We have taken gratitude for granted...
Yes, “thank you” is an essential, everyday part of family dinners, trips to the store, business deals, and political negotiations. That might be why so many people have dismissed gratitude as simple, obvious, and unworthy of serious attention. But that’s starting to change. Recently scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and the circumstances in which it flourishes or diminishes. They’re finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Gratitude: Film by Louie Schwartzberg
You think this is just another day in your life? It's not just another day. It's the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. ~ Brother David Steindl-Rast
ABOUT THIS VIDEO: Nature’s beauty can be easily missed -- but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day. [Filmed at TEDxSF in June 2011]
Why gratitude is good...
In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer
How to Cultivate Gratitude
Are you a natural pessimist? Take heart: The benefits of gratitude aren’t only available to people with a naturally grateful disposition. Instead, feeling grateful is a skill we can develop with practice, reaping its rewards along the way. Here are some of the most effective ways to cultivate gratitude, according to research.
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
There's an old saw among law enforcement professionals that goes something like this:
"We all have the capacity to be quite bad under the right circumstances." ~ Dan Ariely
I am not condoning or defending anything. Frankly, I am disgusted by the amount of money professional athletes get paid especially when compared to teachers, nurses and other people who contribute far more to the greater good of society. The culture narrative that many people are engaged in today is not just about guns, drugs and violent behavior. That same culture includes cheating, gambling and other unethical (criminal) behavior that exists at all levels of sports starting with little league. It increases dramatically in college and comes to a climax in the big leagues. Note the correlation between the amount of money at stake and the severity of the behavior.
The great paradox here is that the glue that holds the matrix of failure together may very well be our own obsession with sports or, to be more precise, our obsession with WINNING. We all get off on those bad ass personalities a little bit, don't we? How many hours are consumed each weekend watching game after game after game? Season after season, decade after decade.
How many people will do whatever it takes to WIN in business, or at their kids' soccer matches or at garage sales for crying out loud? As the late Stephen Covey once said, we live in a WIN-LOSE society. For many, life itself is a zero sum game. Aaron Hernandez was a $40,000,000 athlete. Which begs the question, how many children could be mentored or tutored with $40 million?
"No one graduates from the Harvard Business School planning to screw the world and end up in jail but a scary number of them actually do." ~ Clay Christensen
The BUSINESS WORLD is not any better than the wide wide world of sports. Consider the quote above by Harvard professor and best-selling author, Clay Christensen. Again, I go back to my opening salvo -- the main difference between the men and women behind bars and the rest of us is that they got caught. As Duke professor Dan Ariely asserts, we all have the capacity to be quite bad under the right circumstances. I would only add that you don't need a gun to be "quite bad."
References & Resources
Twenty years later, I had the good fortune of spending three weeks in NYC as part of my rookie training with Merrill Lynch. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown and took the subway down to One Liberty Plaza every day for the final three weeks of our four-month training program. It was as close as I would ever get to living in New York City.
At that time (and to this day) Merrill Lynch was a magnet for Ivy League Wall Street Wannabees. I am pretty sure I was one of the poorest members of Class #299-A but we all thought we were hot shit. Suffice to say, we knew we were going to rule to the world some day. Grandiose thinking, along with a larger than life self-image, is hard-wired into the DNA of most young stockbrokers. All hat and no cattle as Dr. Stanley would say just a few years later.
More importantly, it was enough to reconnect with the amazing people, or rather the spirit of the amazing people of New York City. I won't bore you with the details but suffice to say that New Yorkers of means are intelligent, well-read and well-traveled. They are interesting and engaging. If you only know New York as a casual visitor, this may surprise you. New Yorkers care deeply about other people. The ones I have met are compassionate, caring individuals. They care not only about their own great city but of great cities all over the world. They care about culture; their own as well as those of other nations. That's the New York I know. For the many indescribable experiences I have had in this amazing city I will always be grateful.
In honor of my SLOG's one-year anniversary, I decided to create a slide show featuring some of my favorite posts from the past year...
Copied below is an excerpt of the welcome message I recorded for my business website. I have had a number of positive comments about this so decided to transcribe the presentation so people can read and listen to it. The theme of the message is a very costly and prevalent trap that many people get caught in without realizing it. I call it the "A to B Syndrome."
When you talk to entrepreneurs or business leaders a lot of times they have no idea where "B" is. In fact, a lot of times they have no idea where "A" is.
