Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get the right people on the bus.

Before becoming great, the CEO's of Good to Great Companies first had to hire the right people. They got the right people on the bus, and created a dynamic environment with the right level of motivation. They didn't rush the process. If they didn't find someone qualified on the first try, they waited. Great companies never rush important decisions. They realized that great people do not have to have much skill or knowledge but rather innate characteristics and abilities that make them likely to succeed.

Greatness is largely a matter of choice; we choose the bus, we choose to set it in motion and we choose to fill that bus up with the right people. Our choices in life are similar to this peocess grea CEO's use -- we choose which route we take in life, how we are going to travel on it (scenic route? expressway?) and we choose which people are going to make the journey with us. Every once in awhile we get a flat tire or run out of gas, but eventually, we get back on the road. While sometimes we wish to rush the process, it's necessary to enjoy the scenic backroads from time to time. What beauty surrounds an expressway? Usually just a lot of crap, literally, I'm referring to rest stops. Like the great CEO's did, it's important to surround yourself with positive and motivating people in your life; it makes the journey that much more fun.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stress is good :-)

Stress is simply a fact of nature -- forces from the outside world affecting the individual. The individual responds to stress in ways that affect the individual as well as their environment. Hence, all living creatures are in a constant interchange with their surroundings (the ecosystem), both physically and behaviorally. Because of the overabundance of stress in our modern lives, we usually think of stress as a negative experience, but from a biological point of view, stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience.
99% of stress is talked about in a negative way, so I'm going to try something a little different and talk about the positive sides of stress (if anything, maybe this will make you relax some :-) you never know!). You need stress to a certain degree, you just can't let it take control of you. When the brain perceives physical or psychological stress, it starts pumping the chemicals cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine into the body. Instantly, the heart beats faster, blood pressure increases, senses sharpen, a rise in blood glucose invigorates us and we're ready to rock...... stress is actually a burst of energy; it's our bodies telling us what to do! Good stress is the type of emotional challenge where a person feels in control and provides some sense of accomplishment. It can improve heart function and make the body resistant to infection, experts say. Far from being something we need to eliminate from our lives, good stress stimulates us. Seriously.. pause and think about it... when is it that you get the most done? When there's a deadline a.k.a STRESS. When you have a deadline you have to perform, this adds stress to your routine but it makes you rise to the occasion and get the work done. So see? There's actually a tiny bit of good in procrastinating...just don't make it a habit. And for goodness sakes people... RELAX!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A life worth leading.

Let’s find the sunny side of men,
Or be believers in it;
A light there is in every soul
That takes the pains to win it.
Oh/ There’s a slumbering good in all,
And we perchance may wake it;
Our hands contain the magic wand;
This life is what we make it.

- Unknown

This is it, our one chance. Our "15 minutes of fame" in the grand scheme of things. Our brief stint on earth here is just a grain of sand on the vast shores of the earth. Yes, it's depressing to think that we are so minutely small when compared to well, everything, but think of how big a difference just one tiny small thing can make. All it takes is a little grain of sand in a paper-cut to make you say ouch or a drop of pen ink on a white blouse to make you notice it. This is it - this life what we make it. We can just as easily be massive wastes of space or we can just as easily smile at a passer-by. I think sometimes people get overwhelmed by the term leadership or concepts of leadership; they think they have to become a successful CEO or president of a sorority to gain the title of "leader", but it's easier than you think. Our hands contain the magic wand, what are you going to do with yours? Something as simple as sitting down at the end of the day in your thinking chair and reflecting on the last twelve hours is "leadership"; by actively delving into your soul and going over the day and setting new goals for the next day, you are taking a pro-active step in being a better person, student, friend, lover, so on. Leadership doesn't have to be an intricate process comprised of committees and long meetings and hours in a soup kitchen.... setting goals for the next day and doing everything you can to achieve them (even just doing two loads of laundry) will help you get into the right mindset to be a better person. By doing the little things, you can conquer the bigger things. We're all in this together, let's find the sunny side of men; let's realize our own and others' potential.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Role Conflicts

Role Conflict - When compliance with one role requirement may make it difficult to comply with another, the result is role conflict. At the extreme, two or more role expectations are mutually contradictory.

