Anchoring for Success: Tips from Calvin Coyles

Calvin Coyles is a self-made multi-millionaire, author of 3 best-selling books and has been featured alongside Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and Jeff Bezos in publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and business insider. Fresh out of university and in debt to the tune of $40,000, he knew he wanted to do something big with his life.

Calvin joined the MBC team and our members for an expert speaker session that dived into methods, ways of thinking and habits we can all implement to make a difference in our lives and in business. Amongst the things Calvin discussed were; setting personal goals and achieving them, the mind, focus, self-awareness, and accountability.

Anchoring

Calvin himself states that instead of “faking it until you make it,” grow and develop an anchor and condition into the nervous system qualities you’d like to have.

When we change our internal views of a moment or behaviour, we create new outcomes and new results. Anchoring is one of the most effective techniques known for constructively channelling our powerful unconscious reactions.

As business owners, it can be difficult to stay focused, motivated, and free from limiting beliefs. It is important to have reminders and motivators that keep us grounded, positive and determined.

For Calvin anchoring involves training your nervous system to activate power emotions such as strength, confidence, positivity, desire, hunger, and motivation. The point of this is so that in moments of stress or anxiety these emotions can be activated therefore harnessing better abilities to respond to day-to-day challenges.

Image of an anchor

Emotions

For Calvin, our emotions can and should be used for our benefit. Emotions like:

Anchoring for success

“Success is the ability to get yourself to do things you need to do when you don’t want to do them” – Calvin Coyles

Doubt, limiting beliefs and negativity holds people back but by creating better habits and behaviours we can change our outlook, direction and reach our full potential. Calvin’s tips for anchoring for success is one approach that anyone can adopt into their lives.

Here are some of Calvin’s approaches to anchoring for success.

Quotes

Ever found a quote that motivated and inspired you to do great things? Of course you have. We all do.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas Edison

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

There is no denying that there is power in words. Words from global leaders in business, politics, or the famous philosophers of old impact us greatly because of the assumption that when people are in public positions, they must be successful – and we are drawn to that like a magnet.

So, the solution?

Print off the quotes that resonate with you, save one as a screensaver and use quotes as a daily trigger for motivation, inspiration and an injection of positivity and passion.

Music

Music is powerful and the simple construct of a few chords into a memorable melody can increase cognitive stimulation, inspiration and also our drive for success. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that people listen to music to improve their mood and find self-awareness, not to mention it is THE best accompaniment to exercise.

Across multiple genres, there is a song to suit all moods, mindsets, and purpose.

Got a song that motivates you no matter what?

Mine is The Cranberries ‘Dreams’ – no matter my mindset, as soon as that first power chord is struck on the guitar, I go into an entirely new zone filled with creativity, positivity, motivation and inspiration.

Exercise

Exercise sharpens the mind and the same endorphins that create positivity also boost concentration and provide higher levels of energy. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem, allowing us to break through negative cycles of self-doubt and achieve more clarity in our lives.

Add a little music to the workout and you have a recipe for success!

Eating well

Eating healthy foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and improves overall wellbeing and mood.

Dr. Gabriela Cora, a board-certified psychiatrist says, “when you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus”.

Image of a woman meditating

Meditate

Meditation changes our brains, from changes in grey matter volume to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. During meditation, we focus on emptying the barrage of thoughts that crowd our minds and ultimately cause us anxiety and stress.

Meditation has been proven to increase concentration and attention, reduce stress and improve our physical and mental wellbeing.  

Using negative dialogue to our advantage

Negative self-talk can be damaging. It holds us back and intensifies feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt.

But what if you used this to your advantage?

Start by rewriting the script. “I can’t do this” becomes “I can’t do this yet”. “This is too hard” becomes “this is difficult now, but if I apply myself, I can begin to understand and improve”.

Embrace imperfection! We are all human, born to make mistakes.

Negative internal dialogue can be reduced by focusing on 'the today' and the opportunities that the present can bring you.

Focus on what is in your control rather than what is out of your control. Focusing on what is out of your control will only increase stress and anxiety.

Stop letting the past dictate your present and your future.

Become more resilient and embrace challenges

Welcome new challenges with open arms.

Learning to embrace challenges is a big part of changing our mindset. Learning to be more resilient is an important part of making positive change. Every day we have new challenges tossed our way. We wake up to unexpected news, tasks, problems, and setbacks.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back when our plans don’t exactly go in the direction we had hoped. Read more on resilience in our blog Bounce don’t Break, Ways to Build Resilience.

Limitless

Reading Limitless by Jim Kwik this month has been one of my favourite experiences at MY BOOK CLUB. Learning how to upgrade the brain and our memory can unlock an exceptional life for anyone who is ready to embrace new, healthy habits.

Our expert speaker session with Calvin perfectly complimented the life-changing resources and tips Jim shares in his bestseller.

Instead of accepting the limitations placed on us we can choose to open our minds to new ways to upgrade our brains, improve concentration, unlock our genius, and become wildly successful.

Synaesthesia – the neural pathway to exceptional memory?

You have heard of the phrase – see the world in colour. What if your perception of touch, smell, sound, numbers, and letters was also in colour?

Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon and is defined as a condition in which someone experiences things through their senses in an unusual way, for example by experiencing colour as a sound, or a number as a position in space. For example, a person may associate the number four with the colour blue.

‘If someone scratches a blackboard with his or her nails, I taste iron. The intro of “Time” by Pink Floyd is golden yellow and blue. Poems have colour if they are cited, and sometimes when I read them’.  A quote from an unnamed participant in a case study and research carried out by Romke Rouw, H. Steven Scholte and Olympia Colizoli at the Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Synaesthesia is not a disorder. It runs in families and hence, seems to have a genetic basis. People with synaesthesia experience the world in remarkable ways and decades of research has found evidence to suggest that people with the condition, known as synesthetes, have enhanced memory function and memory recall.

There is extensive research and evidence to prove that those with synaesthesia do possess exceptional memory function and long-term recall. Furthermore, recent breakthroughs also suggest that anyone can teach themselves synaesthesia! 

Humans remember colours much better than we remember a lot of other things so by simply forming a new habit of associating numbers with colours, we can improve memory performance. 

