Compassionate Accountability

In April the Leadership Now blog posted an article on a book by Nate Regier called Conflict Without Casualties. Regier believes that conflict consumes far too much of our time, energy and money and needs to be managed more effectively. His focus is on conflict throughout the world. He offers some intriguing ideas.

Regier’s argument is that we should practice what he calls “compassionate accountability” to resolve conflict in ways that cause the least damage at the least cost. This approach resists the “I gotta win” drama that characterizes most conflict. This drama focuses our energy on self-justification which is contrary to resolving conflict.

“To be compassionate is to struggle alongside with others; to struggle with instead of against. “Compassion is the result of people taking ownership of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and choosing to spend the energy of conflict pursuing effective solutions that preserve the dignity of all involved. Compassion is more than care and concern for others. It’s about the willingness to get in the trenches and struggle together as an equal with others.””

Regier says that his approach to conflict depends on three skills: Openness, Resourcefulness and Persistence. He then outlines how to use these skills to promote a compassionate and constructive resolution of conflict. He argues that a failure to use these skills sets up a self-defeating cycle that Steven Karpman has identified as the “drama triangle”.

“Regier writes: “Drama inevitably pushes us into corners, where we cling to distorted worldviews that compel us to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Compassion, on the other hand, keeps us moving, searching, nimble, effective, and capable of adapting to change.” It also keep us from being mired inside our own head and thus limiting our responses and our ability to reframe the conflict. We get stuck.”

What is missing from this discussion is the role that emotion plays in this cycle. If people could remain objective and act outside of their emotional limitations use of these skills would be easier. People in conflict are typically emotionally involved. Emotions including fear, jealousy, and anger among others interfere with our ability to be objective and to use the skills Regier suggests.

Emotion does not necessarily mean that we cannot benefit from using the skills that Regier teaches. If we can get beyond our emotional responses and use these skills we could be much more effective at resolving conflict. This does require a level of maturity and self-confidence that many people do not have however and conflict often is a result of that very problem.

Learning and applying these skills to positively resolve conflict can be very useful if we can get beyond the limitations that emotions and immaturity often impose on our responses. This is an intriguing idea and one we would all benefit from developing. People do not behave mechanically though and the emotional responses that affect our behavior in conflict remain an obstacle, especially in very high conflict situations.

Read the entire blog post from Leading Blog here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Book of the Month – July 2014

Title and Author:  Getting Things Done by David Allen

Subtitle: The Art of Stress-Free Living

Synopsis of Content:

This book is about how to organize everything you work with: every document, email, and every other item in your home or business office and how to manage these things along with your projects and tasks in the most effective manner.

The table of contents provides an excellent overview of the book:

  • The Art of Getting Things Done
  • Getting Control of Your Life – the 5 stages of mastering workflow
  • The 5 phases of project planning
  • Practicing Stress-Free Productivity
  • Setting up the time, space and tools
  • Corralling Your Stuff
  • Processing: getting “in” to empty
  • Organizing: setting up the right buckets
  • Reviewing: keeping your system functional
  • Doing: making the best action choices
  • Getting projects under control
  • The Power of Key Principles
  • The Power of the Collection Habit
  • The Power of the Next Action Decision
  • The Power of Outcome Focusing

Allen’s system is based on some basic principles:

  1. Anything that must be done in the future clutters your mind and distracts you unless you can get it out of your mind. He maintains that as long as it is on some list your mind will dwell on it. Put it on a list and you can forget it. So he recommends putting everything – and I mean everything – on a list to be scheduled or worked on later. This applies to your next medical exam, replacing the batteries in your flashlight and the next big project at work. This will empty your mind of the “to-do” list and free it to relax and do more important work.
  1. Maintain a minimum number of lists. Too many lists and they will be unmanageable, too few and they will also be unmanageable. He provides guidelines for how many is ideal.
  1. Lists must be reviewed regularly and at least weekly. If a list is not managed it gets out of control.
  1. As you go through things on your desk or in your email in-box follow this simple rule: If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it. If it will take more than two minutes file it and either schedule it, drop it or delegate it. The goal is to maintain a clean desk and empty in box.

The mechanism you use to keep your lists and manage them is not important. Whether it is paper or electronic he urges you to use the one you are most comfortable with.

