Friday, September 30, 2011

Focus With Inner Conviction

If there's one key point that's worth making, what would it be? In my opinion, it must be to highlight the principle and privilege of "focus".

What does it mean to focus? If we were to extract the essence, I believe focus must be to:
Discover WHO you want to become, WHY you want it and WHAT it will take.
And then, more importantly than anything else, once you've felt that conviction and illumination inside, decide to actually get it done by saying no to everything that will distract or dilute your mission and purpose.

Focus With Power
In my experience, there's one danger lurking, however! While coaching I witness a lot of people who believe they've found their mission only to discover at some point in time that unfortunately they chose unwisely. They selected a focus in life that failed them long term. How can we be sure our focus is placed wisely? I may have valuable advice that works indeed:
"LISTEN to and OBEY your conscience".
How do we listen to our conscience? Take time to read inspired literature and reflect.

How do we obey our conscience? Make planning a lifestyle.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Copycat Suicides are Worth a Study!

Did you know that most of our behavior is on auto-pilot? What we do, what we say and even what we think is stuck in well established patterns. Did you ever wonder why change is so difficult? (If you haven't, then you didn't really try to change something about yourself.)

How we act depends on a large number of factors. Let's take a quick look at two of them.

(1) Habits
Our decision making is based on a complex structure of conscious, but mostly unconscious, patterns of behavior? One reason it's hard to make changes is simply due to habits. We tend to repeat what we've done successfully in the past. Unfortunately, what used to be successful behavior quickly turns into bad habits, or what we may call self defeating behaviors.

(2) Copycat
However, the one thing I'd like to highlight this time is our tendency to copy the behavior of others, especially the people we identify with. Have you ever witnessed close friends adopting the same kind of laughter? Or have you seen the example of a charismatic leader replicate to an organization? That's what I'm talking about. Are we affected by the same? Absolutely! ...and more than you know.

Based on research that indicates the most fatal examples, I'd like to share one: Copycat suicides! Statistics seem to imply that if journalists are not careful, the headlines in the news can have a powerful impact on its readers. If readers identify themselves with someone who has committed suicide and made it to the front page they will be inclined to follow suit. Copycat suicide is a fairly well documented phenomenon.

The same goes for many other regular news posts. In Norway the media is currently struggling with the ongoing temptation of making a serial story out of the heinous act of terror at Utøya (use Google translate to read in English). There's a fine line between reporting news and falling victim to someone's desire to exploit the press for needed attention. We ought to ask ourselves; is this behavior we would like to dwell on with the risk of duplication?

So what can we learn from this? A great number of things. Habits and self defeating behaviors are a subject of their own. When it comes to copying the behavior of others, here are three suggestions:
  1. Be aware who you identify yourself with.
  2. Decide on behavior you would like to adopt, and what not to adopt.
  3. Be careful and on the alert! How? Identify your values and put your focus where it belongs.