Today marks 1,000 daily posts in a row. That’s 558,386 words. What lessons have I learned through this practice? Many, but today one is top of mind.
Be aware of the balance between patience and instinct
Why is this top of mind? Well, at the moment I am looking at buying my own place in the London area.
Over time, in looking at styles of processing information and in sharing knowledge around this with others, when it comes to being instinctive in decision making, I often point to the way we choose to buy a house. Despite it being one of the biggest financial decisions most of us make, we tend to do it instinctively.
I’m also someone who can process a huge amount of data and information very fast, so as I immerse myself in the process around “house hunting”, I find myself almost rushing to action, to make an instinctive decision.
However, at the same time a little voice tells me: “take your time”, both in enjoying the process and in the recognition that the more time I put into this, the better thought out the ultimate choice will be.
Back to writing. I started writing daily as an instinctive choice, yet in making it a deliberate and patient practice, it has brought me so much, as well as, to my great joy, am told it has brought learnings to many.
So, being instinctive can be really valuable, yet so can being patient, which can bring rich rewards over time. Thank you for being my audience and inspiring me to continue down this patient path. Onwards to the next 1,000 posts!
Michael Holding, as a fast bowler for the West Indies cricket team in the 1970s and 1980s, was, indubitably, one of the greatest of all time. Since that time he has been a cricket commentator.
Michael is some 11 years older than me, so, as a fanatical cricketer and cricket fan in my teens and early 20s (and a fast bowler too), I watched “Whispering Death” and the utterly dominant “Windies” team of that era as much as I could.
With all of that, though, yesterday, in less than five minutes, unscripted, speaking from the heart, his power, eloquence and passion stirred me more than any delivery he ever made as a fast bowler.
Yesterday I wrote a piece to amplify the voice of my friend, the brilliant economist Marla Dukharan. I then also shared it directly with a number of people I felt would benefit from reading her word and hearing her interview this week.
This set me to musing about the idea of “amplifying”.
On this blog I often curate the thoughts of others, on my new weekly show WhatComesNext.Live I use that platform to allow my guest space to share their voice to a new audience.
My work is all around supporting brave and transformative leaders to be more, do more, to amplify, to elevate, to accelerate their existing impact.
My simple question for you today, then, is around who can you choose to support in this way, who can you amplify?
Do you believe you are fair? that your country is?
Do you believe you are well informed about systemic racism? Do you consider it enough for you to not be racist, or are you now choosing to educate yourself to understand the deep biases in the system so that you can then choose to be anti-racist
Today seeking to amplify the words and message of my dear friend, the brilliant economist Marla Dukharan. Marla and I share a passion for fairness and so addressing inequality, yet I have never heard her to passionate as she is now.
Please listen to Marla on David McWilliams podcast here, from 27:17 in. Listen to my amazing friend at her passionate best for twenty minutes that will open your mind, I assure you.
Yesterday I was talking with a friend and future WhatComesNext.Live guest when I mused on “what if our political leaders actually admitted when they are wrong, or even when our countries are not doing as wonderfully as they keep saying?”
At the moment, the UK and US government, by any measures, have made mistake after mistake in handling the pandemic. Yes, it is truly impossible to “get it right” all the time, but they simply seem unable to apologise.
Imagine, then, the power of being humble and what that opens up?
First, admit your mistakes to create space to move on. For more depth, I wrote about this years ago in “I was wrong“.
Second, for national leaders, come clean, admit you are not the greatest country in the world (nor, using the current example of Covid-19), that you are “world-leading”).
Do both of these things and you have the chance to bring people with you. We want leaders we believe in, we trust. Such leaders are humble and also confident in leading towards the future together.
To illustrate, one of my favourite speeches written by Aaron Sorkin, from the opening scene of the pilot episode of “The Newsroom”, in which the main character answers the trite question “Why is America the greatest country in the world?”, starting out by saying “It’s not…”.
Oh, and for students of rhetoric, he uses, one after the other, the key rhetorical tools ethos, logos and pathos. (for more on those, read this piece by Farnam Street).
Be like water making its way through cracks. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water.
