The most stressful thing about stress is its lack of clarity. It is a scary umbrella term for all sorts of things, some of which aren’t scary at all. When I say I’m stressed I usually mean one of three things:
- that I’m too busy, for which the answer is to do less.
- Or that I’m too tired, for which the answer is to go to bed.
- Or that I’m anxious, for which the answer is to deal directly with the thing that I’m worrying about.
To wipe out stress in one easy step by banning the word, and thus forcing people to identify more precisely what it is that ails them.
When I have a piece of writing in mind, what I have, in fact, is a mental bucket: an attractor for and generator of thought. It’s like a thematic gravity well, a magnet for what would otherwise be a mess of iron filings. I’ll read books differently and listen differently in conversations. In particular I’ll remember everything better; everything will mean more to me. That’s because everything I perceive will unconsciously engage on its way in with the substance of my preoccupation. A preoccupation, in that sense, is a hell of a useful thing for a mind.
via James Somers.
Dice el maestro:
“La vida es una serie de colisiones con el futuro; no es una suma de lo que hemos sido, sino de lo que anhelamos ser.” (José Ortega y Gasset)
Responde el discípulo:
Lo que más puede descubrir a nuestros propios ojos quién somos verdaderamente, es decir, quién pretendemos ser últimamente, es el balance insobornable de nuestra ilusión. ¿En qué tenemos puestas nuestras ilusiones, y con qué fuerza? ¿Qué empresa o quehacer llena nuestra vida y nos hace sentir que por un momento somos nosotros mismos? ¿Qué presencia orienta nuestra expectativa, qué anticipación nos polariza, tensa el arco de nuestra proyección, se convierte en el blanco involuntario e irremediable de ella?
All of our focus is on the doing. We obsess over the latest models churned out by for-profits and nonprofits alike. The social enterprise classes at Harvard Business School study the things people are doing. When a foundation asks for an impact report, they mean the impact of the doing.
It is all backwards.
What we should be asking is who people are being. Are you being courageous? Are you being authentic? Honest? Rigorous? Unstoppable? Because that’s what really makes a difference.
It’s who you are being that matters
via Dan Pallotta.
Words often fail us and prove inadequate in the face of the most profound human experiences, whether tragic, ecstatic, or sublime. And yet it is in those moments, perhaps especially in those moments, that we feel the need to exist for lack of a better word, either to comfort or to share or to participate. But the medium best suited for doing so is the body, and it is the body that is, of necessity, abstracted from so much of our digital interaction with the world. With our bodies we may communicate without speaking. It is a communication by being and perhaps also doing, rather than by speaking.
Of course, embodied presence may seem, by comparison to its more disembodied counterparts, both less effectual and more fraught with risk. Embodied presence enjoys none of the amplification that technologies of communication afford. It cannot, after all, reach beyond the immediate place and time. And it is vulnerable presence. Embodied presence involves us with others, often in unmanageable, messy ways that are uncomfortable and awkward. But that awkwardness is also a measure of the power latent in embodied presence.
Embodied presence also liberates us from the need to prematurely reach for rational explanation and solutions — for an answer. If I can only speak, then the use of words will require me to search for sense. Silence can contemplate the mysterious, the absurd, and the act of grace, but words must search for reasons and fixes. This is, in its proper time, not an entirely futile endeavor; but its time is usually not in the aftermath. In the aftermath of the tragic, when silence and “being with” and touch may be the only appropriate responses, then only embodied presence will do. Its consolations are irreducible. This, I think, is part of the meaning of the Incarnation: the embrace of the fullness of our humanity.
Words and the media that convey them, of course, have their place, and they are necessary and sometimes good and beautiful besides. But words are often incomplete, insufficient. We cannot content ourselves with being the “disincarnate users” of electronic media that McLuhan worried about, nor can we allow the assumptions and priorities of disincarnate media to constrain our understanding of what it means to be human in this world.
via The Frailest Thing.
Andrew Hill at FT:
A thank-you is not:
● A way of improving skills. Thanking an incompetent staff member for work only just up to standard may persuade him to work harder, but not better. That’s what training is for.
● An alternative to money or promotion. Cash is certainly a poor substitute for gratitude, but the reverse is also true. Profuse thanks may work once in lieu of a bonus. By the third or fourth year, the motivational effect of the thank-you letter tends to wear off.
● An apology. “Thank you for offering to cover for Joan after I forgot she had asked for time off”: wrong. “I’m sorry for leaving you in the lurch on Joan’s day off – but thanks for covering”: right.
● An order, as in the hollow pre-gratitude of memos that begin: “Thanks in advance for coming in over the holiday period to complete the project.”
As other studies have shown, people tend to give far more weight to negative communications than to positive ones. That suggests employers need to dispense proportionately more gratitude to offset the harsher news they often have to transmit.
Every company has a strategy. Whether it ‘does strategy’ explicitly or not, the choices that it makes on a daily basis result in the company operating on some part of the playing field (i.e. making a where-to-play choice) and competing there in some fashion (i.e. making a how-to-win choice). It matters not a whit whether the industry is highly uncertain, every company competing in it has a strategy.
Without making an effort to ‘do strategy,’ though, a company runs the risk of its numerous daily choices having no coherence to them, of being contradictory across divisions and levels, and of amounting to very little of meaning. It doesn’t have to be so. But it continues to be so because these leaders don’t believe there is a better way.