Comfort Zones are not comfortable

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 11.11.07 AMOur comfort zones are where we deceive ourselves, and in our comfort zones nothing grows. Comfort zones are free of criticism, challenges and anything that will actually stretch us. We can only grow when we are challenged, criticized and experience some pain so that we force ourselves to say … I know there is something better for me.

The comfort zone is often the place people desire to be. However more often than not they use the perceived comfort zone as an excuse. People say “I will focus on that when my current challenge is past”, or if they are not so introspective, they will simply say that the time is not right. So when will the time be right? Well, that would be  when they find themselves in a comfort zone, and then as you may have guessed we are so comfortable in our own self-deception that we will never make a decision to actually focus on something worth focusing on. There is really no need as they have decided to believe their own self-deception.

Comfort zones are not comfortable, yet we would like to believe they are. Self-deception is when we believe the lies we tell ourselves. The only way to grow is to be honest, ask yourself the following critical questions daily:

  1. How did I grow today?
  2. Did I make a difference in someone’s life today?
  3. What did I do today that scared me?
  4. Will something that I did today contribute to my future success?
  5. Was I open and honest with myself today?
  6. Was I open to criticism so that I may grow?
  7. Did I choose to be kind, instead of being right today?

Each day we are faced with a choice, either to stagnate or grow. I do hope that we can all make a decision to grow daily as we will become better partners, parents, friends and colleagues … The choice is yours.

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When is the best time to DISRUPT?

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-12-01-37-amMany people think of disruption as destruction and it certainly can be. However, the real challenge is to ensure that the disruption we are about to introduce will be effective and achieve the results that you may be looking for: which could be to get the attention of the person or to change the way they observe and think about a situation.

Is there a perfect time or when is the best time to disrupt?

Disruption is effective when we know the audience we are dealing with or a least have some idea of who they are and what they are looking for. Thus we would need to know what they are looking for and firstly attend to their needs. If they have found what they are looking for they are more likely to be open to the idea that your disruption will bring. This need may be as simple as recognition or somewhat complex as a question they may be seeking an answer to. If you disregard the person’s need or the need that a group of people may have, your disruption may be seen as destructive.

Regardless of the situation, leadership is always required and that leadership is serving the needs of people. Yes, the disruption that you intend bringing may ultimately help people as change could be necessary, but if you don’t give them what they are looking for, chances are you may be seen as someone who is selfish and who only wants to manipulate the situation for your own gain.

When we are able to understand people and their needs, we can serve them better and the disruption we bring will be for the good of the person or the group we are engaging with and will seldom be seen as a selfish act.

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What if?

gratitudeThe title is a question and a seemingly simple question too. What if you … yes, think of a question applicable to you that starts with ‘What if ..’

My thoughts were exactly this and I will share my perspective and findings in this article.

What if my life in 5 years is the same as it is today? Would I be able to say I am happy, would I be content to accept the status quo or would I be sad that I had not done more to change the course of my life?  Perhaps I will ask myself if I have lost my ability to challenge myself or will I have done something that my future self will thank me for?

What if I accomplish my dreams? Will I be happier or will I perhaps be sad, disappointed in myself for allowing myself to stop dreaming and not setting more goals for myself?

What if I am unable to dream anymore? Would I search fervently until I find the ability to dream and rediscover the youthful me? Would I still have a burning desire to travel and discover new places, new people and taste the food of the world? Perhaps I will resign myself to a small group of insignificant and uninspiring people. Would I be able to pick myself up if I was down or would I expect others to do that for me? Could I justify the fact that I would blame them for my lack of fulfilment and happiness in life?

The above are questions that many people ask themselves when they feel life is squeezing them a little harder than they expected. Perhaps it is just life telling you that there is much more than you are experiencing right now, and life is actually asking you to get out of the comfort zone we call ‘normal’.

What if all I need is to be truly grateful, will gratitude be enough? What if we are thankful for what we have, in fact when last did we all just take a moment to say THANK YOU and really mean it? Can we look at our lives and realise just how fortunate and blessed we actually are?

I believe we need to be grateful and express gratitude as often as possible, because I know that …

Gratitude will open doors in our lives that did not exist previously.

Our lives can be so different, we can choose a different path and see the results as we move along the path. Gratitude is not simply saying thank you, it is so much more and it is the very thing that builds belief for ourselves. By expressing our gratefulness, we remind ourselves of the good situation we find ourselves in, (even if at worst we compare our situation to the plight of the less fortunate) and this will enable us to gain the belief to see more good things happen in our lives.

Our gratitude opens doors … What if we just expressed our gratitude daily?

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Introverts are the Disruptors

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-9-05-36-pmI often try to find the most unlikely of titles for my articles, and this is the title that has truly disrupted my thinking.

How can the Introverts disrupt when they are so quiet you may ask? The answer is actually simple when you think about it, and that is exactly why the introverts hold the greatest disruptive power – they THINK!

To be a disruptor, you need to be able to think about what you think about, when you think – it is this thinking that causes people to ask different questions. The ideas that come from this type of thinking are disruptive, and they will ultimately produce the innovation so many companies are looking for.

However let me warn you, the noisy people in organisations (those without the ideas) will always make enough noise to ensure that the little quiet voices are never heard.

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Disruptive Leadership

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-12-05-08-pmPlease read this article carefully, at the very start I am emphasising that I am not talking about ‘DESTRUCTIVE’ but rather Disruptive Leadership.