Before we begin flexing our neurological muscles, let’s delve into some of the more common forms of synaesthesia.

Types of Synaesthesia

Generally, about five per cent of the population are affected by one or several forms of synaesthesia. 

1: Grapheme–colour synaesthesia or colour–graphemic synesthesia

This is one of the more common forms of synaesthesia where letters or numbers are seen as colours. These synesthetes also show better memory for words.

2: Spatial-sequence synaesthesia.

In this type of synaesthesia numbers, months of the year, or days of the week form precise locations in space or even may appear as a three-dimensional map.  Some people see time like a clock above and around them.

3: Chromesthesia

Chromesthesia is the association of sounds with colours. For example, sounds such as doors opening or groups of people talking will elicit an association with colours. For others, colours are triggered when music is being played.

4: Number Form

Number Form synaesthesia is like a mental visualisation of numbers that automatically and involuntarily appear whenever that person thinks of numbers. These numbers might appear in different locations and is different from person to person.

5: Mirror Touch

Mirror Touch synaesthesia is where individuals feel the same sensation that another person feels, quite literally. If a person with synaesthesia were to witness another person being tapped on the back, for example, they would experience the sensation as if it was them that was being touched. A study published in Nature Neuroscience by Michael Banissy and Jamie Ward shows that mirror-touch synaesthesia is also linked with empathy.

A sixth sense

Most humans have five senses with which to explore the world. Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Synaesthesia is a blending of the senses. Often referred to as a sixth sense, years of global research into synaesthesia has unearthed evidence, theories, and hypothesis about the correlation of synaesthesia with memory, long term recall and enhanced IQ.

Imagine for a moment you hear a familiar song, word, or phrase. Often, they will invoke memories and remind us of someone or something. Sometimes these memories stretch far back to an earlier part of our lives, our younger years, a forgotten memory. Despite the length of time passed, our brains still form an association and a connection due to a sensory trigger.

But what if this recall and memory function was heightened due to a sensory superpower?

Image of PI

Life of reciting PI

Daniel Tammet, a synesthete, can visualise numbers up to 10,000 with a distinct colour, shape, and texture. His synaesthesia has enabled him to recite pi to over 22,500 places! When multiplying numbers, Tammet says, “I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That’s the answer. … It’s like maths without having to think.” Daniel has also learned 11 languages, some he mastered in only a week.

Synaesthesia gives a whole new meaning to the concept of perception and higher cognitive functions such as memory. The amalgamation of a more complex brain connectivity, a blending of the senses and more neurons firing together may be responsible for enhanced memory in synesthetes.

In Synaesthesia: Does it have an effect on memory, by Elizabeth Evans, she discusses how synesthetes have enhanced sensory processing compared to those who do not have the same perceptual experiences. Furthermore, “in addition to facilitating processes in individual sensory modalities, synesthetes also show increased communication between the senses unrelated to their synesthetic experiences, suggesting that benefits from synaesthesia generalize to other modalities as well” (Brang & Ramachandran, Survival of the synesthesia gene: Why do people hear colours and taste words. PLoS Biology, 2011).

Increased sensory processing and memory abilities are common attributes with synaesthesia. A study carried out at The University of Rochester in 2016 supported “the hypothesis that synesthetes have a superior ability to learn and retain shape colour associations” (Bankieris & Aslin, Explicit associative learning and memory in synesthetes and nonsynesthetes. i-Perception 2016,)

Is it possible to learn this memory superpower?

Many researchers suggest that there is a link between synaesthesia and memory, but more research is required to examine if the improved memory abilities of certain synesthetes could possibly be teachable to other synesthetes, or even people without the condition.

However, some of the research to date opens the door to the possibility that synaesthesia can be taught.

But how?

Image of coloured numbers

1: Read in colour

A group of psychologists at the University of Amsterdam have been testing whether synaesthesia might be learned. The findings are inconclusive but intriguing, nonetheless. In their research, they focused on the most common type of the condition - colour-graphemic synaesthesia.

A group of 17 non-synesthetes were given certain books to read all of which were purposefully selected and contained common letters printed in colour. The researchers' findings suggest that, because of this coloured-letter exposure, the participants had built up a colour-letter association that existed independently of the letters themselves suggesting that reading in colour could be a promising avenue for training grapheme-colour synaesthesia.

A breakthrough for enhanced memory? Perhaps.

2: Association

In an article from the Huffington Post called “Yes, You Can Teach Yourself Synesthesia (And Here’s Why You Should)” by Carolyn Gregorie, she explains how someone can teach themselves to be synesthetic. She suggests that in order to do this you have to start associating two things like colours and letters in a single category. She also encourages people to practice associating two things that don’t normally go together because they will be able to retain and retrieve memories better- for example a sound and a colour like the sound of a doorbell with the colour yellow.

Train ourselves to think in colour? Seems straightforward.

3: Brain training

Duncan Carmichael, from the University of Sussex, believes we are all potentially born as a synesthete.

Researchers from the University found that daily brain training can help people experience colour when reading words or letters. A group led by Daniel Bor wanted to find out what more intensive training could do. As well as using specially coloured e-books, they gave people daily half-hour training sessions to teach them 13 letter-colour associations, using progressively harder tasks.

Brain training could be in the form of quizzes or games, memory recall or puzzles. Many in their research also began to associate emotions with certain letters. Some reported that the letter X felt boring, while W felt calm.

Further research carried out by Olympia Colizoli and her colleagues in Amsterdam also states that to become synesthetic you may be able to trick your brain with brain training for 30 minutes a day.

Olympia and her colleagues tried to mimic grapheme-colour synaesthesia by having people read books in which only some of the letters were always coloured in with particular colours. After 9 weeks of testing and implementation, the volunteers all showed strong similarities with natural-born synaesthetes. The volunteers also registered a dramatic increase in IQ.

Testing your recall of colours associated with up to 13 letters of the alphabet has proven to be a successful tool amongst many researchers including Olympia and the team at the University of Sussex.

4: Sharpening our sense of hearing

Training ourselves “into” synaesthesia is not only possible with colours and letters. You may recall earlier in this article we mentioned Chromesthesia, the association of sounds with colours. The first step towards growing self-awareness of synesthetic experiences is to be more attentive to our sense of hearing. Meditation and practising mindfulness are great ways to begin.

