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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

May you live your life...

Thoughts to inspire, thoughts to provoke, thoughts to reflect, thoughts to oppose… as long as thoughts and ideas stir up something, whether it be support or opposition, I feel they are dong their job: stimulating dialogue, reflection, learning, and expansion of our minds.

Below some thoughts and ideas from people alive and deceased, known and unknown. May it stir you up, may it create brain activity.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant: May you live your live as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.

If you think about this, what a burden this would be, but also what an eye opener and a shocker. Just living like this even one single day opens your eyes to the sometimes huge discrepancy between how we think we live according to our values, and how we really live and treat people, nature, property, and animals. How aligned are you and I really with what we say our values and priorities are?

Harvard Professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George: Be likeable, but don’t make decisions just so others will like you.

A distinction too often forgotten: Likeability refers to things such as showing interest in others, treating people with respect and dignity, being kind and helpful, and acting honestly. This is very different from making decisions so others will like you, which stems from a deep-seated drive to avoid discomfort and pain, or perceived discomfort and pain. This in turn keeps many of us from doing what’s better, what’s best, or just what’s right in the face of pending disapproval and opposition. Thinking mistakes are generally at the heart of this mechanism rather than just plain lack of assertiveness or personal courage: We often exaggerate the possible consequences of unpopular decisions. We often treat temporary loss of approval as permanent or long-term. We often generalize opposition to one of our many actions as opposition to our total person and all our actions. This is not smart, this is not according to reality, and it certainly isn’t helpful in creating a more honest, transparent environment in which we really learn and decrease blind spots, stalemates and unnecessary compromises.

Greek philosopher Thales: The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.

I think it’s not so much knowing yourself that is difficult, but acknowledging what you know about yourself, and acting on it. Sometimes we are too proud, other times we are too afraid. We too often (and the ‘we’ includes ‘me’ of course) choose to remain blind to our own critical flaws. We might choose a couple of minor shadow sides to work on or to work around, but are we courageous enough to handle the significant ones? And maybe this is not even the right question. As positive psychology and its results has taught us, the longtime focus on improving our weaknesses may show less results than leveraging our strengths more effectively. Either way, truth to what you know about yourself and acknowledging your whole person and the effects of both your strengths and your weaknesses still leaves much to improve on for most of us.

Blogger ‘Leadership Freak’: Get what you want by wanting the right things.

I believe there are many different ways in which we are suffering from wanting the wrong things. We often chase objectives according to what our superiors, our loved ones, our social status, or any other standard imposes on us or: what we think they impose on us. Looking at wanting the wrong thing from a different angle, we often want big things without starting with smaller accomplishments that motivate and pave the way to our bigger goals. A third perspective is that we often want things without really recognizing, appreciating and leveraging what we already have or are. We are chasing the next big, hot thing with the chase seeming more important and rewarding than the accomplishment and the appreciation of what’s already there.

Just some thoughts.
To get you and me thinking.
A different way.
Because only when we think different,
We create different.

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