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.
Most people become successful because of their ability to focus on doing a particular job well. Whether you are a software developer, a designer, an analyst, or a consultant, you are successful today because you have become very good at doing what you do. However, this laser-focus on finishing projects, and doing them to the best of your ability hardly leaves any time to slow down and relax.
As the year draws to a close, the skill to celebrate and feel grateful is a skill we can all learn and use a bit more of. Before your hyper-focused mind kicks back in, reserve some time before the end of the year only for yourself. Yes, only for yourself. A time when you can sit alone, celebrate all that you have achieved in life, and express gratitude for all the little wonders and joys in your life.
Whenever I do this exercise, I’m surprised at how many things I can list. Quickly, I feel relaxed and grateful, which makes life a whole lot more enjoyable.
If your hyper-active brain is asking for evidence or looking to dismiss the above, there is plenty of research that backs up the fact that gratitude and celebration are powerful tools to improve your well-being and productivity in the long term.
Reply to this email right now and tell me one thing that you are grateful for in this moment?
Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me
How To Use Both Conscious and Subconscious Mind to Solve Your Biggest Problems?
The human brain is often called the most sophisticated machine in the universe. Be it writing a letter, loving our family members, playing a game, preparing a presentation, or planning for the future – none of these tasks are possible without our brains. Yet isn’t it surprising that our brain doesn’t come with an owner’s guide? Also, our education rarely teaches us how to make the best use of our brains.
Even though a lot is unknown about how our mind works, there has been considerable progress in neuroscience in the last two decades. If the average human being knows about what we now know about our brains, I believe we can vastly increase our performance in all aspects of our lives.
Our mind is often categorized into two categories – the conscious and the subconscious. Everywhere where we use rational thought, we are using our conscious mind. The subconscious mind, on the other hand, is where our intuition lies. We might think that when we develop ideas and solve problems, it is only our conscious mind at work. But our subconscious mind also plays a big role in the background.
This is the part of the mind’s functioning which most people are unaware of. Even in our lives, we can see that trying too hard to solve a problem can lead to frustration sometimes, yet when we step aside and do something else we can suddenly see the solution. Many scientific discoveries have also been accidental or happen in so called “Eureka” moments.
Scientists have discovered that taking long walks in nature is one such mind wandering activity that can generate creative insights for problem solvers. There is evidence that spending just a few minutes outside in nature can improve people’s moods and generate positive emotions, which in turn can improve our intuitive idea generation.
From How To Use Both Conscious and Subconscious Mind to Maximise Creativity And Solve Our Biggest Problems? – An Article From My Desk
Solitude and Leadership
This is one of my favorite leadership essays, and it highlights the role of solitude in the development of any leader. The author William Deresiewicz writes in this essay –
“Your own reality—for yourself, not for others.” Thinking for yourself means finding yourself, finding your own reality. Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and even The New York Times. When you expose yourself to those things, especially in the constant way that people do now—older people as well as younger people—you are continuously bombarding yourself with a stream of other people’s thoughts. You are marinating yourself in conventional wisdom. In other people’s reality: for others, not for yourself. You are creating a cacophony in which it is impossible to hear your own voice, whether it’s yourself you’re thinking about or anything else. That’s what Emerson meant when he said that “he who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.” Notice that he uses the word lead. Leadership means finding a new direction, not simply putting yourself at the front of the herd that’s heading toward the cliff.
I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things. But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.
From Solitude and Leadership – An Essay by William Deresiewicz
That’s it for now. If you have any questions, just hit reply. All the best,