I recommend you to read “The 4 hour work week” by Tim Ferris…. Its a very motivating and inspiring book 🙂
In the last post I said I’d comment about the second story we heard at the AA reunion a few weeks ago… however, I believe that this story is charged of VERY STRONG experiences that some of you may not be able to stand. So, for this reason I’ll not keep my promise and instead will give you a personal update of the last few weeks…
So a month ago I was pretty excited about this Leadership seminar with Mr. Erhard, and upon completion of the course I was commited with myself to make a real change in my life. At that time I was experiencing my “Leadership Crucible”, that is, I was just finishing the master, finding it extremely difficult to find a job overseas and at my home country, struggling emotionally after my ex decided to end a 8 year’s relationship, being ALMOST completely broke after spending most of my money for tuition fees and in an engagement ring, and being a bit confused about the my career objectives. For the first few weeks everything worked just find, that 0ne-week-leadership conditioning really stuck in my mind, and it affected every aspect of my life. At that moment I knew that within the “Realm of Possiblities” I could make anything happen in my professional life. Emotionally, however devasteded I was, I knew that it would be a matter of time until I’d find peace of mind and a valuable person to share my life. The possibilities seemed endless.
Almost two months have passed by, and I have began to loose control of it. I must say, it is EXTREMELY hard to keep the mood up and the positive attitude up and running. Despite every effort done in the professional side, opportunities seem limited still, perhaps because of current economic times. On the emotional, well, things at least are not that bad, decided to “complete” the cicle of that relationship and sent her the letter I wrote at the Rotterdam Seminar. I did not believe -in the beginning- that it could actually help. But it turns out that it does, so much so, that almost overnight I felt like if I had dropped an enormous baggage that I was carrying on my back. Can’t deny that sometimes doubts still come to mind -specially if you consider that I was about to propose-, but as quick as these thoughts come, the quicker I react not let myself be prey of them.
Just today that I was thinking about these facts, I read a book that mentions why we humans tend to fall back when making a change. The reason: Our Peer Group. Turns out that we humans LOVE comfort and dont really push ourselves to have a breakthrough that involves effort and discomfort. Sometimes however, we may get excited about something and fight for a while in order to accomplish our objectives -our change in this case- but when things get difficult – we get out of our confort zone- we rationalize and lie to ourselves saying that we were better off before. This is a critical point where the support of your peer group can make a difference, if it is comprised of people who also don’t like discomfort, they will support and encourage you to go back to your previous “way of being” for the fear of losing you. If your peer group is comprised of people for whom constant development is their life style and who are playing at the best level in their lifes, they will push you for good, until you have the breakthrough that you need in order to grow in certain aspect of your life.
I wish I could say that I surrounded myself with these kind of people… however that is not true… perhaps this fact contributes to experience this time lapse in my life as a really hard and stressful one. But as Werner also says, it is time to bear all of these difficulties and learn to be in control when being out of control…. lets see how it goes.. 🙂
A few days ago I got an invitation to attend one of the Alcoholic Anonymus meetings here in Mexico, not because I overuse alcohol but as to experience -if you could say so- what alcoholics go through when dealing with this disease.
We arrived right before the start of the meeting, the reunion took place in one the most popular areas of my hometown, the majority of the attendees were male between 18 and 40 years old, well groomed and dressed. To be honest I was expecting their personal image to be more rough and unkempt, but clearly, it was one of the “prejudices” rooted in my mind… or in Jensen’s Leadership terms… my already-always-listening. The session began when a fairly young kid read the Alcoholic Anonymus 12 Steps. Must say that, his reading pace and tone resembled those of the catholic priest I used to listen half-sleep every Sunday -Thank God I questioned religion very early in life to be carried away by this tale 😛 -. Anyway, at some point during this reading I began wondering how could all these statutes, rules, etc, could have any effect on an alcoholic’s understanding about his problem -specially if you consider that he might not have a healthy state of mind- or how could it impact positively his rehab. Just as I was thinking of it, the kid proceeded to invite anyone to the podium to share some of the experiences they have lived, and that related to the 1st acknowledgment an alcoholic must accept about himself…. -dont quite remember which one it was though-.