What I found useful about this book:

Allen’s book is truly one of the best time management books I’ve read. It is full of great ideas and his systems work – I know as I’ve used them. If you set up the system he advises and manage it regularly you do get control over your tasks and time. The trick is to follow the steps and manage the system regularly.

What I did not like about this book:

Allen short sells the discipline it takes to follow the collection habit he describes. This takes some real effort. The payoff is worth the effort. However Allen soft sells the effort required to some extent.

Also Allen fails to address a real problem some people have: some people simply have too much to do. No matter how it is organized it is simply more than one can get to. A chapter on how to deal with this problem would be helpful.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Getting Things Done is very readable and easy to follow. It is well organized and provides clear steps to follow.

Notes on Author:

David Allen is an author, consultant, coach and keynote speaker. He advises some of the world’s largest businesses.

Other Books by This Author:

Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress Free Productivity – 2002

Getting Things Done – C Pbp – 2008

Getting Things Done – B – 2012

Related Website:

http://gettingthingsdone.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. You must get organized to be productive and reduce stress. This means getting everything organized from your desk top to your computer. It means getting all your tasks on a list so your mind is not mired in keeping track.
  1. Practice a simple formula for organizing what needs to be done: if it takes 2 minutes or less do it; if it takes more than two minutes either schedule it, dump it, file it or delegate it.
  1. Lists must be actively managed at least weekly. Develop this discipline to keep on top of things and free your mind for creative thinking and work.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Copyright holder: ©2001 David Allen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

What Can We Learn from WWI?

San Diego Air and Space Museum

One hundred years ago one of the greatest wars in human history was killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians and laying desolation to much of Europe. WWI as it is now called was the first total war on a grand scale. Today’s analysis of that war is a study in failed leadership in many if not all the participants.

James Strock created an excellent blog post on the leadership lessons we can gain from this awful war. They are mostly lessons in leadership failure. It reads like a list of what not to do as a leader. Strock identifies 13 lessons we should learn from this war. While these lessons have great import in the world of international relations and diplomacy, they can also be applied to our personal lives.

  • Leadership is important – good leadership skills are important whether you are the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ore president of your local service club. Historical analysis of the causes of WWI almost all point to the failures in leadership that contributed to this disaster. To influence and lead others in a positive way we must all develop good leadership abilities.
  • Shared interest can be overcome by other considerations. We like to think that if we share common goals or principles with others that conflict is lessened. They thought that in 1914 as well when Europe was culturally and economically linked. Shared interests can promote good will and peaceful resolution of differences but it never guarantees those things. Good leaders must recognize this and act accordingly.
  • Leaders must take care of themselves and maintain good health. Many of the most influential leaders at the beginning of WWI were either physically, psychologically or in both ways weak or sickly. Strong and effective leaders must be healthy and well adjusted.
  • What has worked in the past may not work in the future. The world is constantly changing. It was changing in 1914 but is changing much more rapidly today. Effective leaders must understand this change and manage it. They cannot rely on “the way we’ve always done this”.
  • Management failures can lead to greater over all failures. Good leaders must know how to manage well.

There is much more to Strock’s 13 principles. Many of them apply more directly to national and international activities. But we can learn from them and apply many of them to our lives to avoid the kind of mistakes that led to the Great War.

To learn more about the 13 principles and the lessons of WWI see James Strock’s blog article.

Learn how you can achieve more and realize your goals as well as lessons in leadership in my book, The Success Essentials.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author: 

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Synopsis of Content:

This book is about ideas. It is about where they come from, how they develop and what conditions best promote their development.

The author examines networks and how they function in nature, in human society and on the internet. Johnson first examines selected individual idea developments from history beginning with Charles Darwin and how he developed his ideas about evolution.

From these individual examples he develops a theory about how people actually develop ideas – especially complex ideas that are world changing. He identifies the environments that most effectively promote idea development: what he calls liquid networks. In nature he cites coral reefs as a prime example of this. He describes how the symbiotic and collaborative processes on a coral reef allow a rich growth of life to come from a nutrient poor environment.

He then extrapolates this process to apply to cities and the internet. He examines the development of inventions and technological advances and looks at the environments and processes that are most likely to promote such advances.

