Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


Michael Useem on what got you here won’t get you there or reinventing yourself as you move forward:

“The factors that led others to select you to manage a team, an office, or even an enterprise, are going to change as markets and methods evolve, pushing you to the edge, and making it vital to continually consider the additional leadership capacities required now. The best capacities of an earlier time thus remain informative but also incomplete for the challenges we face ahead.”

Source: The Edge: How Ten CEOs Learned to Lead–And the Lessons for Us All


Alaa Garad and Jeff Gold on how disruption and crisis require strategic learning across the organization:

“Leaders must engage in learning that is continuous and strategic, that has to include a willingness to embrace critical thinking to avoid … functional stupidity whereby leaders can prevent learning and change for the sake of maintaining and sustaining an order that they avoid justifying. In a similar manner, some leaders can be accused of hubris, show contempt for criticism from others and become capable of inflicting damage on their organizations.”

Source: The Learning-Driven Business: How to Develop an Organizational Learning Ecosystem

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Leading Thoughts Best Books of 2021

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Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


Scientist Edward O. Wilson on the unification of knowledge:

“The ongoing fragmentation of knowledge and resulting chaos in philosophy are not reflections of the real world but artifacts of scholarship.”

Source: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge


The late professor and writer David Foster Wallace on focus:

“Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about “teaching you how to think” is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

Source: This is Water

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Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

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If you’d like to master the basics so you can have the confidence to accomplish anything you set your mind to, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown

You might have heard it many times how important it is to master the basics before moving on to the advanced concepts. When you move into a new field as a beginner, you have a basic idea of the things you need to learn. In the case of boxing, it’s footwork. In the case of programming, it’s logic and in writing, it’s storytelling.

The reason why basics are so important is that the success of every next step you take depends on how much you’ve mastered the previous step.

Think of it in this way, a building won’t have the 100th floor if it doesn’t have the 99th and it won’t have the 99th floor if it doesn’t have the 98th floor. Not spending enough time on basics and moving to the next steps quickly will give you an illusion that you have learned the thing you wanted to learn. But, such learning is not flexible. Throw an uncomfortable situation to it and you will see how quickly it can collapse.

I had to re-learn programming because the way I learned it was fragile. The foundations were not solid and I would look for solutions on Google for almost every programming question I came across.

Learning the basics thoroughly will make you feel like you are going slow but in the long-term, you will be the fastest of all. This is something every learner will personally experience in their quest to learning new things.

Try to teach a basic concept to yourself through different perspectives, drill it in your mind, apply it whenever you can and don’t move forward until you haven’t mastered the first step.

The best way to master the basics is not to just learn it but tinkering with the different possibilities it can generate. If a boxer learns to dance, he would master the footwork from a new perspective. Remember, a solid foundation paves the way forward to build the tallest of buildings.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Accelerate progressively

When you start from zero, you need to match your motivation with your capability. Setting unexpected goals according to your current capability might hamper your confidence in the long term.

It’s tempting to take on a difficult challenge right away because of the reward it gives. But, that might also break your confidence and dry out the motivation you hardly built.

When you take on the challenges according to the motivation and the confidence you possess, you build more motivation and confidence. It’s like building a machine that keeps on improving itself. Once you have enough reservoir of confidence and motivation, you can accelerate.

As much as it’s important to accelerate progressively, it’s important to know when to do it. When you feel like you are being comfortable with the new challenges, you need to fast pace the process.

The more you get convinced with the ease of the task, the less you will try to push yourself harder. It can be easy to get drawn into the illusion of mastering the concept but it’s because you narrowed down the challenges and your capabilities.

Start slow, learn only one concept at a time. Once you get in the zone, once you have a solid foundation to stand upon, then you can learn from your past mistakes and accelerate the learning process.

Learn from the mistakes of others

It’s obvious that you are going to make some mistakes while you learn new things. Mistakes are the best teachers because they show you where you need to improve.   

Down the road, you will encounter confusing and tough situations where your decision making will be tested. The bad news is, you can go from 1 to 0 in an instant and the good news is someone has already laid out a path learned through those mistakes.

It’s exciting to go all alone and find a new path but often you will need guidance on tackling some situations. Someone who already has prior experience of finding its own path in life has a multidimensional view of the world. 

What things need more attention, where to invest your time and how to get of a mental plateau, they have first-hand experience of all of this.

There are two big benefits of learning from mistakes of others. One is you will be able to accelerate the learning process and the second is a flexible perspective about the concept you are trying to learn.

