In her book, Amanda Lang shows how curiosity and the ability to ask the right questions fuels innovation, and drive change in business as well as in our personal lives.
She argues that curiosity requires habits of thought that most of us don’t cultivate. For example, curiosity requires the courage to risk of failing and being wrong. If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.
There are good practical reasons to encourage curiosity. It drives innovation, which in turn powers productivity. To progress and innovate, we need to challenge ourselves and each other. This process keeps your mind engaged and pushes you to novel way of acting and thinking.
The most successful and innovative businesses in the world promote a culture of diversity and inquiry throughout the organization. This promotion of the culture of diversity and inquiry does not come as a result of crisis, but rather as their normal business strategy. They are good at asking why reinvent the wheel if they can borrow and adapt one from another field. In other words, they take what already exists and push the boundaries to see how much better they can make it. They often look for answers in unlikely places. They explicitly reframe mistakes as necessary steps in the creative process.
At heart, innovation is about approaching the world differently. It’s about asking “Why?” and “Why not?”. Asking these questions makes life richer, more interesting and more fulfilling.
Communication skills are essential if you want to succeed in your family life, in your work and in your social interactions. We all spend the large majority of our waking time communicating or interacting with other people. You need to communicate in order to share ideas, experiences and feelings, to solve problems and to form relationships. You do it by listening, speaking, reading and writing. Research has shown that in the work environment people spend on average 45% of their communication time listening, 30% talking, 16% reading and 9% writing. Practicing effective communication can help you shape your world as you would like it to be. Communication is basically an interaction between you and one or more individuals, who most likely have different needs, goals, outlooks and values. It is a two-way transfer of information and meaning. You want your communication to be effective. A good interaction achieves a satisfactory completion of the transaction and enhances the relationship between both parties.
A good communicator sends and receives messages in the context of an open, supportive and empathic relationship. There are strategies for good communication that you should be aware of and practice on a regular basis. The strategies discussed below are mainly for oral communication and some of them are obviously not applicable if the method of communication is different. Some of the important strategies in communication are:
- Prepare the message with a clear-cut objective. Know what you want to say or write.
- Present yourself and your message in the best light. Be honest, clear, concise and coherent in your communication.
- Gain and maintain the attention of the receivers. Learn how to match the other party’s language.
- Respect the needs and interests of others. Identify the benefits to the listeners.
- Use simple language and emphasize the main points. Know what the audience likes and is interested in.
- Avoid barriers to communications. Create a good atmosphere in which communication can take place.
- Listen attentively and clarify misunderstandings. Be an active and empathic listener.
- Close the conversation effectively. Follow up and maintain relationship.
You need to know exactly what you want to communicate and what you wish to achieve. Clarify for yourself the purpose, intent and content of what you wish to say. Keep your objective in mind and come to the point as quickly as possible. A well prepared and focused communication has a better chance of being understood. Present yourself as a person with empathy and understanding every time you speak. Nonverbal messages make big impressions. A smile, a firm hand shake, open posture and eye contact convey confidence and respect. Try to match the other party’s language, verbal and nonverbal. Make sure that you have the attention of your audience before you begin to talk. You may need to spend time preparing the receiving party. Identify what benefit they might gain as a result. Use simple language; be clear, brief and specific. Try to be concise, while giving an appropriate amount of information. Avoid unnecessary detail and emphasize the main points and benefits. Do not criticize, put down, order or threaten the other party. Show your sense of humor whenever appropriate. Practice empathic listening and clarify what you have not understood. You have to determine when and how to end the communication appropriately. If the receiving party is not receptive and wants to end the communication, do not disapprove of his or her need for withdrawing. You may summarize what has been achieved and suggest ways forward or a follow up. In many cases, you need to follow up to get something done and maintain the relationship.
Excerpt from my book: Become your best
The wisdom, warmth, compassion, and disarming candor of Simple Abundance have made Sarah Ban Breathnach’s a trusted voice to millions of women. Now Sarah invites us on a bold, brave, and beautiful continuation of the journey to authenticity, the search of something more.
In Something More, the author encourages us to dig in our past, unfulfilled longings, forgotten pleasures and abandoned dreams to uncover our authentic self.
