Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter. Every two weeks I share about what impactful leadership looks like. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.
Are You Taking Meaningful Actions? Or Just Busy?
Have you fallen into the trap of being busy rather than being productive? Are you taking meaningful actions, or are you busy in meaningless activities?
Being busy often relieves us from the fear of sitting still and the pain of conscious thinking, while the really important tasks often get neglected.
Everything that we do can be divided into either meaningless activity or meaningful actions. What I mean by meaningless activity is anything we do to only keep ourselves busy. Example – checking email and social media, hanging out with friends, or anything we do without a specific intention in mind.
In contrast with the above, any activity which adds meaning to your life, or takes you in the direction of a conscious intention (or a goal), is what I would term meaningful. It could be a business trip for one or spending time with their family for another.
What is meaningless and meaningful is different for everyone. Only you can define that. No-one else can make that distinction for you.
Research has shown that not having the courage to live a life true to ourselves, not expressing our feelings when we should have, and working too hard are the top three regrets people have at the end of their lives. I have myself struggled with this lack of courage for years, and this newsletter is a prime example of that – I have been thinking of starting this newsletter since 2016, but only found the courage to do so this year.
Doing things that we find meaningful is essential to our well being. But how many of us spend time wondering about what gives our life meaning, and what is really important to us?
- What are you good at?
- What do you love doing?
- What need can you serve?
I believe the intersection of answers to the above three questions will be the most meaningful work for you. Once you have these answers, it will give you the clarity to prioritize tasks and the courage to say “No” to anything that doesn’t align with what you discover.
If what you read above made you realize what is meaningful for you, I would like to hear more. This could be the start of something big and meaningful for you.
Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me
9 Steps To Make The Most Out Of Difficult Conversations
Millions of years of evolution have taught our bodies to react in a certain manner to external threats. In moments of stress, our bodies react by releasing chemicals like cortisol that increase the heart rate.
This is often termed as “amygdala hijacking” by psychologists. As a result, we often overreact or behave irrationally. Basically, the neurochemical interactions in the brain make it even harder to think straight and behave rationally. When faced with difficult conversations, our amygdala is often triggered shutting off the thinking part of the brain.
I believe being ready for tough conversations makes us better equipped to face challenges in life. When done in the right manner, difficult conversations have the potential to enhance a relationship and produce great results.
While there are no defined rules for handling difficult conversations, I have found that these nine crucial steps can make a big difference.
- Set the Right Context
- Be Willing to See Another’s Perspective
- Separate Facts From Opinions
- Mutual Respect
- Keep the Focus on the Shared Goal
- Brainstorm Together, Not Against Each Other
- Express Gratitude
- Make Sure to Follow Up
- Reflect to Become Better
From 9 Steps To Make The Most Out Of Difficult Conversations – An Article From My Desk
13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful
Sometimes, to become successful and get closer to the person we can become, we don’t need to add more things — we need to give up on some of them.
There are certain things that are universal, which will make you successful if you give up on them, even though each one of us could have a different definition of success.
You can give up on some of them today, while it might take a bit longer to give up on others.
From the article 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful by Zdravko Cvijetic
The Research-Backed Benefits of Gratitude
This year has been a tough one for most people, whether or not they have been impacted by Covid. Being separated from loved ones, and seeing so many others suffers in illness and death is never easy. I was on vacation in India earlier this year during Covid’s first wave, and I was stuck in India with a 6-month old kid for two months as all flights back were cancelled.
Ever since returning to Amsterdam, I have found that expressing gratitude to those who have supported me has decreased stress, and given me hope for the future. Below you can find the various advantages of gratitude.
- Improved physical, emotional, and social well-being
- Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crises
- Increased self-esteem
- Heightened energy levels
- Strengthened heart, immune system, and decreased blood pressure
- Improved emotional and academic intelligence
- Decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and headaches
Read more on The Advantages Of Gratitude In This Article
That’s it for now. If you have any questions, just hit reply. All the best,