Before you know it, you will be hearing colours.

5: Use colours to describe sounds

Simple, but effective. Practice describing songs using a colour - a pop song might be yellow whereas a blues ballad might be….well blue!

Image of colours

The power of colour

Can colour result in improved memory abilities?

Colour is believed to be one of the most important human visual experiences and a major part of our early cognitive development. Colours can produce a higher level of attention, improves learning and is effective in increasing memory performance so who is to say that we can’t teach ourselves new habits and ways of learning that include colour association.

Who is to say that we can’t teach ourselves to have synaesthesia, or at least one form of it. 

Only time and further research will tell.

Sceptics

Of course, with any research, particularly in the field of neuroscience there is much work to be done. There is a lot we do not know about the brain, and as a consequence, many would argue that you cannot teach synaesthesia.

Amongst the growing research been carried out in the area there are several theories that suggest that if synaesthetic experiences do not directly enhance the memory, then the alternative is that this very enhanced memory itself is part of a neurocognitive disposition

which may bring about certain forms of synaesthesia rather than the other way round.

Research on memory in synaesthesia is still in its infancy but certainly what has been discovered so far is exciting and worth exploring further.

If you’d like to explore the topic of synaesthesia yourself there are many great books written on the topic:

The Man Who Tasted Shapes (1993) by Richard Cytowic

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons (2014) by Sam Kean

Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens (2001) by Patricia Lynn Duffy

The i in Team.

We have all heard the saying “there is no i in team”, but what about the invisible i, the one that we all need to work on, as a team – inclusivity.

Inclusivity is NOT another flavour of the month workplace trend that companies should dip their feet into once or twice, shake off the water droplets and move on. Inclusion is THE most important driver of positive workplace cultures, employee engagement and soaring profitability.

In a Forbes interview Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer with Procter & Gamble, stated “I think that the 5 billion people in the world who we serve are looking around and saying, 'We need to make sure that we leave this world in a better place, and that has to come from the everyday household and personal care products that we use as well. So, we made a very deliberate decision to build things like sustainability and equality and inclusion into the business to make it part of how brands grow and part of the business model”.

Deloitte reports that inclusive workplaces are 6X as likely to be innovative and have 2.3X the cash flow per employee over non-inclusive workplaces in a 3-year period.

So, what is inclusivity? How does it correlate with Diversity, and how can we build more inclusive organisations and companies?

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity in the workplace means that a company hires a wide range of diverse people of varying gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, language, education, background etc. Diversity is about appreciating the many differences that exist between individuals and ensuring that these differences are valued.

Inclusion can be defined as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.” * Society of Human Rights Management.

Whilst diversity refers to the characteristics that make us all individual, inclusion is about the behaviours and social norms that make us feel welcome and invested in any workplace setting. Without inclusion in the workplace, diversity efforts will not succeed.

Global Proof

According to Fast Company, companies with higher women employees in the C-suite level result in 34% increased returns to shareholders. Companies with above-average gender diversity and employee engagement levels outperform other companies by 46% to 58%.

A recent Diversity and Inclusion report carried out by the McKinsey Group found that companies with more diverse and inclusive workforces perform better on every level;

The bottom line is, when employees feel included, it drives increased positive performance and creates stronger, more engaged teams.

Here are our top 7 ways to build more inclusive workplaces for the 21st century.

7 steps to inclusivity

1: Start at the top

Educate managers about inclusion in the workplace. That is a no-brainer.

Scheduling ongoing cultural training and diversity workshops is a great way to keep management on top of their game.

Encourage a culture of feedback to give employees a voice.

Evaluate your workplace. Have you created an environment that makes everyone feel like they belong? Do people make comments about race, gender or sexual orientation that seem harmless but in reality, are creating a toxic environment?

2: Challenge your unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is a predisposition to see a situation in a certain way. We all have it.

Assumptions that are made about people because of gender, race, ethnicity, social status etc do not belong in inclusive workplace environments and need to be challenged. One such is example is the classic men belong at work and women belong in the home. Sounds like a dialogue from the 1950s right?

These attitudes and stereotypes can negatively impact our understanding, actions, and decision-making and so an effort must be made to challenge these biased attitudes, unconscious or not.

3: Put an end to culture fit

Long gone are the days where companies hire an employee because they prove to be a good “culture fit”. In fact, Facebook has banned the term completely. Instead, focus on letting people be who they are, but ensure that your onboarding, organisational practices and engagement policies work hard to support an alignment to your companies values, vision and goals.  

4: Give everyone a voice

An inclusive workplace environment should encourage open conversations.

Build a workplace culture of inclusivity by making opportunities for leaders and employees to chat, provide feedback and be involved. When employees have a say over decisions it impacts their sense of belonging. Inclusion through conversation is what connects people to an organization and makes them want to stay.

5: Use Pronouns

Pronouns that a person might prefer are their own choice to use and if we are committed to truly creating inclusive workplace environments, we must normalise the use of pronouns. Mistaking or assuming pronouns might be a great source of stress or embarrassment for your employee so have these conversations early on by asking for your team members preferred pronouns during initial interactions. Similarly, job advertisements should use gender-neutral language.

6: Make amendments to the company holiday calendar

Take a look at your company’s holiday calendar. Is it inclusive and representative of the diversity of your team?

Make an effort to celebrate together by organising cultural events or simply recognising important dates as a team.

7: Make Inclusion part of your everyday work-life culture.

For everyone to bring their most authentic self to work, a sense of belonging must first be established. Like any form of behaviour change, inclusion requires individuals to identify ways to build new habits and companies to create the right organisational behaviours. Try the following:  

The i in team

A company might be diverse, but if the employees do not feel safe, valued, and have a sense of belonging, then there can be no inclusion.

In 2021 a diverse, inclusive workplace is what potential employees look for while considering a job offer so it pays to make inclusivity the most important part of any culture strategy.

When we are surrounded by people of various racial and ethnic identities, we get an opportunity to learn so much. We open ourselves up to new perspectives. This leads to huge personal growth, and in the context of the workplace, our team environment improves, and we collectively perform better.

