Write to create a better world

“Don’t write to escape your world, instead write to create a better one.”

Cliff Harrison

From http://www.wisewomantradition.com

Some might consider writing and reading a waste of time. Is that really so? Or can we create a better world via reading, writing and blogging?

As Steven Pinker points out in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes, “Reading is a technology for perspective-taking. When someone else’s thoughts are in your head, you are observing the world from that person’s vantage point. Not only are you taking in sights and sounds that you could not experience firsthand, but you have stepped inside that person’s mind and are temporarily sharing his or her attitudes and reactions. As we shall see, “empathy” in the sense of adopting someone’s viewpoint is not the same as “empathy” in the sense of feeling compassion toward the person, but the first can lead to the second by a natural route…

Adopting other people’s vantage points can alter one’s convictions in other ways. Exposure to worlds that can be seen only through the eyes of a foreigner, an explorer, or a historian can turn an unquestioned norm (“That’s the way it’s done”) into an explicit observation (“That’s what our tribe happens to do now”). This self- consciousness is the first step toward asking whether the practice could be done in some other way…”

love-book

From Slush Pile Empathy

By spreading positive ideas via our blogs, we can combat harmful viruses of the mind and develop empathy and compassion. By exchanging our thoughts and experiences, we can learn from each other, identify personal biases, and improve individual and cultural practices.

As Noam Chomsky once said, “”There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education…, action… – and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.”

Let’s use our creativity to make this world a better place for everyone.

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The power of constructive disagreement

Untitled-1
From Saving Your Team with Constructive Dissension

Disagreement is a precious resource in learning, judgment and decision-making. Often people avoid openly expressing disagreement in a fear of offending others or as the result of the peer or team pressure. That neglect of disagreement results in the failure to benefit from the constructive forces of disagreement, including:

1. Improved communication:

  • Clarification and greater understanding of ideas
  • Increased retention of relevant information
  • Increased use of critical thinking skills

From http://howtobeaspeaker.com

2. More productive teamwork:

  • Stimulation of interest and involvement
  • Stronger working relationships and cooperation
  • Increased interest and motivation for problem solving
  • Increased understanding of self and others
  • Increased group interaction, trust and cohesiveness
  • Enhanced awareness of problems in group functioning
  • Changes can be made before the group is impaired
  • Decreased tension, frustration
  • Higher levels of morale and satisfaction
  • Decreased likelihood of acting out negative feelings indirectly

From http://www.ummaland.com

3. Better Quality decisions and problem solutions:

  • More creative ideas
  • More decision alternatives
  • More time spent thinking through decisions

From http://leadershipforlearning.wordpress.com

Conflict is often the first step for getting rid of outdated procedures, revising regulations, changing organisational culture, fostering innovation and creativity. Addressing rather than suppressing conflict opens the lines of communication, gets people talking to each other (instead of about each other)  and makes people feel like they’re part of a team that cares. As a result, people learn how to work harmoniously, come up with creative solutions and reach outcomes that benefit everyone involved.

From http://www.joegerstandt.com

However many of us are programmed to avoid conflict or do not know how to handle disagreement in a constructive way. So we have quiet, reserved, polite workplaces, but there is a whole bunch of “stuff” simmering below the surface. We cannot be honest and disagree with each other. We sit around the conference table and nod our heads up and down, and then after the meeting we tell the truth to a smaller group of peers with whom we actually feel comfortable being honest.

From http://www.fundable.com

Below are some ideas to help your team learn to voice dissenting opinions and resolve disagreements in a constructive way:

