Does Self – Awareness have any value?

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noun – conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

We live in a world filled with jargon. Some of it can have value but most of the jargon is unnecessary. The word ‘self’ placed in front of many words is often useless.

Let’s look at the concept of self-awareness. I can understand that self-awareness is a starting point, but being self-aware is useless without having awareness of your surroundings. In any area you find yourself, you need to be aware of yourself in these surroundings, as well as the people and the place itself. More often than not, it is the situation we have chosen for ourselves that determines our success, or in a very real sense, our failure.

The real question is: Are you aware of the choices you have made to bring yourself into whatever situation (good or bad) you find yourself in? Do you understand the process that led you into the place you are in, or are you oblivious to this type of thinking?

Therefore, being more aware of your surrounding and the decisions that brought you into the position you find yourself today is the most important awareness you can have. What are others doing and how will they be manipulating you deeper into the situation, or perhaps how will you be manipulating them into making you feel more secure in the situation you find yourself?

Humans are the only species capable of thinking about what they think about, and then reasoning for themselves. Where will your thinking take you today?

Photo credit: Jazmin Million via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
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Simplifying thinking (using self disruption)

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-10-06-19-amI have a saying ‘we all think, but do we actually think about what we think about, when we think?’ We all have thousands of thoughts going through our minds daily, anything from 10,000 to 50,000 thoughts. That is indeed a significant number. However if you cannot capture a single thought, separate it and think about the thought, well then frankly what is the value of all the thoughts you are thinking? It is assumed that all thoughts are banked in memory, filed systematically and that they could be helpful at some later stage. Who knows when that could be? In fact that kind of thinking is futile, and we know we have far more power at our disposal.

How can we take a thought captive? Is it even possible? Yes it is, simply by limiting the amount of information you chose to receive, be that visual, audible or sensory. Once you have limited your inputs, it becomes easier to choose the thoughts that are worth thinking about. The simple way to start this process, and train your brain to focus, is to write thoughts down – but don’t worry, you won’t be writing thousands of thoughts down. Your brain will already begin filtering for you, almost in the same way a search engine like Google will filter searches according to your previous search history. Your brain will filter things according to your wants and needs.

Write the thoughts down, and write them down as quickly as possible. Try to write as many down as you can without questioning the thought or the reason for thinking it – just try to get your thoughts on paper.

At this point in the process you will begin to ask yourself questions about what you have just written. You will wonder why you thought the thought in the first place, and begin processing the thoughts. Practise this and continually challenge yourself to think. Keep writing the thoughts down and think about them – you will soon find yourself thinking, questioning and processing. You will teach yourself to think without needing to write things down. This could be viewed as thinking on your feet!

The more you do this type of activity, the more you will notice in your surroundings. This can be particularly useful in understanding the people you encounter on a daily basis, or even in risky situations where quick thinking is vital. A similar process is what they call a risk analysis, where you write down all the identifiable risks and then communicate them. However, if the brain is trained to think is a certain way, then the person can be a walking risk observer, helping to keep people safe in their surroundings and situations.

What then is Self-Disruption? Disruption is the disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process. Disruption itself forces our brains into a left brain state, immediately analysing the possible threat that the disruption may bring. Therefore we have our total focus at that moment on the disruption, and we are able to analyse the possible scenarios. If we can’t identify an actual threat we normally disregard the disruption instantly, however this is actually where the opportunity lies: Not all disruptions are life threatening, many just arrive to get our attention and teach us something. We can use disruption to our own advantage if we are looking for the opportunities it brings. Likewise, when we think a thought that may be disregarded as a random thought, can we think more about the thought? Do we allow that simple thought to disrupt our thinking, so that we can derive a benefit from such thoughts?

Seemingly random thoughts that bring about self-disruption, may just be the answer to simplifying your thinking.

I look forward to hearing about how disruption has benefited your thinking processes.

Photo credit: wadem via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
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What is Critical Thinking & How Do You Improve It?