Inclusion in the workplace drives growth, improves employee engagement, and unleashes the potential of the people in our organisations. When it comes to team building, do not underestimate the power of inclusion.

The most important i in team, in profitability, in diversity and in this article is INCLUSION.

Leaning into discomfort

"It's he or she who's willing to be the most uncomfortable that can rise strong."

This excerpt is taken from Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, a bestselling book that pulls apart complex themes and emotions like vulnerability, shame, courage, discomfort, and disengagement.

Discomfort comes in many ways. An unpleasant conversation with family or friends, a debate at work, providing feedback to a colleague, speaking in front of a crowd, taking risks.

We can’t control all the things that happen to us, we can just control how we react to them.

Our lives are full of moments that force us to lean into discomfort, to be vulnerable and to take emotional risks. When we lean into discomfort not only does it cause significant social breakthroughs in our relationships with family, friends, and workmates, it also has an incredible impact on our own self-development.

The power of leaning

The more we lean into awkwardness and discomfort, the more we grow.

When we lean into discomfort, we:

Navigating first times

“The awkwardness of anything new is the life blood for us” – Brené Brown

First times are tough.

The first time we give feedback. The first time we trust our team enough to be vulnerable. The first time we walk into a room full of strangers and try to initiate conversation. The first time we start a new hobby or join a sports team or a club.

The fact is, we cannot create any kind of impactful change; be it in the workplace, society, or our families, and at the same time keep people feeling comfortable, so we need to embrace discomfort with open arms and an open mind.

“It may be more tempting to lean away from discomfort with a glass of red wine, or six, but leaning in is far more powerful” – Brené Brown

Creating space for discomfort at work

An inclusive workplace won’t just magically form because people would like it to.

Trust is fundamental for our most productive collaborations. By making the conscious choice to move out of our comfort zones, we inspire others and eventually an environment of safety evolves.

In workplace cultures we cannot avoid uncomfortable conversations or vulnerability. We need to create the space for both. Growth and discomfort go hand in hand. Vulnerability is a way of showing up in our lives, letting ourselves be fully seen, and embracing all of who we are to live more fully.

When is the right time to lean into discomfort? Usually as soon as we begin to sense it.

Permission and safety are cornerstone prerequisites in creating this space for trust, vulnerability and leaning into discomfort at work. 

Permission

Setting the context of permission before a meeting allows us to fully express ourselves and to say exactly what we are thinking in a safe, respectful environment. If you are leading the meeting start by setting context around the following questions;

Examples of behaviours around this would be setting the context that the team can ask questions any time and the leader can step in if the conversation needs more clarity.    

Safety

Creating a safe space to lean in requires an environment that puts inclusivity and diversity first, where empathy and equity are part of the culture and where differing needs, approaches, and experiences are acknowledged and respected.

Fostering an environment that respects and acknowledges the differing needs and approaches of all people allows them to do their best work

In an environment of safety, people can speak up without fear of retribution. This results in a culture where trust thrives, and greater teamwork becomes possible. Things you can do include:

Tips for leaning into discomfort at work.

No one likes being uncomfortable, but in the absence of discomfort we miss out on important opportunities for growth. To familiarise ourselves with discomfort we must be willing to experience it over and over again, and eventually, we get better at it.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” —Martin Luther King, Jr

Room for Vulnerability, Room for Humanity

A reflection on our session with Dean Gibson

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

October at MY BOOK CLUB was full of insightful lessons and fresh, challenging themes.

You Are Your Best Thing was our chosen book for the month. The book explores powerful themes such as shame, humanity, and healing. For anyone who has not read it, the three core themes of the book are:

Brené Brown and Tarana Burke edited this magnificent book which is structured as a collection of twenty compelling, honest, and eye-opening stories written by different individuals. Their stories uncover and highlight the black lived experience in America and their personal journeys with vulnerability and shame resilience.  

At MY BOOK CLUB it was important for us to align the powerful themes from You Are Your Best Thing to our country of origin – Australia.

We wanted to create conversations and opportunities for learning about the black lived experience on our own doorstep. We were honoured to have Aboriginal film director Dean Gibson join us as our guest speaker to discuss his ground-breaking documentary Incarceration Nation and the core themes from You Are Your Best Thing.

Let’s begin by understanding a little more about Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and Lived Experience.

Vulnerability

Brené Brown defines vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure." She also describes it as “the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity."

Being vulnerable requires courage and a willingness to be uncomfortable.

When we lean into vulnerability and discomfort not only does it cause significant social breakthroughs in our relationships with society, community, family, friends, and workmates, it also has an incredible impact on our own self-development.

Shame Resilience

Shame Resilience Theory was developed by Brené Brown and is grounded in her research which is based on building resilience to shame by connecting with our authentic selves and growing meaningful relationships with other people.

According to Brené, there are four key elements of Shame Resilience:

  1. Recognising shame and the triggers
  2. Practicing critical awareness
  3. Sharing our story
  4. Speaking our shame.

Lived Experience

Lived experience is defined as “personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people”.

Putting lived experience in context, stories of lived experience are one of the most powerful vehicles for truth-telling. Through storytelling, we find our voice, and eventually, our voice breaks down century-long barriers of silence. Read more about Lived Experience in our previous blog.

Dean Gibson

Dean joined us as our guest speaker this month. He is an incredible film-maker with over 12 years’ experience in the industry. Dean's documentary Incarceration Nation perfectly aligned with this month's theme, 'Vulnerability, Shame Resilience and the Black Experience'.

Incarceration Nation is a powerful documentary that explores elements of the oppressive post-colonial culture that is still present in modern-day Australia. The documentary, which focuses on Indigenous incarceration, highlights the connection between government intervention since colonisation and the trauma and disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians. Dean was an incredible guest speaker who so candidly and openly shared his path to creating Incarceration Nation and his feedback on both the book and our themes for October.

Vulnerability and Discomfort

Our expert speaker session with Dean explored vulnerability and discomfort and how these themes presented themselves throughout Incarceration Nation

In making the documentary Dean intended to make people feel a little bit uncomfortable, not enough to feel shamed, but for the non-indigenous audience to understand and empathise. To achieve this requires discomfort.

