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:

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.

 

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.  

If you liked this post, you will also like How do I become a better listener and 50 Questions for better Critical Thinking.

Check out the full list of books I read in 2020.

 

 

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.

If you liked this post, you will also like Notes from Cicero and 4 Steps to Stop Self-Sabotaging.

The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain.  As it tires, your brain looks for shortcuts.  The 2 most common decision avoidance tactics are:

  • to act impulsively (without seeing the consequences of the decision)
  • to procrastinate (do nothing)

Taking decisions takes willpower.  Willpower is a form of mental energy that can be exhausted. It is like a muscle that gets fatigued with use.

There are a limited number of good decisions that one can take in a day.  You might be a more effective decision maker than those around you, but you will still have a finite limit on the number of good decisions you can take in a day.

Decision Fatigue for Leaders

How do you Ration your decision making?

In the toughest days of my life as a CEO – dealing with the fallout from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the collapse in bank lending at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, I hit my limits of decision fatigue.  In order to get through the weeks and have energy to deal with the things that would allow us as a business to get through these tough times, I rationed my decision making.

The first step was to specify when and where I would take decisions.  (Initially… when: on a Friday; where: only in my office).  Previously my team would approach me at any time in the day, over coffee, over lunch, via email, via sms to request budget for small projects or permission to do some new activity.  I felt responsable as leader for providing an immediate answer.  It was killing me and leaving me with no energy to dedicate to building our future once we survived the immediate crisis.

“That’s great, bring it on Friday…”

I decided that I would take all budget decisions on a Friday between 9-12.  If someone came to me with a request, I learnt to say “that’s great, bring it on Friday and we can take a decision”.  It was hard at first, people were frustrated and angry and didn’t like my lack of willingness to engage at the time and place that they wanted.  Over the following months, the people around me learnt to plan ahead and bring the information necessary to take a good decision on the Friday before they needed the decision.

It gave me peace at lunchtimes, in the break area, even in my office when someone opened the door on a Tuesday.   It was a challenge to remove my sense of responsibility to decide at all moments.  I learnt to be able to have a conversation where I could contribute ideas, but allow it to be clear that no final decision would be taken during this discussion.

When One decision is not really One decision…

My wife realised that one of her struggles with going to the gym is that it was never just one single decision.  Each trip to the gym was a series of decisions: do I change at home or at the gym? do I shower at the gym or at home?  will I eat there or not?  which t-shirt will I bring? which trainers will I use today? which bag will I use?  As the idea of gym came up, her brain knew that it would be exhausted by the series of 20 decisions.  Her solution?  She wrote down all the questions that she used to ask herself and wrote the answers.  She make going to the gym become one simple decision, with a written template of pre-decided answers (shower=yes, trainers=blue, eat=there…)

In Vistage one of the first processes of change that we see in a new CEO member, is a greater awareness of which decisions they should be taking and which decisions they should not be taking.

Are you taking €10,000 decisions, €100 decisions or €1 decisions?  

If you are taking the €1 decisions, your brain’s decision willpower will be depleted before lunchtime.

If you are taking the €1 decisions, your €10,000 decisions will not be receiving the analysis and impact that they deserve.

Jack Welch spoke about the size of decisions that he allowed himself to be taking.  GE is a multi-billion business.  As leader Jack allowed himself to only be taking decisions that could affect at least $50M of the market capitalisation.  

Steve Jobs is famous for having a wardrobe full of identical blue jeans and black t-shirts.  It was not a fashion decision, it was a conservation of decision willpower for the important decisions of Apple.  Barrack Obama speaks about a similar challenge as President of the USA.  He set up a structure around him that ensured that he would take no more than 5 important leadership decisions in a day.

The Structure of Leadership Decision Making

The Vistage Decision Model captures 60 years of experience of working with CEOs as they take operational and strategic decisions to lead their companies and their lives.  There are 3 levels of Decision “skill” – Instinct, Judgement and Perspectives.  There are 5 areas of leadership decision: Talent, Operations, Financials, Customers and Leadership Style.

The Vistage Decision Model

Learn More about the Vistage Decision Model

Jeff Bezos of Amazon has a very clear view on how to dedicate his time as a leader of his business:

  • Time working on the Future
  • Time working in the Present

How does Jeff allocate his time?

50/50?  80/20?  90/10?…

What do you think is the allocation of time that Jeff aims for himself?  What is the allocation of time in your life as a leader?  Watch the video for Jeff’s answer.