Great article on Critical Thinking …

Ideas Out There

 

What is Critical Thinking?

In a nutshell, critical thinking is not believing anything… unless the evidence for it is sound. Encoded in this definition are three elements:

  1. A sustained skeptical attitude towards the ideas and information which come your way.
  2. The ability to reason, identify and weigh evidence, as well as the capacity to interrogate arguments effectively.
  3. The formation of a belief, judgement, opinion or course of action.

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The Perception of ‘You’ is greater than ‘Who you are’!

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-9-13-04-amPerception is a scary concept in reality, and it is really scary when we think that the perception others have of us is completely true. It may not be the exact truth, but to the person who has formed the perception of who you are, the perception they have of you is their truth.

Therefore changing the perception others have of you may be important. It is certainly important if these people, who hold a certain opinion or perception of you, are important to you.

How do we change the perception others have of us?

Firstly you cannot change perceptions overnight, it takes time and strategy. More importantly it is about the intention you have for yourself. Intention begins with the way you see yourself:

Are you Energetic? – Do you have the ability to advance your brand and allow others to have a chance of seeing you differently? Once they notice you and only if they do notice you, will you have the opportunity to change the way they think about you.

Can you be consistent? – Consistency brings predictable success, and you will need to be consistent so that you have a chance of changing the perception of others. Then, further consistency is necessary so that they can trust you to deliver on the new perception they may have formed of you.

Do you see yourself as successful? – Success depends on your ability to see yourself as successful before you actually are. This ability will form your intention, and ultimately your intention becomes the perception others have of you.

What is your strategy going forward, and will your intention be strong enough to change the perception others may have of you?

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Disruptive Thinking and Donald Trump

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-7-02-17-pmI was asked yesterday if I have written anything on disruptive thinking. My initial response was that my blog contains many articles about Disruption including Our Relationship with Disruption, then I asked myself “What is disruptive thinking and what value does it have?” Well, the simple answer is: disruptive thinking has little or no value, if it does not result in questions, and even more so, questions that will disrupt the status quo and conventional wisdom (whatever that may be).

Once your thinking has disrupted you, then you need to ask yourself why you think like you do. If, however, you are unsure, then you should start a dialogue with others. If this dialogue is to be effective then we need to release the idea that we must share our ideas. We should rather allow our question to disrupt the people we are in dialogue with, so as to speed our learning by listening to the thoughts of others. The more direct, open and honest we can be with asking our questions, the better the reactions of others will be. All we need to do is listen, observe, and learn to ask more questions, without necessarily adding our opinion or response until we are sure that the ideas and thoughts of the other person have been exhausted.

You may want to ask the following question …

Why did Donald Trump become President of the United States?

Be careful here –  don’t ask questions like journalists, who tend to want to confirm the ideas that they already have. This type of questioning is what we have been taught by the propaganda machine of mass media. Rather listen and learn, ask good questions. Try to understand what the person is trying to tell you, rather than what you are needing to know. After all, if you ask questions about what you need to know means you probably know it already; the only people who ask questions that they already know the answer to are lawyers. The reason they ask those type of questions is that they are trying to evoke an emotional response from you, and are checking if you are consistent in your answers. When we are trying to understand something, we will often speak around in circles, and we usually come out with a definition we are happy with if we are given enough time. This is how we as humans often discover new ideas, and this can be called disruptive thinking, but this can only happen if we allow ourselves to think.

Allow people to share why they think Donald Trump became the president. Take no notice of those who have been swayed by the media into thinking Donald Trump may not be the right candidate. The real question that needs to be asked is Why did Donald Trump become President of the United States? The answer you are looking for is the actual reason why the person you are questioning thinks Donald Trump became president.

I need to remind you of my saying: Don’t look for the ideas that will confirm your thinking, rather look for the ideas and the trends that will disrupt your thoughts. Never has this been so true, and the opportunity to learn is now bigger than ever.