Empathy, according to Dean, is “the biggest thing that we all can do without doing a course”. All it takes is to sit, listen and understand where people are coming from. If we take on the lessons from our book and the documentary, ultimately, we need to be vulnerable, to listen, and to learn.

Stepping into vulnerability is not easy and takes enormous courage and as Brené Brown says, “we must be willing to dare greatly”.

The fact is, we cannot create any kind of impactful change; be it in the workplace, society, or our families, and at the same time keep people feeling comfortable, so we need to embrace discomfort with open arms and an open mind. Creating a safe space to lean into discomfort requires an environment that puts inclusivity and diversity first, where empathy and equity are part of the culture and where differing needs, approaches, and experiences are acknowledged and respected.

The Wisdom of the Process

In the session with Dean, he referenced a particular story from You Are Your Best Thing – The Wisdom of the Process by Prentis Hemphill.

Hemphill’s story reflects on moving through life as best possible even at the expense of healing. Trauma, shame, and poverty all get in the way of becoming vulnerable, finding resilience, and ultimately healing.

The message from Prentis’s story is that, from lived experience, it is a luxury to heal and become vulnerable, a luxury not often afforded to people who are disadvantaged, marginalised, or oppressed.

In Incarceration Nation most of the families and individuals that Dean met or heard about did not even have time to think about anything other than survival and day to day life. Like Prentis’s story, trauma, poverty, and disadvantage also get in the way of healing.

In Aboriginal history, and as Dean referenced, this leads us to reflect on both the stolen generation and stolen wages. From these two significant parts of Indigenous history so much has been lost, buried under decades of generational trauma, and the catalyst for that trauma - colonisation. 

Indigenous Australians have been put on a trajectory of poverty and disadvantage and that is a hard road to get off. In the era of stolen wages, they couldn’t accumulate their own wealth, and this was still happening up to the 1980s in Australia. Aboriginals were denied access to their own wages which locked them into a cycle of poverty for generations.

“When I was in school, I was told that Australia developed on the sheep's back. I now know that it developed on the backs of thousands of Aboriginal men, women and children”. Gary Highland – National Director, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation.

Steps to Being Whole

The second story from You Are Your Best Thing that Dean drew parallels with black Australian lived experience was Steps to Being Whole, On Your Own Terms by Aiko D. Bethea.

The core takeaway from Bethea’s story is identity and both the problems that create feelings of a loss of identity and the preconceived stereotypes that society places on people of colour.

Aiko’s story explores what it is like as a person of colour to feel that you must assimilate into white society to be accepted. “When we strive to be accepted…..we often use tools of white supremacy as our armour to gird ourselves against the shame imposed by white supremacy”.

As we explored this story with Dean, we discussed the importance of shared stories and shared narratives. Sharing stories of lived experience help to break down the constructs that support power, white privilege, inequity, and shame. With Incarceration Nation Dean hopes that non-indigenous people watch the documentary with a learner mindset and walk away feeling more aware of what is happening right here under our noses every single day

Incarceration Nation – what we take away

One of the key parts of our conversation with Dean was, how and when will real change and progress happen? A big question, and probably one that is very difficult to answer, but we need to start somewhere.

Local change

In the absence of real action at a Federal and State level, the most powerful propellent for change will be on the ground. By this we mean within localised groups, sports clubs, schools, businesses, organisations, and in our communities. This is applicable for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. We must all play a role. 

Businesses

Dean believes that one of the greatest opportunities we have is for businesses to take the lead and set an example. In workplace organisations we need to move to prioritise our Culture departments and processes to include reforms that promote and foster:

  1. Diversity
  2. Equity
  3. Creating opportunities
  4. Inclusivity
  5. Empathy
  6. Truth telling
  7. Sharing

National Truth Telling

The privilege of Dean’s job is that he gets to meet people who are prepared to trust him and share their stories. How can we translate that on a national level?

As a nation we need to talk about the reality of post-colonial Australia, but are we ready?

What will that look like, and can we all walk through that pain and come out the other end with any reconciliation?

What role can we all play in storytelling? Dean called on everyone to become a part of the change and to never underplay the importance of the impact, big or small, that anyone can have.

Truth and Reconciliation is a complex process. In post-Apartheid South Africa, an entire commission was set up to heal past trauma and deal with the atrocities of the Apartheid era by hearing both the confessions and stories of the perpetrators and victims respectively. The success of this commission is still debated to this day because complete, collective forgiveness was not achieved. It was not achieved because only partial truths were told.

Arguably, South Africa, today is still coming to terms with the complexities of the hangover of post-colonialism – shame, guilt, denial, and trauma.

Room for Vulnerability, Room for Humanity

Reconciliation requires forgiveness, forgiveness demands the truth.

We must be ready to be brave and vulnerable. We must be prepared to both listen to and tell the truth if reconciliation is to be truly achieved in Australia.

There must be room for vulnerability so there can be room for humanity.  

Lived Experience - the key to healing racial and cultural trauma?

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

*(this is an opinion piece and in no way intended to offend or make assumptions about complex racial or cultural issues)  

Shared Stories

Stories are important for cultural change because they ignite conversations. The way in which these stories are delivered determines the magnitude by which they enact positive change by removing stereotypes, healing trauma, and creating space for empathy and understanding between people and entire nations.

When it comes to storytelling, lived experience trumps academic experience, something that is agreed upon by people all over the world, but what exactly is lived experience?

Lived Experience

Lived experience is defined as “personal knowledge about the world gained through direct, first-hand involvement in everyday events rather than through representations constructed by other people”.

Think of it like this.

History books are filled with the culmination of years of expert academic research, record keeping, (some) eye-witness accounts, statistics, and information. That is fine, and of course, they serve a purpose.

At MY BOOK CLUB we recently read the incredible book The Happiest Man on Earth, by Eddie Jaku. Eddie recounts his actual lived experience of the Holocaust, and for me, this was infinitely more powerful than any history book I have ever read on the Holocaust.

My education on the Holocaust was very Eurocentric. Most of my history books were written by British or American historians. My recollection of WW2 history throughout secondary school in Ireland was chapters and chapters of information on either Hitler or the eventual formation of an Allied army to defeat him. We learned very little of the lived experience of the Jews at that time aside from minimal insights into the life of Anne Frank and some fractured accounts of the horrors at Auschwitz.