(If you want to skip all the introduction and go straight to Jeff’s answer, go to 3:05 in the video or click Jeff Bezos’ ideal allocation of CEO time)

If you liked this idea from Jeff Bezos, check out Amazon: Why Jeff Bezos banned Powerpoint and Jeff Bezos on High Standards (and why you don’t achieve your goals).

The term “archetype” means original pattern in ancient Greek. Jung used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He identified 12 universal, mythic characters archetypes reside within our collective unconscious.

Jung defined twelve primary types that represent the range of basic human motivations.  Each of us tends to have one dominant archetype that dominates our personality.

The 12 Jungian Archetypes

  1. Ruler
  2. Creator/Artist
  3. Sage
  4. Innocent
  5. Explorer
  6. Rebel
  7. Hero
  8. Wizard
  9. Jester
  10. Everyman
  11. Lover
  12. Caregiver

What do each of the 12 archetypes seek?

The 4 Cardinal Orientations

The 4 cardinal orientations that the archetypes are seeking to realise are:

  1. Ego – Leave a Mark on the World
  2. Order – Provide Structure to the World
  3. Social – Connect to others
  4. Freedom – Yearn for Paradise

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The 12 Archetypes in Detail

Detailed Description of Desires, Fears and Talents of each of the 12 Archetypes

The Ego Types

1. The Innocent

  • Motto: Free to be you and me
  • Core desire: to get to paradise
  • Goal: to be happy
  • Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
  • Strategy: to do things right
  • Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
  • Talent: faith and optimism
  • The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.

2. The Everyman

  • Motto: All men and women are created equal
  • Core Desire: connecting with others
  • Goal: to belong
  • Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
  • Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
  • Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
  • Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense
  • The Everyman is also known as: The good old boy, regular guy/girl, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.

3. The Hero

  • Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
  • Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
  • Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
  • Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
  • Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
  • Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
  • Talent: competence and courage
  • The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.

4. The Caregiver

  • Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
  • Core desire: to protect and care for others
  • Goal: to help others
  • Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
  • Strategy: doing things for others
  • Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
  • Talent: compassion, generosity
  • The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.

The Soul Types

5. The Explorer

  • Motto: Don’t fence me in
  • Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
  • Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
  • Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
  • Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
  • Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
  • Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
  • The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

6. The Rebel

  • Motto: Rules are made to be broken
  • Core desire: revenge or revolution
  • Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
  • Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
  • Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
  • Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
  • Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
  • The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.

7. The Lover

  • Motto: You’re the only one
  • Core desire: intimacy and experience
  • Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
  • Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
  • Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
  • Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
  • Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
  • The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.

8. The Creator/Artist

  • Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
  • Core desire: to create things of enduring value
  • Goal: to realize a vision
  • Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
  • Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
  • Task: to create culture, express own vision
  • Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
  • Talent: creativity and imagination
  • The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.

The Self Types

9. The Jester

  • Motto: You only live once
  • Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
  • Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
  • Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
  • Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
  • Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
  • Talent: joy
  • The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.

10. The Sage

  • Motto: The truth will set you free
  • Core desire: to find the truth.
  • Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
  • Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
  • Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
  • Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
  • Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
  • The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

11. The Magician

  • Motto: I make things happen.
  • Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
  • Goal: to make dreams come true
  • Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
  • Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
  • Weakness: becoming manipulative
  • Talent: finding win-win solutions
  • The Magician is also known as:The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.

12. The Ruler

  • Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
  • Core desire: control
  • Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
  • Strategy: exercise power
  • Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
  • Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
  • Talent: responsibility, leadership
  • The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.

A Corporate Perspective on Jungian Archetypes

Which well known corporate brands are representative of each of the archetypes?

If you liked this post, you will also like Why Business Leaders Hire Coaches and What is a Story?.

Further Personality Resources

Conor explaining the Big 5 Personality Traits…

Other Personality Profile tools to understand yourself and those around you:

What is your dominant archetype?  I’d love to hear in the comments below 😉

This video is about the 4 seasons of nature, and the 4 seasons of our life.

Farmers understand the seasons – they don’t plant in autumn and try to reap a harvest in winter… they know that spring is for planting, summer is for nurturing and autumn is for reaping.

In our own lives we have these seasons. If you can recognise the seasons of your life, you can keep a better perspective and clarity about what you are seeking to achieve.

Stay strong… and remember: all winters come to an end and spring, the window of opportunity will come again.

I mentioned Brandon Dempsey’s blog post: How to cautiously and successfully reap the rewards of your hard work