  1. Raise awareness: Let members know that disagreement can be healthy and that the team encourages constructive tension. This will help set the stage and encourage more “voices” to come forward.
  2. Value listening: Draft listening as a core value of the team. Ultimately, we cannot learn from dissension if our hearts and minds are not really open to the conversation.
  3. Respect always rules: Constructive dissension boils down to team members offering respect to their colleagues. When this principle is ignored, any level of disagreement can quickly become unhealthy. If you have any sense of being on shaky ground after engaging in an intellectual battle with someone, patch that rift with kind words, support and willingness to listen. You may have to retreat for a while until things cool down, but you must let the other person know that you still respect and admire them.
  4. Encourage dissenting opinions: Teach team members how to disagree diplomatically. Many individuals may want to disagree, yet are not sure how to avoid “causing trouble”. Offer ways to speak up by suggesting healthy “templates” or a “scripts” to do so.
  5. Pose alternatives: If they find fault with an idea or strategy — be sure that team members attempt to offer an improved version or alternative solution. Constructive criticism is always preferred.
  6. Deal with dyad issues: If two members seem to be experiencing personal conflict, ensure this does not play out during team meetings. Encourage a dialogue to resolve core issues outside of the team and contain “toxic spills” rooted in personal issues.
  7. Focus on solutions, not the “win”: Ultimately, one single idea does not have to “win” — and this can help take the pressure out of collaboration. Masters of innovation such as Pixar, combine the ideas of many contributors to formulate solutions. In this way being honest and open, won’t take sway from another team member’s work.

 
From http://www.madofficehero.com

The same rules apply to handling disagreement within the family: never stop caring and listening no matter how angry you are.

Love is caring for each other even when you're angryFrom Pinterest

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Resources:

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Are You a Genius or a Genius Maker?

From http://naomisimson.com

 We’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drain intelligence, energy, and capability from the ones around them and always need to be the smartest ones in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment.

On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, lightbulbs go off over people’s heads, ideas flow, and problems get resolved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers.

 


From http://multipliersbooks.com

Multipliers are genius makers. Everyone around them gets smarter and more capable. People may not become geniuses in a traditional sense, but Multipliers invoke each person’s unique intelligence and create an atmosphere of genius – innovation, productive effort, and collective, viral intelligence.

Diminishers on the other hand are absorbed in their own intelligence, stifle others, and deplete the organization of crucial intelligence and capability.

Accidental_Diminisher_Chart_Twitter_Version
From http://multipliersbooks.com

The mind of Multiplier

Multipliers and Diminishers tend to hold radically different assumptions about the intelligence of the people they work with. These assumptions appear to explain much of the difference in how Diminishers and Multipliers operate.

The Diminisher’s view of intelligence is based on elitism and scarcity. Diminishers appear to believe that really intelligent people are a rare breed and I am one of the few really smart people. They then conclude, other people will never figure things out without me.

Multipliers on the other hand have a rich view of the intelligence of the people around them. They see intelligence as continually developing. Therefore their key assumption: people are smart. They will figure this out and will get even smarter in the process.

From http://kellysopeningworld.wordpress.com/

In analysing data from more than 150 leaders, Wiseman and McKeown have identified five key disciplines that distinguish Multipliers from Diminishers:

  1. The Talent Magnet: Attract and optimize talent
  2. The Liberator: Create intensity that requires best thinking
  3. The Challenger: Extend challenges
  4. The Debate Maker: Debate decisions
  5. The Investor: Instill ownership and accountability

Multiplier
From http://www.monkeymagic.net/2013/07/

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1

The Talent Magnet


From http://izquotes.com

Talent Magnets get access to the best talent because people flock to work for them knowing they will be fully utilized and developed to be ready for the next stage. Talent Magnets:

  • Appreciate all types of genius: genius comes in many forms. Some minds excel at quantitative analysis or verbal reasoning – capabilities measured through IQ and other tests of traditional cognitive intelligence. Other minds offer creative genius, innovating through fresh thinking and bold ideas. Some minds are critical, spotting every problem or landmine lurking within a plan; the genius of some others is to find a way to tunnel around these landmines.
  • Ignore boundaries: Talent Magnets live in a world without walls and without hierarchical or lateral restrictions. Instead, they see talent networks.
  • Find people’s native genius: A native genius is something that people do, not only exceptionally well, but absolutely naturally. They do it easily (without extra effort) and freely (without condition). It is something that gives them inherent satisfaction, and they offer their capability voluntarily, even ardently. Native genius can be so instinctive for people that they may not even understand their own capability, like the fish that discovers the water last. By telling people what you see, Talent Magents can raise their awareness and confidence, allowing them to provide their capability more fully.
  • Utilize people to their fullest by connecting people with opportunities that allow them to be used at their highest point of contribution.

From http://www.chopcow.com

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2

The Liberator

From http://wwwawesomequotes.blogspot.co.nz/

Liberators create an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work. As a result, people offer their best and boldest thinking and give their best effort.