In today’s harsh materialistic world, millions of people unfortunately called their survival a success. They eventually settle in a job or profession, and often accept indifferent marriages and relationships. In the fast changing environment, we all have a lot of responsibilities, worries, anxieties and fears. Our authenticity is buried in the small details of our daily routine at home and work, and with our family and friends.
The conscious search for something more is a sacred adventure that will provide you profound turning points and provocative choices to live your life without regrets. While you may be petrified to make the wrong decisions, your choices are in fact spiritual gifts that you open with your free will. You will need to bravely embark on your spiritual path and embrace it. With meditation, self-awareness and enlightenment, you will be guided by your inner self and intuition.
You have to willing to relinquish the need to live through others and acknowledge that you deserve a life of your own choosing. To achieve authentic success, we don’t need to compare ourselves to others. Discover your own path and style. If you are to lead a deep, rich and fulfilling life so your soul can soar, passion must fuel your flight. Believe it or not, you are meant to wake up every morning invigorated and exhilarated, with gratitude and a smile in your face.
Whether you are comfortable with this truth or not, you were conceived in passion, born in passion, and will die in passion. The pursuit of Something More is simply the soul’s plea to live passionately.
The most important person in the world to whom you should be loyal and faithful to is yourself. Everybody else will leave you at one point or another in this life. You are the only person who can’t ever leave you until you die. So you better have a great relationship and understanding with yourself right at the start if you can. You definitely need to understand yourself first. Unfortunately, most people don’t really know themselves, and have not taken the time necessary to reflect on their core priorities, desires, beliefs, and values.
First, as an infant and a young child, we don’t even have the notion of self. We are just being ourselves which is great. Slow but surely, we start to understand the notion of self and being selfish with others. For example, we want things, food and toys for ourselves. We start to grab things from other children, and we start to discriminate who we want to let into our inner play circle. Gradually at school, we start to choose our own friends and reject others. As a youngster and teenager, you form your self-esteem mostly from external factors,
from your environment, parents, teachers and friends. If you were bullied at school like some were, you most likely had a low self-esteem of yourself. Your relationship with yourself would tend to be negative and self critical. On the other hand, if you were lucky to have a loving family, supportive siblings and friends, you develop a healthy self-esteem and a positive outlook of life. Then your relationship will yourself tends to be healthy and wholesome.
As young adults, most people understand the importance of developing a healthy relationship with the self. Unfortunately only very few actually consciously put the necessary effort in cultivating and nurturing such a relationship. The excuses are that you are too busy doing more important things like having an education, earning a living and dating. You forget the most important person in this world, namely you. So the relationship with one’s self is taken for granted and there is a false assumption that you treat yourself well by default.
In actual fact, most people tend to have a somewhat negative relationship with themselves. You tend to be critical of yourself through your thoughts and self talks. For example, you don’t like the way you look, you don’t like your job, you don’t like your weight, and you are dissatisfied because you aren’t happy and rich. Some people are their worst critics. They are never happy with who they are, what they do and where they are in life. The root of their misery and lack of contentment are their attitude towards life and their low self-esteem. Of course, their relationships with themselves are very poor and negative.
Spend time cultivating and nurturing your relationship with yourself. It is certainly one of the most important things you can do in order to live a meaningful and fulfilled life. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself in your mind. Learn to talk to yourself as a friend would. Develop a positive mindset and a hopeful outlook to life. A positive and hopeful mindset can alter your thoughts and can definitely change your relationship with self for the better. Be aware of the power of your mind. You attract to your mind the predominant thoughts that you are holding in your awareness. So choose your thoughts carefully, as your current thoughts are creating your future life. One way to master your mind is to learn to quiet your mind through meditation.
Nothing comes into your experience and existence unless you summon it through persistent thoughts. Your thoughts are the primary cause of everything. Everything else you see and experience in this world is effect, and that includes your feelings. Imagine that you are given some very bad news, most likely you will feel very sad and depressed. Your feelings are therefore an immediate signal for you to know what you are thinking. You are the only one who knows how you are feeling at any time.
Believe in yourself and be confident that you will succeed in life by reaching your goals. Your ultimate goal is to learn to become your best friend. Imagine spending the every moment of the rest of your life being with your best friend. What a wonderful life it would be!