“The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning, you go to school.” – T.D. Jakes

Build a feedback loop

It’s important to analyze yourself when you are trying to learn new things. Sometimes, you might not see the results for weeks or even months. In such cases, you need to assess where things are going wrong and where things are going right.

Self-assessment will help you to find the loopholes in your learning process and build a customized plan for you to help you learn more efficiently and quickly. 

Great athletes have always placed the utmost importance on constructive criticism. It feeds their mind with the concepts that they might be missing in their journey to become better. 

A feedback loop is like a cycle, it takes input from you and feeds it back to you as output, separating what’s working for you from what’s not. It’s important to let go of your ego and be aware of your mistakes because that’s how your feedback loop can be initialized.

Suppose you are trying to learn to play basketball. It’s normal for you to think that you are getting good at it after a couple of hours of practice every day. But, if you just focus on your strength, your ego will take over your learning process and you might not able to spread out your skillset. 

Having a feedback loop in place is how you can solve this problem. It filters out the need to take necessary steps to improve in multiple aspects of the game. It makes you focus on what things you are doing wrong and initiates a constant thought process to fix the problems.

Read more: addicted2success.com


twitter Here are a selection of tweets from November 2019 that you don’t want to miss:

14 Things Smart Leaders Do to Boost Their Own Confidence by @LollyDaskal
Edmund Morris on Edison by @JamesStrock
10 Indicators Your Leadership Stock Is On the Rise by @WScottCochrane
10 reasons culture change can seem daunting—and how to prevail by @MichaelDWatkins
How to Find Thanks and Gratitude by @JesseLynStoner
Are you a mentor magnet? by @fowlersusann via @SBLeaders
Brandon Matthews: A Lesson In Playing With Grace from @JohnBaldoni
Are your #expectations getting the best of you?
Leadership and Management Book Podcast with @ArtPetty: Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead from @wallybock
Kennedy: The Art of Becoming by @jamesstrock
Mental Habits that Support Lifelong Learning by @tnvora
At Least Six Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Leadership Opportunity by @ArtPetty
It’s time to make more room for a middle ground that’s based on both the democratic ideals of freedom and helping those in need. A Manifesto for the Middle by R. Edward Freeman and Joseph Burton
The Golden Rules of Relationships by @johnkeysercoach
James Mattis: My Favorite Books Your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.
Beware the ‘Boss Shadow Effect’ by @suzimcalpine
How to Be a Leader Everyone Loves to Work With by @LollyDaskal
How to Encourage Your Team When Results are Disappointing via @LetsGrowLeaders Karin Hurt David Dye
7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Be a Better Leader via @LetsGrowLeaders
Don’t Make Your Self-Discipline Work So Hard from @wallybock
Here’s how you can prepare for hyper-personalization in marketing via @thenextweb
Put Limits on Your Energy Drainers by @ScottEblin
Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think via @TheAtlantic
How To Escape The 5 Dangers of Fire-Drill Leadership by @WScottCochrane
The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail via @CBinsights
VIDEO: Dollar Shave Club Founder Michael Dubin On A Razor Sharp Idea The story of Dollar Shave Club is about as David and Goliath as it gets

See more on twitter Twitter.

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What is Leadership You Might Be a Bad Leader If

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I have been a high school teacher for 21 years. I have taught math, social studies, reading, physical education, and more. A few years back, I gave a similar list like the one below to my graduating seniors as a “gift.” It was entitled “15 Things I Did Not Learn in High School, but I wish I did.” I was especially fond of this group. They were all good kids and had a good work ethic.

So when I was making up their final exam, I reflected back to when I was a senior and close to graduation. I thought about all I learned as an adult that I wish I knew as a “kid.” Things no one ever discussed or if they did, it wasn’t important enough for me to remember. Most likely, both are equally true.

There is a saying when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I know at the time I wasn’t ready for the list below. I don’t think most 18-year-olds are ready for the list below. However, you would be surprised how many kids I taught come back and say, “do you remember when you said this ………?” They hear you, but sometimes they don’t listen to you until they are ready.

As a teacher, here are 15 things I didn’t learn when I was in school that you need to know:
1. Give a good handshake

A proper handshake is essential. Not only does it make a good first impression with someone you meet, but it also gives an air of confidence in yourself. You will shake thousands of hands in your life, and you will leave thousands of first impressions. Have a good handshake and an alert presence when greeting a new person or an old friend or colleague.