Another young guy quickly stood up and walked calmly to the podium, he saluted everyone in the room, gave his name, declared he was an alcoholic and began his story. When listening the intro, you could tell that he was a normal guy, living a normal life. Family kid, student, had a girlfriend that loved him, friends and a decent job. As he progressed in his story, you could better appreciate the negative influence his friends had on him, many of them challenged him to drink more, to try stronger stuff, to be more wild, etc… Although he recognized that during that time he “thought” he was in control, pretty soon alcohol took control of his life. He remembered how he started doing drugs more often and how he depicted “those alcoholic bums that peed their pants, while sleeping on the streets”. There was a pause in the room as he struggled to keep his voice going and his tears from running down his eyes. Slowly he recounted how not only he ended up sleeping on the streets, peeing his pants, but also, how he hit his wife so bad that she ended up in the hospital, and how he almost crashes his dad’s head with a rock just because he tried to defend her from him. Like waking up from your worse nightmare huh? The touching part of his story was how, despite all of this, his parents and wife still came back to support him in his recovery and helped him along the process. Many times he felt back again, but every time again and again, his family and wife were there for him. All this made me think that it must be extremely painful to know that you have harmed the ones you love and care for, not only physically, but psychologically and emotionally, and not being able to straighten your life or actions in order to stop this. He stepped down quietly from the podium as his peers gave him an affectionate applause as recognition and encouragement.
As you can imagine, at this point I felt touched by his story but also consciously aware that the risk of becoming an alcoholic is very high, specially when we lie to ourselves thinking that we are under control. It seems that becoming an alcoholic is a very dangerous and subtle process that you dont recognize until it is almost very late. Certainly, it was an extremely touching and eye-opening experience, and Im glad and thankful with the person who invited me to attend this session. There is another story that I should share from that day, but I’ll do it in a later post, so stay tunned. 🙂
Have a great Day!
Came across this clip on the internet…. reminded me my consumer behaviour course. We humans tend to magnify the reality that we decide to focus on, while minimizing some aspects of that same reality…. or what its known as Selective Attention… check it up for your self 😉
Im back on line!…. Its been quite a busy week, meeting up with childhood friends, family visits, new hosts, helping my sister out with her small business, celebrating dad, reading, cv writing, job hunting, etc… all good things. Wanted to write the last part of the Jensen report a few days ago, but as you can read, there was little time… until now.
Perhaps this is one of the topics that I liked the most during the seminar: Integrity. As defined by our coaches, it means Honoring your word, that is, to do what you say you will do, by the time you say you will do it, and, in case you cant do it, the ability to say that you wont do it and compensate or fix “the mess” you create when you say you wont do X. According to Werner and Prof. Jensen integrity is the basis for the effective practice of Leadership. I have to say that I do agree with this belief profoundly, however, I also realize that it is perhaps one of the most difficult thing we, humans, can do for ourselves. I mean, many of us try to avoid conflicts with people and give our word lighthly just to show our apparent commitment or interest in something, but never follow through or do what we said we would do. In doing so, we create a “mess” by damaging our reputation, integrity and the trust others have on our selves (Dependability), but also, this irresponsible behavior can go beyond our circle of influence and end up damaging third parties that “depend on our word”.
For many of us this behaviours are already fermented in our way of being and, consequently, we act heuristically, that is, without reasoning or being aware. I guess you can already imagine the effects that giving our word lightly has on our performance and in our lifes. I must say that it hit me like a rock to realize that I’ve been prey of these behaviors MANY TIMES during my life. I used to do it either to escape the immediate pressure of the decision, or to delay being responsible for anything, always unconsciously. However, during the seminar I made the promess to my self that I would attempt to Honor my word on a constant basis. It has proven to be extremely difficult, however, the fact that I now think throughly before commiting to something gives me more control over what I say I will do and over what I say I will not do. Just a quick example, I’ve always used to be late for anything, class, meetings, reunions, etc, and it is not that I woke up late or something like that, it is that I rationalized that (even when I was prepared long before the given time) there was enough time prior the appointment, and in doing so, consumed most of my time and rushed at the last minute, obviously, being late most of the time. 🙂 ( My cultural background some might say….)
But something interesting happened when I promised myself to honor my word, suddenly I felt that no longer would I like to be perceived by others as undependable or irresponsible. I want others to know that I’m a responsible person whom they can trust. Shifting the focus has improved my performance in many areas of my life, for instance, I’m now able (I was able… I mean it in the sense of awareness) to tell someone that I wont do a thing without feeling the “guilty feeling” I used to have by not helping them out, because now I explain that I wouldnt like to commit to something I might not be able to follow through in the future and them damage their image of me, and my own integrity. Or even with myself, saying I wont do this or that because it causes me harm or worry; its hard to do, but in the end the feeling you get when you follow through is one of control, empowerment and self-reliance…. at least it is how I experience it. Some may think it is pretty obvious, or that they already know….. but trust me…. knowing doesnt mean you really do it correctly on a constant basis… It is pretty hard to achieve.
There were many things else that were covered in the seminar, however, they are too difficult to explain with normal words…. it is something you should experience if you’re like the idea of improving your self as a leader and as a person. I recommed this seminar to people who are truly interested in developing their selves and who are open to try different perspectives of life. Im sure that you can benefit from many good ideas that are expressed along the week-long seminar, however, the mastery of these new behaviors will require your best effort and dedication.
