opportunities take shape within the problems

“Wherever we look upon this earth, the opportunities take shape within the problems.”

—Nelson Rockefeller

Image of Hans Gosling

Image of Hans Rosling from TED.com

Looking at anything and declaring it a problem is a very human thing to do. In many ways, this very characteristic is what makes us human.

In his fascinating book, Factfulness, professor of international health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling and his colleagues Anna and Ola, offer an amazing new explanation of why we see the state of the world as far worse than the facts reveal.

Rosling explains what he calls the “Ten instincts that Distort our Perspective.” Among them are:

  • Dividing the world into camps such as “Us and Them,” or developed and undeveloped countries.
  • The way we consume media in which fear rules.
  • How we perceive progress versus believing that things are getting worse wherever we look.

Rosling and his team of researchers are by no means blind to the significant challenges facing the world. He is, however, asking all of us to look closely and clearly at the objective facts to better enable us to tackle the very real problems facing humanity.

EXERCISE:

What is at least one significant opportunity in our world that you are committed to working on, given this clearer and objective perspective?

Please consider watching Hans Rosling’s TED Talks, and if you wish to learn more about his important work, read his book.

solve problems

“How can I help others solve problems and achieve their dreams?”

-Brendon Burchard, American Motivational Author

image of a reciprocity ring

image from Humaxnetworks.com

What do top organization like IBM, Boeing, General Motors, and Bristol Myers Squibb have in common?

They have all used the Reciprocity Ring Exercise developed by University Sociologist Wayne Baker, and his wife Cheryl, at Humax.

The process involves groups in which the members ask for something important to them in their personal or professional lives. Requests are put out to the group and all participants make connections, offer introductions to contacts, or give other, more tangible help with achieving the member’s goals.

EXERCISE:

Check out the Reciprocity Ring Exercise and consider using it to help others in your professional or personal world solve problems and achieve their dreams.

Threshold of your Mind

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather, leads you to the threshold of your mind.”

-Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer

image from itu.edu

image from itu.edu

Take a moment to get into an imaginary time machine and go back to your youth.

Specifically, I’d like you to visit your grammar school, middle school, high school, college, and if you had them, post-graduate educational experiences.

As you explore each of these periods in your life, take note of the teachers who have made the most memorable and lasting impact on your life. How many of them challenged your thinking and encouraged greater personal inquiry, rather than simply pouring their reservoir of knowledge into you?

EXERCISE:

Who are the current teachers, mentors, and coaches that lead you to expand the threshold of your mind? How can you be such a resource for others in your personal and professional communities?

From the Errors of Others

“From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.”

—Publilius Syrus, ancient Syrian writer

QC #906

A highly notable technique to support personal growth and development is to encourage people to embrace failure. When we fail, we have the opportunity to pick up experiential lessons from the event.

Today’s quote, however, suggests that not all lessons need to occur from our own failures, setbacks, and stumbles. All we need do is pay particular attention to the misadventures of those around us. From them, we can glean additional nuggets of knowledge and wisdom.

Given the fact that there is only one of you, and so many people in your personal and professional worlds, the odds favor the open and receptive mind in picking up a higher proportion of lessons this way.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you use the errors of others to pursue greater success and mastery throughout your day?

“Don’t cut strings….”

“Don’t cut strings when you can untie knots.”

-Indian Proverb

Photo from Flickr

Photo from Flickr

When I think of cutting strings, I think of the times in my life I broke off a relationship or quit a project, where I might have been frustrated or unsuccessful.

Untying a knot, on the other hand, reminds me of times I was actively engaged in solving a particular problem or simplifying a complex matter.

EXERCISE:

Explore your professional and personal life issues to determine if they truly require a pair of scissors. How could a set of patient and diligent fingers reconcile or resolve selective challenges you are facing?

“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.”

“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.”

– René Descartes, French Philosopher and Writer

Photo from Flickr by William Warby

Photo from Flickr by William Warby

There is no such thing as an “overnight success,” but there is a formula to become one. Before you argue the inherent contradiction in that statement, consider this:

An “overnight success” is the result of the journey of personal mastery, which is built on continuous self-improvement gained through experiential learning over considerable time. The “formula” IS the journey, which demonstrates itself through the phenomenal capacities we achieve beyond those of our previous selves.

EXERCISE:

Envision the simple, ordinary, and daily problems you are solving today. How might they be the beginning or early stages of your journey of personal mastery, in some aspect of your professional or personal life?

“You cannot dream yourself into a character…”

“You cannot dream yourself into a character, you must hammer and forge yourself into one.”

– James Anthony Froude, English historian

QC #1021a

Image from Flickr by Hans Splinter

We sometimes hope for a quick-fix that will resolve our problems, and dream of how our future lives would look.  If only we could find that magic bullet!

Dreaming is important, as is having a vision. But neither comes to pass without the work it takes to realize our dreams.

The great leaders and people of our time had dreams and shared their visions. To realize those visions, though, they all worked hard, and put in tremendous effort over many years. These people of character have the bumps, bruises and calluses to show for it.

Here is a secret: Find something of extraordinary value and meaning in your life. Pursue something you truly love to do, and you will enjoy the process.

Exercise:

What do you envision and dream about that would be worth a lifetime of hard labor?