- Mentally note the emotion/thought and stop interacting with the perceived cause of the reaction except to ask for a moment or excuse yourself.
- Take 1-3 consciously controlled breaths. This stops the emotive response in the body.
- Investigate the emotion with awareness. What is anger like in the body?
- Take a moment to think of how you would like to respond to the situation or person in a way that is in accordance with your ideal me.
This is one of the most powerful practices I know of. Please let me know if you use it and how it works for you.
This simple little ad from Thailand made me cry. But they were good tears; tears of inspiration.
The ad reminds us of how magical giving can be on three different levels.
We Benefit in the Worldly Sense
The first and most obvious benefit of giving is that people we’ve given to are likely to give back when we are in need, as the doctor does in the ad.
I talk a lot about giving when I interact with people before or after I give a speech. I’ve heard numerous similar stories of people who gave without any expectation of getting anything in return, and were later the recipients of generosity when they were in need.
One example was of a man who mowed his neighbors lawns every time he mowed his lawn for years. When the man fell ill and went to the hospital, he worried that his lawn and his neighbors lawns would go un-mowed.
But his daughter informed him that one of the neighbors immediately took up the tradition of mowing the lawns when he heard what happened. No one had to ask the neighbor to do it.
We Receive the Benefit of Happiness
Even better than worldly benefit, giving makes us happy. Research has shown that altruistic acts create happiness that has a deeper impact and lasts significantly longer than when we do things only for ourselves.
Also, people who witness an altruistic act receive the same amount of happiness that we receive from actually performing the act, which you probably noticed while you watched the video.
The Impact Could Be Tremendous
We never now how far one act of giving will go to impact our world. In the video, one simple act of giving kept a boy from getting in trouble with the law.
Had he been arrested, he might have never become a doctor. By preventing this with a simple act of generosity, imagine how many lives could be positively impacted by the actions of the generous man.
What can you do today to be more generous to those around you? What could the impact be?
For the last couple years, despite the struggling economy we’ve all slogged through, I’ve noticed something quite interesting. I’ve been gradually seeing more and more opportunities.
We often think of great leaders as being those people that can get up in front of a group and inspire them with their words. This may be effective in the short term, when the group is new or the leader is new. But leaders who excel over the long term know a simple secret that is quite contrary to the popular leader archetype of being a dynamic speaker.
Great leaders listen first.
Applying this has been very challenging for me. My natural of way relating to others is this kind of arrogant belief that I have all the answers, and I can help everyone by giving them those answers. From this basic starting point, I naturally tend to want to listen very little so I can get on to telling people what I think. Do you ever notice this in your own life?
During my time living and training as a monk, one of the practices I took on was to talk very, very little. The general practice was to speak only to greet people and ask them questions about themselves. I would not say anything about myself or state any opinion or view unless I was directly asked to do so.
One of the effects of this practice is that my mind gradually became much more calm and peaceful. I also noticed that people seemed to enjoy talking to me much more! When we focus more on listening than on talking, we might find that despite saying very little people say of us, “Boy that so and so sure is a great conversationalist!”
There are countless reasons why listening first is so important as leaders. Below are just a few:
- Increases trust, which is vital for effective leadership
- Helps people to feel truly cared for, which improves engagement, retention, creativity, and innovation
- Develops future leaders by encouraging our people to think through problems versus getting the answers from us
- Helps us to leverage the intelligence of our people more because they are more likely to speak up if we haven’t offered our opinions and views first
- Helps us to develop greater mental agility, perhaps the most important trait for today’s managers, by letting go of our conditioned thought patterns
Do you listen first? What are some tools you are applying to be a better listener?
Does your mind often feel as though it’s too busy and full? Would you like to have a mind like the ocean?
If you are practicing awareness or mindfulness as part of your personal development training, you’ll notice that when you awaken with the perspective of mindfulness, and are no longer caught in your thinking, you are free to choose how you respond to whatever you are experiencing. Why not choose to smile?