Last week our first “WhatComesNext.Live” show featured the amazing Mark Beaumont, who shared a number of inspiring actionable insights and ideas (you can see that show on the page link above, plus our upcoming show listings). One thing Mark talked about was about having a goal, but consciously not over-planning it, leaving space for opportunities to arise.
Those who know me well know that, for all my planning and research, sometimes I move and act really fast.
Generally, this serves me well, but there have been times when I’ve tried to “force” things in moving fast. When I do that I can get “a” solution to any problem, one that works, but sometimes isn’t, well, optimal.
So, today, reminded by one of my sons recently of the quote above, I’ll share an anchor that can help us find “the” solution to any problem, rather than “a” solution.
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
The most important and foundational skills often take time and persistence, lots of it. My formal education went through to age 24 when it culminated qualified as a Chartered Accountant. The skills I learned through that created a foundation for me for the last three decades. My two oldest sons swam for the Cayman Islands in the Commonwealth Games, each had trained for over the 10,000 hours to get to their pinnacle.
My most important role in life is as a father to three boys, I hope they learn from me as much as I learn from them, and I am still and will always be learning how to be a better father.
This Sunday simply sharing a quite beautiful one minute video of a father teaching Einstein’s life lesson to his son. Do watch, and stay to the very end.
In 1989 I moved to the Cayman Islands, one of the global centres for scuba diving, so naturally, I learned to dive right away. One of the things you learn very quickly in the extensive safety training is all about the need to “decompress” when you return to the surface from depth.
When you go down, the pressure on your lungs at depth is increased. Put simply, if you rush to the surface at the end of the dive, you are in real danger of harm due to rapid expansion of gas in your body as the pressure reduces as you ascend. So, you decompress, you take your time to come up to the surface so your body can adjust at the appropriate (slow) speed.
While the very concept of a constraint that enables may feel like a contradiction, creating the right type of constraint can be very powerful.
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Time and time again I’ve seen clients put off the important work in favour of the urgent.
Important work includes committing time, energy and resources into the areas that will generate the biggest returns over the long term, so logically we should always do the important work first. However, for many reasons, we as humans tend to focus on the urgent.
So, enter the idea of an enabling constraint. While the very concept of a constraint that enables may feel like a contradiction, creating the right type of constraint can be very powerful.
“If you can see radical changes you want to make, make them now, soon.”
Now, if you are ready to make changes, you also see it is key to design, build and implement your strategy for and beyond the “window for change” we are now within.
One example of this is to take this time to completely (yet rapidly and smoothly) re-assess your brand and market positioning. So many businesses have opportunities to embrace new market opportunities and brand positioning is paramount in this!
I do recommend that you move quickly in this “window for change” though, and, as part of your commitment in time and resources to build that strategy and to ensure it is not simply “good”, but “elite”, do as to athletes do and invest in a coach, specifically a specialist Business Strategy Coach.
I have been following Seth Godin and been a subscriber to his daily posts for well over a decade, but it took a long time before I listened to my own voice telling me that daily writing was something for me to do too.
Nearly 1000 daily posts ago, I started on this path and it means and has meant so much to me, with so many learning and growing opportunities coming from it. One of those is WhatComesNext.Live, my new podcast recorded live each Tuesday afternoon.
Thank you Seth, and today I repost another concise piece of his wisdom.
Hearing happens when we’re able to recognize a sound.
Listening happens when we put in the effort to understand what it means.
It not only requires focus, but it also requires a commitment to encountering the experience, intent and emotion behind the words. And that commitment can be scary. Because if we’re exposed to that emotion and those ideas, we discover things we might be avoiding.
Let us listen to the narrative of the other. Let us hear the version of the other.
At times there is so much ugliness in humanity, often expressed in how we separate from each other, whether individually or in constructs such as tribes, religions, nations, race.
It is always driven by one thing. Fear.
At the present moment we are seeing so much of this in this time of pandemic, very human and understandable fears being leveraged by the unscrupulous to break us further apart rather than bring us together.
This morning, then, I simply bring you a beautiful piece of music, a reminder that we are all unique and at the same time together, that humanity is a beautiful collective to which we all belong, that humans, when they come together, can create moments of profound and heart-stopping beauty from love.