And, as Werner said: If you think you’re good enough…. odds are you are not that good anyway…. there’s always room for improvement. 🙂
Well guys, its been a while since I promised to come back to you with the Second part of the Jensen Report :P.
Its just that, hmmm, MANY things have been shifting my world upside down and cant focus a lot having all this buzz going on inside my head. Good thing is that all these issues are putting to test what I just learned in this seminar.
Werner taught us in the seminar that people have a certain idea about the future they want for themselves or for their lifes, however, most of the times, this imagined future is just a projection of the lived past. That is, people hardly change and in imagining their future you can be certain that this will be just an extension in time of your past behaviors, beliefs and attitudes… I know, its getting tricky huh?. However, Michael C. Jensen, also taught us that the future you want for your life (as a leader in this case) must have to be created through your actions in the present, DISREGARDING your past. In simple words, the past does not equal the future!, people sometimes believe they are predestined to do something in accordance to what they have lived in previous years…. and they become a self-fulfilling history because they keep on on practicing or living in this same way. The trick however, is to define the future without any preconceived ideas about your past…. (im not that great at …. dah dah dah, or, I didnt used to excel at ….dah dah dah), otherwise such ideas will unconsciously creep in without you noticing and will drive up your life for you, without you having control of it. Was that clear at all???? 😛
At this point they mentioned that we all have experienced certain things in our past that have determined the way we live our life. For instance, a pretty damned good example was that of Prof. Michael C. Jensen… when he was a kid, he used to play baseball, but his skills were not as good when compared to those of others. One day, he said, it really got to him that everyone, including his dad, didnt believe that he had any skills for sports, that’s the reason why he quit doing any kind of sports from that point on up until his adulthood. In order to compensate for his weak “Athletic” capacity, he found a way to compensate for it by studying a lot until becoming the well Known and Respected Scholar he is today. He explained that, that experience was the one that shaped his future; that is, the lived past projected him as quite “unsuccesful” future as baseball player and, consequently, he compensated by studying and becoming a famous scholar.
How to achieve the future you want then?? Awareness!!. That is, we must be aware of the past limiting our behavior and realize that any future is possible, that no genes, past, family history, etc have ANYTHING to do with your future… that we must act in the present towards the future we want, without having the ghosts from the past… 🙂 not easy to do, but achievable with dedication 😛
Stayed tunned for the last part…. Integrity 😀
Meanwhile, got to go to the police….. turns out that the car I sold less than a year ago -to pay for the tuition at RSM- is involved in a case of murder…. :S…. need to testify the facts… Just today, when I had planned to work on my thesis and go jogging for peace of mind…. 🙂 What a day…..
Its day 4 of the Jensen Leadership Seminar and I MUST SAY that it has been a truly EYE-OPENING and TRANSFORMATIONAL experience for myself. On the first day, I have to admit, I was completely lost with all the new ideas being presented in the conference… (Didnt fit my Wall of Pre-existent bricks.. ), however, as the seminar continued and with the support of my work group eventually all the information started to make sense. Although I would like to share here some of that knowledge… it is simply impossible given that it involves A LOT of linguistic abstractions, philosofical and ontological reasoning. I wish I could explain it in simply words…. but as our coaches mentioned, you wouldnt have access to the “realm of possibilities” that could open for you. 🙂
Im just thrilled about some of the changes I’ve already noticed, for instance, the fact that now I’m more aware of the messages people try to communicate through conversations, without me having prejudices or -how it is called in the seminar- Alrady-Always-Listening behaviors. I’ve seen that many times in the past, such patterns of listening truly limited my ability to interact with others, and now I’m able to see how easily people fell into these patterns without being conscious or aware about them, and in doing so, limit their ability to relate and interact with others. Another interesting fact that truly amazed me was the “Amigdala Hijack” phenomena that is present in Human beings. As it turns out, the amigdala is a primitive “organ” located somewhere in our head that has the function to evaluate any situation in terms of threats to survival….”Does it eat me, or Do I eat it”. Whenever humans face a stressful situation, this “amigdala hijack” mechanism is triggered and makes us to defend (run away) or retaliate (fight back)…. if in Retaliate mode, we continue to argue and fight for about 20 to 40 min, until the chemicals liberated in our brain disapear and our behavior goes back to normal. You can already see the implications of this mechanism in situations where we argue with people (relationships, job, school, etc), when suddenly we feel defensive and retaliate without being completely unaware of our behavior and/or the words we say during this time lapse. No wonder why we sometimes fight for small things and suddely we lose control and make things bigger than they really are… 🙂
Overall, I have to say that the instructors do a GREAT JOB in helping participants to understand and assimilate all the knowledge being provided. Werner Erhard has this fantastic ability to convey all this ontological knowledge in a very understandable way. And although sometimes he appears to be -as he calls him self- a ruthless guy he acts like it to stop people from reasoning vaguely and to come to a concrete fact about themselves…. (To be continued)