Since we only have the capacity to focus on a fraction of what we encounter, our brains are constantly filtering what gets our attention. In this filtering process, our brains are easily distracted because we are wired to pay attention to any new stimulus, especially if we perceive it to be a threat to our survival. This filtering causes us to have what psychologists call a negativity bias.
Humanity on the whole has never been better off than we are now. The world is safer, we live longer, we are healthier, and many people are wealthier.
But as humans, our brains are naturally wired to cynicism. We’re more likely to focus on the negatives of a situation and not even notice the positives.
Changing our focus to What’s Going Well and rejecting negativity isn’t just about making us happier (though that’s a nice side-effect, too!). When we practice it regularly, it extends far beyond day-to-day joy and becomes a part of who we are. Eventually, we don’t have to work to practice it anymore. It comes to us naturally.
As many of you know, March Forth is a day I celebrate in honor of my late brother John. The holiday is meant to remind us to celebrate life and find things that help us move forward. I learned a long time ago that no matter who you are, life will throw you heart-crushing blows but we must keep Marching Forth.
My late grandfather once told me that if I was going to seek advice from someone who has been where I'm headed, to make sure I only ask people who have a smile on their face. This advice has led me to ask older men and women that are smiling or radiant – what's the secret to life?
Last year, I had the honor and privilege of presenting and keynoting at a number of amazing conferences and organizations. The highlight for me was giving the commencement keynote address at my alma mater, University of Oregon. For bamboo insight and inspiration, watch my 15-minute talk, even if you are not a Duck!
Over the holidays I played lots of board games with my friends and family including one of my favorites, Yahtzee.
Imagine after years of planting, tending and weeding, the bamboo is only a few inches away from breaking the surface of the soil, soon sprouting 90 feet in 60 days. The impatient farmer walks away while the Bamboo Farmer faithfully waters one more day.
No matter how skilled an individual or team is, having the self-discipline to execute on projects and ideas is the single most important skill needed in today's business environment. An individual or team with average talent and skill can outcompete a more talented team if they have mastered the art of discipline.
Everyone has "one of those days" occasionally. Since this is a normal, acceptable part of work, it's important to strategize how you manage after a challenging day at work because it can have impact on a multitude of levels both at work and at home.
In my book Water The Bamboo®: Unleashing Teams and Individuals I encourage both individuals and teams to identify and water their bamboo (vision). It takes four to five years of watering for Giant Timber Bamboo to grow over 90 feet in 60 days.
For leaders to be effective, they must work well with all types of people; it is essential to managing a successful team. To improve your relationship skills, here are 5 important principles for getting along with others.
Whether it's a failed project, a co-worker conflict, or an unexpected layoff, everyone faces a setback at some point in their career. These unfortunate events can derail your plans and hinder your morale and productivity—but only if you let them.
In the French language, courage translates to "heart and spirit." If you brought your heart and spirit to your work, what would you be able to accomplish? One of the biggest obstacles holding people back from achieving their dreams is fear. The antidote to fear is courage—attack your fears with your "heart and spirit."
A lot of my work with leaders and teams is centered around how to increase and sustain employee engagement. When people first begin their jobs, they are typically fully engaged, but this initial enthusiasm eventually fades into "what's next?" or thinking the bamboo grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
In a world asking us to move faster and do everything instantly—dominated by fast food, instant credit, and constant communication—many of us have lost touch with what it means to be patient. But as Harvard professor Dr. Edward Banfield concluded after 50 years of research, patience is the key to success.
Thanks to constant distractions from email, social media, and other technologies, the average human attention span according to a recent study has dwindled to just 8 seconds, not much more than a guppy. In addition, there's increasing pressure to get more done at work and work longer hours—these productivity hindrances can be especially detrimental to engagement and team growth.
I spent part of my early childhood with my late grandfather on a farm in rural east Texas. And while I left that farm many years ago, I still live by the lessons I learned there. These 9 principles of the farm can help everyone make improvements in their personal and professional lives.