Johnson challenges the myth that most great advancements are the product of one genius working alone. Though he concedes that some progress does come from the lone individual he argues this is the exception to the rule. Most ideas, and most progress, he argues, come from the interaction of various individuals sharing ideas and building on past ideas to develop new ones.

He cites various examples of this including how most modern technologies were developed by numerous people sharing information and building on past ideas.

Environmentally he argues that the place where ideas are most often nurtured are those rich in high densities of people (or animals) working together such as cities or coral reefs.

Johnson examines many of the technological and conceptual advances of the past 400 years and finds that most of them come from some form of collaboration. He says that today most ideas come from research universities and or from research labs run by large corporations where this collaborative function is at its best.

Johnson discusses how these collaborative processes work. He tells us about the adjacent possible principles and that new ideas come from examining the edges of possibility around you. The most fertile idea generation comes from being exposed to multiple disciplines and ideas.

Johnson also writes about the “slow hunch”. He gives several examples (including Darwin) of people who had a hunch which over a long period of time grew and developed with added information and thinking. Most ideas do not come from an instant inspiration of genius but instead from a gradual process where a hunch may linger in the mind for years or even decades and then exposure to new ideas and relationships between ideas give birth to the concept that started with the slow hunch.

What I found useful about this book:

This book is an excellent study on how ideas are nurtured and developed. I learned a lot about how important it is to escape your silo or field of work and collaborate with others in various fields of work and thought to enrich your own thinking.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

This book is not an easy read. It forces you to think in new ways about how ideas are formed. It looks in great detail about how ideas have been formed in science and other areas. At times the detail is a bit daunting but is worth it because it paints a clear picture of how ideas are best developed in a way that a shorter examination of the process would fail to reveal in sufficient detail.

Notes on Author:

Steven Johnson is a bestselling author and founder of a number of websites.

Other Books by This Author:

The Invention of Air

The Ghost Map

Emergence

Interface Culture

Related Website:

http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Your best ideas will develop from a collaborative process interacting with numerous other people and their ideas. Creating and working in an environment rich in this kind of interaction with the largest number of possible influences generate the most ideas and lead to the most transformative changes. There is great value to visiting coffee houses and other places where this collaboration and discussion across disciplines can nurture your ideas.
  1. Write everything down and review those notes from time to time much as Darwin did. This allows you mind to expand on ideas and builds on the slow hunch.
  1. Read and learn from various disciplines outside your own. This will enable you to expand your thinking to levels you could not reach on your own.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Where Good Ideas Come From – The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Copyright holder: 2010 by Steven Johnson

Publisher: Riverhead Books, NY

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

The 1 Percent Rule

James Clear recently wrote about why a few people get most of the rewards. He referenced the one percent rule first identified and written about by Vilfredo Pareto. This is also called the Pareto Principle.

Pareto was an Italian economist who wondered why a tiny number of pea pods in his garden produced the majority of the peas. He wondered if the same thing that was happening to his peas was also happening elsewhere in life. He studied statistics and found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He learned that in Britain 30% of the population earned 70% of the income.

He continued his research and found that while the exact numbers varied from one topic to another the pattern held firm to almost everything. The majority of rewards seemed to always accrue to a small percentage of people. This became known as the Pareto Principle. It is also called the 80/20 rule. And it has been called the 1% rule.

This principle is seen in various places today. In the 2015-2016 National Baseball season 20% of the franchises won 75.3% of the championships. Two teams, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers won half of the championships in NBA history. Clear’s article cites many other examples.

Why does this happen? There may be more than one reason but one reason is the power of accumulative advantage. Once something starts to win it gains advantages over those that are not winning. It becomes stronger. It works in nature as well as Clear describes. This advantage plays out in each contest between the players or people.

Clear’s 1% rule is an application of the Pareto principle. If you can be 1% more effective than the competition you can win. Sustaining the habits that create that advantage leads to sustained success. This is just as applicable to the individual as it is to the business or other organization. Win by just a bit each time and you can build the momentum of being in that 20% that wins 80% of the return.

This observation explains why winners become bigger winners and why those who do not win find it harder to succeed. To sustain success then requires initial wins. You have to succeed to succeed. Success breeds success. A good thing to remember in any competitive endeavor.