History is a subject where opinions are shared and debated which means that we have to be careful of bias. Not everyone’s story and perspective are included in history – and this is a big problem, particularly when dealing with matters of race, culture and genocide.

This is why, lived experience trumps academic experience – every time.

Storytelling and Culture

At the heart of our cultural awareness, no matter our background, is language.

From language we get storytelling, through storytelling we find our voice, and eventually our voice breaks down century-long barriers of silence. Silence is what holds back progress which is why we all need to embrace stories that come from lived experience.

Storytelling has a profound impact on culture because it shapes beliefs and ideas. Humans tell stories every day and our stories have the power to pass on cultural awareness from generation to generation. Since the beginning of human existence stories were a vehicle for passing on traditions, sharing knowledge and protecting culture.

The indigenous Ainu people of Japan’s Hokkaido Island had to develop a strong tradition of storytelling to pass on their culture.

In Ireland under colonial rule speaking Irish or Gaelic was banned. Irish speaking teachers formed what was known as ‘hedge schools’ where teachers and students would quite literally sit out in the fields, hidden under thick hedges, and share stories and teach lessons. The strong preservation of Irish culture and traditions is attributed to these hedge schools. 

In Australia, Aboriginal legends are very important to indigenous cultures. Indigenous voices are central to protecting and preserving one of the oldest cultures on the planet.

Storytelling can certainly be a catalyst for cultural change, but what happens in societies where culture and tradition have been almost lost due to years of oppression and silencing?

If the stories we see, hear and read are told through the lens of non-lived experience then we miss out on complete truth. Our opinions, knowledge and learnings are thwarted, even if we do not realise it.

Are the stories of lived experience key to healing racial and cultural trauma?

I believe they are.

Image of a field in Ireland

Storytelling, Reconciliation and Healing.

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or TRC, was founded by Nelson Mandela and chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It was established to deal with the atrocities of the Apartheid era in South Africa. The TRC’s objective was to achieve reconciliation by hearing the confessions and stories of the perpetrators and the victims, respectively.  

Reconciliation is complex and a myriad of elements must come together to achieve one very important thing – truth. This requires vulnerability, acceptance, awareness, forgiveness, transparency, listening, empathy and much more. 

In South Africa it is questionable if the TRC provided a complete path to reconciliation because some were not ready to forgive, others were not ready to tell the truth and others were not ready to listen.

However, I believe that these shared stories were the beginning of healing and, if anything, a powerful antidote to silence.

Image of Uluru

Indigenous Lived Experience in Australia

Australia has a complex relationship with its colonial past. A culture of denial and general lack of awareness only further complicates the path to reconciliation in Australia.

"If you're not a person of colour, chances are you don't understand the concept of racial trauma from cradle to the grave," – Indigenous psychologist Kelleigh Ryan

Indigenous languages are disappearing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world. By extension, this could mean a complete and irreversible loss of one of the most beautiful cultures on the planet.

So, what is the way forward?

The ability to imagine a better world is the beginning of any movement for change. To be able to communicate that world to others lies in the power of storytelling and sharing lived experience.

Victoria became the first state in Australia to embark on the path to negotiating the nation’s first treaty with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians with other states following suit. What impact will this have?

Ultimately, however we get there, the steps taken must be decided by members of our Indigenous communities. Now is the time to listen to and embrace the rich history of the Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Australians.

"I've been explaining my blackness my whole life, I can't hide from it. I'm glad we have a new generation of Australians wanting to learn the truth and they want Indigenous people to tell it” – Kween G

Image of someone holding prison bars

Which is more powerful?

*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are amongst the most incarcerated people in the world.

* In Australia approximately 65% of incarcerated children aged between 10 and 13 are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

*There have been 474 Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia from 1991 to 2021 and no criminal convictions for the accused.

* (source, Incarceration Nation, directed by Dean Gibson)

Putting lived experience in context I pose this question,

If you were to hear these stories of incarceration, injustice and violence from the victims and their families or from a third-party researcher or reporter, which would be more powerful?

I know my answer.

Sweeping the Sheds

Reading Legacy by James Kerr was one of my favourite experiences this past month. I found myself unable to put down the book, completely hooked from page to page, drawn further into the story by the enigmatic way that Kerr effortlessly glides from lesson to lesson in leadership and culture.

The Māoiri Whakataukī, (proverbs) that Kerr includes at each chapter represent more than the guiding wisdom of this beautiful culture. They transcend all societal and cultural boundaries and act as gentle reminders of everyday lessons or personal mantras that can be applied to everything we do.  

I was reminded of the importance of many things, but one that stood out the most to me was humility.

Humility is the backbone of the All-Blacks culture and is never more present than in the analogy of “Sweeping the Sheds” in chapter 1.

In Chapter 1, James Kerr talks about the team's cultural mantra of "Sweeping the Sheds", meaning no individual is bigger than the team and its ancestors. Everyone is responsible for the smallest details - including cleaning the locker room.

True qualities of leadership are discovered in our actions each day. Nobody is ever too important to sweep the sheds, or in the case of the All Blacks, clean the locker rooms.

As the players are taught that they are never too big to do the small things, a culture of respect, humility, cohesion, and purpose begins to develop. Behind the bright stadium lights filled with chanting fans grew one of the greatest sporting examples of leadership in history. 

Humility and Team Culture

“Kāore te kumara e whāki ana tana reka” – “The kumara (sweet potato) does not need to say how sweet he is”

Many CEOs, business owners and people in leadership roles often associate humility with weakness. This could not be farther from the truth. Being successful doesn’t mean we have to be invincible, unbreakable, or perfect.

Staying humble means being aware of, and admitting, the things we do not know. It involves embracing fear, making mistakes, and getting on with it. When you are humble you open yourself up to continuous growth and learning.

Being humble as a leader makes you more relatable and approachable which creates a positive environment where employees feel comfortable showing vulnerability, taking risks and bringing their authentic selves to the table.

Image of three sweet potatoes

Becoming the Sweet Potato

To practice humility requires us to put aside our own needs and do what is best for others.