2. Be an Overachiever

Giving less than your best is lame. It gets you nowhere in life and will only hold you back. Strive in all you do. Be a person that aims high. You may not always reach your highest goals, but you will be a lot closer than someone who just “gets by.”

3. Don’t be a resumé thrower

I have never met someone who I enjoy being around for an extended amount of time who feels it is necessary to let me know his credentials. Save the resumé for job applications and interviewers. No one likes someone who has to tell you where they went to college, what sport they excelled at, or what people they know. If you ask, great, but don’t voluntarily throw out your proudest moments to look or feel more important.

4. Don’t whine or complain

I ask this question each semester with the new students I teach. “Does anyone like someone who whines or complains.” I never have one hand go up. We all know this, but we have a hard time following through with it. Whiners and complainers kill your mojo. Stay away from them and make it a point not to be one. Save the complaining for that one close friend or spouse. Not everyone you talk to wants to hear what’s going wrong with your day.

5. Enthusiasm is for real

It might seem “cliché,” but it’s the truth. Enthusiasm can change a challenging situation into a rewarding one. Have energy in your work, with your children, or in your hobbies. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are enthusiastic, other people will have enthusiasm as well. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. People feed off both positive and negative behavior.

6. Find a mentor

We can learn so much from other people. Whether it is in our profession, hobbies, health, and wellness, spending time with people who are “better” than us and whom we can learn from will accelerate our progress. Why reinvent the wheel when someone already has?

7. Be a copycat

Along with finding a mentor, start observing those we admire. If you want confidence, watch confident people. How do they move their bodies? What do they say? Modeling others’ behavior and mannerisms are quick and easy and don’t require any money or resources. The internet offers us a wealth of free material. We can utilize it to our advantage for more than “surfing” the web. If you want confidence, watch a video of someone famous who portrays confidence. Copy what they do. Your mind will follow your body.

8. Be humble

One of the best character traits of an individual is someone who does extraordinary things and doesn’t feel the need to brag, boast, or tell others. Today’s social media-frenzied society has lost track of this outstanding personal quality. We all love the humble person, although we know they are a “badass” at life.

9. Do things that scare you often

Each time we do something challenging, stressful, scary, or uncomfortable, we get a stronger mentality. Like a rubber band, you stretch it once, it recoils. You stretch it, again and again; eventually, it doesn’t recoil back to its original shape. Doing things that scare you is similar to the rubber band. The more times we do things outside of our comfort zone, the more we shed our old mentality of what is challenging and the stronger we become.

10. Exercise

Exercise makes you feel better, hhelps you sleep better and  enables you to think better. It is good for you, and it doesn’t need to be some elaborate routine at a gym. Go for a hike, a walk, do some burpees or sit-ups. Anything is better than nothing, and you will elevate your mood. It is no secret that people with anxiety and depression are prescribed exercise to help them alleviate symptoms.

11. Smile a lot

A couple things about smiling. When you smile, your mood changes almost automatically. Not a fake smile, a genuine big smile will make you feel better. Smiling also puts others at ease. It makes you welcoming, and people will want to be with you. It is hard to be angry when you are genuinely smiling.

12. Watch your language

I am not talking about using or not using profanity, I am talking about changing our definition of words to empower us. I use the word “Fun” to describe activities that make us better. A hard work out is “fun.” Reading a challenging book is “fun.” If you equate difficult tasks with opportunities for improvement as “fun,” they will be much more enjoyable and less arduous. Is it “challenging” or “hard”? Simply changing the definition of our words or changing a word from something like ”hard” to “challenging”, changes your perception of the task at hand.

13. Be grateful

There is so much to be thankful for in life. Yes, sometimes it’s tough to feel grateful. A loved one is struggling. Your bills are due. We all have our stuff that makes life tough at times. Like a snowball that gets rolled in wet snow, what we focus on will grow. Focus on the good things, and you will see more good things in your life.

14. Give compliments

It’s common sense, but people like to hear good things about themselves. Make people feel good. It not only helps them feel better but makes you feel better as well. Tell someone you like their hair. They have a great smile. You love their shoes. With so much negativity around, a little positive energy is always welcomed and good. The more compliments you give, the more you get back in return. I do not know how it works, but it happens.

15. Take full responsibility for everything in your life

I saved this for last because to me it is the most significant piece of advice I think someone could benefit from. You could also rephrase it to say, I will not make excuses and not allow other people to make excuses for me. When you take full responsibility in all you do, your life will change, and it will change for the better. No more blame. No more apathy. Decide to take responsibility and hold yourself accountable for everything. When you do that, the world and the people around you change. You no longer are at the mercy of others or circumstances. You become an active participant with a choice to make things better or worse.