Keep your thoughts positive, they become your words.
Keep your words positive, they become your behaviour.
Keep your behaviour positive, they become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, they become your values.
Keep your values positive, they become your destiny.
- Old Chinese proverb.
An excerpt from my book: In pursuit of relationships.
There is no simple formula to a perfect marriage. Over the years, there are some trends and principles that can help us better understand what set a sustainable and loving marriage apart from one that ends in separation or divorce. Positive and life-affirming relationships bring great pleasure, but unhealthy relationships can bring deep pain and sorrow. In order to make your marriage last and thrive, you need to ensure that mutual respect, trust and love are always present in your partnership. You need to show respect no matter what. Even in the heat of an argument, there should still be respect for partner. Don’t insult or degrade him or her. You have made a vow to support and love your partner in good and bad times. So practise your lifetime vow every day. Express grace and forgiveness after a heated argument and dispute. Reaffirm your love and praise your mate’s character and strengths. Use words of affirmation to describe your mate to others. The more you and your partner focus on positive common grounds and successful goals that you have achieved in your partnership so far, the more likely you’ll be happy in your relationship.
So how can you protect your marriage and shield it against the risk of divorce? It’s very important to understand the needs and wants of your partner. Most people have same basic needs to be valued, respected and loved. For most women, they need to be listened to, cared for, and made to feel attractive and wanted. For most men, they need to feel that they are the leader of the household, and the provider and protector of the family. Obviously, they need the full support of their mate to assume this role. In order to understand and know the specific needs and wants of your partner in life, you have to ask him or her. There is no other way. Therefore, open and honest communication is essential. Poor communication leads to unhappy couples more than almost anything else.
Discuss your financial issues in an open and honest fashion. Ensure that you both spend money and the family budget responsibly. Most importantly, inject and embrace fun and friendship in your couple’s relationship. Have fun and enjoyment together by going out for a walk, dinner, a movie, on a weekend trip, on a week vacation, or a ten day cruise. Have quality time together whenever you can, not only on special occasions. In addition, maintain strong friendships outside your relationship. Various surveys show that happy couples have numerous friends and hobbies outside their relationships. They love to try new things on a regular basis, and have fun with their friends. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and very significant.
Marriage is a give and take partnership. You need to forgive stupid stuffs and ignore the little things that sometimes drive you up the wall. Work together to build a real partnership and teach your values to the children you bring into the world. Most of all, no matter how long you have been together as a couple, don’t let a day go by without doing a little something for your partner: a touch, a smile, a kiss, a gift or a chore. Let your spouse know your appreciation and gratitude for sharing your life’s journey. Many people think marriage means you belong to each other. The truth is marriage is a true partnership, and you have to work hard to keep it so.
Excerpt from my book: In Pursuit of Relationships
On the 13th April 2018, I presented my speech on “How to live peacefully and happily, and prosper in the next 50 years” at the China-Africa Peace and Development Forum at the Intercontinental Resort Hotel at Balaclava, Mauritius. It was organized in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the independence of Mauritius.
I talked about vision and purpose, closed relationships and service to others as they relate to peace of mind, happiness and prosperity respectively. When you develop your vision and purpose in life in alignment with your humane values, integrity and ethics you will inevitably enjoy peace of mind. Take all the time necessary to visualize your success and reflect on your purpose in life.
Harvard University Happiness Study studied over 750 people for over 75 years to understand adult development and what keep them happy and healthy as they go through life. The conclusion of the Harvard Happiness Study was that close relationships keep people happy and healthy. We all need to love and be loved by our family, friends and loved ones. So spend your time nurturing close relationships with your loved ones.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Anthony Robbins and Ma, owner of Alibaba, all earned their massive financial wealthy from serving others with products and services that people need. So don’t chase after money, rather look for opportunities to serve others in need of your skills, talents and expertise. The more people seek your products, services and expertise, the more will prosper in the next five or even fifty years.
In order to live a successful, happy and prosperous life, you should develop a vision and purpose and closed relationships, and provide service to others.
Are you living a successful, happy and prosperous life on purpose and by design? Your comments are appreciated.