College. Primarily to achieve higher education, but more often used to "expand as a person" (as well as sometimes expand one's mind on um... experimental substances). In 2010, students go to college not just to learn, but also to meet new people, experience new parts of the country, develop a drinking habit and simply get away from their parents and hometown. But while students are losing their parents and "lame" hometown stigmas, are they also losing themselves? College is confusing; balancing your inner self with shallow surface-obsessed Greeks (sorry to stereotype.. another concept we talked about... but it's unfortunately one that's rather true at UK) is difficult; at the end of the day, the person we see in the mirror isn't the person we've known for two decades. While we want to be good girlfriends and boyfriends to the person we left back home, we also want to meet new people of the opposite sex (perhaps not for romantic relationships, but for the sake of meeting new people) and an inner conflict arises. Also, while we want to be good friends and go out on Monday nights because it's a friend's birthday, we also want to get an "A" on that exam that comes at 9am the next morning. Maybe we were soccer stars in high school and maintained physical fitness simply because of all the practices and games, but we're not playing collegiate sports so we gain the "freshmen 15"; how do we maintain our fit selves with a pizza-eating beer-drinking self? Just thinking of all of these double-lives can make a person have a panic attack. Role conflicts... meet balance, your new best friend. It's imperative that we strive for harmony in our college lives, or the scale is going to tip too far in one direction and your world will come crumbling down (and by crumbling down I mean, put on academic probation, go up a dress size, break-up with your partner). While it's absolutely vital to experience "college" and meet those new people, order pizza at 2 am and form new relationships, it's also just as important to limit oneself. While you meet new people, don't forget your established relationships. While once in awhile it's okay to stay up late and pig out with your friends, don't make it a weekly thing. Don't compromise things like your health, your family and your older friends just because your in a new environment; your health, family and friends is what got you to college, and it's what will keep you there. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

What is reality?

What is reality? Mainstream science describes reality as "the state of things as they actually exist". So reality is simply: everything we observe.
This is a very broad definition. I consciously observe the lucid dream world, but does that make it a genuine reality? How many realities are there? Or, as Einstein suggested, is every form of reality merely an illusion? Is nothing real?
The human brain is split into two distinct halves: the right brain and the left brain. They have completely separate roles and agendas. Some would even say they have separate personalities. However, in order to function, the two halves of the human brain must communicate as one via the corpus callosum. 
The right brain is all about the present moment; right here, right now. It thinks entirely in pictures and learns through the kinesthetic movement of your body. It absorbs energy from the world around you and translates that into information for your sensory systems. It does not know the difference between your individual consciousness and the world around you. The right brain only sees one universal energy field of awareness.
The left brain is a very different place. It thinks linearly and methodically. It picks out countless details from the events in the past and makes calculated predictions about the future. The left hemisphere thinks in language, which creates your internal voice. Crucially, it makes you aware of your existence, as a separate being from the mass energy field perceived by the right brain.
Imagine if the human brain had evolved with only the functions of the right hemisphere. Your perception of reality would be completely different. You would be drifting around in a universe filled with energy in the here and now, with no perception of the past and future. You would not know where your body ended and the ground began, or the difference between you and me.
This is a very different perception of the world. But would it be a more accurate representation of reality? Knowing this about the human brain, the question "what is reality?" changes form. It now hinges on your individual perception. This has led to multiple theories of reality by various philosophers and scientists.(

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one"
Albert Einstein

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taking yourself from good to great

I used to think I was pretty average; mediocre at best. In high school, I realized that okay, maybe I was pretty good. I found that I was actually kind of smart -- I didn't have to study or "try" as hard as the other students to get good grades or give thoughtful answers when called on in class. I always knew I was a pretty good athlete, I qualified for state each year I tried and I usually always placed in the top 10 of the state (for swimming). But, I wasn't really concerned about my athletic ability; that wasn't what was going to make me go far. So, what can take a good person to greatness? The quest for greatness is a lifelong journey and may not ever be truly fulfilled, but trying to be great sure makes for a more interesting life. The first thing I think people need to ask themselves is WHY? Find your one why, your one passion, your one drive, and let that question fuel your life. Why do you do what you do? If you don't love it, why are you doing it? What's your dream? What's your passion? Now WHY is that your passion? Now go after it.... now launch yourself. The power of having a purpose is one of the most important aspects of life. It's why you get up in the morning. Next -- channel yourself into a force of one. Think thoughts that make you a better person, feel feelings that empower you and do what needs to be done. Next, find a model. The best of the best usually haven't done it all by themselves (and neither should you). Find a role model, a mantra, a vision that makes you want to be a better person and don't you dare lose sight of it. Next, focus on the things that make you stronger and spend less time doing the things that make you weaker. If you get a lot out of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, make it a goal to work on one house a month. If you find that when you go out you make bad decisions after too many drinks, cut back on going out or drinking so much. Next up, find your best area. While you might make an okay sales clerk, you might make an incredibly attentive laboratory worker -- go with what you're naturally good at, don't fight it. Stick with it. We are human, we are flawed, we are going to make mistakes, but keep on persevering. Maybe you fail five or six times, but did that stop the Little Engine? No, he kept trying... that's how he became the Little Engine that Could.  Next, learn and respond. How come you fell down five or six times? Find out what threw you down, take note of it, find a solution to it and overcome it. Let it go. While many of us brood over failures and kick ourselves for failing, there's only so much you can do after it's finished. Once you take note of what you did wrong and make a plan to overcome it, let go of your failure. The past is over and the future is in your hands. Next... charge towards greatness with all of your heart. Admit that you are a good person, you do have many talents, and go full speed towards your goals of greatness. You can do it. I know you can.