Yesterday I met with a good friend, and he mentioned he had recently attended a leadership training workshop. During a discussion the facilitator asked for the audience to give the characteristics of good leaders. The normal things were mentioned like accountability, integrity, wisdom and empathy. Then my friend said a leader needs to be ‘Disruptive’ and the audience unanimously disagreed, however the facilitator asked that the audience explore the idea a little more.

Let’s open our minds now and try to unlearn what we think ‘disruption’ is. Why do many seem to think that disruption is destructive? Could it be the same type of thinking that says criticism should only be constructive? Why can’t we simply accept criticism, and are we not intelligent and resilient enough to decide what has value and what can be discarded? Let me state that disruption is productive and destruction is counter productive.

To simplify the process of Disruptive Leadership I have chosen to pose and answer a few questions:

How would you define a Disruptive Leader? I would define a disruptive leader as someone who is an independent thinker, able to think about what they think about and become known for the way they think differently. Leadership after all is about the example (actions) set by a person, that causes other to do things differently.

Why does a Leader need to Disrupt? Firstly they should be able to notice the status quo and challenge it, by asking questions that cause people to think differently. Questions asked differently, and answered with new thinking, are exactly what you want as the outcome of a disruptive process.

What is the most effective way for a Leader to Disrupt? When you are able to notice and understand the way people usually do things, which generally give a predictable outcome, then you are able to ask the questions which will challenge the norm.

Are people scared of the Disruptive process? Yes, people are scared of the disruptive process and usually resist it as they feel they will lose control. With disruption you are unable to predict or control the outcome, and therefore many avoid the creative process of such disruption. Unfortunately, without disruption, things can only stay the same and there will be no leadership.

What does the resistance to Disruption tell you about a Leader? If you resist any sort of disruptive process, you are actually resisting change. Without change, nothing can advance, and an organization cannot grow. To be extremely direct, a leader who dislikes disruption is a leader that is insecure, and who will soon be irrelevant.

Every day we should challenge ourselves by disrupting our own thinking, this is the only way we can ensure that we learn and grow. Leadership is about constant development. As soon as we think we know something, we start to realize just how little we actually do know.

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7 Ways YOU can be Future Proof

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-10-22-49-amMany people throw around the concept of businesses needing to be future proof, and much of that thinking is focused on the technology you choose to adopt and the digital strategy the business needs to be able to survive. No business ever wants to be a Kodak who decided to ignore the fact that digital photography would eliminate film and paper. Yet even the advisors whom Kodak chose to ignore, could not foresee the cellphone camera revolution.

What about humans and the pending threat of artificial intelligence or AI as it is called? How can we future proof ourselves or at least be relevant as a species for a few more generations?

Here are 7 things to get good at:

  1. Listening – I can’t seem to emphasize listening enough, and remember – 80% of your success will come from listening. The key is found in silence, be that listening to the world around us or to a divine power. It is no wonder that the words LISTEN and SILENT have the same letters.
  2. Connecting – We can all be social but can we actually connect? Connecting and networking truly will determine your net worth. When connecting, never forget the little people around us. Most of the time the biggest nuggets of value come from those whom we least expect.
  3. R.O.I.R – Tom Peters, the ultimate management guru, calls it “Return On Investment in Relationships.” Once we have connected we need to develop relationships. Ultimately the more we can show others that we care for them and that they are important, the greater our influence will be. Peters says “Generally people do business with people they trust and like, or people who are recommended by someone they trust.”
  4. Presenting – The quicker you learn to present, the better you will be able to communicate. Regardless of age, there is no longer an excuse: YouTube and other video channels have made it possible for you to share what you have with the world. We all have something someone else needs, and the best way to find those who need what you have to give is to make it available on YouTube. The better you present, the more subscribers you will have and the more you will understand what people want. Remember if you don’t have a presence on YouTube, you virtually don’t exist.
  5. Selling – Yes, selling; you may have enjoyed the article to this point and are now probably asking why I had to bring selling into the mix. There is a saying that goes “If you are not selling, you are not growing”. Nothing is more relevant in today’s fast paced world and the question is what are you selling? Again regardless of age, the earlier you learn to sell the better your chances at success will be. Why, you may ask? Simply – selling teaches us how to deal with objections and handle rejection, most unsuccessful people are only that way because they have never learnt to handle rejection. So get out there and start selling something.
  6. Entrepreneurship – To be an entrepreneur is to identify challenges and then assist people in overcoming those challenges. The quicker you can assist them over those challenges by providing something they need, the more potential you have to influence niches and potentially derive a profit from your efforts. Most people never stick around long enough to see the fruits of their labour, and most are discouraged along the way as they cannot handle objections and the rejection that comes with potential success. Remember the world in general would like you to be just like them, and that is certainly not a picture of success. This is rather simple survival, or an existence just above survival, that we tend to justify by comparing ourselves to those that have less than us. Be an entrepreneur and challenge the status quo, you may even find that you can change the lives of others by offering them employment.
  7. Humanity – The word for the qualities that make us human, such as the ability to love and have compassion, be creative, and not be a robot or alien. The word humanity is from the Latin humanitas for “human nature, kindness.’ Accountability, Wisdom, Empathy summarize what is needed to make us the kind humans we are intended to be. We cannot have humanity if we ignore the people around us. We need to be accountable, gain as much understanding that will lead us to wisdom and show as much empathy as possible. It’s only when we find ourselves in the service of others that we can truly say we have found meaning in life.

I encourage you to future-proof your life, so that you will leave a legacy for the generations that follow you. Remember we actually ‘die twice’ – the first time is when our physical beings pass away, and the second is when people stop talking about you.

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Does Self – Awareness have any value?

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?

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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.

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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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