Liberators:

  • Release others by restraining themselves: it is a small victory to create space for others to contribute. But it is a huge victory to maintain that space and resist the temptation to jump back in and consume it yourself.
  • Shift the ratio of listening to talking: liberators are ferocious listeners who listen to feed their hunger for knowledge.
  • Operate consistently: The consistency in the liberator’s actions establishes a predictable pattern of behaviour. This allows others to know when it is their turn and where there is space for them to contribute. It also creates safety with all people knowing what to expect.
  • Level the playing field: in any formal organization, the playing field is rarely level, and certain voices are inherently advantaged. These include senior executives. Unless managed, other voices that are perhaps closest to the real issues can become muffled.
  • Demand best work: Asking whether people are giving their best gives them the opportunity to push themselves beyond their previous limits.
  • Distinguish best work from outcomes: people feel positive pressure when they are held to their best work, however it is important to avoid creating stress by holding people accountable for outcomes beyond their control.
  • Generate rapid learning cycles by admitting and sharing mistakes and insisting on learning from mistakes.


From http://www.mindwerx.com

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3

The Challenger

From http://ieet.org

Challengers define opportunities that challenge people to go beyond what they know how to do. As a result they get an organisation that understands the challenge and has the focus and energy to take it on.

The Challengers:

  • Seed the opportunity by allowing people to discover it, challenging the assumptions, re-framing the problems into opportunities, and providing the starting point.
  • Lay down a challenge by asking the hard questions and letting others to fill in the blanks.
  • Generate belief in what is possible by laying out a path, co-creating the plan and beginning with small early wins.

From http://www.notable-quotes.com

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4

The Debate Maker

From http://www.savemarinwood.org

Debate Makers engage people in debating the issues up front, which leads to sound decisions that people understand and can execute efficiently.

Debate Makers:

  • Frame the issue by defining the question that unearths and challenges the assumptions entrenched in the organization, forming the team, and assembling the required data.
  • Spark the debate by creating safe environment for best thinking and demanding rigor.
  • Drive sound decision making.

From http://www.freshbooks.com

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5

The Investor

From http://quotespictures.net

Multipliers operate as Investors. They invest by infusing others with the resources and ownership they need to produce results independent of the leader.

The Investors:

  • Define ownership by naming the lead, giving ownership for the end goal and stretching the role
  • Invest resources by providing mentoring, coaching and backup
  • Hold people accountable

 
From http://www.nwlink.com/

Multipliers also tend to have a great sense of humor. They aren’t necessarily comedians, but they don’t take themselves or situations too seriously. They can laugh at themselves and see comedy in error and in life’s foibles. Their sense of humor liberates others. Multipliers use humor to create comfort and to spark a natural energy and intelligence in others.

 From “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown

 From http://izquotes.com/

The concept of Diminishers and Multipliers however is not limited to business leadership only. It can be easily applied to any relationship, including marriage, family, parenting, friendship etc.


From https://otrazhenie.wordpress.com

Are you a Diminisher or a Multiplier, a Genius or a Genius Maker?

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You are a Genius!

Genious
From QuotesWave

According to a 1968 study by George Land and Beth Jarman, published in their book Breakpoint and Beyond, preschoolers are geniuses in divergent thinking. Land and Jarman administered a divergent thinking test to 1600 people; divergent thinking being the capacity for creativity, the ability to determine multiple solutions to a problem. This is the type of test administered by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists. The results in the sample group were astounding – 98% of the participants scored at the genius level for divergent thinking. The sample group? Five-year-olds.

In this longitudinal study, only 32% of 10-year-olds, and 12% of 15-year-olds reached the same level of creative thinking. Of 280 000 adults tested, only 2% reached genius level. Robinson used an example of divergent thinking in his video provided below: that divergent thinkers would be able to come up with 200 uses for a paper clip, whereas most of us could only come up with 10-15. A divergent thinker would think outside the box. Does the paper clip have to be in the form we know it? If there are no limitations, why not a 200-foot paper clip made of foam?

We are all genius in our own unique way, no matter how deep our genius got buried over the years. Rediscover your genius and fill up your life with laughter and joy. You are amazing!

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Imaginary Friends, Creativity, Innovation and a few Giggles

Friend
From Who is Your Imaginary Friend?