To be a humble leader means being an authentic, genuine leader. Jeff Bezos has even cited intellectual humility as his top sign of true intelligence. Whilst it might be one of the less obvious leadership traits (for now) it is by all accounts, one of the most effective.

It’s not hard to be humble. We see this clearly in the actions of the All Blacks team as they take turns to clean the locker room after every game or training session.

“So, these sporting superstars clean up their own locker room, looking after themselves, so that no one else has to, we might ask ourselves if excellence - true excellence – begins with humility….” - Legacy

Need to sweep your own sheds?

Here are four ways to develop and preserve humility:

1: Admit your mistakes

We do not have all the answers. That’s perfectly ok.

Those who do not have humility fear admitting their weaknesses and failings.

A sign of strong leadership is having the ability to admit our mistakes. It shows strength of character, builds trust, and encourages team members to do the same.

2: Model and support collaboration

Humble leaders encourage and reward collaboration. When collaboration becomes the norm, team members feel more relaxed, trust naturally increases, and people feel empowered to bring their complete selves to the workplace.

3: Promote employee autonomy

Leaders who lack humility tend to fall into the micro-manager bracket. They become hyper focused on controlling tasks and the team.

Humble leaders in contrast are confident in their team’s ability, lean on the expertise of the entire team and are always open to new ideas and methods of approach.

4: Be respectful

This one is obvious, or at least should be.

Humble leaders treat everyone with respect regardless of their role. Everyone deserves equal respect and dignity. Respect your team members time, skills, experience, personal circumstances, insights, and feedback.

A true leader treats everyone with respect, thus earning the respect of others.

Image of a broom

Humility in Māori Culture

Humility is “a key component of building sustainable competitive advantage through cultural cohesion. It leads to innovation, increased self-knowledge, and greater character. It leads towards mana” - Legacy

In Māori culture humility means that great leadership is behind the scenes. Just because we never saw Jonah Lomu or Dan Carter with a dustpan and broom in hand doesn’t mean they didn’t contribute to sweeping the sheds. Like the sweet potato, they simply had no desire to brag about it.

Humility is key to the success of the All Blacks. Their principles, culture, and beliefs can teach us a thing or two in how we apply humility to leadership in our personal and professional lives.

Humble leaders stay grounded, focused, and above all else gain the respect of their teams by putting the needs of their team, organisation, and culture above their own.

“After a team debrief, the players left the room and the captains stayed back to clean up – they stayed to “sweep the sheds.”- Legacy

The Four Pillars of Leadership

Leadership, this is not a title or accolade you win or simply get handed. It is something that is constantly evolving through a process of self-development, learning, failing, experience, and commitment. It is also about coming to the realisation that as a leader, one of your most important roles is creating safe, inclusive, equitable environments that are conducive to developing other future leaders.

Great leaders empower others, and not in a fickle, lacklustre manner, but with real action, opportunities, resources, and support. Here are three questions you can ask yourself if you are in a leadership position:

1: Am I empowering others?

2: Have I identified my team members strengths?

3: What am I doing to support my team and help them develop their strengths?

Pirates? Huh?

Francesca Gino, a Harvard Professor of Business Administration, wrote an interesting article called What pirates can teach us about Leadership. In her article, she poses the retrospective theory that the infamous pirate Blackbeard was in fact one of the greatest examples of a leader and could teach us a thing or two today.

"Blackbeard’s ship was arguably more progressive and equitable than American or English society at the time." - Francesca Gino

Why?

1: Everyone had an equal voice.

2: Trust was important. Crew members felt empowered and had a strong sense of ownership.

3: They were progressive when it came to diversity, inclusion, and equity and had crew members from all over the world.

Could pirates really be representative of great leadership?

Pirates might have portrayed some of the characteristics of leadership, but those in leadership roles today are not sailing the high seas in search of doubloons and murdering anyone who stands in their way.

Blackbeard was a notorious murderer and plunderer so don’t go rushing out to buy an eye patch and start drinking copious amounts of rum just yet!

"Am I the captain that my crew would choose as its leader today?" - Francesca Gino

Great question. So, what makes a leader in today's world?

Image of a pirate

What is a leader?

I can’t define a leader in one article, that would be impossible. There are many attributes that make a good leader, and these characteristics can shift and change depending on the culture itself.

Some of the top leadership qualities include:

Four key pillars

According to global organisational culture experts, there are four key pillars that form the backbone of leadership:

Awareness

Awareness is a central part of the success of any future leader and two of the most important components of awareness are:

Self-awareness

Internal self-awareness is the process of understanding our values, personality, habits, and emotions. People in positions of leadership need to have a good grasp of these things as they inform the decision-making abilities of not only the person in a position of leadership but those around them also.

External self-awareness is understanding how other people view our values, emotions, personality, and habits. Strong external self-awareness develops crucial leadership skills such as the ability to show empathy, perspective-taking and relationship building.

Leaders who focus on internal and external self-awareness see themselves more clearly. It is no doubt, a journey of self-development and requires consistent work. Start by getting to know yourself better. Ask your friends, family, or work colleagues for honest feedback. Practice empathy and build your emotional intelligence.   

Awareness of diversity

Empathy involves listening, becoming aware, understanding, and having an acute ability to appreciate the lived experience of each individual person on your team. Everyone is different. Developing the skills to have a strong awareness of others is an important part of leadership and organisational culture in general.

In the past decade, Diversity and Inclusion have become the backbone of workplace culture. Studies on diversity prove that the most diverse teams are more productive, collaborate more effectively and make better decisions. Furthermore, companies who make Diversity and Inclusion a priority are more likely to be more profitable in comparison to those who do not.

“Our latest analysis reaffirms the strong business case for both gender diversity and ethnic and cultural diversity in corporate leadership—and shows that this business case continues to strengthen. The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.”  - McKinsey study on Inclusion and Diversity

Inclusive leadership is powerful. It empowers others to bring their most authentic selves to work, to thrive in a positive environment and to take risks without fear of reprisal, shame, or conflict.

Abundance Mindset

An abundance mindset is having a firm belief that there is plenty out there for everyone.

Think of it as the direct opposite to a mentality of scarcity where we commonly hear phrases like, “I never have enough”, “I don’t have the right skills”, “there are too many other businesses competing against me”.