If you're really good and if you ask the right questions and start peeling back the layers of the proverbial onion, what you are going to find is that, a lot of times, the client is better off going to another destination – maybe C or D or G. Sometimes, B is really not the best place for them to go.
What happens, if you have a young (and nothing against young consultants or young creative people) but, if you have someone who lacks experience, it is very easy and very common for them to accept a job. That can be everything from a speaking engagement to a consulting gig or designing social media and web pages for someone. They will accept the job because the client says, “I need to go from A to B” and they will help them get from A to B. But, again, the problem is if the client is better off going to C or D or E, do you see what just happened? Without anyone knowing it, without anyone intending to do harm, you can spend a lot of time, money and energy getting the client to a place they really don't belong.
If you have someone who lacks experience, it is very easy and very common for them to accept any job. That can be everything from a speaking engagement to a consulting gig or designing social media and web pages for someone.
To become an airline pilot, you cannot buy or go to college to get your hours in the cockpit. You just have to sit up there and fly the airplane!
The same is true when it comes to consulting. Sometimes you have to challenge the clients, sometimes you have to push them a little bit. Make sure you are asking deep, penetrating questions that help everybody get to the truth. Frankly, that is what you are looking for.
Common examples of mistaken "B" identity*
* While it is plausible that you "need" these things, it is more probable that you need some other things first, like a well-designed client experience process or a clear and compelling story for your business.
Hands down, one of the best presentation I have EVER heard...
Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.
This is definitely inside baseball talk so, if you're not in the financial services industry, it probably won't make sense to you. That said, you should probably understand what it means if you work with a financial advisor. This is my response to an article that appeared in Financial Advisor IQ entitled, Why Advisors’ Fees Are All Over the Map...
MY RESPONSE TO THE ARTICLE
In most cases, especially in the investment business, pricing anomalies like this are squeezed out of the system pretty quickly. Not sure if this article really answers the WHY question posed in the headline although Bob touches on it at the end. Lack of information on the part of advisors and clients partially explains it. But, after 30 years of working under the hood of advisor practices, I would offer some additional reasons to consider...
* To appreciate this leverage please review the Lifetime Value of a Loyal Client chart below...
If you knew the truth about the "Farm Bill" (or most of what goes on in Washington for that matter) you would be crying too. Click on her nose to get the full story...
I can count on one hand the number of new ideas I have come across that can truly change the trajectory of a person's life. This is one of them. It's called RESILIENCE THINKING and I learned about it by listening to an interview by Krista Tippett with Andrew Zolli. Regardless of who you are or how you found your way to my slog, I urge you to take this one in slowly and carefully. When you're done, take it in again.
Steve Saenz, Atlanta -- May 2013
Just click on the image below to get started...
We're in a moment now as a species, as societies, as communities, at all different levels, where we are experiencing increasing amounts of volatility. So 10 years ago, we used to marvel — and you could sort of see it entered the culture — that a butterfly could flap its wings on one side of the planet and you could have a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Well, in an era where every butterfly is connected to every hurricane, you start to worry about the flapping of those butterfly wings. Oh my goodness, what can we do to stop that from happening? Because the ecological system, the economic system, the geopolitical system, the climate system, the food security system are all connected to each other in ways that cause very complex highly unpredictable nonlinear outcomes. So all of those systems being connected leads us to a place where increasingly instead of trying to find an equilibrium in a planet that's out of balance, we also have to try and manage with the unbalances, the imbalances. We have to manage in a world that's intrinsically out of order. And that means protecting, especially vulnerable people from the shocks and disruptions that are becoming the hallmark of the age. ~ Andrew Zolli
It occurs to me that most of us adopt sayings like this without taking the time to figure out (or question) what they really mean. For example, WHAT BOX ARE WE REFERRING TO? I am fully aware that "think outside the box" is a harmless suggestion to think creatively but to paraphrase my original question -- What happens when EVERYONE starts looking outside the box for inspiration???
With this in mind, I would like to offer an unconventional view of what now seems like a rather conventional dose of wisdom, which is this...
When everyone is looking outside the box for inspiration, maybe it's time to look INSIDE!
And, with all due respect to Mr. Chopra (whom I admire greatly) I say it depends on your box :-)
RAMBLE ON, the name of my SLOG was inspired by the Led Zeppelin song with the same name. It also describes the content, which reflects my very random observations about life, work and my endless pursuit of the sublime. See tag list below...
My "Fiscal Cliff" Playlist
"When you realize how little you know, you have become a philosopher."
~ Socrates ~