You’ve got these friends,
That we can’t see,
Is that normal
When you’re three?
I only ask,
Because, you see,
If you weren’t three,
I’m sure that we
Would worry
For your mental health,
And take you off
With measured stealth,
To shrinks,
And folk who nod and smile,
Jotting notes and making files,
Deciding what to label you,
Whilst we would worry
…What to do?
But you are three,
And so I think,
That we can live
Without a shrink,
Without a label and concern,
But at what age
Do these friends turn
From playmates into
Mental woes,
When is it that,
Friends become foes?
I ask because I’m puzzled, see,
Why is it okay when you’re three,
But never okay later on,
Why prescribe drugs ‘til friends are gone?

By PookyH

Shoes

A few months ago an Ask Reddit thread invited users to share tales about their children’s imaginary friends. They got thousands of responses. Below is one of my favourite:

“When I was little my “imaginary” friend was named Bobby, I distinctly remember him existing and being real. On day when I was 5 or 6 I was going somewhere with my aunt and cousins and I was talking to Bobby. My cousin got pissed that I was talking to someone she couldn’t fathom was there (we are same age) .
She unbuckled Bobby’s seatbelt and threw him out of the van. I screamed bloody murder at the top of my lungs and wouldn’t stop, so my Aunt went back for him. She had to turn around twice on the highway and drive really slow because I was the only one who could see him and pick him up. While she was crawling at a snails pace on the highway, she got pulled over by a cop. I was still screaming in the back seat and told the cop that my cousin killed Bobby and she needed to go to jail!

Needless to say my aunt had a hard time trying to explain to the cop that he was my imaginary friend. But while we were pulled over Bobby came up to the car and said he was fine, claimed in through the window. I told my aunt it was ok Bobby was back now. When the officer came back. I told him that Bobby wasn’t dead just hurt.

The officer then proceeded to talk to my aunt for a second and then asked my 6 year old cousin to get out of the car. He told her she was going to jail for trying to kill an imaginary friend and put her in the back of his car for 5 minutes. My cousin never messed with Bobby or me again.”

Loved that policeman’s sense of humour and ingenious response to situation 🙂 . However it does make me wonder, what his response would have been, if the main character of this story was not a young child, but an adult. ;-)

ImaginationsFrom Laughing at Everyday Life

Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?  Perhaps it’s time to reunite!

According to Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, imagination is the cornerstone of creativity.  “It’s pretty hard to conceive that anyone could be creative without a rich imagination,” he says.

Today, it’s all about doing things differently and doing different things.  Did you know Google runs 50 to 200 search experiments at any given time?  Innovation and creativity is the lifeblood of growth – organizations who think differently and act quickly as the ones who will break from the pack.  And projects drive the change needed in any organization to survive.

Regrettably, most of us give up on imagination (and leave our pretend friends behind) around grades three to five, when we naturally become more interested in rules. The trick to keeping creativity going, according to Shelley Carson, a researcher and lecturer in pyschology and Harvard University and author of Your Creative Brain, is helping us see that rules and imagination are not at odds.

To keep the creative juices flowing, give yourself time every day to daydream and turn off the critical thinking and eliminate distractions – turn off electronic devices.  And get enough sleep: studies show that creativity declines with lack of sleep.  Who know’s, you just might meet with your long-lost imaginary friend in your dreams. Good night 🙂

ImaginationFrom Imagination

Treasure your imaginary friends 🙂

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Other worlds

DreamFrom Anonymous ART of Revolution

When you live in a world,
That you don’t understand,
It’s hard not to reach out,
With a shaking tired hand,
To a world that makes sense,
Though you know that it’s wrong,
Because this is a world,
Where you can sing the song.
This is a world
Where life makes sense to you,
Where the things people say,
And the things people do,
Don’t feel distant and foreign;
Instead they feel right,
You wear this world like a glove,
And you snuggle it tight.
But you know that it’s wrong,
And you know it won’t pay,
To live in this world,
For the rest of your days.
But for now it feels safe,
So you’ll stay for today.
Maybe tomorrow,
You’ll find a new way.

by Pooky H

Addiction
From Pooky’s Poems

“But you know that it’s wrong…”

Is it wrong? Why do you think so? 

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