Read James Clear’s complete article here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

The Corporate Soul Handbook by Ron Mercer

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author: The Corporate Soul Handbook by Ron Mercer

Synopsis of Content:

In this little book of 117 pages including appendices the reader will find a wealth of insight into what makes organizations succeed and fail. In the end Mercer tells us that how our organizations treat people defines their success. The business or other organization that treats people well will succeed because it has a soul. The organization that does not treat people well has no soul and will fail.

The book has seven chapters:

The Benefits of Nurturing a Healthy Corporate Soul

The Four Structural Pillars of Your Organization

Zombies or Zealots?

Walk the Talk

Working Together Using Balance and Harmony

Transformation

Inspiration Not Just Perspiration.

The book then ends with a Conclusion followed by an Appendix on the essence of the corporate soul and a Guide on assessing the soul of your organization.

The Corporate Soul Handbook is both a discussion of the concept of a soul for an organization, and this applies to nonprofit organizations just as much as for profit, and a handbook to introduce the reader on how to assess your organization for its soul and what actions one can do to improve it.

As with so many books on corporate success and management there really is nothing new in this book. Mercer takes long understood principles and reframes them in the context of this concept of a corporate soul.

Mercer explains that every organization has four pillars: Capital, Management, Employees and Customers. How an organization treats those four pillars and maintains a balance between them defines the corporate soul.

He provides examples of businesses like Southwest Airlines that have a healthy and vibrant soul and thrive. He offers other examples of organizations that short change those pillars and fail. He explains what each of these four pillars need to thrive and how they all equally support the successful organization. He teaches how we must nurture them all to survive and thrive.

This book focuses on the intangible ingredient for organizational success. It focuses on the positive and the cooperative. It explains how the way we treat the people (pillars) or our organization define its soul and its success.

What I found useful about this book:

This book provides insight into the how we do what we do and why the how makes such a difference. It identifies the importance of how we treat the people who make our organizations succeed or fail. It goes beyond the bottom line and defines the ultimately important line. For all of us who lead organizations and for those of us working in those organizations these ideas are critical and give us hope.

It is probably no accident that Ron Mercer is a banker. Banks fuel and drive much of the commercial activity in the world. Modern commercial enterprise would not be possible without banks for the most part. Yet banks and bankers have suffered much in their reputation in recent years with the failed banks, the stories about self-serving over paid executives more interested in extracting wealth than creating it. In this book Mercer offers a refreshing viewpoint about what healthy corporate should look like. He offers good examples of corporations that possess this “soul” and offer their customers excellent service and their employees a great place to work.

Readability/Writing Quality:

The book is very well written. It is easy to read and contains many good examples to flesh out the principles espoused.

Notes on Author:

Ron Mercer is a senior executive in the banking industry. He has advised startups and Fortune 500 companies. He maintains a website and blog.

Related Website:

https://www.thecorporatesoulhandbook.com/ 

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

Every organization is supported by four pillars: capital, management, employees and customers. How we treat each of these pillars leads to the organization’s success or failure.

It is critical for everyone, but especially leaders, to walk their talk. We must set the example. We must act in the way we teach or we lose all effectiveness.

It is important to understand that how we treat others defines the soul of our organization. That soul is an intangible and largely unmeasurable essence that everyone recognizes when they see it and when it is missing. We must nurture that soul to achieve success as an organization.

Publication Information:

Title and Author: The Corporate Soul Handbook by Ron Mercer

Copyright holder: 2013 by Ron Mercer, Jr.

Publisher: Prime Your Pump Publishing, LLC, Texas

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Procrastination: 10 Days to Stop Being Lazy by David Patton

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:   Procrastination: 10 Days to Stop Being Lazy by David Patton
Subtitle: A Step by Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating in 10 Days, Form Productive Habits and Get More Done

Synopsis of Content:  

Patton defines procrastination in terms of avoidance, denial, distraction and emotional maneuvering.  He then outlines a process whereby you can change a habit to be used to change the habit of procrastination.

The chapter on why we procrastinate is thorough. Patton delves into the many well-recognized reasons why people procrastinate. This is followed by a chapter on how to set goals, prioritize and manager time. Here is discusses the SMART method of goal setting. He also discusses the Eisenhower Matrix with its four quadrants of urgent, not urgent, important and not important.

Chapter 4 discusses how to motivate oneself. He talks about the Fogg Behavior Model. This is followed by a chapter on how to automate and sustain action.