When we can hear the answers that other people are giving us and when we can truly allow their answers to disrupt our thinking – disregarding what is useless, and keeping what is valuable to our own thinking – this is when we can honestly say that we have Disruptive Thinking.

Image : AFP / http://www.theaustralian.com.au/
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Crimson Sweat: Bounce Back

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Leader of the Future (Part 5) – The Leader

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-11-04-12-amThe task of a leader is to make more leaders, not more followers. This raises an interesting question, as many of the examples we see in the world today are actually toxic leaders, so then what are the leaders creating … More Toxic Leaders or Good Leaders?

Everything duplicates, good examples and the bad ones. So what example are we showing the leaders of the future? In this series, my intention has been to show the different characteristics needed by the leaders so that they can be effective in the future. I have discussed The Visionary, The Listener, The Communicator and The Connector. Today I look at the leadership approach that needs to be taken by the true leader of the future. This leader is not some insecure manager who has been given a title, but rather a servant to the needs of the people. This demands a unique approach and unfortunately the examples to follow are few, so instead I would encourage you to find your own path to becoming a leader. Hopefully you are driven by your sense of kindness, and the understanding you have of being a influential human who has the best interest of others at heart.

Leader in the Age of Humanity

Have you ever wondered what the next age will be? Most of what we see as development today came from the Industrial Age, which was closely followed by the Technological Age and the Age of Knowledge. It is debatable as to which age we find ourselves in currently. The Age of Wisdom could be the last age or it could be the glue that holds all the ages together. Wherever we may be in the ages at the moment, many signs point to the beginning of the Age of Humanity.

People have more information than ever before and they are able to gain more recognition than they ever have. No longer are people accepting that they are just a number in the system, but that they can actually control the system. This control is gained through finding like-minded people and gathering the Tribe together. With the rise of social media and other online platforms, it has become easy to identify your Tribe and find people all over the world who think like you do.

The challenge is: which leader will be bold enough to consider the needs of the Tribe and then serve the Tribe, gaining the respect and influence with which people honour true leaders?

OPEN Leadership – The concept of Open Leadership was uncovered by Thomas Power in the UK. I would suggest reading some of my blog posts discussing this idea: When is Leadership ORSome? which covers the thinking behind the OPEN, RANDOM & SUPPORTIVE style needed to be an effective leader. Also have a look at Pro-Active Communication (actually Leadership) and THINK … Do we need OPEN Leadership?

What do we understand about the Future of Leadership? – To be honest we know very little about the future, but we can look at the needs of people and then ask how can we serve them better – this answer will help us to be better leaders.

All that is certain is that leadership is a challenge and we will need to work with people, closer than we have ever worked before, and through this collaboration we will learn together. Hopefully we will be able to tame our egos so that we can be true servants of people and thus gain the honour of being able to effectively serve them.

See you on the leadership journey, a journey that will last forever.

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The Art of Disruption

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-11-11-01-amMost people think disruption is actually destruction … This causes them to immediately go into survival mode – the basic flight or fight response of the human. Therefore I can actually tell you I am going to disrupt you and the response will be the same as when I don’t tell you. The reality is, if I tell you I am going to disrupt you or even if I don’t tell you, the moment you sense the unknown you assume survival mode. This causes you to defend yourself physically or mentally. Mentally  you will start defending the belief that you have about something, regardless of whether you know the subject well or even what the truth is regarding the subject.

More importantly, disruption causes all our senses to go into high alert and this is exactly why disruption becomes a powerful tool to get the attention of the people you are trying to reach.

There are many ways of disrupting, it could be the questions you ask or the way you engage others in conversation. What is important is did you get the attention of your listener?

Lets share different ideas of how disruption works for us.

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Leader of the Future (Part 4) – The Connector

In part four we focus on the actual human connection needed for leadership. We started the series with The Visionary, The Listener and in part 3 we discussed The Communicator. In the article we look at the future leader, who will need the ability to form associations with people.