Read more: addicted2success.com

How do you show somebody you care? In addition to being present, it’s the words you choose and the way you listen. Strengthening your communication skills gives you the opportunity to build close relationships where there is loyalty, support, and a beautiful balance of understanding. What’s more, as you understand others better, you’re able to gain insight into their reasons behind their thoughts and actions. Knowing what makes someone tick helps you predict and adapt to how he or she will react – for better or worse. Through your communication skills, you’re able to change the course of your conversations. And, by communicating well, you can improve your relationships.

Successful communicators look for patterns. Recurring themes are found when you’re reading between the lines. They know that by listening, they’ll be able to hear what is said and, also, what goes unsaid. This is because as they are listening, they are taking note as to common triggers and preparing for them. They are responding to other’s needs through their messaging and showing thoughtful consideration for their concerns.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by trying to relate better to other people, but feel like you’re not being understood or you’re not being heard, perhaps the reason lies within mutual understanding. This means that you may not be aware of something another person is feeling and by leaving this out, it is affecting your relationship. By not being relevant, your message is off the mark. It doesn’t match what matters to that person. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the way you communicate, but, in order to gain a heightened awareness of yourself and others, it does take work, and an open mind.

If you have been wondering how you can communicate better with others, these 5 skills will help you improve understanding and strengthen your relationships:

1. Framing

It’s all about the packaging! How your message is framed makes a difference when it comes to how others will respond. You’ll need to present your message in a way that is not only simple, but also clear as to what kind of response is expected. Get a feel for how others respond to similar messages beforehand so that way you can adjust if necessary. You can also help others understand your message better through visual cues and body language. Having visuals can supplement what you’re trying to convey by applying emphasis in ways that words cannot.

“All generalizations are false, including this one.” – Mark Twain

2. Mirroring

In order to understand what your audience is looking for or why they are reacting a certain way, the easiest way to investigate is through asking them. But, if you want to get a sense of what they’re thinking and feeling, a less obvious way is through mirroring. When you’re sharing a message, watch for reactions. Pay attention to visual cues and feedback.

Facial expressions and behaviors will show you whether you’re evoking any emotions. Watching for reactions will help you understand where trigger points are — whether positive or negative. Being able to figure out what’s actually reaching others gives you the ability to connect in a way that matters and you’ll know how to get a response.

You can then refine your message by adjusting your tone and the words you choose in order to provide what others are looking for. As you adjust, you’ll be able to test for reactions to see if you’re getting close. Consider why your changes are or are not working and you’ll gain a deeper understanding.

3. Functional Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see something from another person’s point-of-view and consider how they’re feeling (and why). Empathy can range from being able to feel what others feel, to understanding the reasons behind why someone feels the way they do, to relating back to others with shared experiences or thoughts. If you’re looking to communicate better, think about how others are feeling during the flow of your interaction.

By looking at where people are getting distracted or no longer engaging with you, you’ll find out what’s no longer relevant to them. This is where they stop caring. Knowing how to hold attention and avoid a drop-off is especially helpful because you can better plan your conversations, messaging and experiences.

4. Storytelling

By practicing your storytelling skills, you’re able to engage others in a way where they’re interested in hearing more. Through stories, you’re able to share anecdotes, lessons and information in a way that’s easier to connect with. It’s an excellent way to create more connection and share information that is easy-to-relate-to; not to mention, build excitement!

With so much information competing for your audience’s attention, you’ll be able to draw in and hold an audience’s attention. A compelling story can be memorable and inspire others to share their own stories. Through sharing these stories, you’ll be able to build and develop more understanding and insight into other people’s experiences.

“There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.” – Anthony Rapp

5. Receptive Language

Take note of where the people you’re talking with are coming from. If you’re speaking about one thing, but it’s completely different from what they need, they’ll quickly check out. But by encouraging responses through selective phrasing and questions, you’ll be able to determine if you’re understanding them properly.

If they continue to stay engaged, you’re on the right track when it comes to reflecting their interests. Your language and choice in words can encourage feedback and open-ended responses. These types of responses will help you find out if your audience can relate to what you’re saying. And, using the information you gather will help you determine what resonates best. As you genuinely show you care and take interest in others, you’ll find that others appreciate your interest.

Developing these communication skills will give you the ability to better relate to others, develop more loyalty, and build stronger relationships, all while increasing internal and external awareness and uncovering underlying needs to show you care.

Read more: addicted2success.com