creating the type of meaningful conversation that allows one to learn from the experiences of another.
I’m sharing 4 ideas that I took from Jordan Peterson’s book the 12 Rules for Life when I read it this year.
“Your current knowledge has neither made you perfect nor kept you safe”
Your knowledge is insufficient. You must accept this before you can converse philosophically, instead of pushing opinions, convincing, oppressing, dominating or joking.
“Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t”
It is necessary to respect the personal experience of your conversational partners. You must assume that they have reached careful, thoughtful, genuine conclusions (and, perhaps, they must have done the work that justifies this assumption). You must believe that if they shared their conclusions with you, you could bypass at least some of the pain of personally learning the same things (as learning from the experience of others can be quicker and much less dangerous).
It takes conversation to organise a mind
“people organize their brains with conversation. If they don’t have anyone to tell their story to, they lose their minds.” The input of the community is required for the integrity of the individual psyche.
“Life is short, and you don’t have time to figure everything out on your own”
They say Aristotle was the last man who knew everything there was to know. Since the time of Aristotle (over 2300 years ago) society has become too complex for any one individual to know all that is known.
When I was in school, I took huge value in solving from first principles. I would prefer to solve mathematic problems from first principles and avoid using formulaic recipes that allowed you to shortcut to a solution. This was symptomatic of my whole approach to life. If I hadn’t figured it out myself, I didn’t value the knowledge. There is a heroic valor to this approach, but it is dumb heroics.
This week I had the privilege of listening to Toni Nadal, coach of #1 tennis legend Rafa Nadal, share his story with the Vistage community. He spoke about his approach to helping Rafa prepare for difficult times. The central focus of Toni was removing all excuses from Rafa’s mindset.
How to Prepare for Difficult Times
Lessons from the life of Rafa Nadal
The Struggle is the Way. It was important for Toni Nadal to help Rafa learn to love the struggle, to accept that nothing worthwhile comes easily.
He worked in practice on Rafa’s capacity to stay the course, to struggle to the end, to fight to the last minute of practice, the last point in a match.
“An excuse has never won a match”
The excuse may be true, it may not be my fault, but only when I completely accept responsibility for my current situation can I find the power to change the path.
Your excuses are all correct.
Rafa: “It was hot” -> Toni: “It must have just have been hot on half the court?”
Toni Nadal worked on character, not on ability
Character gets you through the tough times
Where is your Locus of Control, 2 choices:
Me as responsible,
World as responsible
I only have power to change my life when I take responsibility for my current and future situation.
It is easy to Give Up
It is easy to complain
It is easy to find reasons to stop fighting
It is easy to give up
It is easy to say that today is not your day
It is easy to say that tomorrow will be better
It won’t be…
Not until you change.
You can use your mind in two ways -> find the excuse, or find the resourcefulness to get through.
If you search for excuses you are guaranteed to find excuses. The smarter you are, the better your excuses.
If you want to throw in the towel, throw in the towel. Just get that life is an uphill struggle…
The habits that matter are uphill habits Exercise, Listening, Getting clear on your goals… these take work
Donuts, Complaining and putting the TV on… these just flow down easily.
In the most recent edition of James Clear’s weekly newsletter, he shared this gem on improving your quality of life.
Be “Selectively Ignorant”
Ignore topics that drain your attention.
Unfollow people that drain your energy.
Abandon projects that drain your time.
Do not keep up with it all. The more selectively ignorant you become, the more broadly knowledgable you can be.
What or who do you need to start ignoring?
We cannot control how the news will make us feel, but we can decide whether to watch it or not. We cannot control how someones words will make us feel, but we can decide to spend time with people who want the best for us. Choose who and what you let into your mind.
Covid is a physical disease, but the wider impact will be on the mental health of the billions who have been hit by the economic shutdown.
Who do you feel is struggling to keep things together?
Every single one of us has incredible power to lift up the spirits of the people that are around us. It requires a choice. It is harder when you are struggling yourself. It is important. The people around you need your leadership.
How can we help those around us feel good about themselves?
In the video, I share 3 ideas.
Let them help you
Shine a light on their strengths
Who needs your attention today? Who around you would benefit from a few minutes of facetime or skype or a phone call?
If an oyster keeps all the sand out of his shell, he lives a life of comfort. At the end of his life, you find a dead oyster… in an empty shell.
If a grain of sand enters the oyster’s shell, he loses his life of comfort. In order to protect himself from irritation, the oyster will begin covering the sand with layers of nacre. Layer upon layer cover the grain of sand until the pearl is formed.
When an oyster is bothered by a grain of sand, it creates a pearl.
If the oyster lives this uncomfortable period in their life, at the end of his life you find more than a dead oyster… you find a pearl.
Don’t wish for less problems.
Our problems allow us to create our pearls. When we remove challenge from our life, we remove growth from our life.
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