In traditional business we could assume that we have enough knowledge within our own organisation, but realistically most of the resources were external to the organisation. The consultant became the flavour of the day. In the new world of collaboration we are no longer interested in people who tell us how things should be done – we would rather let them show us how things are done or even better do the work if they are the best in the field or the expert. Allowing people to simply do things for develops the us and them concept. If we want to achieve real success, we need strategic partners working alongside us, aligned to the vision and goals of the company as opposed to simple external suppliers.

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-10-01-22-pmTHE CONNECTOR

The need for leadership is greater as business evolves and the changes are much quicker than we previously experienced. The leader of the future will need to have the ability to connect, assess new connections and their strategic ability to work with the existing teams and deliver together as an integral part of the team.

Why are Associations so important? – We should never assume that we can have all the skills we need or even be able to employ the right people within your organisation. Therefore  a good leader will connect with people, find out what their capabilities are and assess their strengths. The vision is to form associations that will be beneficial in the  long run. People who have resources, who can be included into project teams and who can contribute to the success of these projects. It will be the leader’s duty to chose and assemble the teams.

Will new teams be formed for each project? – Yes this is the strength of associations, you can select the right people for every task and ensure that you can be the most efficient team on every project you tackle.

Will associations change the way we work in the future? – This is probably the most disruptive and futuristic thought about the way we will work in the future. My opinion is that the way we employ people will change. No longer will you join a company and work for a couple of years, then move on to the next company. People will simply be contracted to a company for the duration of the project and once completed they will need to find find themselves the next project. Connecting will be more important than ever in the future, you will need to brand yourself and sell yourself constantly.

Leadership will need to be flexible realising that you can only work with the best people within your associations. The leader who consistently finds better connections will have the most flexibility to tackle challenges and projects in the future. It is the value of your associations  that will determine your success!

Connections are so important and our ability to connect needs to be refined. Here are some of my articles I suggest for further reading: Are we actually CONNECTED or are we just being Social? Connecting or Wasting Your Time? … Social R.O.I. and Why is connecting so hard?

 

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Leader of the Future (Part 3) – The Communicator

So far in this series I have discussed The Visionary and The Listener. Now you may be thinking that leaders should be able to communicate, so why would I write a complete article on the leader’s need to communicate? The answer is simple: because traditionally leaders do not actually communicate – they read speeches written by others and get public relations people to send out press releases on their behalf. The excuse for these actions is that the leader has more important things to do. Really what is more important than leading? Who are you leading then if something is more important than the people you lead?

We could say that in many cases the profits and the financial issues are more important. Certainly yes, to a toxic leader his own need to gather vast amounts of money at the expense of the people would definitely make sense. But then who makes the company money, is it not people? Should a leader not be communicating directly with these people?

Perhaps leaders traditionally did not communicate with people as that would have made them more accountable? Could that be true? Then the question needs to be asked – were these just titles or were they leaders? We need to think and ponder more when we hear people saying things and accept a little less of the bull. We should have higher expectations of our leaders.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-6-48-42-pmTHE COMMUNICATOR

As mentioned in my other articles – 80% of our success comes from listening. Leaders cannot be effective communicators if they have not listened, and as John Maxwell says ‘People don’t care what you know, until they know how much you care’.

As we move from the Technological Age to the Human Age, leaders will need to communicate and can no longer rely on the systems and people to do the communication for them. If a leader allows other people to communicate for him, regardless of medium used – the person communicating forms the relationship and not the leader. In my article Warning to Business Leaders Using Social Media I told leaders this. That may have been a harsh article then, but it is becoming a reality lately. It is truly amazing how quickly things change and what was once a thought is now the only way to operate.

Why is it important that the leader communicates directly with his followers? – The amount of information people receive daily from television, radio and all the online platforms is astronomical. If the leader cannot keep the connection with their followers,  they will lose the ability to communicate with them in the midst of all this noise. Without this consistent communication the people will soon lose the vision, become insecure and look for a leader that will give them what they need!

I welcome your commentary … How will leaders need to be in the future? In the next two articles I will look at The Connector and The Leader.

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