This is a good primer on well-established knowledge about procrastination and techniques to overcome it. There is nothing new here but the report, at 22 pages, is easy to read through and covers the main points well. For those struggling with procrastination this little book provides an excellent introduction to the subject and some great methods to overcome it.

What I found useful about this book:

This book captures the essential information needed to understand procrastination and develop ways to defeat it. It is short enough to read in one sitting. This book or report is small but it captures the essentials of how to understand procrastination and how to fight it.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

This small book is very readable. It is well organized. Most people could read it in one sitting.

Other Books by This Author:

A report on One Easy Technique to Master Time and Reach Goals

Related Website:   

Download the book here: http://amzn.to/2pfoY2P

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:  

  1. Use the SMART goal method to set realistic, measurable and achievable goals.
  2. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize your tasks and activities to get the important things done first.
  3. Use triggers to motivate yourself and get things done.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Procrastination: 10 Days to Stop Being Lazy by David Patton
Copyright holder: David Patton
Publisher: Self published on Amazon.com

Buy the book here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Will You Pay the Price?

Benjamin P. Hardy, a doctoral candidate in psychology, recently wrote a post on the on-line journal Thrive Global about achieving anything you want if you pay the price. Hardy’s premise is an old one. If you are willing to pay the price, sharpen your focus, stop wasting your time and say no to a lot of things you can pursue your dream and achieve what you wish to achieve.

Hardy is right. If you are willing to pay the price there is little you cannot achieve. But the more you want to achieve the higher the price. The price is what you must give up to attain what you want. Hardy glances over this aspect of the formula. Can you devote the time you want to devote to family and friends, to your favorite hobbies, and to other activities that are important to you, and still maintain that level of devotion required to attain your goal? That is the difficult question that anyone who has pursued a challenging goal has had to struggle with. It can be a very difficult struggle.

How badly do you want to achieve your goal? That is the question. You must say no to a great many things to achieve something great. Are you willing to do that? I have long found this question fascinating. I’ve seen many people pay the price and achieve the goal. Some of them believe it was well worth it, some regret the price they paid.

Hardy’s list of things you can achieve and the prices you must pay to achieve it are informative and inspiring. In the end though the answer to the question are you willing to pay the price can only be answered by you. It is an intriguing question for us all. How badly do you want what you think you want to achieve? How high a price are you willing to pay?

In the end you will only know if it was worth it if you try it. You must have the drive to achieve what you want and then the discipline to pay that price. Once you have paid that price and achieved that goal, only then can you know if it was worth it for you.

So how badly do you want to achieve your audacious goal? How high a price are you willing to pay to achieve it?

You can read Hardy’s post here and then think about what you want to achieve and what price you are willing to pay.

What do you think?

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Synopsis of Content:

This book is about how we pay attention to the world around us and to what we do. It is about how we focus on things, or fail to. It is also about the consequences of how we focus or fail to, from how it affects our personal achievement and performance to how it may affect the fate of human kind.

Goleman begins by explaining how we pay attention, how we focus and how we make fundamental decisions based on an overview of the anatomy of our brain. He explains the difference between “bottom up” thinking, where our more primitive brain (the amygdala) drives basic reactive thought and instinct based fast thought, such as what drives us (food, sex, emotion) and the slower “top down” thinking that emanates from our more advanced pre-frontal cortex or executive functioning brain. Critically to understand how these work one must also understand how they conflict and how they complement one another. Understanding the way the brain works helps us understand and influence whether we merely react or whether we control our thought.

The book then goes on to explore a somewhat eclectic selection of brain functions and attributes that form our thought processes. He explores how we perceive others, or “read” them; the role of empathy in our thinking; how we perceive patterns or fail to; how we act upon immediate threats but largely ignore distant threats; and how these thinking patterns help us to succeed and to fail.

He discusses how not the amount of practice but the quality of practice defines how proficient we are. He challenges the 10,000 hour myth, in which it is argued that a talent or skill is developed to proficiency with 10,000 hours of practice explaining that proficiency and mastery require quality practice for many hours.

He then applies these ideas to what makes a more effective and well-focused leader and ultimately how our success or failure to apply these ideas may well spell survival or death to human civilization.