An abundance mindset allows us to see the opportunities available to us and exponentially grow, while a scarcity mindset holds us back. An abundance mindset craves more. It wants to learn, grow, enable, teach, be happy and inspire.

The best leaders have mastered the ability to live their lives with an abundant mindset, and furthermore, enable others to live this way also.

There are many ways to develop an abundance mindset:

Leaders who develop an abundance mindset open their lives up to limitless opportunities, and in doing so, empower others to also.

Image of a jigsaw piece with the word agile

Agility

The world of business environments is ever-changing. In 2021 leaders face many complexities such as the fast pace of digital innovation, global economic uncertainty, and disengaged workforces. 

Agile leaders embrace change and are quick to respond to unexpected external events.

They are firmly rooted in their vision, values, and principles and are motivated by challenges and problem-solving.

There are four types of leadership agility:

Leadership agility is central to creating agile organisations, happier and more productive teams, and sustained success in today’s complex business environment. Here are some ways to start enhancing your agility as a leader:

Authenticity

Great leaders are authentic in their actions. They don’t manipulate their feelings, thoughts, and actions to suit anyone or anything. They don’t pretend to be perfect and are always willing to learn. They embrace vulnerability and help others to do so also.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brené Brown

Authentic leaders are self-aware and genuine and show up in all arenas (work and home) as the same person, no façade.  They are focused and committed to the mission of their organisation and not their own. They lead with their heart and their minds and are not afraid to show emotion or vulnerability, key attributes to practicing empathy. Most importantly, they are ethical.

Authentic leaders know themselves well, and they never allow someone else to lead them away from their core values. They put their organisation and team first, are excellent at communication, and know how to use power advantageously, for the right situation and for the goals that need to be achieved.

Blackbeard

Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go as a crew, team, or organization to achieve goals, find success, or in the case of Blackbeard, the hidden treasures of Puerto Rico. Leaders set direction and motivate and inspire others to reach goals and milestones.

At the heart of true leadership is serving others before yourself.

Best-selling author, John C. Maxwell defines leadership in a myriad of ways, but perhaps his quote below is most apt.

“When you decide to serve others as a leader, the team’s success becomes your success.” - John C. Maxwell

Leadership is multi-faceted. The attributes that define a great leader are many and complex and certainly not something that comes naturally to everyone. Developing great leadership skills is, well exactly that….. a process of ongoing development, refinement, and reflection.

We have to start somewhere.

Bounce Don’t Break – Ways to Build Resilience

What is resilience?

How do I know if I am resilient?

How do I cope with change, adversity, and setbacks?

First, let’s understand what resilience is. 

Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

The armour for life if you like. Every day we have new challenges tossed our way. We wake up to unexpected news, tasks, problems, and setbacks. Resilience is the ability to bounce back when our plans don’t exactly go in the direction we had hoped.

Resilience in our Roots

Trees are perhaps my favourite metaphor for resilience. Tall, powerful, tenacious, strong, and adaptable. Whether rooted on land or lake, they find a way to thrive.

Ada Limón captures this essence perfectly in her poem – Instructions on Not Giving Up

“Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.” – Ada Limón - Instructions on Not Giving Up

Her inspiration came as she walked close to her home one day. Commenting on the catalyst for her poem Ada said:

“It wasn’t until I paused under the huge silver maple tree in front of our house that I began to notice not the blossoms, but the way the leaves were unfurling. How suddenly a tree transformed back into a tree, with all its good green leaves. It felt like a lesson in resilience. The tree wasn’t giving up. The tree was just going to keep doing its tree thing.”

So, this begs the question, how can we be more like a tree?

Positive Factors for Resilience

There is no cookie-cutter technique to becoming more resilient. Why? Because we are all different and deal with both internal and external nuances every single day of our lives. Anxiety, depression, trauma, family cohesion, social factors, relationships, careers and much more.

Despite this, there are certain factors that help to build resilience and improve our coping skills and adaptability. Our wonderful new friends at the Sydney Jewish Museum gave us some fantastic tips and insights into resilience-building during our guest speaker session on the book The Happiest Man on Earth.

Resilience Building

1: Planning – goals become more achievable (and less overwhelming) when we map out realistic ways of achieving them. This technique is not synonymous with goals, it is also a great way to approach things like work projects, homework, and other day to day tasks

2: Emotional Intelligence: The ability to manage our emotions is key to building resilience and finding focus when faced with a challenge.

3: Courage:  Fear is a bit ironic. Why? It can be both useful and paralysing.

Fear is an inhibiter of progress. By facing our fears head-on we build up resilience over time to the common detractors and obstacles in our lives. Understanding our fears help us to better prepare and cope with adversity. That's resilience.

4: Knowing our core values: Our core values are shaped by the environment we grew up in, for example, our parents, teachers, and other influential people in our lives. The ability to know AND stay true to our core values helps to nurture and strengthen our resilience.

5: Good relationships: In times of adversity, we all need good people around us. Social support is integral to resilience building.

6: Self-esteem: Self-confidence and positivity hold us up when feelings of helplessness or a lack of hope creep in.

7: Change the narrative: It can be easy to look at the past, even get stuck there. By changing the narrative to be forward-thinking we strengthen our abilities to bypass disruption and move towards progress. 

8: Meditate: It does not matter if you do this for ten minutes or an hour per day. Meditating is a powerful way to become grounded, find balance and become more focused. This builds our ability to be more resilient in our everyday lives.

9: Cultivate forgiveness: Have you ever held onto a grudge so long that it left you feeling mentally and emotionally drained? When we forgive we are happier. When we are happier, we can focus on the things that matter in our lives – goals, values, and personal direction.

Reading a book "The Happiest Man On Earth' by Eddie Jaku

The Happiest Man

Eddie Jaku’s book The Happiest Man on Earth is abundant with life lessons. Resilience is almost the metaphorical spine that holds these lessons together. It is everywhere throughout this book; in Eddie’s harrowing descriptions of his time in the concentration camps, his ability to face fear and how he maintained his beautiful friendship with Kurt.

Could Eddie Jaku be one of the best examples of what it means to be resilient? I think so.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Eddie Jaku

The Alchemist

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