What I did not like about this book:

The book starts out examining how we think and learn without an apparent agenda. In the end there clearly is an agenda. Goleman does not merely prescribe how our focus can make us succeed as leaders but in the end how it can cause us to fail as a species due to what he argues is our Achilles heel: our apparent inability to adequately recognize long term threats and act in the present to avoid them.

In doing this he advances an argument that our failure to recognize the ultimate environmental threat we face (primarily human driven climate change) may well lead to our destruction. He offers little to suggest how we overcome this fate, if indeed it is our fate.

What I found useful about this book:

Despite its shortcomings the book is an excellent introduction into how our minds work in terms of attention and focus and how that influences what we achieve or fail to achieve. It teaches how a complex interrelationship between our more primitive thinking and our more sophisticated thought processes can work together to be very effective.

He also provides some insight into the crucial role that emotions can play both to our detriment and to help us succeed more effectively. He also explains how we can be more effective as a leader by understanding these aspects of our brain and using that knowledge to control what we do and how we do it.

Ultimately the book is about what we pay attention to and how we do so. It is about how our use of focus can help us and our failure to be aware of it can hurt us.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is well written and well organized. The writing is stimulating and engaging. He makes the reader think and helps the reader to understand disparate concepts that work as a whole.

Notes on Author:

Daniel Goleman is a former science journalist and author. He also speaks publically. He cofounded the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at Yale University and now at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Other Books by This Author:

Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

The Brain and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Creative Spirit

In all Goleman has written 13 books related to emotion, the mind and leadership.

Related Website:

http://www.danielgoleman.info/

http://www.eiconsortium.org/index.html

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Our thinking is driven by two different brain functions, a bottom up primitive process centered in the amygdala and a more sophisticated reasoning process, or top down process, driven by the pre-frontal cortex. Understanding how these different forms of thought influence us can help us to be more effective in our thinking.
  1. It is possible to train ourselves to focus more intently and intentionally which can protect us from more turbulent emotional thought. This can reduce anxiety and other emotional functions that are defeating.
  1. While focus and disciplined thought are important and helpful to us daydreaming and unfocused thought also play a vital role in creativity and problems solving. It is critical to use both types of thinking.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Copyright holder: 2013 by Daniel Goleman

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers, NY.

Get the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

The Incremental Formula for Success and Failure

The only thing more rare than instant failure is instant success. It does happen on rare occasion. But in almost every instance success and failure are the result of an incremental process that takes months or years to occur. The success philosopher Jim Rohn wrote:

“Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. We do not fail overnight. Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.

Now why would someone make an error in judgment and then be so foolish as to repeat it every day? The answer is because he or she does not think that it matters.”

If you eat one doughnut your health will not fail. It will not kill you. And that is exactly what you think, one doughnut will not kill me. Nor will one cigarette or one day without exercise. One night of not enough sleep will not kill you. Failing to read a good book in three months will not lead to ignorance or failure. But repeat these things over and over and failure will result. Do the right things, eating that apple or getting enough sleep or getting exercise – do those things with regularity and success occurs.

The Formula for Failure

Rohn observed, “Failure’s most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. In the short term those little errors don’t seem to make any difference. We do not seem to be failing. In fact, sometimes these accumulated errors in judgment occur throughout a period of great joy and prosperity in our lives. Since nothing terrible happens to us, since there are no instant consequences to capture our attention, we simply drift from one day to the next, repeating the errors, thinking the wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices and making the wrong choices. The sky did not fall in on us yesterday; therefore the act was probably harmless. Since it seemed to have no measurable consequence, it is probably safe to repeat.

On their own, our daily acts do not seem that important. A minor oversight, a poor decision, or a wasted hour generally doesn’t result in an instant and measurable impact. More often than not, we escape from any immediate consequences of our deeds.”

The Formula for Success

Success is the result of the sustained practice of doing the right things. It is the result of disciplined repetition. Doing the right thing over and over leads to success. Doing one thing once is not what is required. The success mentality looks far into the future and recognizes that what we do regularly, what we do every day, leads to success, or failure.

This ability to look into the future and see the collective result of repeated efforts (or failures) is what distinguishes success from failure. Allowing oneself to be caught up in the instant moment and disregarding the long term cumulative effect of what we do leads to failure.

Jim Rohn left a treasure of wisdom like this.

Read Jim Rohn’s full article here.

Learn more about Jim Rohn and his teachings on personal development and creating wealth here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com